Cecil Peart's journal reveals a great deal about the character of Arthur Wermuth. it covers the Oryoku, Enoura, Brazil Maru voyages and Peart's experiences at Kokura Military hospital and Mukden. Information on Wermuth begins on the 30 or 31 Jan 45 entry. Peart's journal can be found online at the library of congress veterans history website: lcweb2.loc.gov/diglib/vhp-stories/loc.natlib.afc2001001.01205/
Post by stenotholus on Mar 2, 2008 11:02:05 GMT -5
For a much more balanced account of Wermuth’s combat ‘exploits’ I recommend John E. Olson’s “Anywhere-Anytime: The History of the Fifty-Seventh Infantry (PS)”. You can find the description of the incident for which Wermuth was awarded the DSC at the end of Chapter 3. The actions of the anti-sniper squad at Abucay are described at the end of Chapter 4 where Olson sums up its accomplishments, “The only tangible accomplishment of the platoon was the bringing back of several pieces of Japanese equipment.” Wermuth’s role in the battle of Anyasin point is mentioned in Chapter 8. Olson relates how Wermuth angrily overruled the recommendation of one of his experienced Scout Sgts to outflank a machine gun and instead ordered a frontal attack across the steep slope of a river gorge. The net result was three Scouts wounded, including Wermuth, and one dead. Olson sums up, “They had made contact with the enemy, but had failed to develop the strength and dispositions of the Japanese thanks to Captain Wermuth’s stubbornness.”
Post by stenotholus on Jan 12, 2009 22:31:01 GMT -5
It seems there are always two versions of a Wermuth story.
From wikipedia: "in September, he was sent to Lipa City, Batangas and placed in charge of a 500-man work detail to construct a runway. During the construction, his crew deliberately sabotaged the runway so that it buckled under the weight of landing bombers. His injuries forced him to be sent back to Bilibid in January, 1943"
from Dr. Robert Gaskill's "Guests of the Sons of Heaven" ( Wermuth was the unnamed camp commander.)
"Upon our arrival we found about 150 men already at the camp with a captain in charge. We were quartered in Nipa huts. The issued food here was much better than that to which we had become accustomed, but it was still terribly inadequate. The local commissary, however, was a delight. We were able to purchase a kilo of carabao meat for one peso, chicken eggs for eight centavos each, bananas at ten centavos a dozen, and only two pesos for a ganta (2.64 quarts) of peanuts. We lived like kings compared to our previous experiences, but it want a daily “royal” life for the commissary functioned only once every week or ten days."
"Our somewhat idyllic existence (for a prisoner of war) went on for some time, but it was not without its hates and intrigues among the prisoners. The American camp commander bribed the Japanese with Red Cross food, which was received for the first time at Christmas. We had wanted that food for ourselves, but to keep himself in the good graces of the Japanese, he presented this food to them. The camp commander took little advice from his doctors, most of whom outranking him, but at that time medical officers were not considered in the command line, and any line officer (combat arms) would have command of troops or a camp or military unit, though outranked. As doctors, we constantly strove to maintain good camp sanitation and made recommendations in this respect to the camp commander, but, to show his defiance, he on one occasion, picked up a piece of coconut candy covered with flies, ate it, and made some of his “strong arm” boys eat some. He stated that he had grown up in Chicago and had learned the gangster methods there and fully intended to use them in his direction of the camp at Lipa. He was so arrogant that when a new group of prisoners arrived on January 5, 1943, with a major of the line in command, he refused to abdicate, though the American army custom was for the senior line officer to take over command. The captain had his followers boo and hiss the major, all this in the presence of the Japanese guards, and this resulted in a melee in which one may was bayoneted before the ruckus quieted down. There was much futile explaining to the Japanese as to just what had happened, but eventually they supported our custom and ordered the major to take over."
Post by stenotholus on Jan 13, 2009 21:48:22 GMT -5
Well, I do try to pass along ones available to the public, if not generally known. I was reading Gaskill's book for information on the Hokusen Maru and this story literally jumped off the page at me. Best regards, Stenotholus
“What little remained of Wermuth's fighters were holding desperately to a bitterly contested piece of ground on Signal Hill between Mariveles and Bagac. Wermuth, despite his courage and determination, arrived with too little and far too late. He was still too weak to accomplish much, and on April 9 during the retreat down Trail Ten, behind Mount Sumat, the One Man Army of Bataan slipped in the wet grass, tumbled down the jagged mountain, and was rendered unconscious when his head hit a rock.”
“When Wermuth regained consciousness he found himself at Field Hospital Number 2, now in Japanese hands. The Ghost of Bataan had finally been captured.”
and from Wikipedia:
In early April he fell down a ravine and was seriously injured on a large boulder. He awakened in field hospital number 2 as it was being overrun by Japanese forces. Cited reference: "Capt, Wermuth Reveals How He Was Captured," Arthur Wermuth, The Lowell Sun, Lowell, Massachusetts, September 27, 1945.
Now the second version:
From History of the 57th Infantry (PS) by Col. John Olson Chapter X, The Last Battle (II) p. 74 published in the Bulletin of the American Historical Collection (Volume and date uncertain)
Incident date appears to be April 6, 1942.
“While the troops were busy preparing for the enemy assault, Captain Wermuth sought out the Aid Station and told Captain Robinson that he was having a heart attack. The medical officer made a cursory examination and found no indication of a heart condition. Sensing that Wermuth might be having an attack of nerves, Robinson told him to lie down and rest until he could dispose of the wounded. Some time later when there was a break, he was unable to locate the captain. Major Priestly’s diary had a cursory entry “Wermuth--heart attack--or is it desertion?” (Wermuth had gone back with some wounded. When he arrived at the regimental command post Col. Lilly instructed Major Wernitzig, MC, to examine him. Darkness precluded a confirmatory check, so he was told to bed down until dawn when the surgeon could do a more thorough job. Again, he disregarded the orders and hitched a ride to Hospital No. 2, where he was when the surrender came.)”
hey all....if these "alternate" views and versions are truthful, it would appear that the "one man army of bataan" might have feet of clay. of course, all kinds of rumors come out of combat situations,etc, but these certainly are much food for thought.
Post by stenotholus on Jun 2, 2009 21:51:03 GMT -5
I'm having a weird problem with the guestbook. Two words in the quotation from Col. Olson are garbled and I can't correct them as the same error "enemy assault" repeats. Written backwards the correct words are: tluassa ymene