"Haunted Tank: "A Tank is Born"": The Haunted Tank is returning to base along with another tank after an uneventful patrol. Lt. Jeb Stuart is looking forward to getting back, and an impending date with a girl named Mimi from town. His thoughts are interrupted by the appearance of the ghost of hi


Quote1.png Wait, General! Don't fade! The war won't be the same without you! Quote2.png
Lt. Jeb Stuart

G.I. Combat #178 is an issue of the series G.I. Combat (Volume 1) with a cover date of May, 1975.

Appearing in Haunted Tank: "A Tank is Born"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

  • German pilots
  • German U-Boat sailors

Other Characters:

  • Jeanne
  • Old Man
  • American Artillery soldiers

Locations:

Items:

  • Dynamite

Vehicles:

  • The Haunted Tank (Destroyed)
  • The Haunted Tank II (First appearance)
  • American M3 Stuart tank
  • German Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter aircraft
  • American supply train
  • German U-Boat submarine

Synopsis for Haunted Tank: "A Tank is Born"

The Haunted Tank is returning to base along with another tank after an uneventful patrol. Lt. Jeb Stuart is looking forward to getting back, and an impending date with a girl named Mimi from town. His thoughts are interrupted by the appearance of the ghost of his ancestor General J.E.B. Stuart, who tells him that his guardianship of their tank is finished and that he must leave forever. Jeb is surprised, and fears that they may have let the General down. Then, an explosion from ahead rocks the area. Jeb orders Slim to pour on the gas. Rounding the bend, they find that their companion tank has been destroyed, but no enemy can be seen. The four quickly jump out of the tank to help. At the smoking scene, they find an old French boat captain and his mate helping to pull the men out of the flaming tank. It is too late, though. The men are all dead. The old sailor tells them that his own ship had been sunk by a German U-Boat. He is haunted by the screams of his men, all slaughtered by the enemy torpedoes, and has vowed to avenge them one day. Jeb thanks them for their help and they leave in their tank, worried that the unseen enemy that destroyed their friends could be coming for them.

Heading inland, the Haunted Tank follows the route of the train tracks. A mile ahead, they find one of their supply trains under attack by a squadron of enemy fighter planes. Jeb orders Slim to move them up into the battle, and Rick open fires into the attacking planes. Two of the planes are destroyed, but the final one swings around and gets a clean shot right at the Haunted Tank, blowing it right off its treads and sending it toppling over onto it's side. With the Haunted Tank a smoking wreck, Jeb and the others quickly jump out while they still have a chance. The cannon on the tank is still intact, and the four move fast to remove it from the tank before the plane can make another pass. Jeb, Gus, and Slim use all their strength to hold the cannon up as Rick loads to take aim. Struggling to hold the cannon upright into the air, they are helped by a mysterious person who came to help after hearing the noise. As the plane begins its pass to attack, Rick fires the cannon. The plane is destroyed, and the blast sends all five of them crashing to the ground from the recoil. Now safe from enemy attack, Jeb notices the mysterious person is a young blonde woman named Jeanne. Slim looks over the wreckage of the battle, and notices that atop one of the burning flatcars of the train is a brand new Pershing tank. Jeb orders the others to quickly drive it off before it can get damaged by the flames. They lost one tank, only to have the luck of finding a replacement. They help Jeanne aboard, offering her a ride back to her father, the old man they had met earlier that day. Along the way, the guys try to decide on a name for their new tank.

Jeb and his crew on board their new tank return to the beach from before. Once they arrive, Jeb spots the old man out at sea in a rowboat. Jeanne tells him that every day her father searches for the U-Boat that killed his crew, using dynamite wrapped in plastic bags as depth charges to try and flush it out of the water. To their shock and surprise, the explosions actually cause a German U-Boat to surface, nearly capsizing the old man and his tiny boat! The old man shouts for the tank to fire, but Jeb can't while the man is too close to the enemy sub. The Germans fire off a torpedo right at the tank. The torpedo misses, hitting the beach to the right of them. The explosion causes their new tank to slip its tread, rendering them immobile and a sitting duck. The U-Boat opens fire with its cannons, buffeting the tank around and making it impossible for Rick to get a clear shot at the enemy. Then, emerging from the swirling smoke, the ghost of General Stuart appears again! The ghost grabs the spinning tank, holding it down so that Rick can get a clean shot. Rick fires, hitting the sub broadside. The shell smashes into the sub, but does not explode. Damaged, the U-Boat dives back under the water. Moments pass, then... The sea erupts into a roaring inferno as the U-Boat explodes under the waves! Jeanne jumps down off the tank when she spots her father walking out of the sea, safe and alive. His ship and crew have been avenged. As the ghost of General Stuart stands tall over their new tank, Jeb asks him why he came back. The ghost explains that he had too, as he is not the guardian of a tank but of the crew within. Jeb makes a decision. The new tank will be named the Haunted Tank II!

Appearing in "Face of the Enemy"

Featured Characters:

  • American Artillery gunner

Antagonists:

  • German Artillery soldiers
  • German Infantry soldier

Other Characters:

  • American Artillery soldiers

Locations:

Items:

  • American M114 155 mm Howitzer gun

Vehicles:

  • German Panzerkampfwagen IV tank

Synopsis for "Face of the Enemy"

One man, an American gunner attached to a 155mm Howitzer, is unsatisfied with his assignment. Firing artillery at an enemy a mile away that he can't even see is not his idea of fighting a war. He feels like he's not a real soldier, just a piece of equipment being used by the army.

Then, a shell from a German Panzer tank explodes directly in front of their position. It kills everyone on his team, except for the gunner. Angry at life and even angrier at the enemy, he quickly loads a shell into their gun and takes aim at the approaching Panzer. He sets the range... yanks the lanyard... and fires! It's a direct hit and the Panzer is destroyed. However, the enemy's death doesn't change his perception of the war. It's still a long-range war to him, fighting a chunk of machinery and pushing buttons. There's no satisfaction in never seeing the face of the enemy you're fighting. Then, from behind, the gunner is shot three times in the back. He falls to the ground, mortally wounded. A boot pushes him over onto his back and he can see the enemy soldier that shot him. The gunner got his wish to see the face of his enemy... but it was the last face he would ever see!

Notes

  • In this issue's "Let's Make Tracks" letter page, the column has been replaced with a detailed profile of artist Ric Estrada, who also provides a self-portrait.

Trivia

  • No trivia.



See Also

Recommended Reading

Links and References

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