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    Japanese Hinomaru Yosegaki - Attributed to 16th Div. - "Bataan Death March". This is a Japanese "Good Luck Flag" brought back from Leyte, Philippines Islands by Sgt. Alvin W. Von Frisch, 17th U.S. Infantry, a German born U.S. soldier.

    This Japanese "Good Luck Flag" is an approximate 24" X 36", silk, sewn, Japan national flag finished with triangular leather corner reinforcing tabs and cord ties. It is inscribed in ink on the upper obverse hoist, "ALVIN W. VON FRISCH, 16 JAP DIV., LEYTE, [illegible], BATAAN DEATH MARCH."

    Sgt. Alvin William Von Frisch was a German born U.S. soldier. He served with the 17th US Infantry during the liberation of Leyte. Attached to the 7th Division as a part of the XXIV Corps, he landed at Dulag on October 30, 1944 and fought his way across the island through heavy jungle fighting, reaching the city of Ormoc on the last day of the year. During this campaign, Sgt. Frisch, who was awarded the Bronze Star, acquired this flag which he attributed to the Japanese 16th Division.

    The Japanese 16th Division, nicknamed the "Wall Division", along with the 48th Division, were the two front-line Japanese Infantry divisions that invaded Luzon on December 12, 1941. The Japanese quickly overran the US forces who withdrew to the Bataan peninsula. Eventually the 48th Division, expert at amphibious landings, was detached for the invasion of Java and the 16th formed the main fighting force pursuing the Bataan offensive. After surrender of over 78,000 U.S. and Filipino soldiers, they were compelled to march into captivity under brutal conditions, during which at least 22,000 died.

    The 16th was then assigned to Manila as a garrison force. In August 1944, 16th Division was ordered to Leyte Island as part of the final decisive stand against Allied forces. The fighting on Leyte was vicious with many of the Japanese units fighting to the last man. Of the approximately 13,000 men in the 16th Division, only 620 survived the Battle of Leyte.

    Since higher Japanese formations, divisions, and corps did not have individual flags, this cannot be "the" flag of 16th division, but is rather "a" personal flag of a soldier in that division that Sgt. Von Frisch acquired. He is likely the one who made the connection between the 16th division and the Bataan Death March.

    Because of cultural practices, Japanese Flags from WWII are plentiful. However, flags identified to both an opposing unit and the captor are less often encountered, therefore, more sought after by collectors.

    Condition: The flag is in fair to good condition. It is used, worn, soiled and stained with small holes in the hoist side of the field and along the bottom edge, but otherwise complete.

    This flag was formerly in the collection of Dr. Clarence Rungee, and is accompanied by his original museum inventory sheet with identifying information along with a handwritten letter from Sgt. Alvin Von Frisch.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2020
    14th-15th Monday-Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 562

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    Sold on Sep 14, 2020 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
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