General Wainwright had strongly disapproved of the withdrawal. But the troops continued to fall back under the pounding by the Japanese.
Supply lines to the front units were inadequate. The shock of knowing the enemy followed so closely on their heels as they entered Bataan hit the troops also. The enemy pushed through the Layac defensive and drove the last American troops back onto the Mt. Natib line. Inertia gripped all ranks. Sanitation was ghastly. Food cans were scattered randomly about the jungle.
Bataan was put on half rations. Rations for one day were:
4 oz. of rice
This ration continued from early January, 1942 until the middle of February. Bread was issued for the first two weeks, but then disappeared. During the last part of February, the rice ration went from 4 oz. up to 8 oz. and up again to 12 oz. during the last two weeks in March. At the end they were given 16 oz. But this was not enough.
They began to eat anything they could find. They ate pony, mule, iguana, monkey, anything they could get their hands on. They ate the jungle.
The sad fact was that large stores of food had been abandoned to the enemy on both Bataan and Corregidor.
Dysentery, malaria and beriberi had combined to produce a weakened American and Filipino Army. Russ had dengue fever during this time. Most of the men were weak and sick actually to the point of staggering, and yet the fighting went on.
Day 434 - Early summer, 1943
On February 15th, 1942 Singapore fell. A stunned silence prevailed. The chain of their relief line was broken. The Japanese propaganda radio in Manila beamed messages of Allied losses to the Americans in English. The theme song was "I'm Waiting For Ships That Never Come In".
American War correspondent Frank Hewlett wrote:
No Mama, no Papa, no Uncle Sam.
No aunts , no uncles, no nephews, no nieces.
No rifles, no planes, or artillery pieces.
And nobody gives a damn.