"The Secret Invader": With D-Day now behind them, the Haunted Tank is supporting the 28th Infantry Division on its march through the hedgerows of Normandy towards German-occupied Paris. Jeb is talking to a young Captain in the infantry, who tells him that as a farm boy he thought he'd never get
- Disobeying orders from the top brass! This time, Jeb's outta his skull for sure!
- 1 Synopsis for "The Secret Invader"
- 2 Appearing in "The Secret Invader"
- 3 Synopsis for "Winter Kill"
- 4 Appearing in "Winter Kill"
- 5 Synopsis for "Front Row at an Execution"
- 6 Appearing in "Front Row at an Execution"
- 7 Synopsis for "No Place for Mercy"
- 8 Appearing in "No Place for Mercy"
- 9 Synopsis for "Dogbait"
- 10 Appearing in "Dogbait"
- 11 Synopsis for "A Gift of War"
- 12 Appearing in "A Gift of War"
- 13 Notes
- 14 Trivia
- 15 See Also
- 16 Links and References
Synopsis for "The Secret Invader"
With D-Day now behind them, the Haunted Tank is supporting the 28th Infantry Division on its march through the hedgerows of Normandy towards German-occupied Paris. Jeb is talking to a young Captain in the infantry, who tells him that as a farm boy he thought he'd never get the chance to see Paris, and that he had always dreamed of seeing Notre Dame. Jeb promises him that he'll get the chance. They are then surprised by an attack from the Germans, and the Captain is hit by an exploding shell and thrown from the side of the tank. Rick fires everything he's got into the Germans, destroying the cannons and ending the battle. With the Captain dead, Jeb has his men lash the man's body to the back of the tank. He is determined to keep his promise and take the Captain to Paris.
The Haunted Tank, along with the infantry, continue up the road towards Paris until they finally reach the outskirts of the city. The men are able to see the Eiffel Tower in the distance. But then, Jeb and the infantry receive orders that they are to halt and keep their positions to allow General Leclerc and his French 1st Armored Division to take Paris on their own, in order to boost French morale and pride. Jeb makes the decision to press on alone, to fulfill the promise he made to the Captain. Rick, Gus and Craig disagree with the decision, worried that it'll land them in the stockade, but obey Jeb's orders.
Jeb and the others believe that with the Germans ran out the whole city must be celebrating their liberation, but as the Haunted Tank enters the city of Paris they see the still-hanging swastika flag of the Nazis handing from the Arch. They realize that Leclerc and his men must have been delayed, and that they have just rolled into the middle of a still-German occupied Paris! They are shot at by German snipers from atop the Arch. Craig steps on the gas and speeds the tank down the Champs-Élysées, but the tank is caught in a crossfire. They then turn left down the nearest side street, only to find themselves greeted with cheers from the French citizens, who believe the whole army's came to liberate them. They hear gunfire in the area of the Eiffel Tower nearby and head towards it. Underneath, they find two French kids attacking a Sturmpanzer with homemade grenades and a hunting rifle. Craig steers the tank to position and Rick fires into the Sturmpanzer, destroying it before it has a chance to take down the kids. Grateful, the kids agree to lead the Haunted Tank to safety on the other side of the Seine. They head down the left bank of the river to a bridge near the Louvre, but are ambushed as they are crossing. They quickly destroy the PAK 44 cannon on the other side and cross the bridge. On the other side, Jeb spots the lowers of Notre Dame not far from them and orders Craig to head towards them.
They arrive at Notre Dame to the cheers and greetings of a mass of French citizens, who all believe that the Americans have arrived to liberate their city. One man explains to Jeb that the sounds of gunfire was the signal for the Resistance to rise up and attack the Germans openly. A French car speeding towards Notre Dame is destroyed by an approaching Panzer tank, and Jeb orders the Parisians to run for cover and let them deal with it. The citizens refuse, wishing to stand with the Americans and fight for their city. Jeb orders Craig away from the cathedral, not wanting to damage to landmark, and then when far enough away they open fire on the tank and destroy it. Another appears from around the corner and Rick destroys it before they have a chance to spot them. But the sounds of battle have alerted the Germans in the area, who send every tank and soldier they have to attack the Americans. Extremely outgunned, Jeb orders everyone to abandon the tank and run. They untie the Captain's body and carry him into Notre Dame, hoping to make their last stand at its gates. It looks like all hope is lost when suddenly a division of French tanks appear on the road and fight back the German troops. Finally General Leclerc's tanks have arrived!
With the battle finally over and Paris liberated, Jeb and the others bring the Captain's body inside Notre Dame and pay their last respects. Jeb has kept his promise and the young Captain was able to see Paris like he had dreamed to, posthumously. History doesn't record that in the jubilant victory parade for General Leclerc's free French armored force was a lone and battered Haunted Tank and its ghostly guardian!
Appearing in "The Secret Invader"
- General J.E.B. Stuart
- Unnamed Infantry Captain (Dies)
- Unnamed German soldiers
- General Philippe François Marie Leclerc de Hauteclocque (Mentioned only)
- Unnamed American Infantry soldiers
- Unnamed French Children
- Unnamed Parisians
- German PAK 44K Cannon
- Panzerfeldhaubitze 105mm Howitzer
- The Haunted Tank
- Brummbär Sturmpanzer tank
- Panzerkampfwagen IV
- Hotchkiss H35 French light tank
- Char-B1 French heavy tank
Synopsis for "Winter Kill"
When the carnival came to Fort Kearney, Nebraska every summer, young Tommy Duane would head straight for the shooting gallery. He was a crack shot, and his unerring aim won the admiration of all. Years later, when Tommy enlisted in the army, his dream was to become a machine gunner. He is unhappy as a grunt carrying a slow-firing M1 Garand, but the closest Tommy ever got to manning a machine gun was lugging the ammo for a three-man crew across the snowy fields of France.
One bitter cold day, the Machine gun crew is ordered to the frozen shore of a wide river to wait for the German advance. Unable to dig in because of the frozen ground, the crew set up their machine gun at the edge of the river, where they can see should the Germans advance on their position. In the distance, the air twanged with gunfire, and one bullet catches the gunner in the forehead. He falls dead, and they drag him away as the Germans appear in the distance. The second gunner takes the position and fires into the enemy, but is soon taken down by another bullet. Tommy finally gets his chance at being a machine gunner, but an enemy bullet drilling into his heart ends his hope once and for all. He slumps forward, and the machine gun comes alive. It fires into the German troops and they topple like ducks in the shooting gallery of the carnival. The machine gun continues to fire with Tommy's lifeless fingers frozen to the trigger, even after the last German is shot down. Tommy Duane finally got his wish to be a machine gunner... in death.
Appearing in "Winter Kill"
- Private Tommy Duane (Dies)
- Unnamed Machine Gunner (Dies)
- Unnamed Machine Gun Crewmember (Dies)
- Unnamed German Infantry soldiers (all die)
- Carnival kiosk owner (Flashback only)
- Browning M2 .50 Caliber Machine Gun
Synopsis for "Front Row at an Execution"
In a Central American waterfront café, the three Mercenaries enjoy their time away from duty with three beautiful young women. Gordon and Horst begin to worry that by remaining idle, they will lose their sharp skills. Prince tells them not to worry, and to let fortune choose their next mission. He hands one of the girls a throwing dart, instructing her to throw it at the many wanted posters hanging from the wall of the café. She aims and then throws...
Not long after, in a jeep loaded with battle equipment, the Mercenaries speed down a road towards the airport when they are soon being followed by a strange car. The car catches up with them, and begins to open fire on the Mercenaries. Realizing that the French Foreign Legion has caught up with them, Prince puts his foot down on the gas as Gordon tosses a grenade back towards the pursuing car. It explodes sending the car off the side of the road and into a tree. The Mercenaries then arrive at the airport and board a plane heading for Riijed.
In the small Arab nation of Riijed, the Mercenaries meet with their new employers, the Underground Peoples' Movement for Democracy, and receive their new mission. They are given a newspaper that tells them that the head of the Riijed military, Caliph Rawhzi, will execute a group of renegade soldiers who had murdered a missionary and four nuns in a ceremony before the world press. They are given half their fee as well, the remaining half will be given to them after the Mercenaries ensure that justice has been carried out. The next morning, at sunrise, the Mercenaries attend the executions disguised as members of the press. The execution seems to go without problems. The men are killed in front of a firing squad and then dumped into a mass grave. But an hour later, the Mercenaries watch from a distance as the supposedly "dead" men and helped out of their graves and loaded onto the back of a truck. It appears that the firing squad had used blanks during the execution, and now the men are being trucked out of sight until the crime is forgotten. Caliph Rawhzi has tricked the whole world!
The Mercenaries follow the truck in their jeep, but unfortunately catch up to them quicker than planned and their headlights are spotted. The Arabs fire back at the Mercenaries, who throw explosives towards the truck to try and stop them. The explosion only singes their tail, and a bullet had punctured the jeeps gas tank stranding the Mercenaries back on the road as the Arabs get away. Their only choice is to now continue on foot, loading as mush ammo and equipment on their backs as they can carry. After a tortuous trek down the road, their pursuit ends at daybreak near the seashore. They spot Caliph Rawhzi loading the soldiers on board his personal yacht where they will be taken to a more terrorist-friendly country to lay low. The Mercenaries pay for the use of a small sailing ship. They catch up with the yacht, and the Arabs open fire onto the small ship catching it afire. The Mercenaries abandon ship, but not before arming the explosives the brought along and securing the wheel. The sailing ship collides with the Yacht, exploding in a great fireball that brings down both ships to a watery grave. With justice served, the Mercenaries swim back to shore to collect the second half of their fee.
Appearing in "Front Row at an Execution"
- Members of the Underground Peoples' Movement for Democracy
- French Foreign Legion Mercenaries
- Caliph Rawhzi (Dies)
- Unnamed Riijed soldiers (all die)
- Central America
- Sailing ship
- Rawhzi's yacht
Synopsis for "No Place for Mercy"
Deep in the jungle of Truk, in the Pacific, Private Dawson has been wounded during a scouting mission. He struggles through the thick foliage against searing hobbling pain as he loses blood fast from the wound. He collapses, lying on the ground for some time on the verge of consciousness. He begins to hear strange voices. When he finally awakens, he finds himself in the middle of a native village. The natives have removed the bullet and cleaned his wounds with the juice of a healing plant to stop the bleeding. As he gets dressed to head back for his unit, he asks the leader of the tribe how he could thank him. The man tells him to stop the war that is destroying their land.
Later, back at the American lines, Private Dawson gets a warm welcome back from his unit, many whom had thought him dead. The Captain tells him that he made it back just in time, as the big guns are about to blast the jungle to kingdom come. Dawson is horrified and wants to warn the tribe that helped him before the shelling starts. The Captain tells him he's got 22 minutes. Dawson takes off running into the jungle to find the tribe, retracing his steps from before. Finally he finds the village and, with 8 minutes left to go, he warns the natives about the shelling. With barely enough time to get back to the American lines before the firing starts, he runs as fast as he can through the jungle without care or caution. He is then spotted by Japanese snipers, but before any of them can take a shot they are overrun by the natives there to lend their friend a helping hand. Dawson is unaware of the help, thinking his luck is holding out. He makes it back with just seconds to spare, turning around to wave at the friendly natives safe on the mountain side. His captain asks him if he had any trouble with snipers along the way, but Dawson just tells him that all the way back was a cakewalk!
Appearing in "No Place for Mercy"
- Private Dawson
- Chuukese Tribal leader
- Japanese snipers
- American Infantry Captain
- Unnamed American soldiers
- Chuukese natives
- Chuuk "Truk" Lagoon, Federated States of Micronesia
Synopsis for "Dogbait"
An American Private is running for his life as he is pursued by a German soldier. The G.I. has lost his rifle, so he ducks through the open gate of a French chateau and dives under the cover of some tall bushes. As the German searches the ground for him, a dog runs around the corner and immediately finds the American hiding in the bushes. The dogs barking attracts the German, who levels his weapon on that spot. The dog, seeing the German with the rifle, suddenly turns and lunges at the enemy's neck. With the German down and defeated, the American comes out of the bushes just as the caretaker of the chateau runs out to retrieve his dog. He tells the Private that his dog is trained to attack anyone with a weapon. The Private smiles, glad that losing his rifle saved his life!
Appearing in "Dogbait"
- Unnamed American Private
- German Shepard dog
- Unnamed German soldier
- French Chateau caretaker
Synopsis for "A Gift of War"
While on a break from the war in the small French town near Paris, Rick Rawlins notices a young girl staring into the window of a toy shop at a beautiful doll of a princess. Rick walks up to her and tells her that he can't have her staring that hard, and that he'll buy the doll for her. The young girl's eyes light up and she smiles, thanking him. However, when Rick pulls out his wallet, he realizes that he's been fighting on the line for so long he's forgotten to hit pay call. He tells the girl not to worry, and to stay right there while he runs back to camp and gets his pay.
Rick makes it back to camp just in time for pay call, but before he can get into line and get his money Captain Jamison orders them back to their tank for a top priority mission. Both Jeb and Rick want to get paid before leaving, but the war can't wait. Rick is ticked off, as he made a promise to the little girl, but joins the others as they take off.
Later that day, the Haunted Tank joins the infantry not far from the German lines. The Captain of the squad informs Jeb that after they overran the German lines, they found a salt mine filled with gold bricks valued in the millions that had been stolen from France. Their orders are to load it up on their tank and haul it back to headquarters at Saumur - it's now their responsibility that it arrives safely. All this gold on board makes Jeb nervous, and his intuitions are correct when from out of nowhere they are attacked by a German BF 109 plane. Rick has had enough, tired of the interruptions, and begins blasting furiously at the plane. He is unable to get a bead on it, however, due to the tank rocking from the exploding shells and rough terrain. He yells at Craig to keep her still, and finally gets one good shot at the plane as it spins around for another attack. As the plane spins down and crashes in a fireball, Jeb orders Craig to make tracks back to base as fast as possible before their tempers get the best of them.
On their way back, the come near a river where a lone Frenchman waits with his ferry. The ferryman offers to take them across them across for a hundred Francs, but none of them have any money on their persons despite carrying millions in gold. Jeb orders Craig to follow alongside the river, hoping they'll come across a bridge soon. Rick is becoming even more impatient, worried that the doll will be sold before he can return. He wonders if maybe the little girl will take his prized Mickey Mouse watch instead. Craig warns Jeb that the tank's running low on fuel, that they must have sprung a leak during the attack. They then come across a French farmer with a tractor. Jeb asks the farmer if he'll tow their tank for a while to save on fuel, but the farmer asks for a thousand Francs and leaves when he hears they can't pay. They finally reach a bridge, but as they begin to cross it they come under attack by German infantry. Jeb orders everyone to unload the gold bricks and create a wall. It's a hot and heavy firefight, and Jeb and the others crouch behind their wall of gold. Jeb throws a grenade into the advancing Germans, killing the last of them.
Finally the Haunted Tank is able to make it to Saumur and deliver the god. The officer in charge notices that the gold bricks are now scratched, dented, and scorched, but Jeb tells him to say they got them at a fire sale and walks away. Rick hurries back to camp, but the Paymaster is gone. He returns to town to find the young girl still at the toy store waiting for him. Rick walks inside and hands the store owner his Mickey Mouse watch for payment, and then gives the smiling and grateful girl the princess doll. It was a rough day, but her smile make it all worth it.
Appearing in "A Gift of War"
- General J.E.B. Stuart
- Captain "Skipper" Jamison
- Unnamed French girl
- German Infantry soldiers
- American Pay Quartermaster
- American Infantry Captain
- Unnamed American soldiers
- French Ferryman
- Saumur, France
- $2,000,000 in Gold Bullion
- Rick's Mickey Mouse watch
- The Haunted Tank
- Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-6/R2 fighter plane
- This issue was scheduled to be released on February 10, 1983.
- For the second story "Winter Kill", writer Murray Boltinoff is credited under the pseudonym "Evan Douglas".
- During World War II, Chuuk Lagoon was the Empire of Japan's main base in the South Pacific theatre. The lagoon was known mainly as Truk (a mispronunciation of Ruk), until 1990.