As the Japanese war machine rolled over the Philippines Islands, American forces put up a spirited though futile effort to stave off defeat. Hopes of reinforcement were dashed and the passing weeks found them being drawn into defending ever smaller parcels of territory with fewer and fewer men.

Ammunition and food reached critical levels, with the closing chapter of their struggle written during the battle for the Bataan peninsula and finally, on the rugged finger of an island called Corregidor.

General Douglas MacArthur left in March on a PT boat bound for Australia, with the words “I shall return” an inspiration to the handful of American and Filipino soldiers hiding in the jungles, forming guerrilla units to fight on until liberation.

Japanese Soldiers Examine POW Possessions Before Death March
Japanese Soldiers Examine POW Possessions Before Death March
(Photo Credit: corregidor.proboards.com)

Weeks later on the peninsula, some 79,000 of the starving and defeated remnants of the American/Filipino army found themselves herded into an endless line and marched away at bayonet point to a receiving facility called Camp O’Donnell some 63 miles distant. The date was April 10th, and what would become known as the Bataan Death March was underway.