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BATAAN 1942:  The Battle of Trail 2

by Mitch Doren

Diorama Gallery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Battle of Trail 2 Diorama at the AFP Museum Gallery

 

The Battle of Trail 2 in the Bataan Peninsula was considered to be one of the Philippine Army's gallant moments during the campaign of 1942.  It was here in the eastern portion of the Orion-Bagac line where a hastily formed unit composed entirely of Philippine Army soldiers from elements of  the 31st, 41st and 51st Infantry Divisions repulsed a major Japanese breakthrough and prevented them from jeopardizing the newly formed Main Line of Resistance. 

 

The battle started on the 26th of January where elements of the Japanese 9th Infantry Regiment attacked the area a number of times and at one point was able to create a gap in the defense line but the determined Filipino troops fought fiercely even in hand-to-hand combat.

 

By the 2nd of of February, it was the Philippine Army's turn to launch a counter attack to dislodge remnants of the Japanese that were positioned north of the Capot River.  By that time the Japanese had suffered a considerable number of casualties and by the 8th of February, the 9th Infantry was ordered to withdraw further north thus ending the threat at Trail 2.

Just like the diorama that Mitch created for the Battle of the Pockets, he was in a dilemma on what scene to depict.  He then decided to create the Japanese breakout from the bamboo thicket just south of the Capot River, showing the charging Japanese soldiers causing a penetration on the barbed wire defenses.

 

The Scenario

 

The diorama shows Japanese soldiers charging to the thinly held line but about to be stopped by the barbed wire apron.  Filipino solders clad in denim overall and khaki uniform and some in shorts commence firing with rifles, machineguns and mortars in an effort to stave of the onslaught.  A gap was created on the  eastern portion of the barbed wire where Japanese troops exploited the gap but were met by Filipino troops in vicious hand to hand combat.

 

The Terrain

 

The terrain was flat in the field of fire with a river on the northern area.  The base was sculpted using plaster of paris while several portions where filled with putty and other fillers.  Clear resin was used for the Capot River.  Tress were scratch-built.  The challenging of the terrain was the scratch-building of the bamboo tress. The banana tress were from art supplies from Deovir but Mitch has to alter and weather them to make it more realistic.  Several layers of static grass were applied, removed and then re-applied to give it a more realistic look.  Some real dried figs and branches were used as well.  

(click on thumbnail for larger view)

 

(click on thumbnail for larger view)

Figures and Accessories

 

Like in the Battle of the Pockets Diorama, the figures were a mixture of Tamiya, Mini-Art, Master Box and Dragon with modifications to poses and positions.  Accessories were were spares and scratch-built items such the M1917 doughboy helmets, "guinit" helmets and M1917 Enfield rifles.  The mortar and machineguns were also from spares as well as the ammo boxes and crates.

 

The barbed wire was scratch built using several thin layers of copper wire, strung in  a double apron pattern, then weathered with washes.  The ladders of the Japanese troops were scratch-built.

 

 

(click on thumbnail for larger view)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Modeler Mitch Doren explaining his diorama to Lt. Gen (ret) Urgello

 

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The diorama is now in display at the main gallery of the AFP Museum at Camp Aguinaldo

 

 

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