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"Haunted Tank: "The Last Mail Call!"": The crew of the Haunted Tank have been given the assignment to deliver the mail to Able, Baker, and Charlie companies on the line. Because of the harsh winter, mail's having a tough time reaching the men, and the Haunted Tank crew are wondering when the mai


Quote1 Just like the post office motto says... "Neither rain nor snow nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers" and all that jazz! That's us! Quote2
Lt. Jeb Stuart

G.I. Combat #242 is an issue of the series G.I. Combat (Volume 1) with a cover date of June, 1982.

Appearing in Haunted Tank: "The Last Mail Call!"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

Other Characters:

Locations:

Items:

  • Mail bag
  • German 8.8 cm Flak Anti-tank gun

Vehicles:

  • The Haunted Tank
  • American M4 Sherman tank
  • Panzerkampfwagen IV tank
  • Willys MB U.S. Army Jeep

Synopsis for Haunted Tank: "The Last Mail Call!"

The crew of the Haunted Tank have been given the assignment to deliver the mail to Able, Baker, and Charlie companies on the line. Because of the harsh winter, mail's having a tough time reaching the men, and the Haunted Tank crew are wondering when the mail will ever reach them. Jeb orders Slim to take a shortcut across a frozen lake. They are spotted by a German Panzer, who keeps blasting holes into the ice to force the Haunted Tank to zigzag right into their line of fire. Jeb orders Slim to take a hard right, playing right into the Panzer's game, then Rick gets a clean shot underneath the Panzer's position. The ice breaks, sending the German tank tumbling into the freezing water. Now safe from enemy fire, the Haunted Tank continues on its mission. However, tensions are getting high between the crew, and Slim snaps at Gus for his cheerfulness.

Soon, the Haunted Tank reaches its first mail call. Jeb hands over the mail bag to Able Company's sergeant. The infantry men are thankful for the letters from home, but Jeb and his crew can't stick around and head out for their next drop. They continue across the snowy fields, but they are soon spotted by a German artillery unit. Rick is happy for the action, the distraction keeps his mind off the cold. There is no where to turn around, so Jeb orders Slim to keep rolling forward until they can get sight of the enemy. Then, when he has enough elevation, Rick fires and destroys the German cannon and crew.

The Haunted Tank reaches Baker Company and their second mail stop. The men of Baker, having been holed up in the ice for too long, are grateful to the Haunted Tank and its crew for the mail, but once again Jeb orders them full speed ahead to continue on their mail mission. It's not long before they reach Charlie Company's position, but it's immediately apparent that a battle had taken place. German bodies litter the ground around them. They continue forward, and soon find the bodies of Charlie Company, dead in their positions. Jeb makes a decision. They may not be able to deliver the mail for Charlie Company, but they can hold the ground for them. Slim turns the tank around and parks it among the dead. After radioing HQ of his intentions to hold the ground, Jeb spots a German infantry column approaching their position, supported by Panzer tanks. Parked among the dead still frozen in their positions, it looks as if the Haunted Tank is supported by Charlie Company, like the frozen dead at Valley Forge. Slim moves back to help Rick load the cannon, so Gus can take charge of the .30 machine gun. Jeb waits until the German forces are close enough, then orders the crew to open fire. Taken by surprise at point blank range, the Haunted Tank's blazing fire rips through the German line destroying their tanks and decimating the infantry forces. The remaining Germans are forced to retreat, believing they are under attack by a greater American force.

Later that day, a relieving American infantry company arrives to take over from the Haunted Tank. Their captain tells Jeb to head back to HQ, and that they will take care of the dead. Jeb refuses just yet, as the Haunted Tank's mission is not quite over. They may not be able to deliver the mail directly to Charlie Company , but they can answer it for them. As the infantry begin to carry the dead from the field, Jeb and his men begin to write back to the families of the lost soldiers.

Appearing in "Five Nails From Freedom"

Featured Characters:

  • Unnamed Chinese deserter

Antagonists:

  • Chinese troops

Other Characters:

  • Blacksmith

Locations:

Items:

  • Horseshoe
  • Nails

Synopsis for "Five Nails From Freedom"

The year is 1894, and as Chinese troops in Weihaiwei on the Shantling coast prepare for their country's worst defeat in the Sino-Japanese War, one soldier in particular senses the coming disaster. The deserter steals the fastest horse in camp and takes off into the woods, leaving his comrades to die by the Japanese swords. His plan is to ride into the mountains and hide until the fighting is over. However, a mile later, his horse suddenly begins to slow down. Dismounting, he notices that the horse has thrown a shoe. He takes the horse to the blacksmith in the nearest village, but while he is waiting the soldiers catch up with him and demand his surrender. The deserter threatens the blacksmith with death if he lets them in. The blacksmith finishes, and then opens the back door to let him out. The deserter takes off. The soldiers know that they can never catch him while he's riding that steed, but the horse once again slows down allowing the soldiers to take the deserter prisoner. The Captain of the troops orders the blacksmith to be taken prisoner and executed for helping him. The blacksmith explains that he did not help him, but rather enabled the troops to capture him by giving the horse a magnetized shoe, therefore causing it to pick up several nails off the floor to impede the escape!

Appearing in "Makeshift Missile!"

Featured Characters:

  • Private Cooper

Antagonists:

  • German Infantry soldiers

Other Characters:

  • American Infantry sergeant
  • American Infantry soldiers

Locations:

Items:

  • Camera
  • Film

Synopsis for "Makeshift Missile!"

A squad of American G.I.s are about to cross the French-German border. One soldier, Private Cooper, won't stop taking pictures with his camera. His Sergeant scolds him, but he swears that the film will be worth something someday. They, the squad comes under fire from a German pillbox. The men take cover, but none of them have a grenade and are pinned down helpless. Private Cooper jumps out of his hiding place and rushes the pillbox, taking photos as he goes. The others think he's an foolish idiot, but Cooper has a plan. He makes it to the pillbox, and then tosses a smoke bomb into the pillbox. The German soldiers stagger out of the smoke to surrender. As the squad take the Germans prisoner, the Sergeant asks Cooper why he stopped photographing them. Cooper explains that he can't, as he burned all of his film to make the smoke bomb!

Appearing in "Promise of a Dead Pilot!"

Featured Characters:

  • Pilot "Pops"
  • Co-pilot "Nick"

Antagonists:

  • German pilot
  • German Artillery soldiers

Other Characters:

  • American Artillery soldiers

Locations:

Items:

  • Vulture

Vehicles:

  • American Douglas SBD-6 Dauntless aircraft
  • German Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter aircraft
  • American M4 Sherman tank
  • Panzerkampfwagen IV tank

Synopsis for "Promise of a Dead Pilot!"

An American fighter plane is in a dogfight with a German Luftwaffe plane. The Americans destroy the German plane, but not before their own plane is badly damaged. The pilot, Pops, is ready to parachute out, but his co-pilot, Nick, is badly wounded and unable to make the jump. Pops decides to try and glide the plane in. He makes a promise to get Nick home to the medics, no matter what it takes. Pops nurses the plane down into a rough, but intact, landing. Nearby, the wreck of the downed German plane sits smoking. A lone vulture sits on the rock near it, waiting for its chance. Pop unstraps Nick from the crashed plane and quickly helps him to safety, just in time before the plane explodes. Nick pleads with Pops to leave him and save himself, but Pops won't hear of it, having made his promise. As they continue out into the desert, the vulture takes off and follows them.

Deep into the desert, Pops and Nick finally come across a lone American tank out on patrol. The tank stops to help. But then suddenly, a Panzer tank appears from nowhere. It fires, destroying the American tank in a surprise attack. Pops carries Nick away from the burning hulk of the tank to safety. Nick once again pleads with Pops to leave him, but Pops made his promise. The vulture continues to follow them close behind.

Despite the blistering heat, Pops continues to drag Nick across the burning desert. The vulture watches every step, waiting its chance. It can sense death approaching. Pops doesn't stop. He continues to drag Nick through the desert until he reaches the American outpost. Pops collapses. The vulture flies away. As the soldiers from the outpost rush to help Nick, they notice that Pops is no longer moving. He had been shot, the blood running out of him like a sieve. He died on his last step, but he kept his promise.

Appearing in The Mercenaries: "3 Guns For Hire"

Featured Characters:

Antagonists:

  • General Abbo (Dies)
  • African Nationalist soldiers
  • Viet Cong soldiers (Flashback only)

Other Characters:

  • President Kenndi

Locations:

Items:

  • Cigarette

Synopsis for The Mercenaries: "3 Guns For Hire"

In a central African country torn by strife, the insurgent leader, General Abbo, summons the news media to witness his latest feat... the execution of the Mercenary Gordon, hired by the country's President Kenndi to bring the traitorous General to him alive. Abbo offers Gordon a blindfold, but he refuses. He does, however, as for a last cigarette. The General obliges, taking on from his own personal gold and diamond cigarette case. Gordon lights it, and thinks back to how it all began...

Gordon, Prince and Horst, three members of the French Foreign Legion, sit atop the sand dunes, weapons in hand, waiting for a terrorist caravan to pass by on their camels. When the targets get in range, the three Mercenaries jump up and open fire into the terrorists. The caravan is wiped out. Despite their success on the mission, Gordon is disgusted by their situation. He can only see a future of poverty and an early desert grave for the three of them, and suggests that they hire themselves out to the highest bidder as mercenaries. If they have to kill, they might as well make some cash off of it. Prince and Horst agrees with him, not wanting to break up the team. Gordon suggests that they pick their war from the newspaper headlines. They think back to their humble beginnings. Gordon served as a Green Beret in the jungles of Vietnam, Prince to the slums of London, and Horst to his humdrum job in an automobile factory in Germany. Going AWOL from their Foreign Legion battalion, the three head towards their new life as mercenaries for hire.

A month later, the three offered their services to President Kenndi, whose reign was threatened by the rebel leader General Abbo. He offers them $1000 a month for their services, plus $50,000 is they secure his capture alive so he can stand trial. Setting out into the jungle in rebel territory, they discover a grisly warning from general Abbo... the bodies of former mercenaries who tried to capture him hanging from the trees. Gordon decides that they need a fresh approach to capturing Abbo, and lights a cigarette in order to ponder it.

Back in his present predicament, Gordon finishes smoking the cigarette that Abbo gave him. Then, he smashes the burning cigarette onto Abbo's face while grabbing the pistol from the unsuspecting General's holster. He holds Abbo hostage, telling the other soldiers to back off. The General tells his men to throw down their weapons, while Gordon pulls the captive man into the jungle to escape. The soldiers pursue. Gordon tells Abbo that his capture was just a ruse, bait so that he could get close to the General in order to capture him. The General's soldiers close in, crossing the stream nearby. Then, the stream explodes, killing the soldiers. Gordon explains that they booby-trapped the stream, all as part of his plan. The President's soldiers show up, ordering Gordon to hand over General Abbo or die with him. Gordon is not willing to give up his $50,000 prize. Just as the soldiers raise their weapons for the kill, Horst and Prince jump out and block their path with warning fire. General Abbo is impressed, and offers the Mercenaries much more than the President can offer - $100,000 in fact. Horst and Prince want to take the offer, but Gordon thinks it over...

A few hours later, at President Kenndi's office, the Mercenaries hand over the General to him. Kenndi is perplexed, wondering why the Mercenaries didn't take the General's offer of more money. Gordon tells him that they gave their word they would bring him it. Just then, Abbo makes a dash for the window to escape. Gordon spins around, firing his rifle into the General's back and killing him. The President is furious. The Mercenaries have broke their contract by killing him, and therefore get nothing. As the three Mercenaries leave the office empty-handed, they decide to continue on to look for another war.

Appearing in "Blind Luck!"

Featured Characters:

  • American Infantry private #1
  • American Infantry private #2

Antagonists:

  • German Infantry soldiers

Locations:

Items:

  • Black cat

Synopsis for "Blind Luck!"

Two American soldiers walk into an abandoned barn, unaware that they are being watched by German soldiers within. As they enter, a black cat runs across their path, making them stop. One soldier remarks that black cats are bad luck and wants to leave, but the other dismisses it. Then, the cat begins to hiss, arching its back, at the darkness within. Immediately the Americans raise their weapons and fire into the darkness. The German soldiers are killed. The one soldier tells his friend that cats only do that when they sense danger, and that he's keeping this black cat around for good luck!

Appearing in Haunted Tank: "The Psycho Soldiers!"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

  • German Artillery soldiers
  • German Pilots

Other Characters:

  • American Artillery commander "Skipper"
  • American Military police
  • American Infantry soldiers
  • American Doctor
  • American Section-8 patients
    • Joe
    • Ed
    • Bill

Locations:

Items:

  • German 8.8 cm Flak Anti-tank gun

Vehicles:

  • The Haunted Tank
  • Willys MB U.S. Army Jeep
  • German Messerschmitt Me 262 Sturmvogel jet

Synopsis for Haunted Tank: "The Psycho Soldiers!"

Lt. Jeb Stuart is wandering lost in a dense fog. His mind has snapped, and he staggers around muttering the same two words: "Green Umbrella". Eventually, a jeep with three American M.P.s find him, and decide to take him in so the medics can look at him. As they get out and approach him, Jeb goes wild. He attacks them, swinging punches and shouting "Green Umbrella". One of the M.P.s finally gets close enough to crack him on the side of the head with his baton, knocking him out. As they load him onto the jeep and go, the ghost of Jeb's ancestor, General J.E.B. Stuart, watches helpless, unable to speak to Jeb until he regains his senses.

Skipper, Jeb's C.O. and commander of the tank division, is notified of his man's condition and rushes to the psychiatric hospital where they are keeping Jeb. The ward is full of Section-8 soldiers, men who are no longer fit for battle due to stress and strain. Skipper and the doctor find a group of the Section-8s gathered around Jeb awaiting orders from the man, but Jeb's only words to them is "Green Umbrella". Skipper shoos them away so he can talk to Jeb, but he can't get him to say what happened to him or where the rest of his crew is. The doctor explains that Jeb is suffering from battlefield amnesia, and is to be sent home tomorrow with the rest of the men in the ward.

That night, Jeb gets free of his restraints and releases the rest of the men in the ward. They put on their uniforms and run out. Jeb and the men attack and knock out the unsuspecting guards, and then steal an M.P. jeep. The men follow Jeb as if he's their leader, but he continues to reply with the same two words: "Green Umbrella".

As dawn lights the horizon, Jeb and the men stop on the side of the road next to a large crucifix statue. Jeb gets out and wanders into the woods, with the men not far behind. IN the woods, Jeb finds the Haunted Tank and its crew: Slim, Gus, and Rick. They are relieved to see him, telling Jeb that they have spent the last day trying to find him. Jeb isn't listening , pulling out his machine gun and holding his crew prisoner. They bring up their own rifles to bare, a stalemate. Then, the other Section-8 patients appear and turn the odds in their favor. They take the three prisoner and hold them within the Haunted Tank, while they take charge of the tank and begin moving out. They turn to Jeb for orders, but he only points in one direction towards 3 o'clock. They turn the tank in that direction and head that way.

An exploding shell goes off next to the tank, and the blast partially tears away the curtain clouding Jeb's mind. He remembers now what had happened. The Haunted Tank had broke down in the woods. Jeb decides to scout ahead while Gus fixed the busted carburetor. He had found their objective, but the Germans had found him. While he tried to escape, the blast from a ground explosion knocked him to the ground, and the hellish sound of the continuing explosions caused his mind to retreat except for one single thought... "Green Umbrella". Back in the present, the men turn the tank towards their attacker and fire, destroying a German 88 gun hidden within the trees. As the Haunted Tank reaches the edge of the woods, Jeb orders the men to stop. He points down into the valley below and says "Green Umbrella". A huge camouflaged green tarp concealing a German airfield underneath. It looks just like a green umbrella! One of the planes quickly takes off and swings around to attack the tank. Jeb turns his gun around and destroys the plane. The blast finally brings Jeb back to his senses, but confused as to who the men are that are on his tank. Seeing his objective target in front of him, he shrugs it off and orders them full speed ahead towards the airfield. He yells at them to "fire at will", and the tank and men open fire into the Germans ahead, they begin to destroy everything in sight, but one jet starts to take off. Jeb orders everything to be thrown at the jet, and it explodes. With the airfield and it's "green umbrella' ablaze, Jeb orders his men to take the Haunted Tank and his crew home.

Arriving back at the hospital, the doctor is amazed at the results of the Section-8 patients. They are all in their right mind again, and fit to return to duty. Skipper tells him it's just "battlefield medicine". Away form the hospital, Jeb tells his ancestor General Stuart that he's been gone for a long time, but he's back for the duration.

Notes

  • In this issue's "Let's Make Tracks" letter page, editor Murray Boltinoff informs the readers that, following extensive tests, the U.S. Army has decided to replace the standard weapons on the American XM-1 tank with the new German 120-millimeter gun starting in 1984, providing a significant advantage over the old 105-mm gun.

Trivia

  • No trivia.



See Also

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Links and References

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