The Great Raid Summary
The year is 1945 and hundreds of U.S. soldiers held captive in the brutal Japanese war camps at Cabanatuan in the Philippines are under imminent threat of death. These are the only soldiers who remain alive in the Philippines of the 70,000 American and Allied forces surrendered to the Japanese Imperial Army at Bataan in 1942, following the departure of General MacArthur. Forced to walk through the sweltering, mosquito-infested jungles on what would become known as the Bataan Death March, the survivors were then held captive in remote and deadly camps. Now, three years later, with MacArthur back as he promised in the Philippines, the Japanese War Ministry has issued a "Kill All Policy" to annihilate their war camps--and every single U.S. prisoner in them. At a camp named Palawan, 150 U.S. soldiers are forced into trenches, doused in gasoline and set on fire. Meanwhile, believing themselves all but forgotten by their comrades and country, the surviving prisoners at Cabanatuan have dubbed themselves the "ghost soldiers." Among them is Major Gibson, weakened by malaria, who is hanging on by a thread of hope and his love for a Catholic aid worker, Margaret, who has been assisting the Filipino Underground. Back at the 6th Army Headquarters in nearby Luzon, Lieutenant Colonel Henry A. Mucci, the tough, ambitious but charismatic leader known for inspiring devoted loyalty among his men, has been assigned to find a way to penetrate behind enemy lines and free the U.S. prisoners. The task appears to be strategically impossible--the men will likely face heavy resistance and will be far outnumbered by Japanese troops--but Mucci is never deterred by an extreme challenge. Mucci selects the young, bookish but brilliant Captain Robert Prince to lead the raid, who in turn comes up with a daring plan to have 121 hand-picked, elite Rangers and Alamo Scouts slip 30 miles deep into enemy territory and make a surprise, lightning assault on the camp. To increase the already slim chances for success, the U.S. will join forces with members of the Filipino resistance, led by Captain Juan Pajota, whose intimate knowledge of the lay of the land will help to guide the committed band of men to their ultimate goal.