Yet another character and storyline have been introduced. @Barbaria1 , have you been taking lessons off @Praefectus Praetorio ? At least in this story you have killed off about half of the named individuals, you have sympathy for the brain capacity of your readers.The officer was none other than Major (Rikugun-Shōsa) Fumihisa Ohno,
Similar treatment was meted out by the Japanese after the fall of Hong Kong.A very disturbing article of the fate of some Australian nurses and service personnel at the hands of the Japanese further south in Indonesia. Just for those who might think Barbara is exaggerating to make a good story.
Although this article doesn't mention it, other accounts detail that several nurses were raped before being forced into the sea and shot.
Nothing surprises me in the military. Back in those days, we had a sergeant, whose (real!) surname translated in English as 'Yellman'. Very convenient for his rank!Lox gets the prize for noting the connection between Ohno’s name and the English language expression.
I know all about the Bataan Death March...I hate general Douglas Mac Arthur because he left his men behind to suffer at the hands of the Japanese! He was a coward!'Erotic education' - now there's a concept. Might have paid more attention in my schooldays if we had employed such an approach back then
I beg to differ. There are many reasons to fault MacArthur's leadership in the defense of the Phillipines. However, to call him a coward is completely unjustified.I know all about the Bataan Death March...I hate general Douglas Mac Arthur because he left his men behind to suffer at the hands of the Japanese! He was a coward!
Oh dear Barb ... she just doesn't help herself ... looking forward very much to seeing what happens next! ...22. Bataan Peninsula, somewhere in the hills above Lubao, afternoon of April 15, 1942.
With a weary sigh of resignation, Alejandro made his way across the partisan camp in response to Whitaker’s urgent demand for another strategy meeting. He purposely took his time getting there, arriving to find the American officer squatting, along with two of his men, over a crudely drawn map in the dirt.
“What’s going on?” grunted Alejandro as he knelt down directly across from Whitaker.
“I’ve got a plan.”
“I already told you my orders are to lay low and regroup. You’re wasting your time and mine.”
“Hear me out. I’ve asked my Corporal here, Clem Papeleux, to do a quick headcount. And what did you come up with, Corporal?”
“Well, Lieutenant, ah reckoned we’s got thirty-four of us’n here from the 45th, includin’ you, me’n the Sergeant, and ah counted more an fifty of dem thar part-eee-sans.”
“Right! So, that’s like three big platoons, possibly even four ... a sizable force. Now, that’s not all. I’ve also asked Sergeant Kowalski here to perform a thorough inventory of our weapons and ammunition. And what did you come up with, Sergeant?”
“It’s pretty much a mixed bag, Lieutenant. There are small arms here enough to go around for everyone, but they’re of all makes and vintages. There’s even some captured Jap rifles. So, if there’s a problem it’s not only that we’re a bit short on ammo, but the right kinds. Still we have enough firepower to put on a good show, and a bright spot is that these partisans appear to have gotten their hands on a Jap mortar and around a dozen rounds for it.”
“Good!” concluded Whitaker, “It’s enough I think to do something significant. So here’s the plan.”
“There is no plan!” snapped Alejandro, getting abruptly up to leave. “I said before that we are going to lay low now. That’s it!”
“Fuck, just sit down, shut up and listen!”
Shirley had been following Hiroko at a distance as he led the way up into the highlands. She had come around to placing her trust in this strange little man, convincing herself that the fact that he had raped earlier was because he had been given no choice. She could hardly blame him for following orders. She also gave solace to herself by noting his protective kindness and devotion to her.
Shirley couldn't be sure about what would happen to them, but whatever it was, she had a sense that somehow things were going to turn out okay. Shirley had always tried to be optimistic about things. And looking skyward, she noted that the day had turned to be as sunny and bright as she had begun to feel.
But as she lowered her gaze to him up ahead, she found reason to pause , for Hiroko had raised his hand in caution, signaling a halt. She saw him crouch down. So she did the same and listened intently.
At first all she could hear was the buzzing of insects, but no ... there were voices ... people up ahead ... not a few ... but a good many voices. And the voices were raised, as if in argument.
A thrill ran through her. Those voices ... they were speaking English!
Impulsively she rushed forward, taking Hiroko by the hand to drag him along with her.
But he balked, his face registering uncertainty.
“Come on!” she cried impatiently. “We did it! We’re saved!”
Major Ohno emerged from one of the row of corrugated metal huts located just outside the Lubao compound wire. His sleeves were rolled above his elbows. His shirt was open. Its front, his chest, pants and forearms were spattered with blood. His face was flushed, his eyes flashing.
“Bring me two more POWs!” he shouted at Lieutenant Kinoshita, who was standing nervously nearby. “And take these two out and shoot them. I’m through with them.”
“Were you unable to get anything useful out of them, Major?” asked Kinoshita.
“Some. They talked. Your interpreter’s skills leave something to be desired, Kinoshita. Nonetheless, I believe what we got out of those two Americans was that a certain Lieutenant Whitaker was the mastermind behind last night’s breakout and that he was one of the escapees. There’s also the suggestion that one of our soldiers ... one of your own men, Kinoshita ... may have assisted them.”
“Well, I seriously doubt that ...”
“It’s not your job to doubt, Kinoshita! This is far from over. I intend to find out more. Any idea who among your men might have been involved?”
“Might have been Sergeant Kubo,” suggested Kinoshita, seizing on the opportunity, for the sake of his men, to deflect any blame that Ohno might try to levy onto someone who was dead. Kubo, after all, had been absent without leave right up until the time of the breakout.
“But, wasn't it Kubo who you said organized and led the pursuit?”
“Yes, but as you’ll recall, Major, the pursuit yielded very little in results.”
“Point taken, Lieutenant. Now do as I order, and bring me two more prisoners. These Americans do not stand up to torture well. They are a weak race. Show them a little pain and they cringe and whimper like babies! I need more to interrogate. And be quick about it!”
As Tanaka reached the outskirts of Lubao he debated whether it would be best to go straight to the center and report to General Homma, or take the road that led to the POW holding compound to the south of town. He would have preferred reporting to Homma, but the fact that he had two naked female POWs with him in the lorry cab would be rather awkward, and potentially an embarrassment the General hardly needed.
So he took the turn that skirted the town and led to the compound, with the idea that he would seek out Kinoshita there and leave the nurses with him. He would report to Kinoshita that the blocking position up in the hills was in place, that he fully expected it to yield results, and that he had chosen to return early with these two re-captured female nurses. Further, he would recommend that Kinoshita find them something to wear and release them inside the compound.
Then he, Tanaka, would return the comfort of his billet in Lubao and a much anticipated reunion with the comfort girl of his dreams.
But, alas, it was not to be. When Tanaka pulled up to the compound gate, he found Kinoshita busy overseeing the execution of a pair of American POWs, who had been stripped of their clothing, bound, blindfolded, lined up and kneeling, waiting to be shot. The men were in terrible shape ... bloody and broken. They appeared to have been thoroughly beaten and bludgeoned.
Tanaka glanced at Barb and Natalie, who appeared to show no signs of coming around anytime soon, and even if they did, given their condition, they would likely be far too groggy and disoriented to cause any immediate trouble. He figured he could safely leave them for awhile.
Disengaging himself from Barb, who had been leaning against him, he opened the door to the cab and slipped out just in time to see the POWs shot by Kinoshita, first one then the other, a bullet from his handgun in the backs of each their heads.
On seeing Tanaka, Kinoshita, who had been looking rather grim, brightened and rushed over to him quickly.
“Afternoon, Lieutenant,” said Tanaka amiably, offering a casual salute in response to Kinoshita’s correct one. “Looks as though you’ve experienced some trouble here? Those men you’ve just executed have all the appearances of having been in some kind of late night brawl.”
“Well, Sir ... truth is ....”
Kinoshita’s explanation was cut short by the sudden appearance of Major Ohno, who had emerged from the nearby hut where he had been carrying out his interrogations, to shout, “Kinoshita! Over here on the double. There’s two more inside who deserve a bullet in the head.”
Then, on spotting Tanaka, he barked, “and who is this?”
“Captain Tanaka, Sir,” replied Kinoshita, “Back from the hills. Remember? I told you about him earlier. He went up there to set up a blocking position to cut off and recapture the escapees.”
“Ah yes, of course. Well, Tanaka, tell me ... have you been successful? How many escapees have you killed or captured? And where are they? Is there a Lieutenant Whitaker among them?”
“My men are in position, Major. They had begun to bag some escapees by around the time I left. I imagine they have captured many more by now, In fact, I am on my way to report to Lieutenant General Homma on our success,” said Tanaka who had instantly recognized the blood-spattered officer as Major Ohno. Tanaka had met him once before at Homma’s headquarters and knew of his reputation for being an arrogant self-serving toad ... with a talent for meddling. The man, though stupid and self-important, was dangerous and not to be trifled with.
“Very good. I’m sure Homma will be pleased to know that you are successfully covering for his incompetence.”
Tanaka said nothing and hoped his face did not reveal his contempt.
“Now, before you go, Tanaka, tell me who’s in the cab of that lorry?” demanded Ohno, having spotted movement behind the windscreen.
Tanaka had to think fast. What should he answer?
But it really didn’t matter, because at that moment the cab door swung open, and a long bare feminine leg appeared. Moments later, Barb slipped to the ground, clutched at the cab door for support, blinked at the bright light, and took two unsteady steps forward before sinking to her knees.
Glad to see you are learning from my excellent examples here, Barb!With so many characters, and with the rapid fire episode-a-day pace of posting for this story, it’s understandable that some may struggle to keep track of who’s who. So I offer here a little help;
Ohno - that sounds bad.“I’ve got a plan.”
God - I'm falling in love with Shirley. With her bobbed blonde hair and cheerful optimism, she reminds me of someone. Yes! Amanda!Shirley couldn't be sure about what would happen to them, but whatever it was, she had a sense that somehow things were going to turn out okay. Shirley had always tried to be optimistic about things. And looking skyward, she noted that the day had turned to be as sunny and bright as she had begun to feel.
Why is my heart in my throat with worry?“Come on!” she cried impatiently. “We did it! We’re saved!”
Gotta love the Major.Show them a little pain and they cringe and whimper like babies! I need more to interrogate.
That kind is often the most dangerous.The man, though stupid and self-important, was dangerous and not to be trifled with.
Does the expression, "Out of the frying pan and into the fire," seem appropriate here? I am very worried for poor Barb.Moments later, Barb slipped to the ground, clutched at the cab door for support, blinked at the bright light, and took two unsteady steps forward before sinking to her knees.
Honestly I thought exactly the same about Shirley in that she reminded me of Amanda. I think it is the light coloured Bob that does itGlad to see you are learning from my excellent examples here, Barb!
Ohno - that sounds bad.
God - I'm falling in love with Shirley. With her bobbed blonde hair and cheerful optimism, she reminds me of someone. Yes! Amanda!
Why is my heart in my throat with worry?
Gotta love the Major.
That kind is often the most dangerous.
Does the expression, "Out of the frying pan and into the fire," seem appropriate here? I am very worried for poor Barb.
Again, an outstanding episode, Barb. (That word is a problem. Since every episode has been remarkably excellent, it is impossible for any to be truly outstanding!). You are back building suspense and tension to such a level, that I'm sweating even in frigid weather.