In January 1945, 511 emaciated Allied soldiers (mostly survivors from the fall of Bataan and Corregidor) and a few civilians were held at a Japanese prison camp, near Cabanatuan on the Philippine island of Luzon. After 33 months of brutal captivity, the majority of these POWs were severely emaciated.

After receiving reports that the Japanese intended to murder or move them as the Allies advanced, a daring raid behind enemy lines was carried out by U.S. Army Rangers accompanied by elite Alamo Scouts and Philippine guerillas.

~ 523 Japanese were killed or wounded in the successful raid at cost of two Rangers killed, and seven injured. All but one of the 511 American and Allied POWs were rescued.