Pvt. Sidney Milton Rattner
What is known about Pvt. Sidney M. Rattner is that he was born in 1914 in Chicago, Illinois, to Ben & Dora Rattner. With his two sisters and a brother, he grew up at 3115 West Ainslie Street. At some point in the late 1930s, Sidney moved to Texas. He was living in Houston, Texas, working as a tobacco salesman, when he was inducted into the U.S. Army.
Pvt. Sidney M. Rattner volunteered to join the 192nd Tank Battalion. He was assigned to C Company to bring the company up to full strength after the maneuvers in Louisiana in 1941. The battalion was informed that they were going overseas and all National Guardsmen 29 years old, or older, were allowed to resign from federal service. Before joining the 192nd, Sidney had been a member of the 753rd Tank Battalion.
After taking a train to San Francisco, the battalion sailed from Angel Island for the Philippine Islands. Sidney arrived in the Philippines on Thanksgiving Day, 1941. He and C Company spent the next two weeks preparing their tanks for use.
On December 8, 1941, Sidney and the rest of C Company heard the news of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The tankers were sent to the perimeter of the airfield to prevent the use of paratroopers by the Japanese.
While having lunch, the tankers noticed planes approaching Clark Field. At first, the thought they were American, but when the bombs began to explode around them, they knew the planes were Japanese.
Sid was involved in numerous engagements against the Japanese. During one engagement, C Company successfully destroyed a platoon of Japanese tanks.
It was at the Battle of Toul Pocket, the tanks of three of the letter companies of the 192nd were assigned the duty of helping the Filipino army wipe out the Japanese Marines who had landed behind the main line of defense on Bataan.
During this engagement Sidney's tank was disabled when it hit a landmine causing the tank to throw a track. Sidney, Pvt. Robert Young, Pvt. Vernor Deck, and Sgt. Emerson Smith were trapped inside their tank. A number of attempts to rescue the crew failed.
There are two stories as to what happened next. In the first, the realizing that the tank could not be moved, the four crew members attempted to evacuate the tank. As they were climbing out the Japanese threw grenades into the tank killing the crew.
The second story is that after the tank was disabled, the crew refused to surrender, so the Japanese began filling the tank with dirt they were digging out under the tank to make foxholes. The three soldiers suffocated in the tank.
This is the story that is believed to be true. The tank was later recovered and turned over to empty the dirt out of it. Upon doing this, the bodies of the tank crew members were recovered and buried.
Pvt. Sidney M. Rattner died when he suffocated inside his tank on February 2, 1942, near Agaloma. After the war, his remains were recovered. But since the remains could not be positively identified, he was buried at the American Military Cemetery outside of Manila as an "Unknown." According to U.S. Army records, Sidney Rattner's date of death was February 8, 1942.