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  • Arthur Wermuth crawled through the mud of the Phillipine jungle.

  • He paused to let a squad of Japanese soldiers march past.

  • Once he was in the clear, Wermuth continued to stealthley make his way through enemy territory.

  • He spotted a small hill that overlooked an enemy camp.

  • Wermuth made his way to the ridgeline and took aim at the Japanese soldiers below, then

  • unleashed a rain of lead from his Thompson submachine gun.

  • The confused soldiers shouted, “how did American troops get behind us?”

  • What they didn't know was that the Americans causing so much chaos and destruction, was

  • actually only one man.

  • A man who would later be called the One-Man Army of Bataan.

  • Arthur Wermuth was assigned to Company D of the 57th Infantry during World War II.

  • What made this squad unique was that it consisted of mostly Filipino soldiers.

  • A small group of American soldiers, including Wermuth, was attached to the 57th infantry.

  • The squad itself was nicknamed the Filipino Scouts, as their main mission was reconnaissance

  • and infiltration behind enemy lines.

  • Sent to the Philippines in 1941, it didn't take long before Wermuth was promoted to the

  • rank of Captain of the Filipino Scouts.

  • As the much larger Japanese force pressed forward, Wermuth and his men repelled attack

  • after attack.

  • They were heavily outnumbered and outgunned, but with Wermuth's leadership they caused

  • numerous setbacks for the Japanese army.

  • In January of 1942 the Japanese launched an offensive against the Allied forces.

  • It seemed that the American and Filipino soldiers would be overrun and the islands would be

  • lost, but Wermuth had other plans.

  • He grabbed his Thompson submachine gun, two .45 caliber pistols, and as many grenades

  • as he could carry.

  • He covered his skin in dirt and camouflaged his helmet with foliage.

  • Wermuth snuck across enemy lines and hid in the dense jungle.

  • He waited for a Japanese patrol to pass by.

  • Eventually, a heavily armed squad crossed his path.

  • He was so well hidden that one of the soldiers almost stepped on him.

  • The enemy squad was heading towards the Allied lines.

  • Wermuth knew that if he stayed with the squad, he would be able to surprise them from behind

  • once they were engaged with the Allied forces.

  • As the last Japanese soldier passed, Wermuth stepped into the end of the line and followed

  • the Japanese soldiers as if he were one of their own.

  • They proceeded miles through the dark jungle, the Japanese unaware that Wermuth had infiltrated

  • their ranks.

  • When the soldier in front of him made too much noise, Wermuthshushedhim.

  • The Japanese squad neared the fortified position of the Phillipine Scouts.

  • Wermuth did not want to get caught in the crossfire from his own soldiers, so he decided

  • it was time to get away, but not before causing a little chaos.

  • Wermuth purposefully stumbled into the soldier directly in front of him.

  • As he pretended to grab onto the man for support he handed him a live grenade.

  • Wermuth gave the enemy soldier a shove and then dove into the protection of the jungle.

  • The Phillipine Scouts could hear screams from in front of them.

  • All of a sudden, the grenade went off, taking enemy soldiers with it.

  • More importantly, the explosion gave away the position of the Japanese squad.

  • The Filipine Scouts, with the help of Wermuth from behind, made quick work of the enemy

  • troops.

  • It was acts of courage and destruction like this that earned Wermuth the Japanese title,

  • the Ghost of Bataan.

  • A name that he rightfully deserved, as each one of his adventures behind enemy lines got

  • crazier and crazier.

  • Although Wermuth was a one man army, and could cause mayhem by himself, he often worked with

  • his close friend, and brother in arms, Jock.

  • Jock was a massive six foot four, 220 pound, Filipino soldier.

  • As they fought together they quickly became friends who always had each other's backs.

  • Wermuth liked working alone, but Jock was adamant he go with his captain as backup whenever

  • Wermuth volunteered for a dangerous mission.

  • Jock saved Wermuth's life on more than one occasion.

  • The most notable time this happened was on a mission to uncover a Japanese tap into the

  • Allied communication systems.

  • This mission was so astounding, that a portrayal of it would end up in wartime gum packages

  • back in the United States.

  • It had become obvious that the Japanese were able to tap into the Allied communication

  • lines.

  • They seemed to know too much about Allied movements and plans.

  • The commanders asked for volunteers to scout the wires along the front lines to find, and

  • disrupt the Japanese wiretap.

  • Wermuth was the first to volunteer, Jock immediately stepped forward to join his captain.

  • They set out together to locate and dismantle the deadly problem.

  • The two men made their way through the damp jungle.

  • They had to dodge poisonous snakes, deadly spiders, and the watchful eyes of Japanese

  • snipers.

  • They searched and searched for the wiretap, but came up empty handed.

  • Wermuth and Jock started to make their way back to the Allied defensive position.

  • On their return journey Wermuth got tangled in what seemed like a vine at first.

  • He tripped and landed in the mud.

  • As he went to cut the vine, he noticed that it wasn't a vine at all, it was a wire.

  • Wermuth and Jock followed the wire.

  • Suddenly, Wermuth fell into a camouflage ditch, landing directly on top of a shocked Japanese

  • soldier who was tapped into Allied transmissions.

  • Wermuth pushed off of the enemy soldier and drew his pistol like a cowboy in an old Western

  • movie.

  • He fired and killed the Japanese soldier who was too slow to the draw.

  • Wermuth slowly made his way to the recording equipment, to get a better look at how the

  • Japanese had tapped into the Allied communication system.

  • He was so fascinated by the technology, that he did not notice two other Japanese soldiers

  • who had crept up on him from behind.

  • The sound of a branch snapping behind him caught his attention.

  • Wermuth spun around, but this time he drew his gun too slowly.

  • One of the Japanese soldiers plunged a bayonet into his arm.

  • The rusty metal scraped along his bone and pinned him to the wall.

  • Wermuth knew he was in big trouble.

  • There was only one person who could save him.

  • He called out for Jock.

  • Japanese!

  • Two more down here!” he yelled.

  • Jock raced to where his captain had fallen into the ditch.

  • Without hesitating Jock jumped into the hole.

  • He landed hard on the ground below.

  • When Jock looked up, Wermuth was struggling in hand to hand combat with the Japanese soldiers.

  • Jock pushed off the ground and launched his huge body towards the assailants.

  • He used the butt of his rifle to bludgeon one enemy unconscious.

  • Jock next turned to the second enemy; he shoved him away from Wermuth and shot the remaining

  • Japanese soldier.

  • After the threat had been dealt with, Jock ran over to Wermuth to tend to his wounds.

  • His captain had nearly passed out from the pain in his arm and loss of blood.

  • Jock carefully removed the bayonet and bandaged the wound.

  • He threw Wermuth across his shoulders and carried him back to the safety of the Allied

  • base.

  • If it weren't for Jock, the One-Man Army of Bataan may have died in that Japanese ditch.

  • This story and the exploits of Wermuth made it back to the United States.

  • He was seen as a living war hero.

  • The successful mission of finding and dismantling the Japanese wiretap by Wermuth and Jock made

  • headlines.

  • It was so well known, that a drawing of the mission was placed in the wrappers of wartime

  • gum to help fund the war effort (narrators use photo: http://patriotden.com/fotki/star/wermuthcard-football-star.jpg

  • Credit: Gum, Inc./patriotden.com).

  • Wermuth spent a lot of time in and out of the hospital.

  • He would get patched up, and even before the doctor gave him the all clear, he would ask

  • to be sent back to his squad.

  • His next exploit was so insane, you won't believe how he managed to get out of it alive.

  • Allied headquarters had determined that the only way to disrupt the Japanese advance was

  • to destroy a bridge that allowed them easy access into the area surrounding Manila.

  • There was only one bridge in the area, but it was deep behind enemy lines.

  • Someone needed to sneak far into Japanese held territory and blow up the bridge, otherwise

  • the Allied forces would quickly be overwhelmed.

  • Arthur Wermuth volunteered for the job.

  • He set out just before dawn when the sun was low in the sky.

  • Most of the Japanese soldiers were still asleep at this time.

  • Wermuth carried two five-gallon drums of gasoline with him to create a distraction before he

  • blew up the bridge.

  • He made his way into the town of Kalaguiman, which was where the bridge was located.

  • He stuck to the shadows of alley ways to keep out of sight of enemy snipers and guards.

  • Hundreds of Japanese soldiers inhabited the town, as it was a main hub for transporting

  • supplies.

  • The plan was that once Wermuth set fire to the town, the Allied artillery would unleash

  • a barrage of shells on Kalaguiman.

  • This would serve as a distraction, so that Wermuth could make his way to the bridge and

  • detonate TNT to destroy it.

  • He snuck to the far end of the town and began spraying gasoline onto the walls of the thatched

  • roof buildings.

  • He struck a match, set the buildings ablaze, and waited for chaos to ensue.

  • Japanese soldiers ran out of the burning buildings, on fire, and screaming.

  • They rolled on the dirt ground to put out the flames as artillery shells began falling

  • from the sky.

  • Wermuth made his way to the bridge.

  • He tried his best to stay in the shadows, but he was running out of time.

  • He made a break for the bridge running up one of the main streets.

  • Wermuth was spotted by enemy soldiers who began shooting at him.

  • He dodged fire in the streets, ducked under flying bullets, and dove for cover.

  • He caught his breath and began running towards the bridge again.

  • He was almost there when a stray bullet ripped through his leg.

  • The pain was immense, but Wermuth ignored it and sprinted to his target.

  • He placed the charges while providing his own cover using his Thompson submachine gun.

  • He blew up the bridge successfully, and disappeared into the jungle.

  • Upon returning to the Allied headquarters, he was debriefed and sent to the hospital

  • where the bullet was removed from his calf.

  • This was when Wermuth received his first of several Purple Hearts.

  • After the surgery, Wermuth had no choice but to wait in the hospital until his leg healed.

  • However, as soon as he felt strong enough, he discharged himself and returned to the

  • front lines to join his squad.

  • He continued to lead his men with bravery until March of 1942, when Wermuth and his

  • Phillipine Scouts were ordered to recapture Mount Pucat from the Japanese.

  • This was a suicide mission, but Wermuth was not going to disobey orders, and he would

  • do everything he could to take the high ground.

  • It would be an uphill battle that would nearly cost the One-Man Army of Bataan his life.

  • As the squad moved up through the jungle they were ambushed.

  • One of the enemy soldiers rushed towards Wermuth trying to stab him with his bayonet.

  • Wermuth dodged the attack and wrestled the Japanese soldier to the ground.

  • He pulled his knife and plunged it into the enemy.

  • The Philipine Scouts fought off ambush after ambush, losing men in the process.

  • They dealt heavy losses to the Japanese forces as they pushed forward, but the cost was great.

  • As they fought up the mountain, bullets ripped through the jungle trees and into the squad.

  • There was a Japanese machine gun dug-in across a stream.

  • There was no way for Wermuth and the Filipine Scouts to move forward without destroying

  • the machine gun first.

  • Wermuth mustered his bravery and led the squad in a daring counter attack.

  • He pulled the safety ring out of a grenade and tossed it at the machine gunner.

  • As the grenade left his hand, Wermuth was struck in the chest by a bullet.

  • The bullet chipped a rib before passing through his lung.

  • Members of his squad grabbed their captain and pulled him to safety; they retreated back

  • to base to get Wermuth to a hospital.

  • This wound was the worst one yet.

  • The doctors told Wermuth he was done fighting and needed to stay in the hospital, but Wermuth

  • knew his brothers were still out there trying to take the high ground.

  • He would not abandon them.

  • Wermuth was in the hospital for about a week until he could wait no longer.

  • Against doctors' orders, and with pus oozing out of his wound, he made his way back to

  • the Philipine Scouts, but it was too late.

  • The Japanese forces were pushing the squad back.

  • Wermuth was too weak to sneak behind enemy lines and ambush them like he had done so

  • many times before.

  • He called for a retreat.

  • As the squad made their way down the mountain, Wermuth slipped and tumbled down a ravine,

  • slamming his head on a jagged rock below.

  • He was knocked unconscious and had to be carried back to the hospital by his squad mates.

  • This would be the end of the reign of the One-Man Army of Bataan.

  • While in the hospital, the Japanese defeated the Allied forces in the area and took all

  • who remained captive.

  • But his fight to survive was not yet over.

  • Wermuth was so wounded, that he was unable to be sent into the Bataan Death March, where

  • around 70,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war were marched 70 miles to a POW camp.

  • Thousands of soldiers were forced on the trek and died enroute to the prison.

  • Once he recovered, Wermuth was sent to work on building a runway for Japanese aircraft

  • to land.

  • He and the other men working on the project sabotaged it, so the runway buckled under

  • the weight of landing bombers and damaged them.

  • He was then put on the "hell ship," Oryoku Maru, as one of 1,620 prisoners.

  • This ship was bombed on December 15, 1944 by aircraft from the USS Hornet.

  • The American ship thought the Oryoku Maru was carrying enemy troops, not prisoners of

  • war.

  • This mistake cost the lives of several hundred POWs, but Wermuth survived this ordeal as

  • well.

  • Eventually Wermuth was prisoned in Mukden, Korea where his prison camp was finally liberated

  • by Soviet forces in August 1945.

  • When he was returned to the American military, he weighed almost 80 pounds lighter than at

  • the beginning of the war.

  • Wermuth was finally going home where he would receive the Distinguished Service Cross for

  • his actions in the Philippines.

  • He had become a household name in the United States as a war hero, affectionately called

  • the "One-Man Army of Bataan" by newspapers and civilians alike.

  • Arthur Wermuth was credited with over 116 kills, received the Silver Star, and three

  • Purple Heart medals.

  • Now watch Most Hard Core American Sniper - The White Feather.

  • Or check out The Insanely Crazy Story of a Tiny Soldier.

Arthur Wermuth crawled through the mud of the Phillipine jungle.

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Most Feared Soldier - The One-Man Army with 116 Kills

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/11/18
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