"The Last Survivor": On April 9, 1945, the crew of the Haunted tank are gathered together in a shell-torn church as Gus Grey leads the prayer when a German shell crashes through the window. While the first shell ends up a dud, the guys run out of the church just as a second enters and detonates,
- Nothing lasts forever, Jeb... especially wars!
- 1 Synopsis for "The Last Survivor"
- 2 Appearing in "The Last Survivor"
- 3 Synopsis for "The Longest Night"
- 4 Appearing in "The Longest Night"
- 5 Synopsis for "Sword of Blood"
- 6 Appearing in "Sword of Blood"
- 7 Synopsis for "Loser Takes All"
- 8 Appearing in "Loser Takes All"
- 9 Synopsis for "A Handful of Heroes!"
- 10 Appearing in "A Handful of Heroes!"
- 11 Notes
- 12 See Also
- 13 Recommended Reading
- 14 Links and References
Synopsis for "The Last Survivor"
On April 9, 1945, the crew of the Haunted tank are gathered together in a shell-torn church as Gus Grey leads the prayer when a German shell crashes through the window. While the first shell ends up a dud, the guys run out of the church just as a second enters and detonates, destroying the building. They quickly remount the tank, but Slim is unable to get it started as a German Panzer appears to attack. They are able to turn the turret in time and fire, blasting the Panzer before it has a chance to destroy them. The firefight is caught on film by LIFE staff photographer Steve Thompson, who asks to hitch a ride with them back to HQ.
At headquarters, the captain gives Jeb the scoop on Thompson, and Jeb notices that the men in each picture taken by Thompson were killed in action... all of them. Jeb believes the guy's a jinx and wants him assigned to another tank crew, but the captain tells him that he either goes with them on they're taken off the mission - which is to race to meet the Russians at the Elbe River before the British or anyone else and be the first to meet them. Despite his feelings for Thompson, he agrees to allow him to go with them on the mission.
The next day, before the Sherman and its crew can take off, Thompson discovers that all of his cameras have been stolen. Jeb hopes that this will make him decide to stay behind, but Thompson refuses to miss the chance to miss history in the making. Rick admits to the others that he was the one who hid the cameras, although it didn't have the affect he was hoping for. They head off down the road towards the River, but shortly after they get on their way the tank is attacked by a German fighter plane. As the others frantically try to shot the plane down, Thompson pulls out a mini-camera he had stashed in his coat to photograph the battle. Rick has one shot, and with it hits the target dead on. The plane is blown in two and crashes down hard. Thompson is excited to have gotten the battle on film, and asks when they'll reach the next town so he can have them developed.
A few hours later, after reaching the town, Thompson jumps down from the tank and rushes into a nearby camera shop to develop his film. While he's in the store, Jeb orders Rick to give him the cameras he's been hiding. Then, after throwing them to a young boy to give back to Thompson, Jeb tells Slim to step on the gas and get out of town before Thompson has a chance to return. The rest of the trip to the Elbe is uneventful, until a car pulls up next to the tank and Thompson gets out. He tells them he "liberated" the car from town and followed them, since he believed they just forgot about him and couldn't turn around.
Soon after, the Russian patrol arrives from across the river. Thompson doesn't want to be left out of the historic greeting, and sets his camera for automatic fixing it to the front of the car. As they shake hands with the Russians, a German patrol sneaks up on them by raft and opens fire. When everyone else is taking cover, Thompson jumps atop the tank and mans the machine gun. He takes out the German patrol and their raft, but not before one is able to take aim at him and fire. He is hit in the chest, and falls from the tank. Jeb rushes over to him. With his last breath, Thompson asks Jeb to promise to have the film developed.
Back at HQ, Jeb and the others turn the camera over to a local clerk to have the film developed. Despite the camera having been riddled with bullets, the clerk was able to save one negative on the roll. The final shot... of Lieutenant Steve Thompson's lifeless body lying face down on the ground. His last picture was the same kind that made him famous, only this time he was the subject.
Appearing in "The Last Survivor"
- Lieutenant Steve Thompson
- German Infantry soldiers
- American Artillery Captain "Skipper"
- Russian Infantry soldiers
- The Haunted Tank
- Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. B
- German Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighter plane
- German inflatable assault boat
Synopsis for "The Longest Night"
From a U.S. sub lying offshore, Marine raiders paddle ashore and begin their ascent to the Japanese-held island of Tekku, impregnable to air and naval bombardment. Climbing up the cliff alongside his U.S. Marine squad is Private Alex Dunne, a young and eager soldier. The enemy is holed up in the mountain with their guns aimed at the beach, and the squad is hoping they can take them by surprise by coming at them from the rear and lure them out into the open. They scale the cliff and head into the jungle without encountering any resistance, and begin to believe that maybe the Japanese have evacuated the island.
Unknown to the Marines, they have been spotted and watched by the Japanese from a concealed command post on the mountain. Colonel Sessue Ito, commander of the Japanese forces on the island, is surprised by the attempt, and refusing to lose face with the Emperor and his ancestors orders his men to open fire on the approaching Marines. The Americans are forces to jump for cover, pinned down. Their captain is quickly killed in the action, and the squad's sergeant takes command. The Marines return fire, but quickly notice that the Japanese have stopped their barrage. Unknown to the Marines, the entire mountain is an bunker impervious to air bombing and naval shelling. The Japanese await patiently for the Marines to cease fire before emerging from the deep tunnels and passages.
As the Japanese appear from out of their tunnels, the Marines are overwhelmed by the sudden tidal wave of murderous fire from the enemy. The Sergeant orders his men to fall back, but unable to return to the cliff where they came from the Marines head towards the beach. With the Japanese right on their tails, they quickly set up an MLR (Main Line of Resistance) to allow their men to dig in on the beach. They are overtaken, with only Private Dunne surviving. Before he dies, the Sergeant orders Dunne to run to the beach and tell the men to dig in until they can be evacuated at dawn. Dunne reaches the beach and joins his friends in digging foxholes, but the Japanese press on, bringing in their heavy artillery and tanks to attack. The Marines are able to hold them off, destroying the first tank with a bazooka shell. Dunne runs through the hail of bullets to reach the flamethrower and is able to take out the second tank and its crew. Through the night, concealed by darkness, Private Dunne crawls from foxhole to foxhole, firing for his fallen buddies until every last attacking Japanese lies dead on the beach.
As dawn breaks, Private Dunne emerges from his foxhole to survey the damage. He is the last Marine standing, surrounded by the bodies of his friends and enemies, with only a bayonet left to fight with. Within the jungle, Colonel Ito orders his men to stay back as he moves up to kill the lone Marine himself. He attacks Private Dunne, and they struggle back and forth on the beach. Ito is able to wrench the bayonet from Dunne's hand, but instead of killing the Marine plunges the bayonet into his own heart. Dunne asks him why he chose to kill himself. Colonel Ito reveals his mistake, that the Marines were the honey to lure his troops out like bees. From behind, the American forces land on the beach en force. Private Dunne watches the they storm onto the island. He has earned his rest, and probably a medal, but Dunne's only wish is to join in the fight... finishing the job that they started.
Appearing in "The Longest Night"
- Private Alex Dunne
- Unnamed U.S. Marine Sergeant
- Colonel Sessue Ito
- Unnamed Japanese soldiers
- Unnamed U.S. Marine Captain
- Tekku, South Pacific
- Japanese Type 97 medium tank Chi-Ha
Synopsis for "Sword of Blood"
Now on a visit to the Bureau in Canberra, Australia, the London O.S.S. Chief called Control concentrates on the file for Kana, a man taught by ninja masters in the ancient art of turning every part of his body into a lethal silent weapon. Unable to radio Kana his new orders due to the Japanese breaking their code, Control sends them by B-17 Flying Fortress.
On the western tip of Ikiru, currently held by the U.S. Marines, Kana sits meditating on the beach. Two Marines watch him, but Sergeant Wilde wants nothing to do with Kana due to his Asian heritage. Kana looks to the sky just as the B-17 comes within sight, tailed close behind by a pursuing Japanese Zero. The gunner on the B-17 gets a clean shot at the Zero, damaging it, but the plane moves in for a kamikaze run and rams the rear of the Flying Fortress. As the two planes hits the water, Kana quickly derobes and jumps into the shark-infested waters after them. He finds the wreckage and, while he's unable to save the airmen on board, saves a small metal box that contains the orders from the O.S.S.. He is then attacked by a shark, but slams the metal box over the head of the animal which gives him time to escape back to shore.
Back at the C.O.'s tent, Kana reveals to the officer that O.S.S. has information that the enemy on the other side of the island plans to attack the Marines in force at sunset. Kana's orders are to destroy their ammo warehouse and exactly 1900 hours that evening. Going on the mission alone, he sneaks through the jungle taking out each Japanese sentry as he comes across them. Stealing the uniform of one, he masquerades as a Japanese soldier in order to get past the enemy parameter. At the warehouse, Kana quickly sets the explosives inside a crate of saki wine setting them to explode in five minutes. However, his escape is delayed by two Japanese soldiers whom, believing that he's on of them, asks him to join them in a drink to toast their impending victory against the U.S. Marines. Kana can't refuse, as it would make them suspicious. Kana nervously checks his watch as the time ticks away to detonation. But then, nothing happens.
Kana offers to fetch another bottle of wine from inside, in order to see what has happened to the explosives. The timer stopped at 60 seconds. Another guard follows Kana in, and he is forced to knock the guard unconscious. However, the scuffle was noticed and three other guards, led by the base commander. They quickly apprehend Kana, stripping him of the uniform and dragging him outside to be beheaded before the garrison. As the commander swings his sword, Kana ducks. The sword just misses his head, and then the explosives detonate. In the confusion, Kana is able to cut his bonds and using the Commander's own sword stabs him through the chest. He escapes into the jungle, his mission a success.
A few days later back in Australia, Control receives a package from Kana. In it is the sword he took from the Japanese Commander. Control smiles. If only he had a dozen ninjas like Kana, he could win the war!
Appearing in "Sword of Blood"
- Unnamed Japanese Commander
- Private Sono
- Unnamed U.S. Marine Captain
- Japanese Samurai sword
- American B-17 Flying Fortress
- Japanese Mitsubishi A6M Zero
Synopsis for "Loser Takes All"
Snaking through the towering Alpine peaks, a German troop train moves fast along the tracks towards the Italian front. From above, its progress is being watch by three American G.I.s on skis. As it nears, they leap into action, skiing down the slope towards the train. Their plan is to blow the tracks in front of the train, derailing it. However, their decent is interrupted when they are attacked by German soldiers on skis. Two of the G.I.s are shot dead, but the third, a soldier named Paul Wiley is only grazed on the shoulder. He falls.
The officer in charge of the German squad attacking, Fritz Unger, skis up to Wiley. The two instantly recognize one another, to their surprise. Wiley remembers back to when he participated in the 1936 Olympics as a cross-country skier. He was in the lead, but his challenger Fritz Unger was closing in. Unger won, but just. They were rivals then, but not they are bitter enemies. Wiley jumps up and throws snow into Unger's face, blinding him while Wiley quickly continues down the hill towards the train. Unger pursues. With only seconds to act, Wiley makes a quick turn towards a sheer drop. He skis over the edge, soaring through the air to land directly in front of the train. He detonates his explosives, and both he and the train go up in a ball of fire. Unger is shocked, but impressed. He declares Paul Wiley the winner... of their final race.
Appearing in "Loser Takes All"
- Paul Wiley
- Two unnamed American soldiers
- Fritz Unger
- Two unnamed German soldiers
- German Troop Train
Synopsis for "A Handful of Heroes!"
Morale is at an all time low for the crew of the Haunted Tank. Jeb Stuart is beginning to believe that the war will last forever. The others hear him talking to the "ghost", and question whether they should turn him over to the medics for a Section 8. Jeb then orders the tank to stop, telling everyone to take ten minutes. As they are resting, a jeep pulls up beside them carrying their commanding officer. Skipper has new orders - to return to England and use their new found fame in order to boost morale of the workers in the defense factories who are now under daily attack by the Luftwaffe. The crew accept with smiles, happy to get away from the front for a little while. Meanwhile, in Berlin, Hitler and his staff meet to plan their next move against the Allied Forces.
As the crew of the Haunted Tank unload their Stuart in Dover, England, Jeb takes notice of the pipes that stretch out from shore into the sea. He tells the others that they are filled with oil, which were to set the Channel ablaze should the Germans invade from Calais. As they roll into the town, the crew realize that their getting the silent treatment from the locals, whom seem less than impressed with the Yanks and their tank. A jeep carrying wounded British soldiers from the front passes them by, and the crowd then cheers their arrival. The British stop briefly to thank the people fro their support in the war, then motion for Jeb and the tank to follow them. Down the road, they are stopped by another British jeep, carrying a Colonel. He tells the men that they've spotted a German invasion of barges launched from Calais, and the RAF is busy fighting the Luftwaffe. The Colonel has ordered the oil from the pipes be lit aflame, and he tells Jeb that they can watch the excitement from the cliffs above the beach. Jeb sighs, wishing HQ hadn't bothered to send them if they can't be of any use.
On the way to the cliffs, the crew passes the factory where they were to visit the next day and help with morale. The factory workers wave as they pass, taking time from assembling the floating mines used to protect England's shores. Later Jeb and his tank, along with the British jeep, reach the Dover cliffs. Jeb wants to help out in the oncoming fight, noticing that no oil is spilling from the pipes. Realizing that they mist be blocked, the British take all the grenades they can get from Jeb and order him to remain on the cliff in case they need back-up. The British swim out to the pipes and lug the grenades towards them. The pipes explode, spilling flaming oil into the Channel, but the British soldiers are quickly engulfed by the fire and killed. Some of the German barges are able to make it through the flames. Jeb orders his crew to open fire on the barges, but they were unprepared to enter a fight and are low on ammo before all the barges can be destroyed. They jump out of their tank and into the water, swimming towards the barges with mines they picked up from the nearby factory. They release the mines in the path of the barges and then dive deep, just as the remaining Germans are sent to a watery grave.
Returning to their tank, Jeb tells his ancestor General Stuart that if they were pulled out of the front line because they were famous, he's going to insist they're sent back. The real heroes are the men who don't come back.
Appearing in "A Handful of Heroes!"
- American Artillery Captain "Skipper"
- British Colonel
- Unnamed British soldiers
- British Mk 14 Sea Mines
- The Haunted Tank
- Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. B
- American transport ship
- Willys MB U.S. Army Jeep
- The back cover contains an "All About Tanks" Combat Album profile for the British Tetrarch and the Locust, with art by Sam Glanzman.
- World War II Recommended Reading
- Adventures in the Rifle Brigade (Volume 1)
- Adventures in the Rifle Brigade (Volume 2)
- All-American Men of War (Volume 1)
- All-Out War (Volume 1)
- Blackhawk (Volume 1)
- Blitzkrieg (Volume 1)
- Capt. Storm (Volume 1)
- Four-Star Battle Tales (Volume 1)
- G.I. Combat (Volume 1)
- Men of War (Volume 1)
- Military Comics (Volume 1)
- Our Army at War (Volume 1)
- Our Fighting Forces (Volume 1)
- Sgt. Rock (Volume 1)
- Sgt. Rock (Volume 2)
- Star-Spangled War Stories (Volume 1)
- Unknown Soldier (Volume 1)
- Weird War Tales (Volume 1)