It’s so sad that after such a brutal experience they ended up in a prison camp that wasn’t much better. Many of them were killed at the camp the same way others were killed during the march. The men were also being starved to death because the Japanese didn’t give them much food because it was in short supply throughout the Japanese Army. The more than 200 Japanese guards even stole the prisoners Red Cross supplies.
The Americans got word about this camp and wanted to get the soldiers out but unfortunately it was thirty miles inside enemy lines. Around one hundred
American troops of the U.S. Army’s 6th Ranger Battalion volunteered to take on what appeared to be an impossible mission. They even filled the battalion with single men because of the assignment’s many risks. Some married men talked their way onto the mission because of their combat experience.
There were Japanese all over the place as the battalion moved towards the prison camp. On their way, they came across a small Philippine village that had just been attacked by the Japanese. The men were killed, stacked up, and placed on fire. The women and children were standing around the fire crying.
Around 200 Philippine Guerilla fighters had just gotten there as well and were of course devastated. They asked if they could help our Americans on their mission and they reluctantly agreed because they knew the landscape better than we did. It was one of the best moves the American's made because the Guerilla’s took down a major bridge that would’ve allowed the Japanese to join the fight against the Americans trying to free the captives. They also wiped out a lot of Japanese soldiers and their heavy duty weapons that were on the other side of the bridge. Because of what happened to their village they were inspired to kill as many Japanese as possible.
The Americans did a great job with their reconnaissance so they had a good idea of how the prison compound was laid out. Their plan was perfect. They had the camp pretty well surrounded and agreed the fire fight would start as soon as the designated man fired his weapon at one of the guards in the tower. His shot was good and the prison guard went down. Then our soldiers stayed in their positions and fired off massive rounds of bullets catching the Japanese off guard. Under the cover of U.S. gunfire a group of men charged the gate and opened it so the soldiers could swarm into the camp and fight at close range. They knew which buildings were designated for the Japanese officers and soldiers so they began riddling the buildings with bullets.
As the gunfire from the Japanese began to dwindle a designated group of soldiers took on the task of rounding up the prisoners and getting them out of camp. The prisoners had no idea what was going on; some of them thought the Japanese were killing all of the prisoners. When the American soldiers busted into the prisoners’ barracks both the soldiers and the prisoners were in shock. The soldiers couldn’t believe the poor condition of the prisoners while the prisoners couldn’t believe they were being rescued.
The men were taken out of the camp with many of them being carried by the battalion soldiers because of their poor health. The Guerilla soldiers brought hundreds of carts to help get the prisoners back over the enemy lines. They were absolutely critical to the overall success of the mission which was given the name: "The Great Raid." What this mission accomplished is still considered to this day as the greatest rescue in U.S. history.