Escape from Bataan

Memoir of a U.S. Navy Ensign in the Philippines, October 1941 to May 1942


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About the Book

U.S. Navy Supply Corps Ensign Ross Hofmann had no idea what was in store for him when he arrived at Cavite Naval Base in October 1941. Two months later, Japanese forces struck the Philippines, destroying the base and forcing U.S. personnel to retreat to Bataan. There, Hofmann joined a makeshift unit of Army Aircorps ground personnel, U.S. Marines, U.S. sailors, U.S. Naval ground battalions and Filipinos to fight a Japanese force that landed nearby.
In March 1942, with the fall of Bataan imminent, he traveled to Cebu to run supplies through the blockade of Bataan and Corregidor. Soon after his arrival, the Japanese landed on Cebu, forcing the Americans to retreat again. Hiking through jungles and crossing dangerous waters in barely seaworthy vessels, Hofmann avoided capture and reached an American base in Mindanao.
He received orders to establish a seaplane base on Lake Lanao. As Japanese troops landed nearby, two seaplanes returning from Corregidor stopped to refuel, one of them hitting a submerged rock on take-off. In a harrowing race against the enemy advance, Hofmann and others worked feverishly to fix the plane and escape before the Japanese converged on Lake Lanao. This memoir recounts Hofmann’s experiences in vivid detail.
Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

David L. Snead is a history professor at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Anne B. Craddock is a professional artist and International Montessori teacher. Her father is the author of this memoir.

Bibliographic Details

Ross E. Hofmann
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 228
Bibliographic Info: 7 photos, 10 maps, appendices, bibliography, notes, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6568-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2562-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Acknowledgments vii
Preface (by David L. Snead) 1
Prologue (by Ross E. Hofmann) 11
Introduction (by Ross E. Hofmann) 13
1. Training and Movement Overseas 19
2. The Philippines, ­October–November 1941 30
3. On the Eve of War 50
4. Time of Destruction, December 8–12, 1941 62
5. Retreat from Cavite, December 1941 74
6. Christmas and New Year’s at Mariveles 86
7. The Waiting Begins 95
8. The Battle of the Points 106
9. Alarms and Excursions 122
10. Desperation Before New Orders 130
11. Welcome to Cebu 143
12. Retreat Again 152
13. Mission Complete: Lake Lanao and Australia 165
Epilogue 181
Afterword by Anne B. Craddock 183
Appendix: Hofmann’s Address Before the Washington Board of Trade, November 13, 1944 189
Chapter Notes 195
Bibliography 212
Index 217

Book Reviews & Awards

“recounts Hofmann’s experiences in vivid detail…an inherently fascinating and consistently compelling read from beginning to end. An invaluable and appreciated contribution to the growing library of World War II literature…recommended”—Midwest Book Review; “compelling account…more than a memoir. The book serves as a reminder of the consequences of leadership failure…highly recommended”—Army University Press.