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G.I. Combat Vol 1 272

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"Spearhead for Slaughter": On June 4th, 1944, under the curtain of pelting rain, the Haunted Tank and her crew have been given the honor of being point for D-Day, the invasion of Europe. Behind them, the fleet will carry 250,000 infantrymen, as well as tanks, artillery, and airborne troops into


Quote1 Spearheadin' the invasion makes us flies on a bulls-eye... an honor I can sure do without! I'll bet we never come back! Quote2
-- Rick Rawlins



Appearing in "Spearhead for Slaughter"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Villains:

  • German Naval Captain
  • German Naval lieutenant
  • German Infantry general
  • German Infantry soldiers

Other Characters:

Locations:

Vehicles:

Synopsis for "Spearhead for Slaughter"

On June 4th, 1944, under the curtain of pelting rain, the Haunted Tank and her crew have been given the honor of being point for D-Day, the invasion of Europe. Behind them, the fleet will carry 250,000 infantrymen, as well as tanks, artillery, and airborne troops into the biggest military incursion of the war. On board the PT boat, the tanks original crew - Lt. Jeb Stuart, driver Slim Stryker, gunner Rick Rawlins, and loader Arch Asher, watch through the darkness and rain for any sign of the enemy. Jeb is the first to spot them, a German patrol boat of their port. The Germans attack, opening fire onto the PT boat. The battle is over quick, and Rick is able to destroy the ship with a well-placed blast from the tank, but the crew are left to wander if the Germans had time radio a warning to the forces on shore that the invasion had begun.

As the PT boat nears the shores of Calais, Jeb is able to see through his binoculars that the Germans have amassed a fleet of barges ready to cross the English Channel and land in England. The Germans are surprised by the Allies sudden appearance, but quickly open fire at the approaching PT boat. The Haunted Tank open fires, its armor-piercing shells shredding through the enemy fleet made vulnerable by their tightly-packed positions. From above on the bluff, Mademoiselle Marie and her French Resistance fighters watch the battle, waiting for their chance to strike. At German Coastal Command HQ, word of the attack is reaching the top brass, and the General orders his Panzer battalions from Branche and St. Omer to Calais, believing the man Allied invasion force has now landed in Calais and not in Normandy.

Just as the Haunted Tank reaches shore and disembarks onto the beach, their PT boat is destroyed by a Panzer tank. They turn and destroy the Panzer, then head into the woods to meet up with the French Resistance. Meanwhile in Calais, Mlle. Marie and her fighters are storming into the town to pin the Germans back so they can not reach the beach. The townsfolk begin to help, creating Molotov bombs and throwing them at the passing Panzers. The streets are barricaded, and even the younger citizens of the town take up arms to protect the Allies and their invasion forces.

As dawn breaks, the Haunted Tank has reached the outskirts of Calais. Arch, having climbed the tallest tree, watches out to sea for any approaching Allied ships from the fleet, but sees nothing. They are then attacked by a German patrol, but Jeb fires his machine gun into their ranks. The German patrol is killed. As Arch climbs back down, he tells Slim that he believes they're on their own with no help from the fleet any time soon. Rick begins to get hysterical, angry at being left alone to the mercy of the Germans, and suggests that the four of them just go AWOL for being left and forgotten by the army. The General appears, and Jeb pleads with him for guidance. General J.E.B. Stuart tells him that his responsibility must guide his actions. Jeb hears the sounds of fighting from the town of Calais, and he knows what they must do. He orders the tank to the town.

As the Haunted Tank enters Calais, Jeb meets with Mlle. Marie and her men. He is forced to tell her that there are no forces coming and no invasion. They're all they got. Jeb tells Marie and her men to get aboard the tank and they begin to fight their way down the streets, destroying any German forces they come in contact with. As they begin to run out of ammo, Mlle. Marie tells Jeb to turn and head towards the coast at Normandy, where they can find a fishing boat and escape. They trip is long, as the tank crosses the countryside through the rest of the afternoon and throughout the evening. Finally, they reach the Normandy coast the next morning: June 6th. As they come into sight of the coast, they can see the real reason for their mission. The invasion has started... in Normandy. They were a diversion, a decoy to send the German forces away from the actual landing and to Calais. Jeb tells the General he was right. Sometimes the sacrifice of a few can win the battle.

Appearing in "Code-Word: Treachery"

Featured Characters:

  • Pierre Monsard (Dies)

Villains:

  • German Infantry captain (Dies)
  • German Infantry soldiers

Other Characters:

  • General Duplessis
  • Colonel Jameson
  • Henri

Locations:

Items:

  • Tracking device

Vehicles:

  • German Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter plane
  • Civilian Single-wing plane
  • American Consolidated B-24 Liberator heavy bomber

Synopsis for "Code-Word: Treachery"

High over unoccupied France, a German fighter plane closes in on a lone, unarmed craft. Before the plane can be destroyed, a young man named Pierre Mondard parachutes out at the last second. He is carrying a code-book precious to the French underground. As he floats down to the ground, he remembers the events of several hours past outside London where he along with two other agents were given the books containing the secret codes the Free French forces will use to communicate with the Underground. Each book must be flown into France and brought to the secret rendezvous. While the other two continued on course for their destinations, the tracking center back in London has registered the destruction of the plane and the supposed death of Agent Monsard.

Meanwhile, in France, a car arrives to pick up Monsard from his landing point. It is the Germans, and apparently Monsard has been waiting for them. In London, his tracking blip is picked up again on the move towards occupied territory. It's just as they had expected - Monsard is a traitor. Meanwhile, at a secret German headquarters in the French countryside, Monsard hands the code book over to a German colonel, who plans on distributing the code to all of Germany's intelligence chiefs. But when the colonel opens the book, he finds only an Allied tracking device within its hollowed out pages! The Germans hear the sound of American bombers overhead, but it is too late. The headquarters is destroyed and everyone is killed.

A short while later, in the French headquarters near London, General Duplessis explains to the other agents that the whole thing was staged to lure out a traitor and informant in their midst. The other books were dummies with blank pages. The spy who helped the enemy, ended up helping the Allies instead!

Appearing in "Winds of Death"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Villains:

  • Japanese Kamikaze pilots

Other Characters:

  • Myobu (Dies)
  • American Naval seamen

Locations:

Items:

  • Throwing stars

Vehicles:

  • Japanese Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter aircraft
  • American battlecruiser
  • American aircraft carrier
  • American Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter aircraft

Synopsis for "Winds of Death"

On the deck of an American aircraft carrier, near the island of Okinawa, the head of the O.S.S., Control, has met with his top agent Kana in the midst of one of the greatest battles of the war. Control is worried about the destruction caused by Japanese Kamikaze Zero pilots, and is baffled by their compulsion to willfully destroy themselves. Kana explains to Control that he could never understand the honor it brings to a Japanese soldier. As they talk, overhead one Japanese plane is hit by Allied fire, and begins to barrel down aflame towards the Aircraft carrier. It strikes hard onto the deck, and firefighting crews desperately fight to stem the blaze. In the confusion, Control gives Kana his new orders - to take a captured Japanese Zero plane and destroy the secret kamikaze airfield on Oshimo Island. Kana board the plane and takes off.

As Kana soars off into the sky, he remembers the fate of his parents long ago in warring Japan. They were branded traitors for befriending westerners and hung. Then his thoughts shift to a later time when he saw his cousin Myobu last, near the beginning of the war. Kana swore to avenge his parents and left Japan to join the Americans, while Myobu remained with his country to fight on their side. Kana's thoughts are jarred back to the present when his plane is attacked by an American fighter on patrol. Kana tries his best to shake him, refusing to fire back, but the American hits his plane causing it to burst into flames and dive. Kana manages to steer his plane one target - the airfield on Oshimo Island - where it slams into the grounded planes and destroys them. Kana has parachuted to safety before the crash, and as he glides to the ground sees that one of the Zero planes has survived to take off. As soon as Kana lands, he rushes to find another surviving unmanned plane, killing the Japanese pilots nearby with throwing stars. He then takes off in pursuit of the lone Zero plane. With the air full of FLAK shells, Kana chases the Zero through the explosions to finally catch up with him. Just as the Zero somersaults and begins his kamikaze dive, Kana rams his plane into him.

From the deck of the aircraft carrier, Control sees the airborne explosion and realizes that only Kana could have caused that. Both planes, now locked together, crash into the ocean and sink. Kana manages to free himself from his cockpit and then pulls the Japanese pilot out of his. As they both surface, Kana realizes the man he has just saved is his lost cousin Myobu. Control has now spotted the two men floating on the water and has ordered a rescue boat to pick them up. Kana is happy to be reunited with his cousin, but Myobu tells him that there can be only death for an honorable kamikaze pilot. Myobu takes a ceremonial dagger from his coat and commits hara kiri, stabbing himself in the heart. As Kana is pulled from the water, Control asks him why he didn't stop his cousin from killing himself. Kana shakes his head. To understand, he would have to be Japanese.

Appearing in "No-Win Mission"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

  • Ben Ericson
  • Luang Min Than Erickson
  • Thanh Ericson

Villains:

  • Lieutenant Nong
  • North Vietnamese captain
  • North Vietnamese soldiers

Other Characters:

  • Buddhist priest
  • Luang Min Than's grandmother

Locations:

Items:

  • Photograph
  • Mk 2 hand grenade

Vehicles:

  • 1970 ford taxi classic transport
  • Ford GP / GPW (Government Pygmy) 4x4 Utility Vehicle
  • BTR-40 (Bronetransporter) Armored Personnel Carrier
  • Boeing T-43 passenger aircraft

Synopsis for "No-Win Mission"

While the three Mercenaries are enjoying a vacation to the beach at Big Sur, they spot a lone man wearing the uniform of a Vietnam veteran walking aimlessly into the surf. When they realize that the man is trying to commit suicide, they jump in to rescue him. The man struggles, not wanting to be rescued, but Philip knocks him unconscious and their able to drag him from the water. Back on the beach, after the man recovers, he explains to them that the war will never be over for him until he can bring his wife back. While in Vietnam, the man, whose name is Ben Ericson, had married a young Vietnamese woman named Luang Min Than. They had spent their honeymoon at her grandmother's farm, but when Saigon fell he was forced against his will to evacuate with the rest of the troops. He swore that one day he would return for Luang. He tried everything to get back, contacting the army and the politicians in Washington, but no one would help him. Touched by his story, the Mercenaries accept the challenge.

The next day the Mercenaries begin the perilous quest, flying to Vietnam. They face suspicious interrogation at the airport, disguised as freelance photographers on a story about the Vietnamese victory in the war. The police find a photo of Luang on Horst, but he explains that it was an old photo from a prize contest. The young Lieutenant Nong keep the photo, but the captain decide to release the three. They then grab a taxi to begin the impossible hunt. Days spill into weeks as the Mercenaries photograph the tide of humanity surging through the streets of Saigon, and the abandoned children of the GIs that had left, outcasts of both worlds. The Mercenaries are about to give up on the mission when they stumble into a mugging taking place on a back street. The Mercenaries easily take down the muggers and rescue the woman they were attacking. They take the woman to a hospital near the outskirts of the city, only to discover that the doctor on duty is Luang Min Than!

The next morning the Mercenaries load their luggage into a rented car and with Luang head out towards her grandmother's farm so she can say goodbye. When they arrive, Luang introduces them to Thanh, the daughter that Ben doesn't even know he has. The Mercenaries agree to smuggle both of them back to America, but then the Vietnamese police arrive. The Mercenaries had been followed. The captain tells them that they do not wish to be cruel, and agrees to allow the Mercenaries to take one of them away as a goodwill gesture. Luang insists that they take Thanh. The captain tells them to hurry, as his lieutenant is not as generous. On their way to the airport, they run into Lieutenant Nong and his roadblock. Gordon throws a grenade at the roadblock, destroying the jeep and sending the lieutenant and his police scattering. The Mercenaries then disappear down the road to safety.

Two days later, at the Los Angeles Airport, the Mercenaries meet Ben Ericson and present him with the daughter he has never met. Ben promises Thanh that one day he will get her mother out of Vietnam. As the two wave them goodbye, the Mercenaries are despondent that they failed in their true mission, but were able to bring some happiness to their client's life.

Notes

  • The first story " Spearhead for Slaughter" is told as a "lost" story of the Haunted Tank, chronicling the events leading up to D-Day on June 6th, 1944. It features the original crew of the Haunted Tank, including both Slim Stryker and Arch Asher, both of whom have been killed in the line of duty by the time of this issue.

Trivia

  • No trivia.



See Also


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Links and References

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