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"Rockets For a Red Star": As the Haunted Tank clatters across a sector in eastern France, bordering on Germany, they are hit by phosphorous shells from two directions which light their tank up like a roman candle. They quickly take out the two Panzers attacking them, but the fire proves to be a
- When this is over, we'll be shot for givin' aid to the enemy! But Jeb... He'll be thrown in the looney bin for bein' buddies with an invisible ghost!
- -- Gus Gray
Appearing in "Rockets For a Red Star"
- J.E.B. Stuart
- Major Tanya Petrov
- Unnamed German soldiers
- Unnamed American Battalion Officer
- Eastern France
- Phosphorous Shells
- Poison Gas Missiles
- The Haunted Tank
- Panzerkampfwagen IV
Synopsis for "Rockets For a Red Star"
As the Haunted Tank clatters across a sector in eastern France, bordering on Germany, they are hit by phosphorous shells from two directions which light their tank up like a roman candle. They quickly take out the two Panzers attacking them, but the fire proves to be a stronger enemy as the crew use their fire extinguishers to try and put it out. Jeb orders Slim to put the pedal to the metal and head for a nearby waterfall that he spotted in passing earlier that day. Slim drives the tank right into the water, dousing the flames as the water gushes around and into the tank drenching both the little Stuart and the men inside.
The next day, back at base headquarters on an estate, Jeb is introduced to a special observer from Russia sent to check on the American in the area, Major Tanya Petrov. Stalin believes that while his Russian troops have been fighting the Germans in Austria, the Americans have been stalling. The Major is unimpressed with the American forces and even less impressed with Jeb and his war record, believing that all American men think of is their conquests of foreign women. The commander explains to Jeb that they've been ordered to prove to her that the Americans are fighting just as hard as the Russians, and he gives the assignment to Jeb and his crew.
At dawn the next day, the crew hurry up to prepare their tank for the day's mission before the Major can arrive, but find that she's already there inspecting it. She tells them that she'll be riding with them on their mission. The crew is less than enthusiastic about this, and Slim states that war is no place for a female. Jeb asks Petrov if she had breakfast, and she offers him her canteen. He takes a swig, nearly choking on the incredibly strong Russian vodka inside. The Haunted Tank return to near the waterfall where their run-in with the Panzers yesterday took place, but find nothing. They nearly give up, but then spot near the Cliffside a German underground missile silo. The missiles are pointing east towards Austria and the Russian forces, who would never expect missiles coming from the American sector. Petrov wants to directly attack the silo, but Jeb tells her that a sneak attack would be better. As the men dismount the tank to go the rest of the way on foot, Petrov demands to go with them but Jeb orders her to remain in the tank and let the men take care of it. As they climb down the side of the cliff, they are pinned down by German machine gun fire. Petrov swings the tank's own machine gun around and fires at the Germans from above, giving Jeb and the others covering fire and allowing them to slip past and throw grenades into the silo. The missile silo is destroyed, but from out of the wreckage floats a mysterious green smoke. Realizing that the missiles where filled with a poison gas, Jeb and the others high tail it out of there towards their tank as the wind begins to pick up the gas and blow it in the direction of the American's HQ.
AS Jeb and the others reach the top of the cliffs, they are in time to see Petrov take off with their tank. They are unable to catch up with her, but soon she stops the tank near the waterfall. Major Petrov rotates the turret around towards the waterfall and fires directly at it. The water is diverted down towards the ravine, drowning the silo and extinguishing the gas. As Jeb and the others return to the tank, Petrov informs them that her report to Stalin will be good and that American men are fighting men. She kisses Jeb, who comments that he's been decorated by a major, commended by a major, but never kissed by one before. Petrov tells him that she is a major second... and a woman first!
Appearing in "Dive Now -- Die Later"
- Vic Torrell
- Nazi Commander
- German Scientist
- Unnamed German Soldiers
- Unnamed American Sailors
- German Manned Missiles
- American Submarine
Synopsis for "Dive Now -- Die Later"
At the resort area of Brighton, England, O.S.S. (Office of Strategic Services) Control contacts secret operative Vic Torrell on the first day of his leave. They have just learned that the enemy is testing manned rockets on the German coast, and their top-flight experts are on hand. So far their tests have proven unsuccessful, but they are near perfecting a manned rocket that could be steered directly towards London and destroy the city in one large explosion. Torrell's mission is to infiltrate and destroy the missile base before they have a chance to perfect it. Torrell asks Control why he was chosen for this mission, but Control only states that he has his reasons - something he did a year ago when he risked his life.
Two nights later, an American sub surfaces off the coast near the rocket-proving grounds, and Torrell is dispatched on a lifeboat towards shore. He is discovered by a German vessel before he can arrive, and taken prisoner. Taken before the Nazi Commander, he is found a spy and ordered to be killed by firing squad. Torrell pleads for his life, telling them that he'll do anything to cooperate. The Commander smiles, and spares his life. The next dawn he is taken to the missile base and strapped into the next test rocket, with orders to radio back its performance and leave it on automatic pilot. The Commander has no intention of letting the spy escape, and plans on seeing Torrell die either by an exploding rocket or by his men on the beach after he lands.
The rocket is launched, and everything goes smoothly. Torrell releases the controls to auto-pilot, but the Germans have programmed the missile to turn towards London to blitz the city. To their surprise, they watch as the missile turns completely around and flies straight for their base. It explodes, destroying the missile base and killing everyone inside, effectively putting an end to their manned missile experiments. Torrell is pulled from the icy water off shore by the American sub. The crew is amazed that anyone could have made a dive from that height and survive. After returning to London, Vic Torrell reports to Control and asks him once again why he thought that he could pull off a mission like that. Control shows him a newspaper from a year ago, with the headline "22-Year Old Vic Torrell Dives Off Brooklyn Bridge --- and Lives!".
Appearing in "Thirst For Battle"
- The Canteen
- Private Charles Green
- Unnamed German Soldier
- Unnamed Arab Desert Dweller
- Field Marshal Erwin Rommel
- 30-06 Cartridge
- Panzerkampfwagen IV
Synopsis for "Thirst For Battle"
As the battle-worn canter lies baking in the hot desert sun, a bullet lodged in its front, it remembers the journey that brought it there. It began in a factory, one of millions of canteens manufactured there. It was first issued to a young new G.I. named Charlie Green. During the tough training, it and Charlie got real close, and by the way Charlie marched and trained it knew his owner would make a good soldier. It got to carry many different waters, from warm swampy water to cool mountain spring water. Then one day Charlie was promoted to Corporal and the training was over. Charlie was sent to the North African desert and into battle. He fought against Hitler's Afrika Korps in the Battle of Kasserine Pass, but the enemy was to strong and the American forces had to fall back. During the retreat, Charlie was hit, the bullet going through his canteen and into his side. The medics arrived fast, and tossed the damaged canteen off to the side.
Shortly after the Americans have left, the canteen was found by a German soldier who repaired it by shoving a cartridge into it to plug the hole. The canteen felt peculiar being owned by the enemy, but was thankful for being useful once again. Then, one day, a car pulled up carrying the Desert Fox himself, Rommel. The Field Marshal congratulates his troops for their good work in securing the victory. But a few days later, the Allies counterattacked and during the fierce battle the canteen's new German owner is killed. The canteen would lie in the sand for days, a lost piece of combat junk. It was scalding in the sun, drying up, when a Arab desert dweller rides along on his camel and picks it up. The canteen had a new owner, a wolf of the desert!
The Arab rides far until he finally comes to an oasis. He stops to fill the canteen, but is spotted by a lone and lost G.I. who was also looking for water. It's Charlie Green, the canteen's original owner, who recognizes the canteen as his. He attacks the Arab, but is quickly overpowered. The Arab brings his sword up to strike the killing blow, when Charlie pulls the cartridge from the canteen and quickly loads his rifle. He fires, killing the Arab. Charlie takes a long drink from his canteen, vowing to repair it and never lose it again.
Appearing in "Siege of the Monster Gun"
- SS Hauptman Karl Unzer
- Unnamed German soldiers
- Six unnamed Belgian Guerillas (4 killed)
- American B-17 Captain
- German Siege Cannon "Thor"
- The Haunted Tank
- American B-17 Flying Fortress
- Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter plane
- Volkswagen Kübelwagen car
Synopsis for "Siege of the Monster Gun"
The Haunted Tank is sent on a mission to give back up to a group of Belgian Guerillas assigned to stop the movement of the German's new monster siege gun, nicknamed "Thor". The Belgians blow up the tracks to stop the train carrying the gun, but are captured by the Germans while waiting for the Haunted Tank's arrival. Jeb and his crew roll right into an ambush, and are taken prisoner as well. SS Hauptman Karl Unzer, the commanding officer in charge of "Thor", orders Jeb to use his tank to tow the gun into position to destroy a nearby Belgian fort. Jeb refuses, and Unzer guns down the Belgian prisoners, killing four. He tells Jeb that he'll kill the remaining two if he doesn't do as he is ordered. Jeb agrees, but both Gus and Slim disagree and want to fight. They obey his orders and back the tank up, hooking the giant gun to tow.
Jeb tries to explain the situation to the others, who are worried they'll be shot for helping the enemy. Jeb then talks to his ancestor's ghost, explaining that if he didn't tow the gun the Belgian hostages would be butchered. General Stuart points him to the Confederate flag, suggesting that it might help him out of his dilemma. Finally, they pull up to the river where the fort stands across from them. Unzer orders the gun to start firing. They begin to rip apart the fort stone by stone with every blast. When the German's aren't looking, Jeb radios a squadron of B-17 bombers to come in firing, using their tank as a bull's eye. Unzer overhears Jeb and destroys the tanks radio antenna, but not before Jeb can get the coordinates out to the bombers. Jab retreats into the tank, locking it up tight, but both he and his crew know that they'll never survive the bombers attack. Slim admits that Jeb was right in saving the hostages.
Before the B-17s can get to the area, they are ambushed by a squadron of airborne Luftwaffe fighters. The crew of the Haunted Tank listen over the broken radio to the battle, catching only bits of the action, but enough to realize that the bombers will never reach them in time to stop the Germans from destroying the fort. Slim admits defeat, saying that they're sunk which gives Jeb an idea. Jeb moves his way to the controls, and then floors the gas on the little tank pulling both it and the German gun into the river. The two Belgian hostages use the confusion the follow, diving deep into the water. They swim down and unlatch the tank from the gun. As "Thor" sinks below the water into the depths of the river, the Haunted Tank emerges on the other side. They spin around and throw every bit of fire power they have at the Germans. With the Germans defeated and the remaining Belgians saved, General Stuart reappears and tells Jeb that if they had soldiers like him in the Confederacy, the war might have ended differently!
Appearing in "Blood Brothers"
- Private Davy Turner
- Pygmy Native
- Unnamed American Soldiers
- Unnamed Japanese Soldiers
- Unnamed Island, South Pacific
- American Dog Tags
- Japanese Rising Sun scarf
Synopsis for "Blood Brothers"
At the western tip of an unnamed island in the South Pacific held by the Americans, Private Davy Turner is about to start his first solo patrol. Before he leaves, his fellow soldiers tell him that if he kills anyone, he has to bring back proof - a souvenir from the man he killed, for it to count. At the same time, on the eastern tip of the island, held fanatically by the Japanese, a young Japanese soldier is told the very same thing before he leaves for his patrol. He swears not to return empty-handed.
While Davy is out on patrol, he is spotted by another Japanese soldier who has been hidden up in the trees. Davy makes the kill, but the soldier becomes entangled in the vines and hangs from the branch where he was perched. Davy tries to climb up to the dead soldier in order to retrieve a souvenir, but is shot dead by the young Japanese soldier from before. The man walks up to the dead American's body, yanking the dog tags from around the man's neck. He sees his victory as a good omen that the Japanese will conquer the island overall. But just then he is hit in the back by two poisoned darts coming from nowhere. He falls to the ground dead. From out of the shadow of the jungle walks a Pygmy hunter carrying a blowgun. Following the customs of his tribe, he collects both the dog tags and the scarf from around the Japanese soldier's neck, believing that their magical properties will pass onto him.
He then returns to the darkness of the jungle, leaving the bodies of the two soldiers to lie next to one another decaying over time, never to be found.
Appearing in "The Loneliest Tank in the War!"
- Unnamed German soldiers
- Unnamed American Armored troops
- Namur Crossroads, Belgium
- Diesel fuel barrels
- The Haunted Tank
- American M3 Stuart tanks
- Panzerkampfwagen 38(t) tanks
- Leichter Panzerspähwagen armored car
Synopsis for "The Loneliest Tank in the War!"
In the bitter cold and snow-covered countryside of embattled Belgium, Jeb and the Haunted Tank are playing a one-on-one game of tag against a Panzer. Jeb orders Slim to high tail it with speed around a corner and out of the line of fire, then turns quickly and bursts into the front of a clothing shop. Hiding within the building, they wait for the Panzer to round the corner before unloading their guns into it. The Panzer explodes, and the Haunted Tank bursts out of the other side of the building to clear the area before others can join in the fight.
On the way back to base, Jeb receives orders to hook up with the other tanks heading to the American fuel dump at Namur Crossroads. There has been word that German paratroopers have been moving into the area, trying to grab the fuel for their own tanks, and are being held back by Infantry in the area. Slim informs Jeb that they're running low on fuel as well, and will be lucky to even reach the dump. About thirty minutes later, the Haunted Tank finally comes across the American tank convoy, which have run out of fuel and stalled out in the open, exposed to the enemy should the Luftwaffe spot them like sitting ducks. Jeb orders their tank to press on towards the dump, but he feels like the loneliest tank in the war heading into battle by themselves. It's not long before their tank runs out of fuel and Jeb orders everyone to dismount and head out on foot. They take all the weapons and ammo they can carry, hoping to join the infantry and give them support to fight back the Germans for the fuel dump.
At the fuel dump, the German paratroopers have the infantry pinned down, including the famed members of Easy Company led by Sergeant Rock. The Germans continuously fire upon them, and they have ran out of ammo. Sgt. Rock orders his men to fix bayonets, ready to make a final suicidal rush onto the Germans and their armored car and go out facing the enemy. Just as they jump out of their hiding place and charge towards the enemy, the armored car explodes into a huge fireball and the remaining German paratroopers are mowed down by gunfire from behind. As the smoke settles, Jeb and his men emerge to reveal themselves to the surprised Easy Company, whose not used to seeing the four of them on foot. Sgt. Rock begins to radio for trucks to move in and bring fuel to the stranded tanks, but his radio is shot out of his hand by a German bullet. In the distance, a line of Panzer tanks move in for the kill. With no way to protect the fuel dump from that many enemy tanks, Jeb and Rock come up with a plan - if they want the fuel so much, they can have it. They affix grenades to the drums of fuel, and then roll them down the hill towards the Panzers. As they reach the enemy, they explode with shattering force against the oncoming Panzers, destroying them all.
With the battle over and the American tanks refueled and ready to go. Jeb asks Sgt. Rock where they'll be heading now. Rock tells him they're heading to some place called Bastogne. Jeb's never heard of the place, but then General Stuart appears and informs him that before the war is over, the whole world will have heard of Bastogne.
- This issue also includes a one-page text "Famous Fighting Outfits: The Battling Blue and Gray", information on the 29th Infantry role in the war from D-Day until V-E day.
- The second story, "Dive Now - Die Later", was written by Robert Kanigher under his Bart Regan pseudonym.
- The third story, "Thirst for Battle", is told from the viewpoint of a canteen and its journey through the war.
- No trivia.
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- Discuss G.I. Combat Vol 1 220 on the forums
- Cover gallery for the G.I. Combat series
Links and References
- No external links.