• Sign up or login, and you'll have full access to opportunities of forum.

Bataan Barb

Go to CruxDreams.com

Barbaria1

Rebel Leader
Staff member
Time for a new story from me.

As folks here on CF well know, I like historical settings. And this time I return to a setting that I have visited in the past in a story entitled “1942” ... one in which a good many CFers took on roles. But this one is intended to be more serious and fact-driven.

Intrigued by articles I recently encountered regarding the commemorations and re-enactments of the infamous Bataan Death March that have been held annually since 1989 (and cancelled this year due to COVID-19), I began thinking about what happened on Bataan in the spring of 1942. I’ve always been intrigued with that time period. My grandfather, who served in WWII, often told me as a child stories of his time in the service back then.

So I began writing, hoping to write a story built around believable characters ... characters on both sides who, like all of us, possess both flaws and virtues ... the human capacity for both good and evil. I wanted to focus on exploring how each of them may have responded, each in their own individual way, to the circumstances of the time and place. I also wanted to strive for historical accuracy, incorporating details of specific places and events, even the minutiae of uniforms, equipment, and rations.

As always, as the story unfolds, I welcome comments, contributions of pics and art, and, of course, even banter. I also welcome, in due time, a supplemental posting by PrPr, who has offered to contribute a useful historical backgrounder on the origins of the Pacific War and the Philippine campaign of 1942.


So, here it is: episode one of “Bataan Barb”:
 
Last edited:

Barbaria1

Rebel Leader
Staff member
1. Bataan Peninsula, near the town of Marieveles, April 11, 1942.

Army Nurse Corp (ANC) First Lieutenant Barbara Ann Moore was hot, sweaty and very worried. She and the sixteen American nurses under her command at Field Hospital Baker had been lined up and forced to kneel, with hands clasped behind their heads, on the side of the road leading up the Bataan Peninsula coast from nearby Mariveles. And they had been kneeling there, under guard, for what seemed like an eternity.

Exposed to sweltering heat under the midday sun, they waited and watched as, one after another, ragged columns of weary, emaciated-looking American and Filipino soldiers shuffled endlessly by, four abreast, constantly hounded and harassed by their Japanese guards. She knew it was just a matter of time before she and her girls, as she was wont to call them, would be driven out onto the road by their Japanese handlers, forced to join those columns of soldiers marching into captivity.

ED780269-9B3D-4025-95DB-61376ED6B896.jpeg

She was worried about her girls. She thought herself a good officer who treated her subordinates firmly, but also fairly and affectionately. She bucked norms by eschewing the formalities of military rank, encouraging her charges, who were typically at least ten years junior to her thirty-five years of age, to address her simply as ‘Barb’. Knowing each of them well, almost in a motherly way, and making it her business to look after them, was a point of pride for her.

And she feared this was a time when they would be needing her to look after them more than ever before, because she knew that they were all in very deep trouble.

Closing her eyes to the sight of the train of human misery passing before her, Barb’s mind drifted back to the events of the past 24 hours.

The fighting had ended the day before when the American USAFFE commander of the beleaguered and exhausted forces holding the Bataan Peninsula, Major General Edward King, Jr., had surrendered to Colonel Mootoo Nakayama of the 14th Japanese Army. And within hours of the cease fire the hospital staff had been informed that they should prepare to turn the field hospital over the next morning to the Japanese command.

That morning the Japanese had arrived at sunrise, just as hospital staff were making rounds. They had barged in like bulls in a china shop, uninterested in observing any of the niceties or formalities of transfer. Within minutes, the ambulatory wounded had been driven at gunpoint from their beds and out into the open. And to the consternation and horror of Barb, her nurses, and the rest of the hospital staff, those too sick or injured to move were summarily shot or bayoneted as they lay in their beds.

6B2BD022-5107-4917-87A2-D140DC53205E.jpeg

In a state of total shock, Barb and her nurses had been rounded up, herded together and driven some distance from the ongoing slaughter. There they were placed under guard and eyed warily, as they huddled together, by a foursome of Japanese soldiers brandishing weapons with long blood-stained bayonets. She didn’t like the looks of them at all and sought to steady her terrified nurses, warning them in hushed tones to do nothing that might draw the ire of their captors.

And when the soldiers guarding them began yelling and gesturing with upward motions of their weapons, Barb had calmly but firmly informed her nurses that she thought what their guards wanted was for everyone to raise and clasp their hands behind their heads. And, leading by example, as was always her style, she made a show of doing so herself. One by one, her nurses followed her example. The Japanese soldiers grinned triumphantly.

But then while the others watched with weapons ready, one of their captors had approached the group. Second Lieutenant Betty Murphy, a buxom red-headed New Yorker, who was by far the most excitable and vulnerable of Barb’s girls, had reacted by hysterically announcing that they were all about to be raped. Her behavior had drawn the approaching soldier’s attention.

“Shush! Don’t give him cause!” Barb had hissed in her ear.

Slinging his rifle over his shoulder the soldier had moved to confront Betty head on, a cruel smirk animating his face. Without warning he reached out with both hands for the front of her white ward-uniform blouse, which he violently ripped open, the light-weight seersucker fabric giving way easily. But he was far from through with her. Moving swiftly, he unsheathed a knife from his belt, grabbed and pulled the band of her brassiere away from her chest, and drew the blade sharply up and through, releasing her voluminous pale breasts to fall free, and causing her to recoil in horror.

Before he could reach for Betty’s wrap-around uniform skirt, Barb had moved boldly and protectively, inserting herself between Betty and the soldier ... taking care as she did so to keep her hands raised high. She had done so on impulse. She had felt compelled to intervene, but at the same time had no desire to be shot.

“Stop it! Please stop” she had implored while attempting to make eye contact with the soldier.

Taken aback, he froze and blinked at her long enough for a traumatized Betty to beat a hasty and tearful backpedaling retreat toward the other nurses, who closed protectively around her. The expression of surprise, however, had quickly faded from the soldier’s face. Barb heard one of his comrades say something to him that made him laugh. They had exchanged a few words, seemingly mocking in tone, after which he reached out toward Barb with the clear intent of reprising what he had done to Betty.

Barb had stiffened as he gripped the lapels of her blouse. She instinctively understood the importance of resisting the urge to react, in any way, if he tore the front of her blouse asunder ... which he promptly did.

What was coming next was no mystery. And she was again determined not to give him the satisfaction of seeing any sign of weakness. Setting her jaw and staring over his shoulder, she had felt his fingers slipping under the front of her bra, and the tightening pressure at her back as he tugged the undergarment upward and out far enough to slip his knife blade behind it.

Barb’s assailant would surely have carried out his intention to bare her breasts had it not been for the fact that a Japanese officer, who had appeared seemingly out of nowhere, intervened ... to deliver, in a torrent of Japanese, what unmistakably sounded like a stinging rebuke. Sullenly, the soldier had released his grip on the band of her bra, sheathed his blade, and backed away.

“Please, accept my apology for this soldier’s unforgivable behavior,” the officer had said to Barb in perfect English.

Regarding him quizzically, Barb had taken a moment to look him up and down. The man was impeccably attired in a tailored dark green officer’s tunic, under which he wore a clean lightweight tropical white shirt, its wide collar open and turned outside his tunic collar. Below his tunic, a pair of loose-fitting pantaloon-style trousers gave way to highly polished, brown leather knee-high boots. A cloth, leather brimmed cap, replete with a metal star pinned to its front, completed the sartorial ensemble. What a welcome contrast, she had thought, to the slovenly, sweat-stained, appearance of their guards!

F450E2CB-A725-44CD-B0AF-B313479EC26C.jpeg

“Wh ... who are you?” she had stammered, as she leaned forward to ease the disrupted positioning of her bra back into place.

“Rikugan Taii, Atsushi Tanaka. My rank would be the equivalent of a Captain in your army, in case you may be wondering ... but I am in some ways much more than that, as I am also an adjutant on the staff of General Homma.”

“Your English ... it’s ... ummm ... very good ... I mean almost perfect.”

“Princeton, class of 1929,” he replied with a self-pleased but also winsome grin.

Deciding to take advantage of the situation, Barb had put on a frown and said with brown eyes flashing, “Your men, Captain Tanaka, have behaved most deplorably here this morning. They’ve ransacked our hospital, murdered helpless patients in their beds, and these four monsters ... as you saw ... were about to assault my nurses and myself in a most dishonorable fashion!”

“Yes, I’m sorry for that and glad that I came along just in time to save you and your nurses from further molestations. But please understand, I am not in direct command here, and technically, these are not my men. I just happened to be passing by on urgent staff business and cannot remain for more than a few minutes. But before I go I will use the authority that I have to see to it that these four louts are replaced, and that you and your nurses will be treated henceforth in a more honorable fashion.”

“Thank you.”

“A word of advice, if I may ... and, by the way, who are you?”

“First Lieutenant, Barbara Moore, ANC ... and what advice is that?”

“Please tell your nurses, Lieutenant Moore, to rid themselves of any Japanese money, mementos or jewelry they may have on their persons. Otherwise your captors may assume such items were stolen from dead Japanese soldiers. And the consequences could be most unfortunate,”

“Okay. Good to know. Thanks for the tip.”

“Least I can do. Now allow me to escort you and your nurses safely away from here and over to the side of the road before I take my leave. You are prisoners of war now, and as such are required to go north to be interned in the prison camps.”

“So, are we to be transported there?”

“No, I’m sorry. There is no transport. You’ll have to walk.”

“How far?”

“You ask a lot of questions for a prisoner of war, Lieutenant. I don’t know precisely. Probably fifty or sixty miles.”

And so, that is how Barb and her nurses came to be kneeling in the midday heat on the verge of the road from Mariveles, watching the endless parade of American and Filipino POWs trudge wearily by. The four Japanese soldiers who had mistreated them had been dismissed, as Captain Tanaka had promised, but the four who replaced them did not appear, at least to Barb’s mind, to be much, if any, better. She didn’t like the rapacious way they looked at her and her girls.

Nervously, she shifted her position slightly so as to keep the open front of her blouse at least somewhat together, and stole a concerned glance, four girls down the line, at poor Betty, who knelt there with her head down and hands clasped behind her head, trying to keep her elbows pressed together in an inadequate attempt to cover her bared breasts. Freckled cheeks wet with tears, Betty rocked gently back and forth as though she was in a trance.

Alongside Barb, Second Lieutenant Kristin Olsen, a tall Nordic-featured blonde who hailed from a small Midwestern town somewhere near Green Bay, Wisconsin, whispered reassuringly, “Don’t worry about Betty. She’ll get over it once we get on the road.”

As native Midwesterners, Barb and Kristin shared a common down-to-earth outlook and inherent optimism.

“Yeah, and the sooner we get started the better.” replied Barb.

********

Meanwhile, about a half mile down the road, Captain Tanaka, brought his Kurogane ‘Type 95’ staff vehicle to a sudden halt. On the side of the road, some Japanese soldiers had pulled two Americans, one of them an officer, out of a column of prisoners and were about to execute them. Tanaka got out and put a stop to it.

That was the fourth time that day he had intervened to save American lives, reflected Tanaka as he returned to his vehicle and ordered his driver to continue on. Having lived among Americans for four years, he generally liked them. But he also knew that in the broader scheme of what was happening on Bataan, such interventions were but a drop in the bucket ... the simple fact of the matter was that in Japanese culture, dying was preferable to dishonor. Therefore once a soldier surrendered, he had given up all claim to be treated as a soldier or even a human being. To kill him was almost to do him a favor.


Sadly, he feared the American POWs were destined to suffer greatly in the coming days. But, this was war, he reminded himself, and as a staff officer in the Imperial Army with important duties to perform. He really must stop trying to help them.

EEF87325-EA3E-41D3-BF5D-EFC624B3440D.jpeg
 
Last edited:

Jollyrei

Angelus Mortis
Staff member
This is going to be an epic. Great first chapter setting up the scene and the tension. Lots of historical research went into this - that much is clear - and I think we're in for a fantastic story. :clapping::icon_popcorn::icon_popcorn::icon_popcorn:
 

bobinder

ARTISAN
The launch of another fast-paced, wartime epic from Barb is cause for celebration! (I haven't forgotten about the other one!) Good scene-setting and atmosphere with lots of tension right from the start. Good to see that you are being treated with due respect, and I hope you've got a good pair of boots. ;)
 

Madiosi

Depictor of Dreams
Staff member
Exposed to the sweltering heat under the midday sun, they waited and watched as, one after another, ragged columns of weary, emaciated-looking American and Filipino soldiers shuffled endlessly by, four abreast, constantly hounded and harassed by their Japanese guards. She knew it was just a matter of time before she and her girls, as she was wont to call them, would be driven out onto the road by their Japanese handlers, forced to join those columns of soldiers marching into captivity.
Madiosi-2021-007-bataan002.jpg
 
Last edited:

Madiosi

Depictor of Dreams
Staff member
That morning the Japanese had arrived at sunrise, just as hospital staff were making rounds. They had barged in like bulls in a China shop, uninterested in observing any of the niceties or formalities of transfer. Within minutes, the ambulatory wounded had been driven at gunpoint from their beds and out into the open. And to the consternation and horror of Barb, her nurses, and the rest of the hospital staff, those too sick or injured to move were summarily shot or bayoneted as they lay in their beds.
Madiosi-2021-006-bataan001.jpg
 

twonines

Senator
A part of the war us Brits never heard much about, this promises to be educational as well as erotic.
Actually, at the time, although it did not take priority in British news, Hollywood was quickly on the case and there were a a series of films made on the subject. I particularly remember the actor Lloyd Nolan who appeared in one of them. These films were released almost simultaneously in the US and the UK.
 

Barbaria1

Rebel Leader
Staff member
Actually, at the time, although it did not take priority in British news, Hollywood was quickly on the case and there were a a series of films made on the subject. I particularly remember the actor Lloyd Nolan who appeared in one of them. These films were released almost simultaneously in the US and the UK.
Interesting. I was unaware of this. Anyone know the titles of these films?
 

Praefectus Praetorio

Brother of the Quill
Actually, at the time, although it did not take priority in British news, Hollywood was quickly on the case and there were a a series of films made on the subject. I particularly remember the actor Lloyd Nolan who appeared in one of them. These films were released almost simultaneously in the US and the UK.
Interesting. I was unaware of this. Anyone know the titles of these films?
You asked, I answer:

A Letter from Bataan (1942)
Bataan (1943)
So Proudly We Hail! (1943) -(follows the adventures and hardships of a troupe of military nurses. It takes them from December 1941, with their Hawaii-bound ship diverted to Bataan after the attack on Pearl Harbor, through Corregidor and finally back to the US about a year later)
Cry ‘Havoc’ (1943) - (a testament to the heroism of American nurses during the Pacific Campaign. Set in a Bataan bomb shelter, it relates the story of 9 nurses while waiting out an imminent Japanese attack. The film emphasizes Japanese brutality by including a scene where an American nurse is machine-gunned by an enemy fighter pilot while bathing in a stream. At the same time, the movie is a message of defiance with one of the nurses promising, "We'll get him, we'll get every mother's son of them!")
Back to Bataan (1945),
1612188929195.png1612189006692.png1612189037686.png1612189135073.png1612189186790.png
 

Baracus

Rectidolor
Bridge on the River Kwai
Merry Christmas,Mister Lawrence

A couple of classic films,that deal with Japanese atrocities,towards British and Commonwealth soldiers....
 

twonines

Senator
Interesting. I was unaware of this. Anyone know the titles of these films?
You asked, I answer:

A Letter from Bataan (1942)
Bataan (1943)
So Proudly We Hail! (1943) -(follows the adventures and hardships of a troupe of military nurses. It takes them from December 1941, with their Hawaii-bound ship diverted to Bataan after the attack on Pearl Harbor, through Corregidor and finally back to the US about a year later)
Cry ‘Havoc’ (1943) - (a testament to the heroism of American nurses during the Pacific Campaign. Set in a Bataan bomb shelter, it relates the story of 9 nurses while waiting out an imminent Japanese attack. The film emphasizes Japanese brutality by including a scene where an American nurse is machine-gunned by an enemy fighter pilot while bathing in a stream. At the same time, the movie is a message of defiance with one of the nurses promising, "We'll get him, we'll get every mother's son of them!")
Back to Bataan (1945),
View attachment 964663View attachment 964664View attachment 964665View attachment 964666View attachment 964668
Thanks, PrPr, at least it proves my memory hasn`t gone completely. I think there were questions asked about John Wayne taking heroic roles in war films when he did not serve in the armed forces, unlike many of the actors who were contemporary to him
 
Top Bottom