PFC James L. Manogue was born in 1914 in Johnstown, Wisconsin, to James D. Manogue & Ellen T. Deneen-Manogue and was raised in Milton, Wisconsin. He was one of the couple’s four children. He went to school in Milton and attended Milton Union High School but left school to help his father on the family farm.
In Janesville, Jim joined the 32nd Tank Company of the Wisconsin National Guard about a month before the company was called to federal duty in the fall of 1940. He did this since the draft act had just been passed, and he wanted to fulfill his military obligation. The tank company left Janesville on November 28, 1940, and arrived at Fort Knox, Kentucky, late that evening.
The tank company was now A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion. A typical day for the soldiers started in 6:15 with reveille, but most of the soldiers were up before this since they wanted to wash and dress. Breakfast was from 7:00 to 8:00 A.M., followed by calisthenics from 8:00 to 8:30. Afterward, the tankers went to various schools within the company. The classes consisted of .30 and .50 caliber machine guns, pistol, map reading, care of personal equipment, military courtesy, and training in tactics.
At 11:30 the soldiers stopped what they were doing and cleaned up for mess which was from noon to 1:00 P.M. Afterwards, they attended the various schools which they had been assigned to on January 13, such as mechanics, tank driving, radio operating. At 4:30, the soldiers called it a day and returned to their barracks and put on dress uniforms and at five held retreat and followed by dinner at 5:30. After dinner, they were off duty and lights were out at 9:00 P.M., but they did not have to turn in until 10:00 when Taps was played. On January 13th, each member of the company was assigned to a specific school for training.
In the late summer of 1941, the 192nd Tank Battalion took part in maneuvers in Louisiana. After the maneuvers, the battalion was ordered to Camp Polk, Louisiana, and informed it was being sent overseas as part of Operation PLUM. Within hours, many of the men had figured out that “PLUM” stood for Philippines, Luzon, Manila.
Jim received a ten-day furlough home to say his goodbyes. He returned to Camp Polk, Louisiana, and from there left for the west coast by train for San Francisco, California, where they were ferried, on the U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe, to Ft. McDowell on Angel Island. On the island, they received inoculations and physicals. Those members of the battalion who were found to have treatable medical conditions remained behind on the island and scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date. Some men were simply replaced.
The 192nd was boarded onto the U.S.A.T. Gen. Hugh L. Scott and sailed on Monday, October 27. During this part of the trip, many of the tankers suffered from seasickness. Once they recovered, they spent their time breaking down machine guns, cleaning weapons, and doing KP. The ship arrived at Honolulu, Hawaii, on Sunday, November 2 and had a two-day layover, so the soldiers were given shore leave so they could see the island.
On Wednesday, November 5, the ship sailed for Guam but took a southerly route away from the main shipping lanes. It was at this time it was joined by, the heavy cruiser, the U .S.S. Louisville and, another transport, the S. S. President Calvin Coolidge. Sunday night, November 9, the soldiers went to bed and when they awoke the next morning, it was Tuesday, November 11. During the night, while they slept, the ships had crossed the International Dateline.
It was during this part of the voyage, on Saturday, November 15, smoke from an unknown ship was seen on the horizon. The Louisville revved up its engines, its bow came out of the water, and it shot off in the direction of the smoke. It turned out the smoke was from a ship that belonged to a friendly country. During this part of the voyage, smoke from an unknown ship was seen on the horizon. The cruiser that was escorting the two Army transports revved up its engines, its bow came out of the water, and it took off in the direction of the smoke. It turned out that the unknown ship was from a friendly country.
When they arrived at Guam on Sunday, November 16, the ships took on water, bananas, coconuts, and vegetables before sailing for Manila the next day. At one point, the ships passed an island at night and did so in total blackout. This for many of the soldiers was a sign that they were being sent into harm’s way. The ships entered Manila Bay, at 8:00 A.M., on Thursday, November 20, and docked at Pier 7 later that morning. At 3:00 P.M., most of the soldiers were taken by bus to Ft. Stotsenburg. Those who drove trucks drove them to the fort, while the maintenance section remained behind at the pier to unload the tanks.
At the fort, they were greeted by Colonel Edward King, who apologized that they had to live in tents along the main road between the fort and Clark Airfield. He made sure that they all received Thanksgiving Dinner before he went to have his own. Ironically, November 20 was the date that the National Guard members of the battalion had expected to be released from federal service.
The members of the battalion pitched the tents in an open field halfway between the Clark Field Administration Building and Fort Stotsenburg. The tents were set up in two rows and five men were assigned to each tent. There were two supply tents and meals were provided by food trucks stationed at the end of the rows of tents.
For the next seventeen days, the tankers worked to remove cosmoline from their weapons. The grease was put on the weapons to protect them from rust while at sea. They also loaded ammunition belts and did tank maintenance as they readied their tanks to take part in maneuvers.
On December 1, the tankers were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field to guard against Japanese paratroopers. From this time on, two tank crew members remained with each tank at all times and received their meals from food trucks.
The morning of December 8, 1941, Capt Walter Write informed his company of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The tankers took their position around the perimeter of the airfield. At 8:30, the American planes took off and filled the sky. They landed at noon and lined up near the mess hall while the pilots went to lunch.
The tankers were eating lunch when a formation of 54 planes was spotted approaching the airfield from the north. The tankers believed the planes were American. As they watched, raindrops fell from the planes. When bombs exploded on the runways, they knew the planes were Japanese.
Four days after the attack, on December 12, the company was sent to the Barrio of Dau so it could prevent sabotage of a highway and railroad. From there, the company was sent to join the other companies of the 192nd just south of the Agno River.
On December 23 and 24, the company was in the area of Urdaneta, where the tankers lost the company commander, Capt. Walter Write. After he was buried, the tankers made an end run to get south of Agno River. As they did this, they ran into Japanese resistance early in the evening but successfully crossed the river in the Bayambang Province.
On December 25, the tanks of the battalion held the southern bank of the Agno River from Carmen to Tayung, with the tanks of the 194th holding the line on the Carmen-Alcala-Bautista Road. The tanks held the position until 5:30 in the morning on December 27.
The 192nd and part of the 194th fell back to form a new defensive line the night of December 27 and 28. From there they fell back to the south bank of the BanBan River which they were supposed to hold for as long as possible. The tanks were at Santo Tomas near Cabanatuan on December 28 and 29 serving as a rear guard against the Japanese.
A Company was sent, in support of the 194th, to an area east of Pampanga on December 30. It was there that they lost a tank platoon commander, Lt. William Read. That night, on a road east of Zaragoza, the company was bivouacked for the night and posted sentries. The sentries heard a noise on the road and woke the other tankers who grabbed Tommy-guns and manned the tanks’ machine guns. As they watched, a Japanese bicycle battalion rode into their bivouac. When the last bicycle passed the tanks, the tankers opened fire on them. When they stopped firing, they had completely wiped out the bicycle battalion. To leave the area, the tankers drove their tanks over the bodies.
As the Filipino and American forces fell back toward Bataan, A Company took up a position near the south bank of the Gumain River the night of December 31 and January 1. Believing that the Filipino Army was in front of them allowed the tankers to get some sleep. It was that night that the Japanese launched an attack to cross the river.
A Company, on January 5, while attached to the 194th Tank Battalion, withdrew from the Guagua-Porac line. It was evening and they believed they were in a relatively safe place. Lt. Kenneth Bloomfield told his men to get some sleep. Their sleep was interrupted by the sound of a gunshot. The tankers had no idea that they were about to engage the Japanese who had launched a major offensive. In the bright moonlight, the Japanese were easy to see. In an attempt to cover themselves, they laid down a smokescreen which blew back into them. There was a great deal of confusion and the battle lasted until 3:00 A.M. when the Japanese broke off the attack. Within days of this action, the company returned to the command of the 192nd.
The night of January 7, A Company was awaiting orders to cross the last bridge into Bataan over the Culis Creek. The engineers were ready to blow up the bridge, but the battalion’s commanding officer, Lt. Col. Ted Wickord, ordered the engineers to wait until he had looked to see if they were anywhere in sight. He found the company, asleep in their tanks because they had not received the order to withdraw across the bridge. After they had crossed, the bridge was destroyed. The next day the tanks received maintenance. It was the first rest that the two tank battalions had since December 24.
On January 24, the tank battalions were ordered to cover all forces withdrawing to the Pilar-Bigac Line which was supposed to take place the night of January 24/25. The 192nd covered the withdraw in the Abucay area. The battalions prevented the Japanese from overrunning the position and cutting off the withdrawing troops.
The morning of January 27, a new battle line had been formed and all units were supposed to be beyond it. That morning, the tanks were still holding their position six hours after they were supposed to have withdrawn. While holding the position, the tanks, with self-propelled mounts, ambushed, at point-blank range, three Japanese units causing 50 percent casualties.
On January 28, the tank battalions were given the job of protecting the beaches. The 192nd was assigned the coastline from Paden Point to Limay along Bataan’s east coast. The Japanese later admitted that the tanks guarding the beaches prevented them from attempting landings. They also took part in the Battle of the Pockets and the Battle of the Points.
The company also took part in the Battle of the Pockets – from January 23 to February 17 – to wipe out Japanese soldiers who had been trapped behind the main defensive line after a Japanese offensive was stopped and pushed back to the original line of defense. The tanks would enter the pocket one at a time to replace a tank in the pocket. Another tank did not enter the pocket until a tank exited the pocket. Doing this was so stressful that each tank company was rotated out and replaced by one that was being held in reserve.
To exterminate the Japanese, two methods were used. The first was to have three Filipino soldiers ride on the back of the tank. As the tank went over a Japanese foxhole, the Filipinos dropped three hand grenades into the foxhole. Since the grenades were from WWI, one out of three usually exploded.
The other method used to kill the Japanese was to park a tank with one track over the foxhole. The driver gave the other track power resulting in the tank going around in a circle and grinding its way down into the foxhole. The tankers slept upwind of their tanks.
While the tanks were doing this job, the Japanese sent soldiers, with cans of gasoline, against the tanks. These Japanese attempted to jump onto the tanks, pour gasoline into the vents on the back of the tanks, and set the tanks on fire. If the tankers could not machine gun the Japanese before they got to a tank, the other tanks would shoot them as they stood on a tank. The tankers did not like to do this because of what it did to the crew inside the tank. When the bullets hit the tank, its rivets would pop and wound the men inside the tank. It was for their performance during this battle that the 192nd Tank Battalion would receive one of its Distinguished Unit Citations.
Since the stress on the crews was tremendous, the tanks rotated into the pocket one at a time. A tank entered the pocket and the next tank waited for the tank that had been relieved to exit the pocket before it would enter. This was repeated until all the tanks in the pocket were relieved.
The soldiers were hungry and began to eat everything they could get their hands on to eat. The Carabao were tough but if they were cooked long enough they could be eaten. They also began to eat horse meat provided by the 26th U. S. Cavalry. To make things worse, the soldiers’ rations were cut in half again on March 1, 1942. This meant that they only ate two meals a day.
The Japanese also were dropping surrender leaflets with a scantily clad blond on them. The Japanese would have been more successful at getting the Americans to surrender if the picture had been hamburger since the men were so hungry that they most likely would have surrendered for a good meal.
During the Battle of the Points, on March 2nd and 3rd, the tanks were sent in to wipe out Japanese troops that had broken through the main defensive line and than trapped behind the line after the Filipino and American troops pushed the Japanese back toward the sea and wiped them out.
The company’s last bivouac area was about twelve kilometers north of Mariveles and looking out on the China Sea. By this point, the tankers knew that there was no help on the way. Many had listened to Secretary of War Harry L. Stimson on short wave. When asked about the Philippines, he said, “There are times when men must die.” The soldiers cursed in response because they knew that the Philippines had already been lost.
On April 3, 1942, the Japanese launched an attack supported by artillery and aircraft. A large force of Japanese troops came over Mount Samat and descended down the south face of the volcano. This attack wiped out two divisions of defenders and left a large area of the defensive line open to the Japanese. When General King saw that the situation was hopeless, he initiated surrender talks with the Japanese.
Jim and most of the company became Prisoners Of War on April 9th. At 6:45 in the morning, they received the order “crash” and destroyed their tanks and waited for the Japanese to make contact with them. When they did, they ordered the Prisoners of War to Mariveles
It was from the southern tip of Bataan that Jim started what is now called the death march With Jim on the march, was Phil Parish of A Company. At Cabcaban, Jim and the other POWs had to run in front of Japanese artillery that was firing at Corregidor. Corregidor had begun to zero in on the Japanese guns about the time Jim and Phil got there. The POWs were forced to run past the guns as shells exploded around them.
At Lamao, Jim and the other POWs were held in a pen where other POWs had already been held. They were forced to sleep in the waste of these previous occupants. Since many of the men were sick, they added to the mess.
About this time, the POWs received food. Jim, Phil and another prisoner combined their rice and other food they had. The three men had the best meal that they had had in days.
The prisoners were forced to march into the night. In one barrio, they could not see but could smell the bodies of the dead. The smell made the POWs sick. At San Fernando, Jim was forced into a boxcar. The prisoners were packed in so tightly that those who died remained standing until the living disembarked at Capas. Jim and Phil then walked the last few miles to Camp O’Donnell.
The camp was an unfinished Filipino training base which the Japanese pressed the camp into use as a POW camp on April 1, 1942. When they arrived at the camp, the Japanese confiscated any extra clothing that the POWs had and refused to return it to them. They searched the POWs and if a man was found to have Japanese money on them, they were taken to the guardhouse. Over the next several days, gunshots were heard to the southeast of the camp. These POWs had been executed for looting.
There was only one water faucet in the camp, and the prisoners stood in line from two to eight hours waiting for a drink. The Japanese guards at the faucet would turn it off for no reason and the next man in line would stand as long as four hours waiting for it to be turned on again. This situation improved when a second faucet was added.
There was no water for washing clothes so the POWs would throw out their clothing when it had been soiled. In addition, water for cooking had to be carried three miles from a river to the camp and mess kits could not be washed. The slit trenches in the camp were inadequate and were soon overflowing since most of the POWs had dysentery. The result was that flies were everywhere in the camp including the POW kitchens and in the food.
The camp hospital had no soap, water, or disinfectant. When the ranking American doctor at the camp wrote a letter to the camp commandant, Capt. Yohio Tsuneyoshi, asking for medical supplies, he was told never to write another letter. When the Archbishop of Manila sent a truckload of medical supplies to the camp, Tsuneyoshi refused to allow the truck into the camp. When the Philippine Red Cross sent medical supplies to the camp the Japanese took 95% of the supplies for their own use.
The POWs in the camp hospital lay on the floor elbow to elbow and only one of the six medic assigned to care for 50 sick POWs was healthy enough to care for them. When a representative of the Philippine Red Cross stated they could supply a 150-bed hospital for the camp, he was slapped in the face by a Japanese lieutenant.
Each morning, the bodies of the dead were found all over the camp and were carried to the hospital and placed underneath it. The bodies lay there for two or three days before they were buried in the camp cemetery by other POWs who were suffering from dysentery and/or malaria. To clean the ground under the hospital, the ground was scraped and lime was spread over it. The bodies of the dead were placed in the area, and the area they had been laying was scrapped and lime was spread over it.
Work details were sent out on a daily basis. Each day, the American doctors gave a list of names to the Japanese of the POWs who were healthier enough to work. If the quota of POWs needed to work could not be met, the Japanese put those POWs who were sick but could walk, to work. The death rate among the POWs reached 50 men dying a day. The Japanese finally acknowledge that they had to do something, so the opened a new POW camp at Cabanatuan.
Jim was considered too ill to be transferred to Cabanatuan when the new camp opened. The diary kept by Lt. Leroy Scoville states that Pvt. James Manogue died at Camp O’Donnell, on October 6, 1942, and was buried in Section P, Row 7, Grave 10 in the camp cemetery. This date conflicts with the date on his cross. He was the second to the last POW to die at the camp.
On January 30, 1945, Sgt. Dale Lawton was liberated from Cabanatuan. When he returned home to Janesville, he informed the Manogue family that Jim had died while a POW. This was the first word that the family had received which confirmed a letter that the family had previously received about Jim’s death.
The following is a letter written by Chaplain Frank L.Tiffany to the Manogue family The letter was written at Camp O’Donnell. It was not found until three years after it had been written.
Dear Mr. Manogue:
It was my pleasure to have known Pvt. James Manogue of the 192nd Tank Battalion, but my very sad duty to write of his decease. You undoubtedly would have long ago have received the official notice through military channels, but I just felt like adding this more personal word. The information given to me and I did not think to ask James before his decease, does not state the relationship of the next of kin to the deceased, but if it be father, uncle or what, I am sure the memory of James will be fully sacred.
Along with my assignment of hospital chaplain, I also went out with General Weaver’s tank battalions as part-time duty so became, spiritually at least, close to the men of the units. When our hospital of the above name ( General Hospital No.1, Camp O’Donnell, P. I.) came here July 3, I soon became acquainted with James Manogue. At first, he seemed to revive greatly. Previously to our coming the hospital facilities were inadequate. But about a month before he died, we began to see that his chances of ultimate recovery were slight. Believe me, I did everything I possibly could personally in the way of getting him extra food, a toothbrush, etc. to help him along. But the ravages of the disease and malnutrition had run to far. His diagnosis was beriberi. The Catholic chaplain, who will undoubtedly write to you, saw to his last rites according to his church. He was buried in the cemetery, a beautiful location, plot P, row 7, grave 10. I should have said that after our coming here to our hospital, the patients were given every possible medical and professional aid.
Please be assured, Mr. Manogue, that not only my own but the sincere sympathies of every remaining member of the 192nd, including General Weaver, as well as the hospital attendants who knew James personally, go out to you and to every member of the family and friends of this young soldier. May God abundantly bless and comfort you in this, your hour of sorrow.
My church is the Presbyterian, U.S.A. If there is any service I can render you after the war, just ask any minister of that church for my location, and I will be glad to hear from you. I have been through Wisconsin in many times and know what a beautiful state it is. Jay W. Tiffany is an engineer on the Hiawatha from Minneapolis to La Crosse, Wis., and he tells me much of the country. My last location before being called to active duty was Sandpoint, Idaho.
Frank L. Tiffany
Chaplain (Captain U.S. Army)
After the war, the remains, of Pfc. James L. Manogue, were reburied at the American Military Cemetery outside of Manila.
Chaplain Frank L. Tiffany never had the opportunity to fulfill his promise to meet with the members of the Manogue family. He died when the Arisan Maru, a Japanese transport that was carrying POWs, was sunk by an American submarine on Tuesday, October 24, 1944.
Pfc. James L. Manogue was reported to have died on October 1, 1942, from beriberi at Camp O’Donnell POW Camp.