"Suicide Mission!": This story is reprinted from The Brave and the Bold #52.
Battle Classics #1 is an issue of the series Battle Classics (Volume 1) with a cover date of October, 1978. It was published on June 22, 1978.
Synopsis for "Suicide Mission!"
This story is reprinted from The Brave and the Bold #52.
A high priority secret mission falls into Lt. Johnny Cloud's lap: To deliver a secret agent, code-named "Martin", back to US Headquarters by whatever means necessary. The agent had recently been rescued from a Nazi prison camp by French Revolutionists, and they were to rendezvous with Lt. Cloud at a predetermined location. Cloud was also told that his plane was rigged to explode in the case of a crash, to prevent the enemy from discovering the mission orders.
As soon as he took off, Lt. Cloud was under attack by a Nazi fighter-plane, putting his life in danger for if his plane was damaged badly enough, the bomb inside it would surely detonate! His ace piloting skills, however, gain him the upper hand by swooping to the ground and letting the wind help pull him back up and around to face his attacker and shoot him down. Hoping that was just a random attack rather than a sign that the Nazi's know about the mission, Cloud continues on course to the field where Martin was supposed to meet up with him. He manages to land the plane on the grassy terrain without bumping it too violently. An old man driving a hay wagon appears over the hill. He is gravely injured, being the last of the unit originally tasked with helping Martin escape from the Nazi prison. Looking in the back of the wagon, Lt. Cloud is astonished at the sight he sees; a man, completely enveloped in an iron suit with a mask, lies hidden beneath the hay. The iron-covered figure identifies himself as the agent code-named "Martin", explaining the Nazi's locked him in the heavy iron suit to prevent his escape. A plan that apparently failed. While he helps the iron-clad agent into his plan, Lt. Cloud looks back to see the Nazi's in a tank trying to blow them out of the sky! But with his final breath, the old man down below steers his wagon in the path of the tank, destroying both vehicles and killing the occupants. From behind the iron mask, "Martin" lets out a barely audible sob as he says goodbye... to his father. Three more fighter planes had caught up to them before long. Though he got lucky enough to shoot one down, the other two planes converged on Lt. Cloud, damaging his plane until it starts to smoke, spelling certain doom for him and mission failure for the allies. Then, before they are completely shot up, one of the enemy fighter planes suddenly explodes without warning...
Groundside, the Haunted Tank and her crew shoot down the other Nazi fighter, saving the lives of the lieutenant and his passenger. Jeb Stuart follows the plane as it lands cautiously a few yards away. He is surprised to see one of it's passengers is in an iron-suit, but nevertheless helps both into the M3, while the rest of the tank crew provide cover fire. An enemy Tiger Tank shows up for the attack, so Jeb sends the men into the woods for cover until he can come back for them, then drives the M3 Haunted Tank into the smoke screen created by Cloud's now-burning plane. Jeb secretly asks the General, who haunts the tank, for help, and is told in response that the pilot's plane still has one more punch left. Sure enough, the explosive planted on Lt. Cloud's plane finally activates just as the enemy tank rolls by. The explosion tears the Tiger apart, saving the Haunted Tank and her occupants. As they skirt away from the battlefield, the General imparts to Jeb that he'll need a "Rock of Strength" to help them get back to friendly territory.
Patrolling the forests, Easy Company, led by Sgt. Rock, see the Haunted Tank as it rolls over one of their anti-tank mines. The Sergeant takes a few steps forward to help, when he is thrown to the ground by the impact of an exploding shell fired by an enemy tank coming up from behind. Easy Company's newest recruit, Dead-Eye, who lies fatally wounded, has just enough strength to push his bazooka in Sgt. Rock's direction. Rock makes the hit, blowing up the oncoming tank with the bazooka rocket, saying it was for Dead-Eye and for Easy Company... but Dead-Eye had already passed on.
Rock was so tired that he didn't even blink twice when a fighter pilot crawled out of the hatch of the M3 tank. But when he saw the iron-clad figure waiting within, like Jeb before him, he could hardly believe his eyes. Jeb and Lt. Cloud gave him a quick rundown of what happened so far, then "Martin" told him about the mission. The voice inside the iron mask had a tinge of familiarity to the Sergeant, but it was so muffled that he couldn't rightly remember from where. When the group had moved away from the disabled tank, they decided to take a time-out and help their agent comrade out of his iron prison. It took some work, and a lot of prying, but soon the agent was free, and none were more surprised than Sergeant Rock at "Martin's" identity: Mademoiselle Marie!
Sgt. Rock explains how he met her once before on the battlefield, when she blew up a bridge while fighting Nazis. Mlle. Marie corrects him, saying he saved her life and she never got a chance to repay him, until now. Together, the group now walk out of the woods, the enemy will be looking for them, but likely not knowing what the agent "Martin" looked like, or that she was a female. When a tank rolls up behind them and shouts a German order at them to halt, Lt. Cloud, Tankman Jeb, and Sgt. Rock secretly remove their dog-tags to throw the tank commander off. When the Nazi demands to know which one of them is Martin, they each claim to be him. Angered, the Nazi Commander threatened to gun them all down if he did not get an answer. It was Sgt. Rock who made a dash for the side, causing the tank to turn in his direction. He ducks under the tank and jams his last Rocket into the treads. He meets back with the group and they run to cover as the tank follows them, until the treads take the rocket underneath the heavy vehicle and cause it to blow up. With no more obstacles between them and the allied forces, they hike on.
Later at the Army Base, Mademoiselle Marie is safely escorted back. Jed Stuart, Johnny Cloud and Frank Rock are all given promotions, and a kiss on the cheek by Marie herself. Rock, though, is depressed with his new rank, not wanting to face Easy Company as a Lieutenant, and vowing to find a way to get demoted back to his comfortable status as a Sergeant.
Appearing in "Suicide Mission!"
- Mlle. Marie (As "Martin")
- Haunted Tank Unit
- Easy Company
- Dead-Eye (Only appearance; dies)
- Tex (Single appearance)
- Marie's Unnamed Father (Final appearance; dies)
- World War II era
- European Theater
- Iron Suit
- Bazooka Shell
- Johnny Cloud's P-51 (Destroyed)
- The Haunted Tank
- Cover gallery for the Battle Classics series