Defenders of the Philippine

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Official Presentation of Samurai Sword from Mr. Abie Abraham to the Brooke County Public Library August 26, 2006

From left to right, George Wallace, Brooke County delegates Tim Ennis, Jack Yost and Abie Abraham.

Official Presentation of Samurai Sword to Brooke County Public Library

 Mr. Abraham shows Mr. Wallace his Samurai sword

Mr. Abie Abraham (Bataan Death March Survivor) shows George Wallace, current Quan editor, the Samurai sword surrendered to him by the Japanese.  From Abie's book Oh God, Where Are You?

"A year after the Japanese surrendered, I was notified by a Filipino-Japanese native that the Japanese wanted to surrender to the Americans, fearing the reprisal from the Filipinos.  In the hills of Orani, Bataan, where I disinterred many bodies, I got in touch with the Japanese Major.  Through an interpreter, he said he wanted  to surrender his men.  I told him to be at this spot in the jungle and I would have American troops, who were stationed forty miles away, to give them protection from the Filipinos. The next day trucks (soldiers from the tank company) arrived to take them to prison camp and back home.  In a ceremony I was honored to receive the Japanese Major's saber."  Abie Abraham


Springfield '03 Rifle Donated by Tony Bilek

Jack Ernest with Springfield Rifle

Marine Sgt. Jack Ernest of Wintersville, OH, Memorial Day speaker at the ADBC Museum, checks the ‘03 Springfield rifle similar to those supplied in the Philippines. The rifle was donated by Tony Bilek of Rantoul, IL, and supplied by Collectors Firearms of Houston, TX. The owner of the firm provided the rifle at cost when informed it was for the ADBC Museum.

By World War I, it was the standard military rifle. It reigned supreme until the semi-automatic MI Garand Rifle came into play, and the “03” production halted. 

However, by Pearl Harbor, not many M1s were available, so the Springfield “03” was the main weapon issued to the men.  Early World War II battles were fought with the bolt-action Springfield.    Read more about this rifle.

M1 Garand

m1 garand donated by Bill Blair of Wheeling

Two M-1 Garands have been donated to the ADBC museum, both by a Bill Blair. One gentleman is from Wheeling and the gun he donated is at left.

The other M-1 was donated by Bill Blair of Suffolk, Va.  He paid for breakfast for the veterans of Bataan at his restaurant called Bunny's.
More about his story can be read in the Quan, September 2010.

The Springfield Armory first manufactured the rifle designed by John Cantius Garand and the first production model went out in 1937.   Over 4 million rifles were made between 1937 and 1945.  About 7,000 of these rifles were issued at the time of the Philippine defense in late 1941. 

The M1 is a gas operated, turn bolt rifle, with a rather short receiver, a unique  design feature.

Read more about the M1 and references to the gun by POWs.

                       Below is the M-1 donated by Bill Blair of Suffolk, Virginia. 

garand M1 donated by Bill Blair of Suffolk Virginia


The Colt .45 M1911

John Browning, born in Ogden, Utah began making firearms when he was 13.  His most famous designs were in the area of auto loading firearms and his M1911 pistol was a highly successful model. He had been working with Winchester Firearms and Remington Arms on small arms and they paid him a single up-front fee. When he began work on a semi-automatic gun, he requested to be paid a royalty fee base on unit sales.  So he went outside the country and made a deal with Fabrique National of Belgium.    He then sat down to design a locked-breech pistol and Colt in America took up this design.  The design became known as the swinging link.   Original models used a .38 cartridge, but after the Spanish-American War and the insurrections in the Philippines, in 1904, the U.S. War Department decided to test the model by shooting corpses, horses and cattle they decided that only a.45 would do.  So Colt designed a new cartridge. The Army did not like the idea of no safety on the gun, but thought the pistol was promising.  In 1907, they ordered 200 of the Colt and Savage pistol to use in the cavalry troops.  They made modifications to the gun, including having only one link for the muzzle and breech, and putting in a grip safety device on the back of the butt, and other safety features.  The Colt made in 1911 had only minor modifications made after that time, mainly cosmetic.  The Colt .45 gained such favor that it was used in World War I and World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

The Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR)

John Browning, famous American gun inventor, made weapons from pocket pistols to anti-aircraft artillery.  Remington, Winchester, Colt and a Belgian manufacturer produced his guns.  At the time of the first World War, in 1917, he designed an M1917 machine gun which was air-cooled to use as an aircraft weapon, but it saw use as a ground machine gun.  The Browning machine gun became one of the most widely distributed guns in the world.

As Browning developed the M1917 machine gun, he also made a gas-operated magazine-fed weapon he called his Automatic Rifle.  He offered it to the US Army and they adopted it . The  BAR came to be known as the M1918 or Rifle, Caliber .30, Automatic, Browning, M1918 according to official nomenclature. The M1918A2 was authorized on June 30,  1938.  Browning envisioned the soldiers would carry it in a sling that they would shoot from at the hip as they advanced.   Instead, they chose to use it as a light machine gun.  The gun had a strong recoil taking practice to use without flinching.  Soldiers had trouble firing it in a prone position because of the 20-shot bottom mounted magazine.  Despite these disadvantages, but the US Army stayed with the gun until after the Korean War.


Sources for gun information :  The Book of Rifles by W.H.B Smith and Joseph E. Smith, and The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Firearms by Ian Hogg



Flamethrower M1 picture taken at Bataan Museum New Mexico

The US Army Chemical Warfare Department developed their E1 flamethrower in 1940, but replaced it with the E1R1 which they distributed to troops in 1940.  After modifications they issued the M1 flamethrower to troops in August 1941.  This flamethrower gasoline or a mixture of gasoline and diesel fuel and used hydrogen as its propellant.   This caused rapid burning of fuel and meant the user had to be within 10 or 15 yards of the target.


From:  Army Chemical Corps History and Flame on! U.S. Incendiary Weapons, 1918-1945 by John W. Mountcastle