The Great Raid (2005)

 

 

Director:  John Dahl.

Starring:  Benjamin Bratt (Lt. Colonel Mucci),  James Franco (Captain Prince),  Robert Mammone (Captain Fisher),  Max Martini (1st Sgt. Sid "Top" Wojo),  James Carpinello (Cpl. Aliteri),  Mark Consuelos (Cpl. Guttierez),  Craig McLachlan (2nd Lt. Riley),  Freddie Joe Farnsworth (2nd Lt. Foley),  Laird Macintosh (2nd Lt. O'Grady),  Jeremy Callaghan (Lt. Able), Cesar Montano (Guerilla Leader Juan Pajota),  Scott McLean (Lt. LeClaire),  Paolo Montalban (Sgt. Valera),  Clayne Crawford (PFC Aldrige),  Sam Worthington (PFC Lucas),  Royston Innes (Sgt. Adams),  Diarmid Heidenreich (PFC Daly),  Luke Pegler (PFC Miller),  Dale Dye (General Kreuger),  Jerome Ehlers (Col. H. White),  Brett Tucker (Major Lapham), Connie Nielsen (Margaret Utinsky).

rescue of American POWs in the Philippines

 

Good war picture with lots of action at the end.

Story told by a Captain with the 6th Ranger Battalion.   Lt. Colonel Mucci was his boss.  Major Lapham presents the plan to rescue 500 prisoners of war that were still alive at Palawan POW camp and Cabanatuan prisoner of war camp.  (There was a fear that the Japanese would kill all the prisoners of war as the Americans approached.)  They did not know where the Japanese were since they were moving around. 

Even though the Japanese received food from the Red Cross to feed the prisoners, the Japanese were deliberately starving them.

The events took place over 5 days in January, 1945.

January 27  -- quarter of a million troops landed. 

January 28  --  two days walk of around 30 miles through enemy territory.

Filipinos were jailed and tortured.  Hundreds of people joined the underground.  An American, Connie Nielsen (Margaret Utinsky), was the key person in the resistance movement. 

As the Americans approach, the regular Japanese army leave to be replaced by the even more brutal Japanese police. 

Rizal Bridge, 11 miles from the camp. 

January 29  --  day 3.  Japanese shoot some of the hospital nurses suspected of being in the resistance.  They also shoot over a 100 male villagers suspected of having helped the resistance.  The Americans move their troops to the village of Platero. 

The Japanese were just waiting for instructions from Tokyo to liquidate the prisoners. 

January 30  --  4th day.  A prisoner of war escapes but is caught.  The Japanese shoot ten plus the escapee.

When the raid finally takes effect, it is great action and man is it cathartic to see those cruel, sadistic Japanese soldiers die.  Especially satisfying was the death of the camp commander. 

January 31  -- 5th day.  Back at Talavera and safety. 

Only two Army Rangers were killed.  The Philippine guerillas suffered 21 casualties.  511 prisoners freed.

 

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D. 

 


Historical Background:

1941 (December 7)  --  Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. 

10 hours later they attacked the Philippines.  10,000 Americans and 60,000 Filipinos were trapped at Bataan.  MacArthur escaped to Australia.   The troops surrendered after four months of resistance. 

The Japanese lead them on a 60 mile forced march.  15,000 perished on what became known as the Bataan Death March.  The survivors were herded into various POW camps.  Thousands more died through maltreatment, malnutrition and disease.

1944  -- the tide of war changed.

1944 (August 1)  --  prisoner of war policy; not to allow the escape of a single one; to annihilate them all without leaving any trace. 

 

 

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