"Haunted Tank: "No Stars For a General"": D-Day Plus 6, miles beyond the French coast. Major General Joseph V. Dustin, in charge of the Allied Armorer Division, has advanced his men into enemy territory in order to attack and destroy the German oil depot at Fleury. However, he is too far ahead f


Quote1.png When are we gonna make up our minds an' turn Jeb in for thinkin' he sees an' hears ghosts? Quote2.png
Rick Rawlins

G.I. Combat #239 is an issue of the series G.I. Combat (Volume 1) with a cover date of March, 1982.

Synopsis for Haunted Tank: "No Stars For a General"

D-Day Plus 6, miles beyond the French coast. Major General Joseph V. Dustin, in charge of the Allied Armorer Division, has advanced his men into enemy territory in order to attack and destroy the German oil depot at Fleury. However, he is too far ahead for the British and American main forces to catch up. His superior, General Philip Allen, has caught up to him by jeep in order to bring his subordinate back into line. General Allen is furious, and gives Dustin a direct order to pull his Division back immediately and wait for the others, or he will be relieved of his command. Reluctantly, General Dustin agrees.

Some 40 miles eastward, Lt. Jeb Stuart and the Haunted Tank are visited by the ghost of his ancestor, General J.E.B. Stuart. He delivers a cryptic warning: "No matter how fast you travel, orders travel faster... and Generals on down to Privates have to obey them!". They are now only a mile away from their objective, the castle at Mount Sante Clare, when he spots one of the tanks from their Division ahead of them has been boxed in by two Panzers. Jeb orders Slim to make tracks ahead to help. Before they get there, they are radioed for all units to fall back immediately. Jeb refuses to fall back and leave the lobe tank at the mercy of the Panzers. A direct hit to other tank brings a trail of smoke covering their tracks. The Haunted Tank use this advantage to sneak up and attack by surprise, destroying one Panzer before they even see them. However, the other Panzer has disappeared in the smoke. While Jeb and the others look around for it, the Panzer sneaks up behind them and fires. The Haunted Tank turns into the river and then spins around and fires, destroying the last enemy tank. Jeb offers a lift to the crew of the destroyed tank as the tide rolls in, which happens to be commanded by a Lt. Joseph Dustin, Jr., the General's son. The Haunted Tank is unable to go back the way it came, as the tide's completely covered the bridge back, so they continue on towards the castle and its town.

Dawn, at General Dustin's Field Headquarters. A radio operator reports to the General that Lt. Stuart and his tank has enters the town and found it unoccupied. General Dustin is thrilled, and orders his recall orders to be cancelled, and for his Division to advance past Mount Sante Clare. The General's also relieved to hear news of his son, and that he's alright. Later that day, the tide has receded, and the rest of the Division arrives in Mount Sante Clare. Lt. Dustin explains to Jeb that he can never live up to his father's name, but that he'd rather die than disappoint him. As Lt. Dustin leave to retrieve a new tank, Captain Skipper arrives and scolds Jeb for disobeying orders. General Dustin, however, is in his debt, and tells Skipper to cool off and leave the man alone. The ghost of General J.E.B. Stuart watches over the exchange, stating that had General Dustin been with him in the Confederacy, they would have taken the Union capitol and the Reb flag would have been waving over the White House.

During the next few days, the Haunted Tank runs into bitter opposition form the enemy at every advance. But one day, edging closer to the German oil depot objective, the tank passes through the scene of a recent battle. To Jeb's horror, they find the General's son, Lt. Dustin, dead in his tank along with his crew. Later, as the Division moves through, Jeb thinks that the General must know about his son, but that all that is on his mind is to continue the attack. General Allen arrives on the scene and gives his condolences, but reminds him that had he listened to orders and halted his people, his boy may have been spared. General Allen thinks that Dustin must be bucking for a promotion to a 3-star general, but Dustin's only thought is to shorten the war any way he can, and throws his helmet, and his rank, to the ground. Allen gives him one last order, halt his tanks now or he'll be relieved of command and sent back home in disgrace. General Dustin grabs a jeep and heads forward to join his column. However, mile after mile he finds his tanks stalled, having pushed too far past their supply line and running out of gas. He finally catches up to the lead tank, the Haunted Tank, and asks to join them. Leaving the jeep, he climbs aboard the tank and they head towards Fleury. Over the radio, the order to return to headquarters is once again given. General Dustin says he's just a passenger, the final call falls on Jeb's head. Jeb decides to push forward, against the opinions of the rest of his crew. He hopes that the enemy is monitoring their transmissions, and thinks that all the tanks have turned around, giving them the advantage of a surprise attack.

They arrive at the depot shortly, and the Haunted Tank rams through the gate and attacks. Rick fires at everything standing, spraying the depot with cannon fire. They reach the center of the depot just as their gas runs out and the Haunted Tanks comes to a dead stop. Slim stops firing to give time for Jeb and Gus to get out and begin refueling the tank from one of the tanker trucks parked at the depot. General Dustin sees a German halftrack approaching, but not in time to spare Jeb from receiving a bullet hit. Gus drags Jeb back into the Haunted Tank as Dustin provides covering fire. The General takes command, ordering Rick to open fire. Rick destroys the halftrack with a well placed shot!. They're not out of danger yet, as a Messerschmitt swoops down from the clouds and open fires with rockets on them. The ground explodes around them. Dustin knows they can't hit the plane with their cannon, but they can hit the storage tanks. He orders Rick to fire onto the one in front of them. It explodes, and the resulting fireball blows up and destroys the German plane! The explosion starts a chain reaction with the other tanks around them. The Haunted Tank high tails it out of there before they are blown up. Once in the clear, Jeb pops back up top to find the General badly wounded from the blasts. As the General breathes his last breath, he asks Jeb to bury his alongside his son. It's a command that Jeb promises to carry out.

Appearing in Haunted Tank: "No Stars For a General"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

  • German Artillery soldiers
  • German pilot

Other Characters:

  • General Philip Allen
  • Major General Joseph V. Dustin (Dies)
  • Lt. Dustin, Jr. (Dies)
  • American Artillery commander "Skipper"
  • American Staff sergeant
  • American Artillery soldiers

Locations:

Items:

  • German 8.8 cm Flak Anti-tank gun

Vehicles:

  • The Haunted Tank
  • Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. B
  • American M3 Stuart light tanks
  • American Willys MB Jeep
  • German Mercedes-Benz L3000 fuel truck
  • German Sonderkraftfahrzeug 251 half-track
  • Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-6/R2 fighter plane


Synopsis for OSS: "My Sergeant... The Executioner"

Below the azure-blue waters of the Pacific, Kana, the Human Killing Machine, rides on the back of a giant manta ray. He meditates to control his breathing underwater, and while doing so remembers his past and his reasons for joining the O.S.S. He remembers his parents' death by hanging, and his vow to avenge their deaths by offering his services to the Americans. He also remembers, months later, standing before the Chief of the O.S.S., Control, and receiving his first assignment - an attachment to the American Marines on the island of Ikiri to use as an interpreter. However, he is warned that, after Pearl Harbor, there is extreme distrust of anyone Asian.

Kana's thoughts are brought back to the present by the sound of a motorboat overhead. A Figure dives into the water and begins to attack Kana. Kana can't shake the man away from him, so he holds the man even deeper into the water until runs out of air and blacks out. Kana carries him up onto shore, and realizes that the man is an American Marine, one that he's never seen before. He gives the unconscious man artificial respirations. The Marine comes to and immediately begins to once again attack Kana. However, Kana is ready for him this time, and easily throes him off and away with a swift ninja kick. Both of them are interrupted by the Captain, who wants to know why his new replacement, Sergeant Lucas, is attacking Kana. Lucas explains only that Kana is a "Jap" and that he is the enemy, and that his parents were killed during the bombing at Pearl Harbor. The Captain scolds Lucas, and says that the outfit needs Kana's help desperately.

Back at headquarters, a enemy message is being received but no one there is able to translate it. Kana takes the headset and says that enemy paratroopers will be dropped on the abandoned airfield in the center of the island. The enemy's plan is to penetrate the jungle and attack from the rear while the main force in assault boats hit them from the sea at precisely 0630 hours tomorrow. The Captain explains that they don't have enough men on the island to split up and defend both areas, so he sends Sgt. Lucas, a demolitions expert, and Kana to take care of the paratroopers. Lucas objects to working with Kana, but the Captain gives him a direct order.

Shortly after they have left the base perimeter and entered the jungle, Sgt. Lucas raises his rifle at Kana and tells him to drop his weapon and run before he shoots him. Kana takes off, and Lucas fires a few slugs towards him to show he means business. The sound attracts the enemy soldiers hiding in the jungle, and Kana runs directly into their midst. The ninja master deploys his body like a murderous weapon and quickly takes out the surprised Japanese soldiers. However, Sgt. Lucas isn't so lucky, and is captured by other enemy soldiers hiding in the trees. Kana isn't able to help him just yet. The mission must come first. At the deserted airfield, other Japanese soldiers wait for the dawn and the arrival of their paratroopers. Kana attacks them with speed and strength, moving like a ghost as each of the soldiers are taken out one-by-one. Dawn breaks, and the parachutes can be seen appearing in the sky. First the cargo and supplies, then the enemy paratroops. Kana collects some of the landing supplies and weapons and builds himself a heavily armored fort. He uses one of the machine guns to fire up into the descending paratroopers, cutting their lines and sending them falling to their death. Concussion from an exploding grenade slams into Kana and sends him hurling onto the ground just as the remaining paratroopers land. They attack, but Kana quickly recovers and uses the recovered weapons to fire into the advancing troops. The machine gun runs dry, and one Japanese soldier rushes towards Kana, sword held high, ready to strike the killing blow. Then, gunfire from behind and the charging soldier falls dead at Kana's feet. Grenades are tossed, and the remaining enemy soldiers are taken out. The attack has been stopped. Sgt. Lucas steps out from the smoke, and offers Kana a helping hand up. Lucas explains that he had ditched his captors and made it just in time to see the fireworks show that Kana put on. Kana asks how he can repay him for saving his life, and Lucas asks him if he can bring back his family.

Appearing in OSS: "My Sergeant... The Executioner"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

  • Japanese Infantry soldiers
  • Japanese paratroopers

Other Characters:

  • Sgt. Lucas
  • American Marine captain
  • American Radio operator
  • Kana's parents (Flashback only)

Locations:

Items:

  • Giant manta
  • Grenade
  • Machine gun

Vehicles:

  • Motorboat
  • Japanese supply planes

Synopsis for "The Girl and the Big Gun"

Near the German-French border, the German army giving the final tests to a unique and monstrous new weapon, a giant cannon capable of destroying from long distances. Not far away on the border, a class is taking place within the American camp, lead by the inventor and developer of the new cannon, Professor Greta Heynich. She instructs the listening G.I.s on how to disassemble the cannon. The men are confused, it's all too technical for them. They would prefer to just toss a grenade at it, but the Professor tells them that such an act would release destructive gasses from within the cannon that would spread for hundreds of miles. The gasses must be neutralized first, carefully, before they can safely destroy the weapon. The Captain of the squad is worried that his men may not be able to pull off such a delicate job, but the Professor ha faith in them. She explains that she alone chose to flee from the Nazi tyranny, and that destroying the cannon could shorten the war by months, perhaps years even.

That night the squad sets out on their mission. Soon, deep behind enemy lines, they find their objective, but it is heavily guarded by sentries. The squad is spotted, and are quickly pinned down by enemy fire. The Captain throws a grenade, taking out a few of the attacking Germans, but there are too many of them to allow the squad to get close to the cannon. Then, the Captain spots a lone soldier, having sneaked past the sentries and managed to reach the cannon. The Germans are so busy attacking the squad, they don't even notice the lone soldier tampering with the weapon. Then, the mysterious soldier finishes his job and runs away to safety. The cannon explodes in a great blast! With their job done, the squad make a hasty retreat.

After a swift race back to the American lines, the Captain finds the lone soldier and wants to commend him for a job well done. The soldier takes their helmet off to reveal it was Professor Heynich! She was afraid the squad would run into trouble, so she followed behind in secret against regulations. The Captain laughs, and tells her that if she doesn't report it, neither will he.

Appearing in "The Girl and the Big Gun"

Featured Characters:

  • Professor Greta Heynich

Supporting Characters:

  • American Infantry captain

Antagonists:

  • German Infantry soldiers

Other Characters:

  • American Infantry soldiers

Locations:

Items:

  • German super cannon
  • Grenade

Vehicles:

  • American Willys MB Jeep

Synopsis for "The Prince of the 3rd Platoon"

Spring 1944: The King of a Balkan nation leads his army against the German forces occupying his country. His troops are dangerously low on provisions - guns, ammunition, food, and medicine. The King's only hope is his son, Prince Mikel Pilojki, who has been sent to the United States to raise money to purchase the provisions and bring them back. The Prince, however, has different ideas, and has been using his time and fortune in the U.S. to live the high life. When the King finds out his son has become a playboy, he sends a message. Prince Mikal is to resign his commission as a general in their army, and enlist in the United States Infantry, in order to regain the aid that his lavish lifestyle has cost them. He has no choice.

A few days later, Prince Mikel is sworn into the U.S. Infantry, attracting the attention of the media and the world. His commanding officer, Captain Stroud, has instructed him to keep his true identity a secret from the men he is serving with, in order to protect himself, and the men around him, from becoming targets for the German army. During the weeks of training that follow, Private Pilojki proves to be a slacker for protocol and orders, but a crack shooter at the range. Captain Stroud decides to put him on permanent K.P. duty, for the good of the men, to keep him out of the way. Pilojki is happy to be in a safe position behind the lines.

Weeks later, the 3rd Platoon is moved up in position but in the heat of battle the men get pinned down by a German pillbox. Half the men are lost in the fight, and without the Platoon the entire attack can't happen. What they need is someone who can accurately hit a target and cover their backs. Captain Stroud knows exactly the man for the job, but can he get him to do it? Private Pilojki is stubborn at first, refusing to be put on the line, even when threatened with desertion, but he finally agrees to go. When he gets there, however, he refuses to fire his weapon and help, instead spending time digging a foxhole for himself to give him safety. Captain Stroud holds a pistol to the private's head, threatening to shoot him if he doesn't help. Pelojki turns around and slugs the captain, knocking him unconscious. He then jumps up and begins to run towards the enemy lines to surrender, but the Germans open fire and cut him down. Captain Stroud, having regained consciousness, realizes that Pelojki has caused a distraction, and under cover fire rushes the German lines. With a grenade he's able to take out the pillbox and clear the way for the 3rd Platoon.

With the way now cleared, Captain Stroud finds the body of Private Pelojki, aka Prince Mikel, dead on the ground. He decides not to report his cowardice, and only say in his report that the Prince died knocking out that pillbox... a hero's death. Back in London, The King hears of the death of his son, the Prince. His death and brave sacrifice has brought money and charity to their country from all over the world, and for the bereaved father the knowledge that his con died for a just cause. The Prince was a hero, even if it was for the wrong reasons.

Appearing in "The Prince of the 3rd Platoon"

Featured Characters:

  • Prince Mikel Pilojki (Dies)

Antagonists:

  • German Infantry soldiers

Other Characters:

  • Prince Mikel's father, the King
  • Prince Mikel's aide
  • Captain Stroud
  • Lieutenant Cooke
  • American Infantry soldiers
  • American press reporters

Locations:

Items:

  • M1 Garand rifle

Vehicles:

  • American Willys MB Jeep

Synopsis for Haunted Tank: "The Doll and the Panzer"

On a long patrol probing vainly for the enemy, the Haunted Tank has halted in the woods near the French town of Undine. Slim has wondered off into the trees in search for a river to refill their canteens. He finally finds one, and on its banks is a small dutch doll with the mysterious message attached to it - "Aidez Vous! Denise". Pulling out his G.I. dictionary, he translates it, but is attacked from behind by a German soldier lurking in the trees. With no time to unholster his gun, Slim punches the German and wrestles the knife from the enemy's hand. He stabs the German, and throws his body into the river. Slim then runs back down the path to warn the others of the Germans in the area.

Meanwhile, Jeb and the others have their hands full as well. From one side, an attacking German half-track with a rocket launcher. From the other, a German soldier with a bazooka pinning them down. The enemy advances, trying to keep the crew from reaching their tank. Slim appears from the trees and, throwing a grenade, is able to take out the half-track with one well-placed explosion. The bazooka is then easily dealt with. He then tells the others about the doll and its message, and the four decide to check it out. However, they discover that the Haunted Tank's tread was taken out during the fight. They'll have to continue on foot.

Half a mile away on the river's edge, German soldiers under the command by a ruthless officer, have taken the town folk of Undine prisoner. They have been accused of concealing resistance fighters in their town, and are forced to dig their own graves before being shot. No man, woman, or child is exempt. As the German soldiers begin to line up in a firing squad, Jeb and his crew appear from out of the woods and attack. Their appearance surprises the Germans, and Jeb is able to destroy the enemy's machine gun and kill the officer with a grenade. The others take care of the soldiers in the firing squad. While they have freed the villagers, the danger isn't over, as an approaching Panzer tank has begun to shell the town. Jeb gets an idea...

A half hour later, the Haunted Tank crew have begun to lead the Panzer away from the village and towards the river where the villagers stand. The Panzer takes the bait, and drivers straight towards them... and into the giant hole that the villagers had dug for their graves! The Germans in the Panzer are taken prisoner, and the town and its people are saved. One little girl spots the doll being held by Slim, and runs up to him. He realizes that she must be Denise, and gives the doll back to the brave little girl that saved her village.

Appearing in Haunted Tank: "The Doll and the Panzer"

Featured Characters:

Antagonists:

  • German Infantry officer
  • German Infantry soldiers
  • German Artillery soldiers

Other Characters:

  • Denise, a French girl
  • French citizens

Locations:

Items:

  • Dutch doll
  • English to French dictionary
  • Canteens
  • Panzershreck 88mm rocket launcher
  • Grenade

Vehicles:

  • The Haunted Tank
  • German Sonderkraftfahrzeug 251 half-track
  • Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. B

Notes

  • The inside front cover contains "Looter's Prize", a one-page short comic written by George Kashdan with art by Dick Ayers. In pursuit of retreating Germans, one soldier finds an unlocked and abandoned jewelry store and robs it. Later, he is shot and killed by snipers because the jewels glimmered in the moonlight.
  • Between stories four and five is a one-page "Famous Fighting Outfits: Thrilling 36th Does Impossible (Part 2)". Continued from last issue, this continues the story of the 36th "Texas" Division from their beach landing in southern France with Operation Dragoon through to the breach of the Ste. Marie Pass in late 1944. Written by Murray Boltinoff.
  • The inside back cover contains another one-page short comic "Hidden Barrier", written again by George Kashdan with art by Dick Ayers. In the icy Korean mountains, a G.I. patrol uses their weapons to break the ice on the river and cut off the approach of a Korean platoon.
  • The back cover contains an "All About Artillery" Combat Album profile comparing the two types of field artillery, Guns and Howitzers. Guns have a relatively long barrel and a flat trajectory, while Howitzers have short barrels and a high trajectory. Art by Sam Glanzman.

Trivia

  • In this months "Let's Make Tracks" letter column, editor Murray Boltinoff compares the uncanny resemblance of artist E.R. Cruz's character of O.S.S. chief Control with 1980's head of the CIA William J. Casey, even down to the trademark pipe they both smoke.


See Also

Recommended Reading

Links and References

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