Friday, July 12, 2013

Bataan Death March

The Bataan Death March.
April 10-15, 1942.

American and Filipino prisoners of war captured by the Japanese are shown at the start of the Death March after the surrender of Bataan on April 9, 1942, near Mariveles in the Philippines.

Starting from Mariveles on April 10, some 75,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war were force-marched to Camp O'Donnell, a new prison camp approximately 65 miles away.

The prisoners, weakened after a three-month siege, were harassed by Japanese troops for days as they marched, the slow or sick killed with bayonets or swords. Filipino civilians on the side of roads who offered food/water to the soldiers, were also killed instantly by Japanese officers.

Thousands died from disease, starvation, dehydration, heat prostration, untreated wounds, and wanton execution. 5,000-10,000 Filipino soldiers died during the march; and about 1,000 American soldiers died.

The only place where the POW’s were allowed to drink was from a small dirty stream filled with maggots and a decomposing human corpse in the water.

When the March ended, any POW who survived was forced onto a train and sent away to a Japanese Prison camp, where many more would be tortured, killed, or die of hunger and thirst.

Soldiers who successfully reached San Fernando alive, were soon held in prisons. Those who lacked behind or refused to leave behind their possessions were executed.

The Bataan Death March was a very important event in history for various reasons. The march exemplified Japan's militarism, great determination, and perseverance to become a leading power during war time against the United States.

The immense brutality the Japanese inflicted upon Filipino and American soldiers only created more tension between the nations. Japan's nationalism and strong military contributed to the cruelty they imposed upon their enemies.

Also, this event altered Americans' views of the Japanese. Thus, Americans directed their hatred towards the Japanese people, resulting in future conflicts between the two nations. However, their cruel techniques did not always guarantee success.

A few more Filipino and American veteran survivors of that fateful days of suffering are still around today and live to tell their harrowing experience.

- simoun (image: google / article:

To commemorate this event, there are two Ultramarathon races held every year with 102km and 160km distance and strict cut-off time.

I did the 102km this year and it was truly unforgettable!

My race experience:  BDM 2013 Edition

My experience as support crew:  BDM 2012 Edition

Those people willing to take the plunge, can now register for the 2014 edition via

No comments: