The Pantingan memorial marker states that the massacre occurred approximately 1,000 meters south of it. That would be a good place to start. I read that the men who were massacred were thrown down the ravine into the river bed. I assume then one would have to find a spot where there is a steep ridge which falls directly into the river basin below. Dave Metherell said, I believe, that about 4 dozen Americans were massacred there too.
Hey Chad....Could those "flowers" possibly be articles of clothing that are in the process of being washed in the stream by some of the locals. Now, you talk about a SWAG, this might just be the ultimate by yours truly. Cheers.
The possibility of American's being executed at the site comes from a report done by Pedro Felix, a Captain in the 91st Division who survived the massacre. He stated that before the slaughter of the Filipino soldiers, they first tied their hands with telephone wire. While being led to the massacre site, the junction of trails 6 and 29, he passed a group of about 15 to 20 American soldiers who also had their hands tied with telephone wire. Were they executed? Don't know, but the report seems to suggest that they were. We have been in contact with a couple of guys who think they located the site back in 1976, they found human remains and equipment. In their photo you can see what looks like a trail on the far side.
Very interesting photos, dmether! Where do you find them? The gentleman crouched second from the left holds an M1 Garand...I wonder what history that particular weapon might share with us if it could talk?
I came across some more info on the Pantingan River massacre. First, for reference and discussion here is a chart from Morton's The Fall of the Philippines that shows the general trail layout of the area.
I'll note that in several books there are discrepancies about the location of the western portion of trail 429. Here it is shown somewhat SW of Mount Samat. Other books sometimes have it NW of Samat-even Morton does, too, on other pages of this same book! But usually it is displayed to the SW. It can be seen that trail 429 swings around the SW corner of Samat where it criss-crosses with trail 6 for a while. I think this caused some wrong trail IDs in several accounts of the massacre. Trail 6 does not intersect trail 29 anywhere, but trail 429 does.
Now, for the record, here's a repost of Bob Hudson's map showing the location where the US Marines found remains and artifacts at the Pantingan River in the 1970s.
(map courtesy of Bob Hudson)
Bob's map did not show any area trails (the big "X" is not for intersecting trails, it's just a hand-drawn X), so I found an old 1977 DMA chart that had some, which I posted earlier. Here it is, updated with the position of the Marines' findings and trail identifications. The location of the discovery is nearly due west of Mount Samat, so I felt sure that the trail which joins trail 29 is trail 429.
Using Google Maps, I got some current close-up photos of the area where the Marine discoveries were made in the 1970s. The top of the photo is north. Here I think one of the trails seen near the river is an extension of trail 429, but that's a SWAG.
This close-up appears to show a small bridge across the Pantingan. Shortly before they were massacred, the POWs were forced to rebuild a wooden bridge. Was it here? Another possible SWAG is that Karen Brady Smith's photo may have been taken from this bridge. Using a digital lat/long website, pdh54 found that the coordinates for the bridge are N 14 degrees 36' 9", E 120 degrees 28' 20". That does not exactly agree with the lats/longs from the old pre-GPS 1970s charts, but it's close.
Here is a side view taken from the southwest, looking northeast. Is the trail seen in the background the same trail as seen in dmether's photo from the 1970s? The river basin may have been widened over the last 40 years to accommodate rice paddies. Note what appears to be a bridge over the river.
(photo courtesy dmether)
The biggest surprise for me was when I came across accounts of the massacre quoted from a book called Triumph in the Philippines by Celedonio A. Ancheta and LTCOL Fidel Ongpauco (AFP, retired). I do not actually have that book, but lengthy excerpts from it are published in the late Captain (MD, USA) Paul Ashton's great book, And Somebody Gives a Damn!, which I do own. According to the Filipino authors, there were actually three sites along the Pantingan River where the massacre took place. Ashton's book has a small chart (page 184) which roughly shows those locations. I have drawn the approximate positions of the sites on the following section of a 1977 DMA map.
The western Bataan portion of trail 8 is rarely found in books, maps usually only show it as being east of the Pantingan River. Ashton's book has a wonderful fold-out map of the entire Bataan peninsula trail complex which includes the full length of trail 8. I have drawn its approximate western location above with dots. It generally parallels the W-E trail 9 (see top map this post), but is north of it.
The 91st Division (PA) began the Death March from just south of Bagac, continuing east on trail 8 towards the Pantingan. The bridge the POWs repaired may have been here, where the trail crosses the river. It is not clear to me how many died at this place, but another rare historic chart that Bob Hudson graciously posted may give a clue:
(chart courtesy of Bob Hudson)
This is a Bataan disinterment chart from the immediate post-war years. I suspect Abie Abraham had a hand in its drawing. Near the center are the words Pantingan Massacre. To the left of those words are numbers which, according to the chart legend (not seen here), indicate that 301 remains were found at this location, and 22 have been disinterred. Although this is a coarse, hand drawn chart, it is clear that these remains were found well to the southwest of Mount Samat and east of Saysain Point on the west coast. I doubt they are the same group of remains found by the Marines in the 1970s. Those remains were west of Samat and northeast of Saysain Point.
The middle massacre site in the next to last map above probably was where the remains were found in the 1970s by the Marines. According to Ancheta and Ongpauco about 400 men perished at a ravine near "the junction of trails 29 and 6". But as we already know, trails 29 and 6 do not intersect (see top map this post). I think they probably meant near the junction of trails 29 and 429.
According to Ancheta and Ongpauco, another slaughter, at the most northern of the three sites, occurred "along the Pantingan River in the 11th Division (PA) area not far from the Pilar-Bagac road". It is not clear to me how many died at this place. But the combined number of murdered men, for all three sites, may greatly exceed the generally accepted number of 400 total for the massacre.
* * * * *
Late entry: Eagle-eye okla, yes I agree! Some of those items near the concrete embankment in Ms. Smith's photo do look like clothes...some skinny-dipping going on?
If you look at the disinterment map north of Bagac, you see the site of yet another massacre. 103 massacred and called the Moron road Massacre. Information on this massacre is unavailable even though I traveled to Morong and investigated and spoke with an elderly retired judge from Moron (Now called Morong). He was asked to check with some elderly folks in town who would have been old enough to remember or at least heard about it. He was to call if he discovered anything. I never heard from him. It is sad to think that perhaps there was so much death and destruction in this area during the war that it became commonplace and the massacre of 103 soldiers along a dusty road in the middle of hell was not a particularly remarkable event and so, faded from memory.
Hey Chad....Thanks for contributing your usual, well researched material to this discussion. There does seem to be similarities between the 1970 photo and the later pic. The thing that bugs me is the ridge line in the more recent shot seems to be much higher, plus the 1970 pic has more of a "hogback" feature. The trail does seem to be in place, though. If that is a cloud or fog bank in the older photo rather than the actual sky, the hogback, higher ridge crest is hidden and the two photographs would certainly be very similar. Gawd, I love this stuff. You and Karl are doing a most creditable job filling the huge gap on this Forum created by the departure of Fots to the Bahamas. Keep it up, you guys. The latter comment ain't meant to short change other fine contributors to our favorite Website. They are "humping" in the common effort. The beauty in all this is that people like me get to sit back on our posteriors and enjoy the fruits of your labors. Cheers.
Hey Bob....I big thanks to you also for your contributions to this Forum. Your personal family connection, I am sure, fires your interest in this particular Campaign. Of course, we all know of Japanese brutality, massacres, etc. toward captives who were at their mercy. Nothing new in that, but I have always thought that the little men from the North dealt with their Filipino prisoners a bit more harshly (if that was possible) than their American comrades in arms during the Bataan Campaign. I suppose they had a bit more venom toward the Filipinos because they were viewed as traitors or disloyal to their Asian "brothers". Just my humble. I have always felt that the Japanese were especially tough on Scout prisoners since Scouts were actual members of the US Army and had chosen to be closely allied with the Westerners and that warranted, in the Japanese view, a bit more special "treatment". Just my humble. Keep your good stuff coming. Cheers.
This is a hand drawn map I scanned at the US National Archives, trail 6 and 29 both connect to trail 8 on the bottom. Although trail 6 connects to 4, I can see that if you were on 6 it would seems to connect to 29.
Hey dmether...Good stuff. You are, obviously, an "Ace" when doing research. I gotta say that, whoever hand drew this map/chart, probably did it under very crude and difficult conditions. He did an excellent job. If this piece of paper could "talk", I would stand in line to hear its story. Always enjoy your info. Cheers.
Bob, that's the first time I've heard anything about the Moron Road Massacre. I had noticed it on the disinterment chart and wondered about it. Good luck in your investigation, maybe one of the elderly residents will come through with some info.
Dmether, thank you for posting that trail map. Nice find, a piece of history in itself! But I see that it does not show trail 6 continuing any further north after intersecting trail 29, and there is no trail 429 anywhere. I checked maps by Morton, Young and Whitman and they all show trail 6 continuing north, with trail 429 connecting west to trail 29. I can't explain this discrepancy other than the drawer omitted them for some reason. I don't know when trails 6 and 429 were cut but it had to be before April 9th, a date seen on the map.
Here is another view of the site where I think the remains were found by the marines in the 1970s, seen from the west side of the Pantingan. I'll SWAG that the remains were found somewhere in the area to the lower right of the "bridge" on the left side of the picture.
* * * * *
The February 1970 issue of The Quan has an article about the Pantingan Massacre by LTCOL Fidel Ongpauco (AFP, retired). Ongpauco does not state the exact location of the massacre(s) but implies that some men were "farther down the river" than others. However, he writes that the soldiers were divided into three main groups, and says that the groups were executed on different dates. One group was executed over April 9th-11th, another on the 11th, and the last on the 12th. This may support there having been three massacre sites. He also claims that over 1000 men were murdered altogether.
* * * * *
I have wondered why the post-war disinterment chart shows only one group of remains for the massacre. I'll venture to guess that the site found in the 1970s was not known to Abie Abraham and AGRS after the war. Why might it not have been known to them? It could be that out of the handful of men who survived the massacre, none were from that particular group, so that site remained unknown until bones were discovered over 30 years later. Even if AGRS had known of the site, I am not sure they would have excavated it unless they believed US troops or Philippine Scouts were killed there.
Which raises a question: why were only 22 remains disinterred out of 301 at the massacre site that is shown on the chart? I will offer another guess...those 22 may have been US officers or NCOs, advisers for the 91st Division.
(chart courtesy Bob Hudson)
The massacre site shown on the disinterment chart is in the area that trail 8 crosses the Pantingan River from the west. Here is a Google photo of that area, with north at the top. What may be part of trail 8 is at the lower left. I wonder if the 1976 photos posted by dmether, which showed a site along the Pantingan River and an armed escort party, may have been taken in this area.
Here is another view of the area, with north on the left side. What may be part of trail 7 is at the bottom.
I tried to zoom in for better detail, but clouds blocked much of the view when I did! Hopefully they'll update the satellite pics on a sunny day. I also was looking for a bridge in the area, but could see none.
Today I read Ghost of Bataan Speaks by Abie Abraham. Wow, the chapters dealing with the recovery of human remains are absolutely gripping. I can NOT imagine having the strength Mr. Abraham had in performing the job of finding and recovering the bodies of his fellow soldiers. He had been a POW for three years and then went directly into looking for these bodies, reliving at times the horrors he had endured.
Here is an excerpt that I think probably refers to the Pantingan River Massacre.
Excerpt from Ghost of Bataan Speaks by Abie Abraham, published by Vantage Press Inc, New York New York 1971.
FIRST EXCERPT: PAGE 223 (after the war has ended.)
Joe Vitanzoa, of Cupan, told me a story that caused my hair to stand on ends. He knew about five hundred Americans and Filipinos being massacred.
“Some were clubbed, some bayoneted, some hit with sabers , and many were shot,” he told me. “It happened in Barrio Mantoong, near Trail 29, and I'm sure that Teodorico Mununun, who lives in Kupang, can tell you the entire story.
“Sergeant,” Mununun said in a low voice, “I was in the jungle looking for souvenirs of battles. I smelled something awful. The whole jungle was filled with the horrible smell. Before I realized what was happening, my brown skin turned white. Hundreds of brown and white bodies lay before me. I saw red hair, large noses, and many skulls were broken.”
“Would you show me the area?”
“Sure, my friend.”
I sent for Amado, Maguel, David, and Santiago.
“What's up Sergeant?” Amado asked.
“We're going to disinter three hundred Americans and two hundred Filipinos who were killed along the Death March, starting in the jungles in the area of Barrio Mantoong.”
“Gee,” David said with a whistle, “that's a bad place.”
“There's millions of blood-sucking leeches there – some six inches long,” Santiago told me.
“We can put oil on our bodies, and hands and faces,” Amado suggested.
That night I did a lot of tossing in bed and a lot of hard thinking. What were we getting into? kept looming before me. It was bad enough wading through the heat and facing Japanese snipers, and now leeches were added to our troubles. (Patty – There were still Japanese stragglers around who did not know the war was over and fired on Abraham and his group at times)
We cut our way through the denseness and became lost in the hot jungle. It was not long until we were staring at fox holes, canteens, helmets with bullet holes in them, and ammunition rotting in the steaming dampness. Death stalked the area. I could feel it. I could see the screaming Japanese thrusting their bayonets at the helpless men, and hear the cries and pleas for help. No help came.
“Sergeant, come quick,” Amado called.
I rushed forward, death stalking once again. I stopped suddenly and speechless, stared down into a yawning ravine. It was almost filled with bones and skulls were scattered about. Finally I closed my eyes, shivered, and called upon the Almighty for strength and courage. I managed to climb down into the ravine and began looking for tags. I shuddered when I noticed that many of the skulls had been cracked with a heavy club. Many of the bones were bound and tied with wires.
“It's beginning to get dark,” I told my horror stricken men. “Let's camp by the river and finish the job tomorrow.”
It became a long night of battling with the leeches. We kept turning on our flashlights and raking them off our faces and hands in spite of Amado's oil applications. They came and they came. Finally, we built a fire and hovered around it for the rest of the night. Slowly the dawn appeared and a little light seeped through, then the sun inched its way up through the tree tops. We returned to the ravine and began recovering the remains.
SECOND EXCERPT: PAGE 62 (during the war)
I cannot forget the fate of the 91st Division of the Philippine Army, at the junction of Trail Six and Twenty-nine. They were stopped by a Japanese Staff car. The four hundred officers and non-commissioned officers were ordered to stay behind, and the rest were ordered to continue the march. These four hundred men were tied and lined up on the length of a nearby ravine. Japanese officers, samurai swords flashing, announced through an interpreter:
"Had the surrender been earlier, this would not have had to happen. If you have any requests to make, you may do so."
"Kill us with machine gun fire -- " was the request.
Their request was denied. Instead, bayonets were stabbed into the victims back, while officers slashed at their heads with their gleaming swords. If a man made a sound on the first thrust, he would be repeatedly bayoneted until he could make no more sounds.
Sun-blackened and bloated bodies were scattered all across the scarred battlefield, filling the hot air with a terrible stench.
Do these two entries seem to indicate that there were at least two instances of mass murder along the river?
Mr. Abraham talks about the 91st's experience during the war. He knows about it, or heard about it. The other incident seems to be more of a surprise to him.
Are there any suggestions on the comparing of the disinterment chart (Bob Hudson's post) to these two entries?
I'm going to be busy the next few days, so here's a summing-up SWAG of what I think so far.
1. North is to the left side of the photo.
2. Trail 29 extended further south (to the right) than it appears in this photo.
3. Thanks to the passage pdh54 found in Ghost of Bataan Speaks, the remains Abraham found apparently were not in the river bed, but in a nearby ravine close to trail 29. Trail 29 is on the east side of the Pantingan, so I've swagged a line to a point on that side of the river. This location is nearly due east of Saysain Point. The disinterment chart shows the massacre location to be nearly due east of Saysain also.
4. The actual site of the 11th Division executions is unknown to me. The white line only indicates the general area as stated by Ancheta and Ongpaucho.
5. I am beginning to think that those reports which mention a massacre as occurring near the junction of trails 29 and 6 may have confused trail 6 with the eastern portion of trail 8, which ran from the Pantingan over to the east coast road. In fact, after the officers and NCOs were separated from the enlisted troops by the Japanese prior to the slaughter, the enlisted men were instructed to continue their march along trail 8 to the east (see Morton map near the top of this page).
6. This is all only a SWAG. Please feel free to take your gloves off and have a swing.
Some great research. Will be heading back to the area within the next few months to have a look around again. The map I scanned at the US National Archives, it was in a box full of POW reports. I believe it was done by an American POW while he was in Cabanatuan. I love how he stitched the pieces together.
Yes, David, the stitching is an eye catcher! That is a fascinating document. You have found many interesting things while at the National Archives. Someday I would like to research there also and when the time comes I would like your guidance on the ins-and-outs of it. Best, Chad
It has been 40 years since the last group of history buffs ventured into this valley of death, I think it's time another team takes a look at it. There are few of us in the physical condition it takes to make this kind of reconnoiter as we are aging retirees. Karl, the oldest of us all, has spent less time at the dinner table than the the rest of us and am sure he is up to it. I'm not sure a quick day trip would do the area in question justice. I'm saddened that I have entered a phase in my life that makes it near impossible to make this kind of journey. There's no doubt in my mind that the Pantingan River valley is ripe with yet undiscovered remains.
Don't count me out just yet, still have a few years left to go up and down hills, just not mountains. And I have a US National Archives trip in the preliminary planning stage. Boxes and boxes of Bataan reports that I didn't have a chance to get into last trip, and I spent 3 months there, 6 days a week scanning.
Post by Karl Welteke on Jul 14, 2014 9:34:25 GMT 8
DEATH MARCH MARKER #27 IS FOUND, #38 IS NOT AND #30 IS RENOVATED
Bob Hudson invited me to join him to look for Death March Markers (DMM) # 27 and 38 because we both had not managed to find them before.
On the 9th of July 2014 we teamed up and found #27 right away, perhaps it was blocked by a parked vehicle and in my case I did not know that it was the old style post marker. The pipe type post is bent, the identification sign and the sponsor tile is missing. Bob said he will communicate with FAME as to what can be done. This DMM # 27 is sponsored by the Donald Felbaum family.
DMM #38 is not there, where it should be are no houses or no other structures which may have caused it to be moved. There are only fields on either side of the road. Perhaps an accident caused its demise. DMM #38 is sponsored by Peter Olson.
Before we went to DMM #38 Bob showed me DMM #30 because the tiles were recently replaced by FAME based on his recommendation. DMM #30 is located at the Orion Port in front of the Putting Buhangin Elementary School in Orion, Bataan. DMM # 30 is sponsored by the Sithe Philippine Holdings.
Fame has a webpage that lists all the DMMs, their locations and sponsors, if interested the URL is here: tinyurl.com/phhujty
Here are some 9 sample images, the pictures in the above album are much larger than these sample pictures:
Z547--- We found #27 but did not find #38. Bob Hudson alongside DMM #27, one of three old style/ post style DMM, we both had missed seeing it before. We got together this day to find it and did so. Bob has been taking care of all the DMMs south of Balanga in recent years.
Z548--- Death March Marker (DMM) #27 is one of three old styles incorporated into the new concrete DMM. Bob and I both missed finding it before. We got together and found it easily. This DMM # 27 is sponsored by the Donald Felbaum family.
Z549---Death March Marker km #27 is across the street from the Limay Paptist church. It is the 1968 type, made from pipes. It is bent some and the identification sign on top is missing and so it the sponsor plaque at its concrete base.I takes these pictures to help me find the DMM locations in the future.
Z550--- This old DMM #27 image was received from FAME recently but I do not know the date of the image. In this image the sign and tile are gone already but the post is still straight, not bent yet.
Z551--- DMM #30 is located in front of the Puting Buhangin Elementary School in the Orion Port area, Bataan. DMM # 30 is sponsored by the Sithe Philippine Holdings.
Z552---The map for the location of DMM #30 and the Orion Port.
Z553--- Bob Hudson showed me Death March Marker # 30 because it was recently renovated and received new tiles. He said this #30 was one of five that I recommended have tile replacements. It's the one in front of the school. It was so defaced that practically nothing was legible on it. The new tiles have everything baked into them so defacing is almost impossible without destroying the entire tile. The old tiles have decals on them.
Z554---The new type of tiles, the new tiles have everything baked into them so defacing is almost impossible without destroying the entire tile. The old tiles have decals on them.
Z555--- Fame has a webpage that lists all the DMMs, their locations and sponsors. This is a capture that covers DMMs # 33 to 41.
Yes, kudos to Karl and Bob! I was struck by how much the area has changed since I drove the DM road back in 1986.
Here's what KM 31 looked like in 1986. Pdh54 and I were driving north on the old national road. I remember it was late in the afternoon, as seen by the sun reflections from the left. I feel sure we were south of the junction of the old road and the expressway. If so, that would place the new KM 31 marker a bit further north of the location of the old sign.
(looking north on the old national road, 1986)
Current view looking south at the junction of the old national road (left) and the expressway (right).
(photo courtesy Karl Welteke)
(photo courtesy Karl Welteke)
Comparison photos of the condition of the KM 7 sign in 1986 and 2009.
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