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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Part IX, Three men against Japan.

The abandoned Lighthouse from Straat Soenda.-A Japanese landing intercepted,but had to flee for the superior power.

The next morning, after a solid breakfast,they left their bivouac.They walked to the place where Jan and the Pimpel had left the car with the Japanese licence the night before. The car was still there. Two natives who probably were keeping an eye on the car, took off so fast after seeing the five heavy armed men approaching.The Pimpel installed the battery again which he had taken out the night before. There was enough gas in the car and the five men got in the car and drove off.
Further down the road past Tegal-Loemboek the road split in two, Jan choose the road which led them direct to the North.For awhile the path was still passable, which went strait up hill.On top of the hill hemmed in on three sides by high mountains, lies the mountain Goenoeng Toembal rugged and a forested mountain with distant peaks of other mountains, provided a dramatic backdrop.The mountain looked like it was an impossible obstacle.
They got out of the car and emptied the gas out the car and destroyed the car as much as they could.On foot they continued to the north, through uninhabited region; a desolated landscape and rugged like Kratjak.Near the mountain of the Goenoeng Ngoengtjoen they set up their bivouac.They were at the upper course of the kali (river) Tji Siik, if they would follow this river they would end up at the village of Pangarangang which was laying near the sea.
The next day they decided to go even more to the north hoping to reach Tji Beo,right cross through the territory of the almost unknown Badoewis.They would like to get to know this native tribe a little better. Two days long they drudged through difficult terrain until they were near Tji Beo. The population showed little interest at the approach from the belandas (white men).This made them again change their route and left in the direction of Malingping. Again this region was rugged and uninhabited. Very dry, no river crossed their route. A very solitary forlornness region. A part of a large nature reserve, full of unprecedented flora and fauna.

One afternoon , while they took a break, and were resting in the shadows of a group of palms, they were interrupted by a peculiar grunting. A wild swine, is what the white men thought, but the two natives were shaking their heads and with fearful voices told them that it came from a 'tjeleng' (rhinoceros). Immediately the Tall guy climbed a high palm tree to look around the surroundings.The Pimpel loaded his riffle. Jan was lying on the grass and took no notice, he was so tired. Then from the high palm tree the Tall guy gave a shout of surprise; in close vicinity he saw a few rhinoceroses! He quickly came down the tree. "Rhinoceroses?" asked the Pimpel. "I like to see them!"
He walked in the direction, which the Tall guy had pointed at, and suddenly stood face to face with an old rhinoceros, who was playing with a few baby rhinoceroses. The animal had heard the breaking of branches, turned around and looked surprised out of his small eyes. When Pimpel moved a little closer, the animal bowed his head and in full trot charged the Pimpel, who at the last minute jumped out of the way. Jan and the Tall guy who observed all this from a distance, realized the danger which their friend faced, and called to him to come back.But the Pimpel could not turn his back at the rhinoceros; all he could do was to take one step back at the time, all the time trying to get out of the way of the charging animal.Finally he got a chance to climb a tree, but the rhinoceros kept running around the tree.To try to distract the animal Jan walked in the direction of the young baby rhinoceroses, who got scared and were running in all directions. The mother rhinoceros immediately followed her young ones and the Pimpel got his chance to come down from the tree.

After these anxious moments they decided to continue their march. At night when they had set up their bivouac they discussed again their plans.Jan's suggestion was to walk in a strait line to the Straat Soenda.The map showed , that at the point of the island of Java stood a light house. If the light house was not occupied, then they could stay there, and maybe the Allied ships would pass bye the Straat Soenda.Although not every one shared the same opinion, they decided to investigate the light house.It was a very difficult walk and very long.There was plenty of water again, because closer to the sea the rivers became more multitudinous.They had no shortage on food, there was an abundance of wildlife. They crossed the river Tji Balioeng to the south and followed the coastline.One morning they discovered at the beach a few turtles and caught one of them. It was a welcome change in their menu.A few days later they arrived at the village of Tji Kawoeng near the Welkomstbaai.

Here they were able to stock up their provisions; the population was very helpful. They took one day rest, and hired a guide. They started their march through a swamp full of crocodiles, behind this peninsula lies Java's Eerste Punt (Java's First Point)and also the Goenoeng Pajoeng, the umbrella mountain.From there they walked strait to the west in the direction of the light house.

The region was a real paradise for all sorts of wild life; this place was never visited by white men, and very rarely natives would come here. "The chance was very low that the light house would be visited by humans on foot through the jungle,arriving by boat was only done by the exchange of the light house keepers":said the guide.How troublesome the wild animals had been, the leeches, who fell from the trees and got stuck on their skin were a pest.To pull these little beasts from your skin, caused small triangular wounds, very difficult to heal.

It is better to wash your skin with petroleum, which they happened to carry with them.The leeches would let go of the skin, but the rubbing with the petroleum was causing the skin to graze, and that was painful.They had to watch out for tigers,these animals were a constant threat, they liked to lie in wait in the high grasses for their prey.Finally ,well into the night, they reached Java's Eerste Punt (First Point).

They approached the light tower with care, and after a quick search it looked indeed that nobody had been there for awhile.The men settled down made their beds and after their exhausted march they fell into a deep sleep.

The next day the men arranged the light tower in such a way that under the circumstances it became a comfortable living space.Precautionary measures to be attacked seemed in this part of Java not necessary.But they had to keep a look out over the sea, from sea they most likely had to expect more danger.They build a high pile of wood, which they could lit in case an Allied ship would come in sight. They dismissed the guide, but the man choose to stay he did not like to march back on his own and face all the dangers they encountered on their way up here. Repeatedly the new light tower keepers saw ships passing by on the horizon, but to be able to see if they were friends or enemy, they could not take the risk to light the fire.Days turned into weeks. But finally one morning a large ship laid anchor a few miles from the coast.The ship has no flag, but the men saw that a sloop was being prepared. It slowly came closer, and the four men still could not make out the race of the men who were rowing the boat. But to make sure they prepared for a quick escape by gathering all their luggage together. The sloop is coming closer and closer, and now they can see that the boat is full of Japanese, small marine soldiers, their upper bodies naked, tropical helmets on their heads.On the bow of the boat one Jap is standing up and is searching for a place where they can go on land.

With no time to waste the three natives load- up the luggage on their backs. Jan ordered them to hide behind the hill further in-land and hide in the dense bushes.The three Dutch friends crouched down behind a large boulder, ready for battle.Before one of the Japanese soldiers was ready to jump on land, Jan calls from behind the boulders that they better stay in their boat, otherwise they would get shot.At the same moment the Pimpel and the Tall guy fired some warning shots. The Japanese in the sloop had a shortage of weapons on them; only a few have a riffle, which they nervously try to load.They don't even think about to turn around and the sloop comes closer and closer to the beach.The three friends now open fire."Shoot them in the legs, when they get out of the boat!" yells Jan to his friends.He really has no intentions to kill nameless faces. Five Japanese jump out the sloop, bajonets on their rifles, and wade through the surf towards the beach.

"FIRE", Jan commands. They use their Mauser-pistols, the distance is close enough.Two Japanese stagger and clutch their legs. When the friends fire again a third Jap falls backwards in the sea. The two who are not wounded,ran back to the sloop, where the marines are lying flat on the bottom of the boat.Two of the wounded Japs are trying to get back to the sloop, with looks of agonizing pain on their faces . They deserted the third Japanese who is badly wounded and lies moaning in the water. Again Jan jumps on the rocks and orders them to go back to their ship; he will give them time to safe the drowning wounded Jap. After some hesitation two of the Japanese jump in the water and carry their comrade to the sloop.Then they row as fast as they can back to the ship.
Quickly the three of them hold a council of war.They decide that the Tall guy with the natives and the luggage should go deeper inland and at the border of the swamp they should wait. Jan and the Pimpel will try to hold their position as long as they can.
They return to the light house from where they see that in the meantime three other sloops are rowing towards land.Out of range the three sloops stay together and are probably discussing what to do.

The two friends can see that these rowers in the sloops are well equipment with weapons and the steel of their helmets are shining in the sun.They quickly leave the light tower and conceal themselves again behind the boulders. The sea is rough, sometimes the boats disappear behind high waves of foam. Jan and the Pimpel put down their Mauser-pistols beside them, and have their riffles ready. As soon as the sloops are in range, they will open fire.But the boats keep coming and suddenly the men in the boats discover the hiding place of Jan.A rain of bullets
hit the boulder where Jan is lying, and big pieces of rocks flying around Jan's ears.His chance of firing from this position is impossible.
Like a snake he slithers over the ground a little distance away,he crouched behind an other boulder.From here he has a better view and a wider field of fire.The Japanese are still opening fire at the boulder he had just left, and the bullets are pelting useless against the rocks.But Jan's shots are hitting the target, one by one.The sloops are now near the beach, and the belanda's (White men) can clearly hear the cries of pain from the wounded Japanese.But there are too many of them.Jan crawls to the Pimpel, who is still shooting and he shouts to him"We have to pull back, lets go!"
One of the sloops is already about 30 meters near the beach. The Dutch friends take their Mauser-pistols in their hands, and take off. A few Japanese already scramble over the side of the sloops.Jan and the Pimpel aim, and a salvo of shots come from their two pistols- a few soldiers fall down in the waves.From boulder to boulder the two of them are pulling back, unobserved by their enemy.Once arriving behind the hill they feel safe and quickly run in the direction of the swamp.Hours later,when dusk fell, they caught up with the natives and the Tall guy.Before dark, they march through the swamp. When they finally put up their bivouac,they fell into a deep sleep accompanied with a big feeling of satisfaction.One of the natives kept watch.All around them is only the sound of insects and some cries from animals.When the sun comes up they will march further along the coast.

Will continue:

The journey to Australia by prauw (Like a big canoe) failed.The Pimpel and the Tall guy fall in the hands of the Japanese. Jan is on his way to Lagewind to make weapons.

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