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G.I. Combat Vol 1 227

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"I, The Tank": The M4A1, also known as the "Haunted Tank", blazes through Aachen just within the German boarder. A line of Panzers are waiting for them, guns firing. Their guns out of action, the crew take evasive action to stay alive. Jeb Stuart, the tank's commander, receives orders to haul it


Quote1 Someone else said a long time ago... the Union Army's General Sherman, who opined... War is hell. Quote2
-- General J.E.B. Stuart



Appearing in "I, The Tank"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Other Characters:

  • Unnamed Maintenance Sergeant

Locations:

Vehicles:

Synopsis for "I, The Tank"

The M4A1, also known as the "Haunted Tank", blazes through Aachen just within the German boarder. A line of Panzers are waiting for them, guns firing. Their guns out of action, the crew take evasive action to stay alive. Jeb Stuart, the tank's commander, receives orders to haul it out of the battle and return to the tank depot, in order to stand with the line to repel the German advance. Taking solace from his ancestor's advice, Jeb turns the tank around and heads back to base.

As they pull into the tank depot, they realize the extent of their tank's damage as the treads begin to break apart, immobilizing the tank. HQ needs every man available on the battlefield, so the crew are given another Stuart tank that's ready to roll. After they've left, the maintenance crew takes charge of the damaged tank, refitting it with a weapons calliope and a full magazine of ammo. But they are unable to repair the broken treads before HQ orders them to send it back into the action. Improvising, the maintenance crew load the tank onto a flatbed retriever and haul into towards the front line.

As the maintenance crew reach the battle zone, they dive right into the line of fire. The driver in instantly shot and killed. The tank's original crew, led by JEB Stuart, are close by. Forced to abandon their borrowed Stuart, the rush for their original tank still atop the flatbed. Slim climbs into the drivers seat of the truck, as Jeb and his crew man the guns to return to the battle. The fight is hot and heavy, and it's not long before they've exhausted the tank's ammo. As the German Panzers begin to make their approach for the kill, JEB remembers the newly fitted calliope. He fires the rockets, destroying the advancing Panzers.

Appearing in "The Spy Who Died Twice!"

Featured Characters:

  • 013

Supporting Characters:

  • Control

Villains:

  • Gestapo Commander

Locations:

  • Office of Strategic Services (O.S.S.) European Bureau
  • Grand-Fougeray, France

Synopsis for "The Spy Who Died Twice!"

Within the sub-terranean briefing room of the O.S.S. (Office of Strategic Services), Control, the chief of the O.S.S., gives their top agent 013 his newest mission. The Nazis have seized control of the French fort at Brest, cutting of the supply lines to the Allied advance. 013 must infiltrate the enemy lines and stop the Germans from defeating the Allies through starvation.

The next night the Germans destroy an Allied plane flying over Grand Fougeray. One survivor, and American Major, parachutes down before the plane explodes. The Germans find him, unconscious and with a briefcase handcuffed to his right wrist. Taken back to the Nazi HQ, the Gestapo examine the man and his briefcase, which contain orders to the commanders of the Allied ground forces to attack by sea at St. Malo. The Gestapo head refuses to accept it, believing it to be another Allied trick and remembers another time when the Allies tried to pass false tactical info to throw them off from the impending Normandy invasion. The Gestapo then turn their attention to the unconscious man, and after strip searching him they discover writing on the shoulder of the man, seen only through ultraviolet light. The Gestapo head then believes that this is a O.S.S. trick, attempting to make them believe that the papers were false. He then orders the Luftwaffe to wait for the attack at St. Malo.

That morning at 0500, a squad of German soldiers have been detailed to bury the agent's body. One soldier notices a ring on the man's finger, and when he tries to remove it is sprayed in the eyes with a strange liquid from the ring. The agent then leap up, having recovered from the "catatonic juice" he was given to simulate unconsciousness, and quickly takes out the small German detail. Under fire from the HQ garrison, 013 escapes unharmed into the sea. He is soon picked up by a British rescue ship, and with the German's resources in the wrong place the Allies are able to break through the Nazi blockade.

Appearing in "Signal From a Dead Soldier"

Featured Characters:

  • Unnamed U.S. Sergeant
  • Unnamed U.S. Private

Supporting Characters:

  • Unnamed Tank Commander

Locations:

Synopsis for "Signal From a Dead Soldier"

A small G.I. patrol is probing the hills north of Pyongyang in Korea when they are spot a column of enemy troop trucks on the road heading for the front line. But as they attempt to call back to HQ to give their report they are discovered and the radio is destroyed in the firefight. One private from the patrol begins to fire into the air, telling the Sarge to trust him. As the enemy begins to regroup and move in for the kill, the Koreans are taken by surprise by a US tank! Now safe, the patrol climbs out of their hiding place to thank the tank and its crew. The private explains that he took a chance and fired his rifle into the air, and prayed that someone knew Morse code!

Appearing in "The Bleeding Target"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Locations:

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Synopsis for "The Bleeding Target"

The Haunted Tank is en route to occupy a checkpoint east of the Kasserine Pass when they run into a convoy of German Panzers in the desert. Gunner Rick Rawlins easily takes out three of the tanks, bragging about how easy his job is - Jeb gives the trajectory and he points and shoots. But Rick finally gets a hard lesson of war when his shot at a fourth tank explodes the gas tanks on the rear of the machine and he is forces to look into the face of his targets as they Germans leap from their burning tank and writher in agony as they die before his eyes. But the battle isn't over yet, and Rick now finds that he can't push the button, unable to shake the haunting image from his mind. He jumps out of the tank, running across the desert as the others are bombarded by enemy fire. Jeb and the others are knocked unconscious by the barrage and, unable to allow his friends to die, Rick returns to the tank and open fires onto the approaching enemy killing them all. Rick has discovered the hardest lesson all soldiers must learn - kill or be killed. War is hell...

Appearing in "Helping Hand"

Featured Characters:

  • Private Felix
  • Private Ecker

Villains:

  • Unnamed German Soldiers

Locations:

Synopsis for "Helping Hand"

During a scouting mission, Two privates named Felix and Ecker discover a Japanese mortar pit waiting for the advancing US line. Knowing that that have to take out the pit, which is certain to be a suicide mission, they decide to let chance choose which one will go. Felix picks a couple of berries from a nearby bush, smearing the juice into the palm of one of his hands. If Ecker picks the stained hand, he goes. If not, then Felix will go. Ecker pulls out a photo of his wife and kids from his pocket, saying last goodbye before he makes his choice. As Ecker chooses, Felix mentions that he doesn't have any family back home. Ecker chooses the left hand, which comes out clean. Felix takes a grenade and, charging up to the mortar pit, tosses it inside. It explodes, killing everyone including Felix who is caught in the blast. Ecker rushes up to his dead friend, and discovers that he'd been tricked. Neither hand was stained.

Appearing in "The 13th Kill"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Villains:

Other Characters:

  • Unnamed U.S. Artillery Commanding Officer

Locations:

Vehicles:

Synopsis for "The 13th Kill"

With all the squadron's tanks out on various missions, the C.O. briefs Jeb Stuart and his tank crew on their latest mission. They are to give support to the infantry at St. Azure, where a German U-Boat wolfpack is stationed that is terrorizing both troop and supply ships throughout the Mediterranean. So far all attempts to bring down the fortress have failed, and while HQ believes it's a hopeless endeavor, they've assigned top priority to the mission.

Leading the way for a trail of infantrymen, the crew of the Haunted Tank argue among themselves about the mission. Jeb realizes that they've been sent on a suicide mission, but keeps it between himself and the ghost of his ancestor. Halfway to the target, the tank grinds to a halt due to a clogged feed line. Stuck in place for at least an hour while repairs are made, Jeb orders the infantrymen to continue along the trail and they'll catch up when the tank is fixed. However, only a mile ahead, the infantry is ambushed by SS Leutnant Shreck and his Panzer tank. Known for their high record of kills, Scheck hopes that this latest attack will see him receive an Iron Cross. However, infantrymen don't count towards the record so Shreck positions his Panzer to await the next tank to come down the trail.

Meanwhile, Slim has finished with the repairs to the tank and are barreling down the trail at top speed to catch up with the infantry. It's only minutes before they discover the bodies of the dead soldiers, and before they can realize what had happened they are ambushed by the hidden Panzer. They little Stuart is no match for a Panzer tiger, and Jeb orders Slim to high tail it out of there. Shreck sees them as his chance for glory - his 13th kill - and pursues them. While the others argue that they want to take a stand against the Panzer instead of running, Jeb reminds them that they are under orders not to engage the enemy and that the sub pen in top priority.

Soon they arrive at St. Azure, with the German sub pen right in front of them. Without the infantry's support, they realize that they'll have to attack it alone. Immediately they are seen and become under fire by the remote control .88s armoring the roof of the pen. Jeb orders Rick to open fire at the guns. The tank crew know they must act fast before the Germans can react to their attack, so Jeb jumps off the tank and runs towards the pen. He tosses every grenade he could find, along with a backpack full of explosive TNT, down the first ventilation shaft he can find. They explode, causing a chain reaction of explosions within the pen that effectively destroys the German subs inside, putting the Nazi Mediterranean operations out of commission.

Jeb and the others return to their tank just as Shreck and his Panzer arrive at the scene. Jeb orders Slim to steer the tank towards the railroad tunnel nearby. They pass through the tunnel, and as the Panzer enters the Stuart swings around and returns to the entrance. While a little Stuart may be no match for the armor and firepower of a Panzer, they more than make up for it in speed. Rick fires everything they've got into the rear of the Panzer, it's only weak spot. The Panzer is destroyed before it can reach the end of the tunnel. Examining the wreckage, Jeb notices the different flag emblems attached to the side of the Panzer's turret. Twelve flags for twelve kills.

Notes

  • Story 1, "I, The Tank", is told from the viewpoint of the Haunted Tank itself.
  • The back cover contains an "All About Tanks" Combat Album profile for the Panzerkampfwagen IV, with art by Sam Glanzman.

Trivia

  • In the Editor's Notes for "Signal From a Dead Soldier", he states that in the biography of General Douglas MacArthur, it's described a very similar use of a machine gun firing Morse code during World War 1.



See Also


Recommended Reading


Links and References

  • No external links.

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