February 2, ’42

Another calendar month and a complete eight weeks of war. The situation is completely quiet here. The lines in Bataan are holding quite well. In fact the Japs have been unable to penetrate at all and we have cleaned out their attempts at encircling our left flank by landing parties.

Capt. Qulisk has been injured a second time. the first time he was hit by flying shell fragments from his own guns — a close-in burst. The second time he was directing a “bull-dozer” which was building a road for his new gun position. The bull-dozer backed down a tree which hit Jack and pinned him to the ground. It was night-time and before anyone knew what had happened the bull-dozer scooper blade had cut Jack seriously about the head. His jawbone was broken and several teeth gouged out. His “jugular” vein was just missed –he is lucky to be alive! Capt. Qulisk is now in a Bataan hospital anfd is doing very well.

About those Jap landing forces: They are very well equipped. Their machine guns are good. One type is light enough to be carried on one man’s shoulders and may be fired by another man while in that position. It may also be emplaced on the ground in a couple of seconds and fired from there. They have a 0.25 inch (25 cablrs) rifle and an automatic rifle very similar to ours. This latter is a Browning Automatic Rifle produced in Belgium. It caliber is about 0.308 inches.

They have astoundingly complete individual equipment. I have seen all of what I describe. Here are some of the itms they carry along with them:

(1) Gas Mask: Very similar to our latest rubber porcupines type with an excellent canister (chemical filter) very much like ours.

(2) Helmet: Steel, somewhat like Nazi type –no spike on it and no ridges. It covers and protects the neck better than ours. This helmet sometimes worn with a covering of a canvas (or denim) field hat on it. The field hat may be worn by itself. When worn on the helmet it acts as a sun shade.

(3) Food Supplies: Very compact compressed foods: rice cakes, fish cakes, vitamin and energy tablets. Some wrapped in paper, some in small tin cans (“Ex Lax” can size), and some in bottles about the size of a 25¢ Aspirin bottle. All this is very compact and would fit in a shirt pocket.

(4) Intenching Tools: A shovel very much like ours –which may be “upended” and used as face shield while the soldier peers through a couple of small holes conveniently drilled in the shovel blade.

(5) Water Purifier Apparatus: A very ingenious sort of device. It consists of a three-foot-long rubber tube and with a bakelite (or other plastic) strainer-cap on the end. The strainer has a removable screw cap on it, behind which can be placed wads of cotton soaked in water purification chemicals. From a small can –smaller than a cake of Lux toilet soap– the soldier gets his cotton and chemicals –latter in small vials. He moistens one wad of cotton with one of the two types of chemicals and a second wad with the other type. He inserts the wads into the strainer, one wad well up into the neck (near where the rubber tube is attached), and places the other in the lower end of the strainer.

Then he releases the cap on the bakelite strainer and drops the strainer into a stream or other water source. He drinks by sucking on the upper end of the rubber tube –remote from the strainer. The water passes through the two chemical-soaked wads of cotton. The first wad serves to purify the water. the second serves to remove the unpleasant taste produced by the first chemical (our doctors say this isn’t very satisfactory water purification because the water isn’t exposed to the chemical long enough. In addition, the amoeba, which causes amoebic dysentery, isn’t killed by chemicals of this type. At any rate, the devise is more than our own soldiers have).

(6) Camouflage Nets: Each man has his own –about a meter square, and women of green and “toast-colored” “fuzzy” strings. Very effective.

(7) Kit Bag: A small sturdy net bag about the size of a 25 lb. paper bag. Easily rolled up; it can be used as a network covering for camouflaging the head.

(8) Field Bag: This is shoulder carried. It is about 1 ft. by 1 ft. 4 in. deep. It has a fold-over lid and a shoulder harness. It is made of canvas. It is coated on the “shoulder-blade side” with the hairy hide of a cow, horse or dog –the idea being comfort, I suppose.

Only snipers and special task force units seem to have this excellent modern equipment. However, all Jap troops around here seem to be excellently equipped, very well trained, and very determined. Some have been in the army since 1937. The stories we have told about the Jap being dolts, poorly trained, poorly equipped, and driven to war, etc., are all bunk!

In fact, these stories may be said to have been an effective form of propaganda. They were effective enough to lull the USA into a sleepy attitude of contempt for Japanese military strength. Hence our lack of military strength out here in PI. What we are doing is being done with equipment and supplies for long years grudgingly allowed by Washington. Only in the last month of 1941 did modern equipment begin to arrive –and all of that did not get here by far. Two months more and w’d have been much better off –the Japs knew it!

But, we’re still here, and we intend to stay! The Japs are now besieging Singapore. Today they landed planes in Manila (not the first time, of course). We may be in for some night attacks soon. And we way be in for some “street-car” type bombing (back and forth from Manila). We are ready as we ever will be –Don’t get me wrong– We don’t like bombs, never did! We don’t want to die, never did! But we do intend to keep the Japs from Corregidor. If it means death –well then I guess that must be– but we are not resigned to death. We are determined to fight to victory and to drown the “TNT” into Manila Bay–

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin