By Kelly E. Crager
Late in 1940, the younger males of the 2d Battalion, 131st box Artillery Regiment stepped off the vans at Camp Bowie in Brownwood, Texas, able to whole the learning they'd desire for lively accountability in international struggle II. lots of them had grown up jointly in Jacksboro, Texas, and just about all of them have been desirous to face any problem. simply over a 12 months later, those carefree younger Texans will be faced by means of horrors they can by no means have imagined.
The battalion used to be en path to bolster the Allied safety of the Philippines once they bought information of the japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. quickly, they discovered themselves ashore on Java, with orders to aid the Dutch, British, and Australian safety of the island opposed to impending jap invasion. whilst warfare got here to Java in March 1942, the japanese forces crushed the numerically inferior Allied defenders in little greater than a week.
For greater than 3 years, the Texans, besides the sailors and marines who survived the sinking of the USS Houston, have been prisoners of the Imperial eastern military. starting in past due 1942, those prisoners-of-war have been shipped to Burma to speed up final touch of the Burma-Thailand railway. those males worked along different Allied prisoners and Asian conscript workers to construct greater than 260 miles of railroad for his or her eastern taskmasters. They suffered abscessed wounds, near-starvation, day-by-day beatings, and debilitating affliction, and 89 of the unique 534 Texans taken prisoner died within the infested, malarial jungles. The survivors got a hero’s welcome from Gov. Coke Stevenson, who declared October 29, 1945, as “Lost Battalion Day” after they eventually back to Texas.
Kelly E. Crager consulted legit documentary assets of the nationwide documents and the U.S. military and mined the private memoirs and oral historical past interviews of the “Lost Battalion” participants. He makes a speciality of the remedy the lads acquired of their captivity and surmises major think about the battalion’s relatively excessive survival cost (84 percentage of the second Battalion) was once the comraderie of the Texans and their dedication to take care of each one other.
This narrative is grueling, but finally inspiring. Hell below the emerging solar can be a invaluable addition to the collections of worldwide struggle II historians and normal readers alike.