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"Haunted Tank: "Shoot-Out at Flak Alley"": In the bitter cold of Bastogne, Lt. Jeb Stuart stands face to face with German Leutnant Wilhem Dietrich in a duel to the death. Both have drawn their pistols, both have agreed to fire on the count of three. In the midst of the tension, the ghost of Gene


Quote1 If in the midst of war, there's a single act of mercy from a friend and foe... there's still hope for us all! Quote2
-- Gus Gray



Appearing in Haunted Tank: "Shoot-Out at Flak Alley"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

  • Panzer Leutnant Wilhem Dietrich (Dies)
  • German Artillery soldiers
  • German Infantry soldiers

Other Characters:

  • American Artillery soldiers
  • American Infantry soldiers
  • American Infantry sergeant

Locations:

Items:

  • German 88 mm anti-tank artillery gun (in flashback)

Vehicles:

  • The Haunted Tank
  • German Panzerkampfwagen IV
  • American M4 Sherman tanks (in flashback)
  • American Landing Ship, Tank (LST) (in flashback)

Synopsis for Haunted Tank: "Shoot-Out at Flak Alley"

In the bitter cold of Bastogne, Lt. Jeb Stuart stands face to face with German Leutnant Wilhem Dietrich in a duel to the death. Both have drawn their pistols, both have agreed to fire on the count of three. In the midst of the tension, the ghost of General J.E.B. Stuart appears before Jeb. Jeb knows the General understands what must be done. His feud with Lt. Dietrich started long ago, back in North Africa...

A year ago, when the Haunted Tank first met the Afrika Korps in the Kasserine Pass, a brutal battle was being waged against the two armored sides. The American tanks had been all but wiped out by the Germans, all but the Haunted Tank and her crew. Their tank was out of ammunition. They were sitting ducks before the Germans. Then, one tank commander raises his arm to silence the enemy fire. Lt. Dietrich had ordered them to be spared, unwilling to fire onto an unarmed and helpless foe. The American forces their first defeat in the war, paying the price with blood, but Jeb never forgot the face of the German Leutnant who spared them. Jeb never thought he would see the man again during the war, and battle after battle he watched and looked. Every tank they destroyed, every man they killed, he made sure that it was not the Leutnant. Eventually they defeated and drew the Afrika Korps out of North Africa. Months later, the crew hit the beaches at Anzio in Italy. The enemy was dug in, waiting for them, pinning the American forces onto the beach with their .88 cannons. Reinforcements came, and the American tanks were able to destroy the German cannons on the beach. But the Germans were supported by a squad of Panzer tanks... and they were commanded by Leutnant Wilhem Dietrich. Jeb ordered his crew to cease fire, and he spares the German commander and his tank to pay back for the mercy he was shown at Kassarine Pass.

The war went on. The Germans fought the Allies bitterly every mile towards Rome. For every hill and every town. Jeb kept watch for the German tank and its commander, once again checking before every attack and every kill. Rome eventually fell to the Allies. A respite was given, and the war briefly forgotten. Then winter came. The Haunted Tank and her crew were sent to the Belgium front to hook up with Patton's division, racing to relieve the 101st Airbourne surrounded at Bastogne. They fought the Germans in the woods in the bitter cold and snow. And it all led up to this moment. The moment when Jeb would finally come face to face with his antithesis.

Now Jeb is looking down the barrel at the man he has followed for so long. They stand pointing pistols at each other, waiting for the first move. Dietrich counts down. Three... two... one... Then, a pistol is fired. For a second it is uncertain who made the first shot, then Dietrich slumps over into the snow. Jeb is stunned, not certain if it was he who made the shot. Then, from out of the woods, an American Infantry squad appears. The sergeant is the one who fired the shot, and Jeb realizes that the Leutnant would have never surrendered to him. Dietrich dies in Jeb's arm, explaining to his that death is only a part of war. Jeb then turns to face his crew, ordering them back into the tank to continue the battle.

Appearing in OSS: "What's the Price of a Spy"

Featured Characters:

  • Special agent "Mongoose"

Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

  • German agent "Cobra" (Dies)
  • German Infantry soldiers

Other Characters:

  • O.S.S. Unnamed Double agent

Locations:

Items:

  • Parachute
  • Shoe (with hidden compartment and bomb)
  • Electric laces

Vehicles:

  • British plane
  • German Staff car

Synopsis for OSS: "What's the Price of a Spy"

In the north of England, O.S.S. mastermind "Control" and his top agent, code-named "Mongoose", stand on a cliff watching as the ammo ships docked at Tyneside explode. Control is certain that is is an act of sabotage by the German espionage master code-named "Cobra". At least a hundred Allied guerrillas have died trying to get to him, and now Control has given the assignment to Mongoose, his best agent. But Control's plan is extremely dangerous, with the only way to get Mongoose close to Cobra is to have his cover blown by a double-agent and captured. Mongoose accepts the mission despite the danger.

Shortly over occupied Belgium, Mongoose parachutes in, led by the lights from the Belgium underground. An underground agent tells Mongoose that Cobra will be at a village 25 miles away tomorrow, and that secret freedom fighters will be there to assist him. Mongoose waits until another parachute arrives with his "special equipment", then heads for the village.

At noon the next day, Cobra and his officers sit at the village inn to make plans for the next attack against the Allies. Mongoose, posing as a waiter, overhears Cobra tell his men that they plan to blow up the American subs passing the firth of Forth Bridge in Scotland. When Mongoose approaches Cobra to give him a drink, Cobra blows the agents cover, having been tipped off and waiting for him. Cobra laughs at the amateurish attempt to kill him with poisoned wine, and orders Mongoose to drink it himself. He does, showing Cobra that he hadn't intended to kill him like that. Cobra orders his men to search the prisoner, and they find that his left shoe contains a hidden compartment with a pistol inside. Cobra is disappointed in the lack of ingenuity from Mongoose and tells him to put his shoe back on. But when Mongoose begins to lace up his shoe, in activates an electrical charge that stuns the soldiers holding him, leaving only Cobra alone and defenseless. Mongoose takes Cobra prisoner.

Twenty minutes later, outside of town, Mongoose holds a pistol to Cobra's head, forcing him to drive away from the village towards a rendezvous point. However, Mongoose lets his guard slip, and Cobra takes advantage of it by backhanding Mongoose and throwing him out of the car. As Mongoose lies dazed on the road, Cobra turns the car around to run him over. Mongoose rolls out of the way just in time. Cobra then realizes that he's fallen into a trap, and that Mongoose has left his left shoe in the back seat of the car... his shoe that is now ticking! The car explodes, killing Cobra.

One week later, back at O.S.S. Headquarters, Control opens an envelope to find a bill of $100 for custom-made shoes. Mongoose walks in that moment, telling Control that it's a small price to pay for a Cobra!

Appearing in Haunted Tank: "The Life and Death of a Tank"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

  • Lieutenant Kurt Muller (Dies)
  • German Artillery soldiers

Other Characters:

  • American Artillery mechanics (all die)
  • American Infantry soldiers

Locations:

Items:

  • Bazooka

Vehicles:

  • The Haunted Tank
  • American M4 Sherman tank
  • German Panzerkampfwagen IV
  • American Landing Craft Mechanized (LCM) (Destroyed)

Synopsis for Haunted Tank: "The Life and Death of a Tank"

The Haunted Tank crew had succeeded in helping a battalion of trapped American rangers escape death from a German destroyer ship blocking their path, but only with the sacrifice of their own beloved Stuart tank. Meanwhile, some distance away, German artillery Lieutenant Kurt Muller leads his crew away from their own smashed and smoking Panzer tank. Both Lt. Jeb Stuart and Lt. Kurt Muller need a new tank to rejoin the fight, and both realize the only place to get another would be the nearby tank dept at Avignon.

Later, at the depot, the savage battle has depleted the stock of tanks. There is only one left, and the Germans get to it first. Killing the mechanics, Muller and his men steal the tank and drive off just as Stuart and his crew arrive. Muller fires his machine gun, wounding Slim and Rick. Jeb and Gus take off in pursuit of the stolen tank. The Germans in their stolen tank continue on, coming across an American patrol on the road. The patrol is slaughtered, not knowing that the American tank is being piloted by the enemy. Shortly after, Jeb and Gus find the dead patrol on the road. Gus takes a bazooka from one of the dead bodies, hoping to use it to even the odds. Jeb tells him to hold of until he is ordered, not wanting to destroy their only means of getting a tank. Meanwhile, half a mile away, the stolen tank approaches another American tank and its crew. The Americans have no idea that is is under the control of the enemy, and hold their fire to allow it to approach. The Germans fire, destroying the Americans and their tank. A short time later, Jeb and Gus come across the burning wreckage and bodies. The Germans are killing everyone in their way. Jeb is angered, and tells Gus to be ready with the loaded bazooka.

As dusk sets in, the captured American tank halts, allowing Jeb and Gus to finally catch up with it. From the tree line, they lay low and watch. Jeb realizes that he is being watched from behind by the ghost of General J.E.B. Stuart, and scoffs at the apparition for judging him. Jeb tells his ancestor that he has to destroy the tank in order to save lives. General Stuart tells Jeb that it is his decision while he is in command. Then, Jeb notices a Panzer tank approaching in the distance. Lt. Muller orders his men inside the American tank to send the Panzer their identification code for that they will not be fired on. Jeb gets an idea, and orders Gus to fire the bazooka right past the stolen tank and at the Panzer. Gus fires, must missing the Sherman and hitting the German tank. The Panzer, thinking it is under attack by the Sherman tank, open fires and destroys the American tank and the German crew inside. Jeb is sad to have lost their only tank, but tells his ghostly ancestor that he had no choice. They then head back to pick up Slim and Rick... and hopefully another tank.

Appearing in "Battle Without End"

Featured Characters:

  • Liaison Pilot Fred Landrum (Dies)

Supporting Characters:

  • Lt. Larry Hanson

Antagonists:

  • German Infantry soldiers
  • German pilot (Dies)

Other Characters:

  • American Infantry sergeant
  • American Infantry soldiers

Locations:

Items:

  • American M101 Light field howitzer
  • German 15 cm Kanone 18 heavy gun

Vehicles:

  • American Stinson L-1 Vigilant light observation aircraft
  • German Fieseler Fi 156 Storch liaison plane

Synopsis for "Battle Without End"

Somewhere along the French-German border, opposing artillery brigades are in a duel across No-Man's Land. On the American side, Lt. Larry Hanson looks to the sky with his binoculars at a spotter plane piloted by ace pilot Fred Landrum. The two have known each other since artillery school back in the states, where a friendly rivalry between the two began. But today, flak is heavy in the air and Landrum is having trouble finding targets for Hansen below. Hansen is worried about the heavy enemy barrage, hoping that the enemy doesn't spot them and start aiming their way. In the air, Landrum notices that the Germans have begun to move their fire towards the rear where Hansen and his men are stationed. He warns Fred, having spotted the German's cannon, but is now being menaced by the German's own spotter plane. Despite being unarmed, Larry tells Fred that he's going after him to knock him out.

Using a bit of daring aerial maneuvering, Landrum is able to use his plane to damage the enemy's wing and send it spiraling to the ground. But the impact has disabled his com radio, and now he has no way of warning Hansen on the ground that the German cannon is loading to fire right in their direction. He makes a split decision, and just as the cannon fires onto his friends Fred pilots his plane into the path of the shell. He stops the shell, but is killed in the explosion. Larry watches in horror from the ground, noticing the trail of smoke from the wrecked plane leading to the ground. He orders his cannon to fire on that spot, and in turn destroys the Germans' cannon. Later, when all is safe, Hansen drives to the spot where the wreckage of the plane is found. He realizes that Landrum knew exactly what he was doing. He sacrificed himself to save their lives. After witnessing his friend's great act of courage, Hansen swears never to rib another fly boy again.

Appearing in Women at War: "Booby Trap for a General"

Featured Characters:

  • Lieutenant Ellen

Supporting Characters:

  • General Phil (Dies)

Antagonists:

  • German Infantry soldiers

Other Characters:

Locations:

Items:

  • Bomb

Vehicles:

  • German Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter aircraft
  • American Willys MB jeep
  • American GMC "Jimmy" cargo truck

Synopsis for Women at War: "Booby Trap for a General"

Phil, a general with the U.S. Army, orders his driver, a woman named Ellen, to take him to his mobile field headquarters ahead of a visit from General Eisenhower that evening. Later, on a country road outside Paris, they have stopped and, now alone, can finally show their true feelings towards one another. As they embrace, their jeep is attacked from above by a German fighter plane. Ellen begins to drive, taking evasive action, while Phil fires back with the only thing he has, his pistol. Ellen drives the jeep into the woods and cover against the plane. After the German plane gives up the chase, the General takes Ellen into his arms. She wishes that they had met 20 years before, but he is an older man and she's still in her twenties.

Two hours later, outside the field HQ near Chartres, Phil tells Ellen that their hidden relationship is wrong and he is a married man. He wishes to break their affair off, and orders he back to Paris for reassignment. She obeys her orders, crying while driving off into the distance. As Phil enters his HQ, he finds his staff dead, shot by enemy infiltrators. The general had expected this, and had sent Ellen away to ensure her safety. He suspects the Germans are using him as bait to get to General Eisenhower. Not far away, enemy soldiers wait hidden in the woods for Eisenhower's approach. Phil hears the approach of a jeep, but when he looks he is horrified to see that it is Ellen returning. She has spotted enemy soldiers in the woods, and has doubled back to warn Phil. The Germans fire onto the jeep, causing it to crash and send Ellen flying to the ground. With their position revealed, the Germans advance onto the HQ to take it over and wait for Eisenhower's arrival inside. Phil defends the HQ, but is quickly overpowered and killed. Howeer, Phil left them with one final surprise... a booby-trapped door. The HQ explodes, killing the German inside.

Later, when General Eisenhower arrives, he finds Ellen cradling Phil's body in her lap. She explains that he had given his life to save the general.

Appearing in Haunted Tank: "Funeral for a Panzer"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

  • German Artillery soldiers

Other Characters:

  • Italian grandmother
  • Italian grandfather (Dies)
  • Pietro, their grandson
  • Italian civilians

Locations:

Items:

  • Canteen
  • Coffin
  • TNT explosives

Vehicles:

  • The Haunted Tank
  • German Panzer Feldhaubitze .105 self-propelled gun
  • German Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter plane

Synopsis for Haunted Tank: "Funeral for a Panzer"

As the Haunted Tank clatters towards San Juliano, a small Italian village, they are noticed by a young child and his grandparents. They are cleaning and preparing the old man's First World War tank for a possible invasion, loading its weapons to make it battle ready. The boy tells his grandpa that he remembers everything that he has been taught about tanks, and hopes that in the next war he can fight in a tank like his grandfather did before. Lt. Jeb Stuart, commanding the Haunted Tank, overhears the conversation as they pass, and hopes that the boy will never have to fight in another war.

Lt. Stuart are his crew are radioed their new orders. Air patrol has sighted Panzer tanks in the vicinity of San Juliano, and the Haunted Tank is to extend their patrol and protect the village at all costs. The boys spend the entire day searching for any sign of German tanks, but night falls with nothing in sight. Jeb orders the tank to stop until morning, and the guys get out and set up camp for some rest. Slim realizes that he left his canteen in the tank. Gus throws him his, but a bullet slices through it while in mid-air. The crew have been spotted by an approaching Panzer tank. The four try to get back to their tank, but Rick is hit while trying to climb in. He is pulled below as Gus brings the Panzer into the cannon's sights. He fires at point-black range, destroying the Panzer. Jeb orders the Haunted Tank to drive out of the area and to cover. Rick is out cold, badly hurt and losing blood. Before they can reach safety, they are again spotted by the enemy, this time in the air by a passing German fighter plane. It attacks, and Jeb lays down covering fire while Slim takes evasive action. The plane catches on fire and crashes, but is able to drop a bomb right on top of the Haunted Tank. Jeb is all right, but the others inside are torn up by shrapnel and out of action. Jeb climbs down and take control of the tank just in time to go head to head against two more Panzers. In no condition to survive a fight, Jeb steers the Haunted Tank through the gauntlet of fire and out of their range.

As morning dawns, the Haunted Tank reaches the village of San Juliano. He remembers the old man that he had seen earlier, and hopes that he can get help from him to man the tank should they get into another fight. As he enters the center of town, he stops to find a funeral procession. Jeb sees the young boy, and asks his where is grandfather is. The boy tells him that his grandfather died yesterday... it is his funeral. Jeb explains why he needed the old man, and the boy tells him that he can drive the tank having been taught for years by his grandfather. Jeb refuses the offer, but then the village begins to be shelled by German fire and Jeb has no choice but take up the boy's offer.

The Panzers enter the village to find a single American tank in their way. They lay chase through the streets of San Juliano. The boy is driving the tank, with help from the conscious but injured Slim. The Panzers begin to fire onto the Haunted Tank, and Gus prays for heavenly assistance to save them. Meanwhile, at the cemetery, the old man's coffin opens and Jeb appears from within, having taken the old man's place and concealed himself inside. He orders the hearse driver to head back towards the Panzers. Just as the Panzers have the Haunted Tank in their sights, the hearse passes behind them and Jeb lobs sticks of dynamite at them. The three Panzers are taken by surprise, and are quickly destroyed. Jeb climbs up onto the Haunted Tank to thank the boy, and promises to make him an honorary member of the crew.

Notes

  • This issue also includes a one-page text "Famous Fighting Outfits: Fortunes of the Fabulous 75th", a brief history of the 75th Infantry Division from landing in Le Havre and Rouen on December 13th, 1944 through the Ruhr Campaign.

Trivia

  • The second story, "What's the Price of a Spy?", was written by Robert Kanigher under his Bart Regan pseudonym.
  • The third story, "The Life and Death of a Tank", continues on from last issue's first story "Even the Dead Can Fight".



See Also

Recommended Reading

Links and References

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