"Haunted Tank: "Combat Clock"": On the way back to headquarters after a patrol in the Santa Perugia hills, the Haunted Tank and its battered crew make a stop in a small Italian farm. They are greeted by a festive family, who are celebrating the birthday of their young girl named Gina. Gina is fa


Quote1.png I... I can't see a thing! Th-that magnesium bomb blinded me! Quote2.png
Lt. Jeb Stuart

G.I. Combat #182 is an issue of the series G.I. Combat (Volume 1) with a cover date of September, 1975.

Appearing in Haunted Tank: "Combat Clock"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

  • German Army
    • German pilot (Dies)
    • German Artillery soldiers
    • German Infantry soldiers

Other Characters:

  • Gina (First appearance)
  • Gina's father (Dies)
  • Gina's mother (Dies)
  • Gina's family (Dies)
  • Signor Scali
  • Italian schoolchildren
  • Italian villagers

Locations:

Items:

  • Wristwatch
  • Magnesium bomb

Vehicles:

  • The Haunted Tank
  • German Junkers Ju 87 ground-attack aircraft
  • German Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. B

Synopsis for Haunted Tank: "Combat Clock"

On the way back to headquarters after a patrol in the Santa Perugia hills, the Haunted Tank and its battered crew make a stop in a small Italian farm. They are greeted by a festive family, who are celebrating the birthday of their young girl named Gina. Gina is fascinated by the Haunted Tank, and as a birthday present Jeb offers to give her a guided tour. He lifts the girl up into the turret, and explains how he uses the face of a clock to direct them from the hatch. Gina doesn't understand, and she has never owned a watch. Jeb gives her his, and explains how when he uses the "clock method", 12 o'clock is directly in front of him, 6 o'clock behind, and 3 and 9 o'clock to his sides, just like on the watch. While Jeb is showing her the inside of the tank, Gus scolds him for hogging up all her time and the two get out and once again join the party for a dance.

Surprising everyone, a German plane swoops down out of the clouds and begins to attack the village. Jeb and his men return fire to distract the plane while the villagers run to safety. The farmhouse is hit by a bomb, exploding and killing everyone inside. The plane is hit, but while it begins to spiral out of control it drops another bomb right in front of Jeb and the others. It is a magnesium bomb, and the blazing light from the flash blinds all four of the men. Jeb stumbles around frantically in the wreckage of the farmhouse, hoping to find someone alive. He finds Gina, clutching the body of her dead mother. He picks her up, telling her that she has to be his eyes to get them to safety. Jeb orders the others to line up, while Gina leads them back to their tank. Jeb lifts the little girl up into the turret with him, and explains to her that she must help them drive the tank to the nearest village where they can get help and where Gina can be left with friends. Gina remembers the "clock method" that Jeb had explained to her, and uses the watch he gave her to move down the path and to avoid obstacles.

The trip begins very smoothly, with Gina first leading them around the woods and then through down the path towards the village. But then, she spots a German Panzer tank sitting right in the middle of the path. The Panzer spots them as well, and open fires. Jeb asks her which direction the tank is in, using her watch she tells him it is moving from 11 o'clock to 12, and the Jeb relays the info to Rick and Gus below. They fire, but their first shot just misses the tank. The Panzer has now moved directly to 12 o'clock, and Rick's second shot hits it directly on, destroying it. Now free of danger, the tank continues on down the path. The ghost of General J.E.B. Stuart appears, amused by the circumstances, and tells Jeb that the book was right when it said "and a little child shall lead them". Jeb explains the Gina about being able to see the ghost of his ancestor, and she understands. She has her own make-believe friends as well.

After about an hour, they reach the outskirts of the village. Gina can see five German soldiers standing outside her school building. They have her teacher and some of the students prisoner, and are about to execute them. Jeb orders Gina to get inside the tank for safety, and then with her instructions the four men climb out with weapons in hand and begin to walk slowly towards the enemy soldiers. The Germans pauses, uncertain as to what is happening, and then one of them walks up to Jeb and hits him over the head with the butt of his pistol. The German wasn't fooled. He could see the four staring directly into the sun without blinking, and knew they were all blind. Lying on the ground, Jeb begins to cry, which amuses the Germans and brings down their guard. However, the tears are washing his eyes clean, and Jeb can begin to see again. He jumps up, and slams his rifle across the head of the laughing German. From behind, the machine gun on the Haunted Tank open fires, raining bullets down onto the surprised German soldiers. They all surrender and hand their weapons over to the other villagers. Jeb, now able to see, reaches up and helps Gina down from the turret and the machine gun she fired. He hugs her, and thanks her for all the help she gave them. He will miss her, but with Gina now turned over to friends that can take care of her, Jeb and the others roll out towards headquarters.

Appearing in "Invasion? Where's Everyone?"

Featured Characters:

  • American Infantry private

Antagonists:

Other Characters:

  • American Infantry soldiers

Locations:

Items:

  • Grenades
  • "Hedgehogs" Anti-tank obstacle

Vehicles:

  • American Attack Transport AP ships
  • American Douglas C-47 Skytrains
  • American Landing Craft Infantry assault ship

Synopsis for "Invasion? Where's Everyone?"

D-Day. June 6th, 1944. Zero Hour minus three. On the deck of one of the American troopships, the troops talk about their chances of survival during the invasion on the beach. They are the first wave of attack, and none of them believe they will make it out alive. None... except for one lowly Private relaxing in the back. He sees no need to sweat it out. The air's full of planes, the sea's full of battleships, and the big guns' have already begun to open up their fire onto the beaches. The Germans' will be plastered before the army even gets there. It'll be a "piece of cake... a Sunday walk"!

Dawn. The Zero Hour. The company have hit the waves on the LCI heading towards the beach. The LCI takes a direct hit from a shell and is flipped over. The Private struggles in the water to stay afloat with all of his gear on. He manages to surface, only to find the air is full of lead zinging past his helmet. He manages to swim to cover behind one of the hedgehogs lining the beach, and decides to wait until the rest of his outfit can catch up to him. However, looking back he can see no one coming. He's alone on the beach. In front of him is a German machine gun laying fire and pinning him down. Pulling out a grenade, he tosses it towards the MG, but the grenade falls short and explodes between them. He's got to get closer. The Private submerges himself again and edges closer to the shoreline, then tosses another grenade at the MG's position. Bulls-eye! The Private can now make it onto the beach and safely to the cliffs ahead of him.

The Private takes ten to catch his breath along the bottom of the cliff while waiting for the rest of his company to reach his position. A grenade is tossed down towards him from above and explodes, narrowly missing him. He takes better cover, spotting a German soldier atop the cliff trying to take him out. The Private begins to climb until he is close enough to the enemy's position, then he waits. Finally, the German peeks over the cliff, ready to take another shot. The Private is ready, and shoots him first. He then keeps moving up the cliff until he reaches the top. He stops before appearing over the edge, cautious. He brings his helmet slowly over the edge into view, and it is instantly riddled with bullets from the enemy above! A camouflaged German ant-tank gun and machine gun nest, just waiting for his company to appear and take them out. The Germans inside think they have killed the stupid American and laugh, but the jokes on them as the Private suddenly appears and tosses another grenade right into their position. It explodes killing the Germans and taking out their cannon and MGs. He had bated them with his helmet on the end of his rifle. Turning around, he can now see the rest of his company approaching his way. As the tired and battered Private sits resting on the ground, the other soldiers walk up and tell him he was right. The invasion was "a breeze... just a walk in the sun!"

Notes

  • No special notes.

Trivia

  • In this issue's "Let's Make Tracks" letter page, editor Murray Boltinoff tells of the story of Colonel Alois Podhajsky, a former Austrian Army officer and director of Vienna's Spanish Riding School, whom had died not long before on May 23, 1973. His school kept 80 magnificent white stallions, all which were in danger of being captured by the Germans in 1945. General George S. Patton had sent a squadron of tanks to defend and convoy the horses to safety. Writer Robert Kanigher was so intrigued by the story that he based next issue's Haunted Tank story "Six Stallions to Hell-- and Back!" on it.



See Also

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Links and References

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