Editors Note: This year, we will be making a special effort to remember each and every known member of the 192nd Tank Battalion. As part of that remembrance, we will list each day the members who were killed or died on that date, along with links for additional information as available. We look forward to your comments.
February 2, 1942
Pvt. Vernor Deck (C)
Pvt. Sidney M. Rattner (C)
Pvt. Robert L. Young (C)
Sgt. Emerson P. Smith (C)
Today is the anniversary of one of the saddest and terrible incidents to happen to the 192nd Tank Battalion, and specifically Co. C., during the Battle of Bataan. It was at the Battle of Toul Pocket, the tanks of the 192nd were assigned the duty of helping the Filipino army attack Japanese Marines who had landed behind the main line of defense on Bataan.
During this engagement Sgt. Emerson’s tank, with crewmen, Deck, Rattner, and Young, was disabled when it hit a landmine causing the tank to throw a track. Pvt. Robert Young, Pvt. Vernor Deck, Pvt. Sydney Rattner and Emerson were trapped inside their tank. A number of attempts to rescue the crew failed.
There are two stories as to what happened next. In the first story, the crew members, realizing that the tank could not be moved, attempted to evacuate the tank. As they were climbing out of the tank, the Japanese threw grenades into the tank killing them. What is believed to be the real story is that even though their tank was disabled, the crew members refused to surrender. The Japanese decided to use the tank as a bunker and began digging the earth out from underneath it. As they dug, the Japanese began filling the tank with dirt by pouring it into the viewing slits as they were digging out from under the tank. The four tank crew members suffocated in the tank.
After the war, their remains were recovered. But since the remains of Rattner and Deck could not be positively identified, they were buried at the American Military Cemetery outside of Manila as “Unknown.” Young’s remains were returned to his family and he is buried in Ohio. Smith is buried at the Manila American Cemetery.
Learn more about Sgt. Smith here: http://bataanproject.com/Smith_Emerson.html
Learn more about Pvt. Deck here: http://bataanproject.com/Deck.html
Learn more about Pvt. Rattner here: http://bataanproject.com/Rattner.html
Learn more about Pvt. Young here: http://bataanproject.com/Young_r.html