"Haunted Tank: "A Day in the Life of a Tank"": After months under the blistering suns of Africa, the Haunted Tank and her crew are in an LST on the Mediterranean Sea as part of a Allied force invading German-occupied Sicily. Just as dawn breaks, enemy guns open up on them as Luftwaffe planes app
- Generals make plans, Jeb...but once the shooting starts, it's out of their hands!
Appearing in Haunted Tank: "A Day in the Life of a Tank"
- German Colonel "The Mountain Lion"
- German Major
- German pilots
- German Infantry soldiers
- American Colonel
- American Infantry soldiers
- American sailors (mentioned)
- Field Marshal Erwin Rommel (mentioned)
- German 8.8 cm Flak anti-aircraft gun
- The Haunted Tank
- American Landing Ship, Tank (LST)
- German Junkers Ju 87 "Stukas" plane
- Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. B
Synopsis for Haunted Tank: "A Day in the Life of a Tank"
After months under the blistering suns of Africa, the Haunted Tank and her crew are in an LST on the Mediterranean Sea as part of a Allied force invading German-occupied Sicily. Just as dawn breaks, enemy guns open up on them as Luftwaffe planes appear in the sky to attack. Their bombs damaging the ship badly and taking out every tank on board except the Haunted Tank. Lt. Jeb Stuart orders Rick to elevate the turret cannon as much as he can and fire back at the attacking planes. They open up with everything they've got, surprising the German planes. The planes are destroyed, but the ship is on fire and adrift. Nearing the shore, the ship is pushed by the current. It impacts against the bottom, the force dropping the landing ramp. Taking the chance, the Haunted Tank speeds out of the fiery ship and into the water, which fortunately is only a few inches deep. They bring their tank ashore onto the beach just as the LST explodes. On shore, Jeb calls for new orders over the radio. He is told that they are to proceed immediately west, against their original orders, towards a small German-occupied town. Jeb is confused as to the change, but the ghost of General J.E.B. Stuart appears and tells him that in war plans can change, but the outcome is determined by the few who are on the scene. Jeb then orders Slim to drive towards the new coordinates two miles ahead.
A short time later, the Haunted Tank arrives at the bombed out quiet town. It looks seemingly deserted, but as soon as their within range the come under fire from German infantry hiding on the roofs. The Germans weren't prepared to fight against a tank, and are no match for the firepower of the Haunted Tank. With the enemy defeated, Jeb radios back to HQ and is once again given conflicting orders to continue west to a new set of coordinates. At that moment, at German Regimental Field HQ, the commander of the occupied area is conversing with his major about Rommel's relocation to France and the D-Day attack. The colonel's not a fan of Rommel, and bows to prove that he is the superior tactician. Just then, one of his men run into the room and informs them of an American advance and attack to the west of their location. The Colonel believes that this is the landing invasion they have been waiting for and orders his entire regiment to defend that location immediately.
The Haunted Tank continues down the road towards the new coordinates they have been provided. They finally arrive, only to find a ancient Greek temple atop of a hill. But the temple is occupied by the Germans, who have an eighty-eight gun atop the hill next to it. The enemy begins to fire at the Haunted Tank from their superior position above. Slim takes evasive action, while Rick tries to bring the turret gun up enough to get a good shot. However, Rick's shot is a little too far to the right, and the temple is demolished and falls atop the German cannon and its crew. Jeb is upset for having to destroy such an ancient temple, and thinking their job is done he calls into headquarters. They issue him new orders to head south, giving him new coordinates. Meanwhile, on the roads heading north, a battalion of German troops move with speed to intercept what they believe is an entire Allied landing invasion.
The new coordinates given to the Haunted Tank turns out to be a bridge over a nearby river, with a single Panzer tank guarding it. The Haunted Tank gets lucky, and is able to take out the Panzer with a single shot. Jeb radios in that the bridge is secure, and is given one new final order - to head further south to a new set of coordinates and stay there maintaining radio silence no matter what happens. Jeb is completely confused as to their objective, but nevertheless orders Slim to drive them up to the new location. A short time later they reach their new destination, and find that it is just a single lonely hill overlooking the road. They drive the tank to the top for a look, and are immediately attacked by another German plane. The plane makes a pass, dropping bombs around the little tank, then mysteriously retreats without hitting its target. Everyone is very confused, and Slim is upset that they've been ordered to sit there like an exposed target. Gus reminds them that their orders are to stay put no matter what. Jeb interrupts them when he spots an American company of Infantry marching down the road past them. But then, looking the opposite way, he spots the German regiment heading towards them, too! They can't radio to warn the Americans, but have to do something. Down below, the German Colonel looks up to see the Haunted Tank barreling down towards them from the hill. He orders his men to fire, but the tank doesn't stop. It slams into the side of the Colonel's car and explodes!
Jeb, Slim, Rick and Gus stand atop the hill watching as the Germans scurry away from the massive fire caused by their booby-trapped tank. Then, Jeb spots the American soldiers advancing in to attack the enemy. Behind them, a jeep pulls carrying the Colonel commanding the American forces and his staff. The Colonel explains that it was he who was issuing the confusing orders over the radio, and that he was using them to drive a narrow wedge through the enemy lines while the American forces followed in secret behind them. The colonel asks Jeb what happened to their tank, and Jeb only can point downward towards the fiery wreck at the bottom of the hill. The tank would be replaced, and a new one will bear the name of the Haunted Tank.
Appearing in OSS: "The Secret Everybody Knew"
- Agent "Argos"
- British doctor
- O.S.S.'s London Headquarters
- Fob watch
- Sodium pentathol
- Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. B
- German 1939 Horch Type 930 staff car
- American Landing craft (LCT)
- British Supermarine Spitfire fighter plane
- Fishing boat
Synopsis for OSS: "The Secret Everybody Knew"
The beaches of France have been heavily fortified, thanks to the Afrika Korps' famed "Desert Fox", Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. Standing on the cliffs overlooking his work, he has been joined by Adolf Hitler. Rommel tells his Fuhrer that the Allies' D-Day will be their Doomsday, and that they will suffer intolerable losses. There will be only graves on the beaches, and the sea will turn red with their enemy's blood. Rommel is convinced that the Allies will not invade through Calais, but on the beaches of Normandy... and on the 6th of June. Hitler agrees, but wishes to wait for confirmation from their special agent in London before committing their forces to one specific area. That moment, in London, Control is with his special agent, code-named "Argos", at O.S.S. Headquarters. Argos has been put into a deep hypnotic sleep by a Doctor specializing in mental persuasion. Control gives the Doctor a slip of paper, ordering him to read it aloud to Argos while under hypnosis. The Doctor is reluctant at first, due to the sensitive nature of the secret, and is worried that even with the knowledge deep within Argos' subconscious it would be brought out under torture. Control gives the Doctor a direct order, and he reads the paper aloud to Argos - that D-Day is scheduled for 0430 hours on June 6th. Their objective... Normandy! The Doctor then wakes Argos up. The agent will remember nothing that was said for 48 hours, then the information will return. Argos awakes, unaware of what has been said. Control gives the man his blessing to continue the mission as an undercover London agent working for the German Abwehr.
That night, at the port of Dover, Control watches from the docks as Argos boards a fishing boat on his way to Calais. Agros has been given information about a false invasion of Norway on June 7th by the Allied forces to throw them off the tracks of the real invasion, which has been delayed by a day due to the adverse weather conditions. As Agros departs, he takes note of the massive forces of landing barges and R.A.F. bombers preparing for the invasion. He arrives at the rendezvous point in France the next morning. Field Marshal Rommel and his men are waiting for him, but unknown to Argos they are aware that he is a double agent working for the O.S.S. They arrive at Abwher Field Headquarters, and Argos gives Rommel the information about the Norway invasion as planned. Rommel surprises Argos by having a doctor of his own in the office, and insists that he be hypnotized to "verify" the information he has given. Agros agrees. The doctor places him under hypnosis, and he reveals that the real invasion will happen on June 6th... in Calais. Rommel is shocked and confused, having been certain that it was to happen in Normandy. For two days they repeat the Hypnotic process, but the same message is given each time. Satisfied, Rommel then reports his finding back to Hitler. Hitler is not so convinced, and insists that Argos be given sodium pentathol to verify it. Argos is injected. Unable to resist, Argos gives the the real information, the information he was given while under hypnosis back in London, that the invasion was to land in Normandy. The Nazis are undecided. Is it Calais or Normandy? Hitler makes the decision. Believing to have been double-deceived, he orders the forces to be sent to Calais.
With the German troops and Panzer tanks rerouted from Normandy to Calais, Rommel has Argos dumped in a staff car and left of the beach to be killed in the upcoming invasion. Argos regains consciousness before, and takes off in the car just as he is spotted by a squadron of Spitfires. He is unable to shake them, and quickly turns the car off the road and over the cliffs into the water of the Channel below. Now safe from enemy, and friendly, fire, Argos swims back the beach, his mission completed.
Appearing in "Sad Song For a Slain Soldier"
- Unnamed Union officer
- Private Johnny (Dies)
- Private Oliver Wilcox Norton
- Confederate Infantry soldiers
- Union Infantry soldiers
Synopsis for "Sad Song For a Slain Soldier"
Somewhere in France, 1944, the eerie strains of "Taps" is played over the graves of the dead. But where did this tradition begin? This much is known: it was forged into the battle heat of the Civil War. In 1864, during a skirmish in the War Between the States, one Union officer hears the death cries of a wounded boy on the battlefield. He crawls over to the boy's side, underneath the rain of minnie ball and grape shot. He picks up the boy, reassuring him that he would get him to battalion aid.
At the aid station, the Doctor questions of officer's reasons, and informs him that the boy is dead. When the officer moves in to have a closer look, he realizes that the young boy is in fact his own son. He weeps over the body, telling the Doctor about his son's love for books and music. He then goes through the boy's pockets and finds a scrap of paper with musical notes written upon it. Later that day, during the boy's burial, the officer asks his bugler to play the song he had found. It was then, in the cool afternoon air, that the call of "Taps" was sounded for the first time. Other buglers heard and remembered the strains of music played that day, and soon it swept through the Army of the Potomac and was taken up and used in place of the regulation call "Lights Out". And today the revered tune is still being sounded... for so long as men will fight and die in war, the melancholy melody will live.
Appearing in Battle Behind the Lines: "Million-Dollar Hero"
- Private Ellingsworth
- Private Lacotta
- Private Keifer
- North Korean soldiers
- American Infantry soldiers
- Chosin Reservoir, Korea
- American Willys MB Jeep
Synopsis for Battle Behind the Lines: "Million-Dollar Hero"
October, 1950... Having reached Korea's Chosin Reservoir after a long, hard march, the American G.I.'s of the 9th Army take a break for mail call. One young soldier, Private Ellingsworth, the son of a millionaire, receives his main for the week. The others privately talk behind the Private's back, remarking that the man doesn't need to do anything for himself when he can just pay another to do it for him. Private Keifer agrees to take the mail to Ellingsworth, who is down by the nearby river with a few of the other men. With the arrogance of a spoiled rich boy, Ellingsworth asks Keifer to clean his dirty helmet. Keifer continues past him, telling the boy to "go to blazes". Ellingsworth is puzzled by this reaction. Since training in the states, every one of the guys in his outfit has fallen over each other to take his money, but not Keifer. Ellingsworth is determined to get him to take his money one way or another. Then they hears rifle fire.
The group rush back to the rest of the squad only to find that they had been ambushed and killed. The others want to go out and try to find the Koreans who ambushed their friends, but Ellingsworth refuses to take any orders from them and is determined to stay put. The men argue, but Ellingsworth offers to pay each of them $5,000 when they return if they let him stay behind. The men quickly agree to the bribe... all except Keifer. Ellingsworth agrees to double it to $10,000, but Keifer still refuses. Ellingsworth has had it with Keifer, and finally asks him why he always refuses his money. Keifer then opens his shirt, showing him his badly mangled and scarred chest. Keifer tells him that five years ago ELlingsworth hit him with his hot rod car, but never bothered to learn his name or visit him in the hospital. His father had paid Keifer off with a $4,000 settlement so he wouldn't make a fuss to the insurance company or the police. The money just about covered the cost of the operation Keifer needed. Then, when Keifer found out that he was to be assigned the same company as Ellingsworth, he swore to himself that he would never let the man buy him off again. The others begin to side with Keifer and they force Ellingsworth to go with them to look for the Koreans.
Some time later, they find the Korean soldiers in a clearing by the woods. Keifer forces Ellingsworth to be the point, and to their surprise he moves out to attack the enemy. The others open fire on the Koreans, but one of the enemy soldiers sneaks up behind Keifer and moves in for the kill. Just as he closes in, the Korean is shot dead by Ellingsworth, saving Keifer's life. Later that night, after the squad has bedded down, Keifer asks Ellingsworth why he saved him after he had been such a pain in the butt to him. Ellingsworth tells him that he learned a valuable lesson today, that no amount of money can buy self-respect. Keifer shakes the man's hand, and Ellingsworth promises that when the war's over he will get the best doctors to remove the scars he caused.
Appearing in "Call to Battle"
- Private Zeb
- Private Corey
- German Infantry soldiers
- Machine gun
Synopsis for "Call to Battle"
Two American soldiers, Privates Zeb and Corey, sneak up to a deserted farmhouse in France while scouting for German. Before htey get far, they spot a German machine gun nest hidden away behind the brick wall near the barn. Corey wants to head back to the rest of the squad and inform their C.O., but Zeb has another idea. He stands up and lets out a loud hog-call. Before the Germans can react, dozens of pigs emerge from the barn, running right through the machine gun nest and sending the Germans scurrying off out of their way. With a smile, Zeb tells Corey that he won the state hog-calling championship!
Appearing in Haunted Tank: "The First Battle"
- German Artillery Commander (Dies)
- German Artillery Lieutenant (Dies)
- German Artillery soldiers
- Captain Wilson (Dies)
- American Artillery soldiers
- Captain Wilson's helmet
- The Haunted Tank
- M3 Stuart light tanks
- German Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighter plane
- Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. B
Synopsis for Haunted Tank: "The First Battle"
The ghost of General J.E.B. Stuart tells a tale of the Haunted Tank and her crew's first mission in Africa. The crew's first C.O., Captain Wilson, briefs his men on their mission, which is to patrol the desert ahead of the infantry and keep an eye out for Rommel's Afrika Korps. Their final objective is the ancient Crusaders' castle at Ouidah. If they meet any resistance, they are to rendezvous at the Sharm Oasis to regroup before the attack. The crews them quickly man their tanks and head out, with the Haunted Tank coming in position at number two just behind the Captain. Jeb looks around, seeing nothing but desert in all directions, and tells his men to get comfortable for a long, dull ride. He keeps his eyes on Captain Wilson's helmet, using it to guide them in the right direction. But their peace is soon interrupted by incoming long-range artillery. The squadron takes evasive action, and the Haunted Tank zig-zags in and out to avoid the enemy fire. When the shelling stops, Jeb and his crew realize that they are now all alone. The squadron is no where to be seen! Following orders, Jeb orders Slim to head for the Sharm Oasis.
During the long trek, the crew are beaten down by the hot sun. Jeb takes his helmet off and sets it aside on the turret. Shortly after, the Haunted Tank arrives at the Sharm Oasis, only to find the rest of the squadron dead. Jeb quickly jumps off of the tank, knocking his helmet off the side, and runs towards the bodies in the sand.Just as he reaches them, he is attacked by a German Luftwaffe fighter. Jeb throws himself towards cover to avoid the hail of bullets. Realizing that he is not wearing his helmet, he grabs the closest he can find - Captain Wilson's helmet. Putting it on, he orders Arch to go topside and man his gun while he jumps aboard Captain Wilson's tank and mans the gun there. With the two of them providing crossfire, the German plane is hit and speed towards the ground like a fireball. The plane heads straight for the Haunted Tank, and Rick, Slim and Arch bail out just as the plane hits the tank and destroys it. With their own tank destroyed, Jeb and the others hop aboard the Captain's tank and continue the mission towards the Crusaders' castle alone and out-manned.
Just as dusk begins to fall, they arrive at the castle a little later than had been planned. They are quickly spotted by the Germans, who are a little surprised that the Americans are attacking with just one single tank. The German commander is impressed by their bravery, but gives the order to attack once darkness has fallen. As night comes, the Germans switch on their spotlights right at the tank, and begin firing. The lights blind Jeb, who orders Arch and Rick to take them out. Their attack on the castle is hopeless, but the crew are determined to go out with a fight. Then, to their surprise, the castle is bombarded by massive shellfire and is destroyed! Jeb turns around to see the entire tank squadron behind them, giving them supporting fire and saving the day. As the tanks approach, one of the tank commanders tells Jeb that when they reached the Oasis they found the Haunted Tank on fire and thought that they had been killed. Believing that they were the Captain and his tank, they just followed the helmet!
- The last story "The First Battle", featuring the Haunted Tank, is narrated by the ghost of General J.E.B. Stuart, and takes place before the events of G.I. Combat #162 and the death of Arch Asher. This is also before Jeb Stuart's field promotion to lieutenant.
- In this issues "Let's Make Tracks" letter page, there is a short written history on the .45 Colt pistol, and the U.S. Military's plan on retiring the weapon after 70 years of service.
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- Discuss G.I. Combat Vol 1 241 on the forums
- Cover gallery for the G.I. Combat series
Links and References
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