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"The Haunted Tank: "The Billion-Dollar Boobytrap"": Jeb and the Haunted Tank are given a new mission by Skipper, to send a single tank to the mines at Kohl when it is known that the Germans have stashed tons of gold bars worth $33,000 each that have been looted from occupied countries. Word has


Quote1 I've been puttin' my neck on the line every day since North Africa! An' if I come outta this stinkin' war alive, I deserve some sorta reward, not just a cruddy medal! Quote2
-- Rick Rawlins



Appearing in The Haunted Tank: "The Billion-Dollar Boobytrap"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

  • German military intelligence "Abwehr" colonel
  • German paramilitary "Oberführer" officer
  • German Infantry soldiers

Other Characters:

Locations:

Items:

  • Gold bars
  • German Anti-tank gun

Vehicles:

  • The Haunted Tank
  • Willys MB U.S. Army Jeep
  • American GMC CCKW cargo truck
  • Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. B

Synopsis for The Haunted Tank: "The Billion-Dollar Boobytrap"

Jeb and the Haunted Tank are given a new mission by Skipper, to send a single tank to the mines at Kohl when it is known that the Germans have stashed tons of gold bars worth $33,000 each that have been looted from occupied countries. Word has it that the Germans would seal the mine forever with explosives at the first sign of attack, but he hopes that a single small tank can get past their defenses without alarming them. They are to loot the looters, and bring the gold back to headquarters to be given to supply the underground forces opposing Hitler.

As soon as the Haunted Tank reaches the mine, they come under heavy fire from the Panzer tanks protecting it. Jeb orders Craig to take evasive action as two of the Panzers come out to pursue. As the Panzers split up to outflank them, Jeb orders Craig to hit the brakes. The Panzers are unable to react as quick, and as soon as they are right beside them Rick open fires into the Panzer on the right, destroying it. The other Panzer gets a shot off, hitting right in front of the Haunted Tank. The shock causes Eddie to drop the shell he was loading, so Jeb orders the tank full forward towards the mine. Finally reloaded, Rick fires into the other Panzer and destroys it. Eddie apologizes, but Rick scolds him for being sloppy. They enter the mine, and find that the Germans have been loading the gold bars onto two captured American trucks so that they could slip past any aerial attack. As soon as the guys get to the gold, they begin to realize just how much money they have in their hands. Rick wants to keep some of it for himself, to bury and come back to once the war is over with. After all he's done for the war, he believes he deserves it, and that the army would never know that a few bars were missing. Jeb ignores him, and orders them to tie the trucks to the back of the tank so that can tow them fully loaded. One by one, the guys put back the gold they were holding, their dreams fading as quick as they came.

At Abwehr headquarters, the head of German Military Intelligence is informed of the attack on the mine, and that the tank with the gold has been spotted heading for the railroad marshaling yards at Lucoix. The colonel is pleased by the news, and has ordered his units to not attack the tank. He has another surprise in store for them at Lucoix. Meanwhile, the crew of the Haunted Tank speeds towards their destination with the trucks full of gold in tow. General J.E.B. Stuart appears, but is unable to tell his descendant that he is towing death to his final destination. On a bluff overlooking the road, the Haunted Tank has been spotted by a Gestapo agent, who gives orders to his men to destroy the tank but leave the trucks unharmed. He hopes the destroy the Abwehr colonel's reputation by returning the gold to Hitler. As the Haunted Tank comes around the bend, they are surprised by a German cannon blocking the road. The cannon fires, missing them. Jeb orders Craig to full speed. ramming the cannon and forcing it off the side of the road down into the river below. German soldiers from above lob incendiaries in their direction, catching the tank on fire and severing the tow cables. The Haunted Tank continues on until they are a safe distance, then quickly get out to douse the flames before it does too much damage. Jeb then orders the tank to turn around and head back for the trucks. But before they can get back, the Gestapo have taken control of the trucks. Just as the enemy climbs into them, both trucks explode! Jeb and the Haunted Tank arrive just in time to see the explosion and realize that the gold must have been booby-trapped.

Appearing in Famous True Escapes: "Our Good German Ally"

Featured Characters:

  • Lieutenant Markham

Antagonists:

  • German Infantry soldiers

Other Characters:

  • Captured British POWs
  • International Red Cross officials

Locations:

Items:

  • British full-dress uniform
  • Forged Bulgarian Navy documents

Vehicles:

  • German battleship "Bismarck"
  • British fixed-wing seaplane "flying boat"
  • German Open Blitz Utility truck
  • Train

Synopsis for Famous True Escapes: "Our Good German Ally"

It's May 1941, and a group of captured British officers in a POW compound in Hamburg, Germany stand by to greet the arrival of the newest prisoners. One of the new arrivals is Lieutenant Markham, wearing his finest dress uniform and braid. The officers at first are surprised by the sight and laugh, but then an idea strikes them.One of them grabs Markham by the arm and pulls him into the barracks before he can be seen by the German guards. He is introduced to the other prisoners. Markham explains to them that he was a flight officer on a recon flying boat, and while he was attending a dance in Sussex he was ordered to take off right away to search for the German battleship Bismarck. He had no chance to change, and during the mission his plane came under attack and was forces to crash. He was fished out of the sea and captured. The other prisoners realize that the Germans have probably never seen such a dress uniform, and with a little modification and some forged letters he can masquerade as an officer in the Royal Bulgarian Navy.

One week later, and international group of Red Cross officials visit the POW camp for inspection. The prisoners stage a fight to distract the German guards while Markham sneaks into the group of officials. So far the plan works perfectly, with no one suspecting. He leaves the POW camp without a problem, then arrives at the train station without hassle. His forged papers gives him safe passage on the train. Once in Berlin, he is escorted to one of the finest rooms at a German officers' club. Then, finally reaching his destination of Danzig, he spots a Swedish ship docked in the harbor. He swims to the ship and climbs on board. Now within the safety of a neutral ship, he his thankful that nobody realized that there is no such thing as the Royal Bulgarian Navy!

Appearing in Kana: "Even Gods Bleed"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

  • Shura
  • Moddin (Dies)

Antagonists:

  • Lieutenant Haito (Dies)
  • Japanese Infantry soldiers (all die)
  • Toluk (Dies)
  • Waster gang members

Other Characters:

  • American Marine lieutenant
  • American Marine sergeant
  • American marines
  • Cloud the horse

Locations:

Items:

  • M1 grenade
  • Tetsubishi Iron spikes
  • Shuko claw

Vehicles:

  • Motorcycle

Synopsis for Kana: "Even Gods Bleed"

While a contingent of U.S. Marines sleeps away their exhaustion, a squad of Japanese soldiers led by Lt. Haito slips through the jungle silently approaching their position. The enemy soldiers each are holding explosives, a suicidal attack to annihilate the marines. Just as Lt. Haito passes under a low-hanging branch, a shadowy hand reaches down and pulls the pin out of the grenade that Haito is holding. Haito is stunned, and the grenade explodes and sets off a chain reaction with the other explosives, killing the entire enemy squad. From a nearby tree, hidden by the thick foliage, Kana watches.

Later that night, Kana has perched himself cross-legged on a rock near the sleeping marines, motionless. The Marines watch him, unsure of what he is doing and suspicious of his motives. Kana is practicing transcendental meditation. His thoughts take him back to the last time he found himself back in time, in 6th Century medieval Japan and the princess whose life he saved. Then, his soul once again leaves his body, hurling through the abyss of time and vanishing into a burst of light. He arrives, not in the 6th Century as wanted, but in an atomic wasteland of the future. He finds himself before the shattered remains of the Statue of Liberty, jutting out of the beach before a ruined city. Kana unsheathes his sword, ready to commit suicide than stay in this hellish time. Then, a group of men on motorcycles ride past. Kana notices that they are chasing a young woman on horse, desperate to get away from her pursuers. Kana decides to postpone his suicide to help. He takes out his bow, and fires four arrows towards the group. His arrows reach their mark killing each of the pursuers and leaving only their leader Toluk alive. The woman rides up next to Kana, ordering him onto the horse. Toluk continues to chase after them. Kana releases a handful of Tetsubishi, small iron spikes, onto his path, which blow out his tires and send Toluk flying from his motorcycle. Kana and the woman are able to get away.

The woman, Shura, explains that she is a member of the Survivors, who live in the remains of the city, while Toluk is a Waster who lives in the deserts between and have been killing their men and enslaving the women. Recently, Shura's father Modinn rode to the Wasters camp to sue for peace, but was captured instead. Her father's horse, named Cloud, had escaped. He is a symbol of hope, and she could not allow her people to see Toluk riding Cloud. Kana asks Shura to take him to the Waster's stronghold. At the camp, the Wasters have Modinn tied to a post so the sun may bake him alive. Kana arrives, and using his smashing Shuko, a claw-like weapon, takes out the surrounding Wasters and rescues Modinn. As they are riding away, Toluk vows to massacre Modinn and his Survivors tomorrow.

Now back in the ravaged city, Modinn, in armor, rallies his people for the oncoming battle against the Wasters. His people are certain of a victory now that he's back leading them. As the Wasters approach the city, Toluk tells his lieutenants that he is certain that one of his bullets struck Modinn, and that he must be weak from his ordeal. As the sun begins to rise on the horizon, the Survivors set out, along with Kana, to meet the assault. Toluk rides his motorcycle right towards Modinn, firing his gun into the old man. But Modinn doesn't fall, to Toluk's frustration, and Modinn strikes him down with his sword. The Survivors' victory is complete, and the Wasters are defeated and drove off after the death of their leader. But Shura finds her father collapsed on the ground, having fallen off his horse. She explains to Kana that Modinn had died by Toluk's bullet, and that she had tied him to his horse Cloud to do battle so that her people would not know. She and Kana bury him in an unmarked grave. Then, once again with his mission complete, Kana's soul returns to its cosmic journey to times and places unknown...

Appearing in The Haunted Tank: "The Naked Warriors"

Featured Characters:

Antagonists:

  • German Infantry soldier

Locations:

Items:

  • Knife

Vehicles:

Synopsis for The Haunted Tank: "The Naked Warriors"

The Haunted Tank is under orders to find and bring back a German prisoner to headquarters for questioning, but Jeb and his men have had no luck finding one. As soon as the tank comes across a nearby river, Jeb orders his men to take a break and cool off from the blazing heat. The five strip off their uniforms and jump into the river to enjoy a relaxing swim in the cool water. But their frolics are being observed by a German soldier hidden in the trees, and as soon as all five of them are in the water, he open fires. The five men are pinned under the water, and the German waits for them to resurface so he can finish them off like fish in a barrel.

Jeb swims beside the shore and resurfaces right in front of the German, grabbing his ankle and pulling him into the water. However, the German breaks free of his grasp and pulls out a knife. Jeb expects a fight, but the German just begins to thrash around and then starts to sink to the bottom. The German soldier can't swim! Jeb grabs the man by the leg and pulls him out of the river and to safety. The German is thankful to Jeb for saving his life and surrenders. The Haunted Tank now has their prisoner!

Appearing in The Mercenaries: "Blood Money"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

  • Vincenzo

Antagonists:

  • President Largos
  • Colonel Velez

Other Characters:

  • Esteban (Dies)
  • Limo driver
  • Stewardess

Locations:

Items:

  • Champagne

Vehicles:

  • Limousine car
  • Oldsmobile car
  • Boeing 720 passenger jet (destroyed)
  • Dassault Mirage F1 fighter jet

Synopsis for The Mercenaries: "Blood Money"

The Mercenaries, Gordon, Horst and Prince, sit on a bench in Central Park waiting for their contact to arrive. The man, Esteban, stumbles up to them. He has hired the Mercenaries to protect his brother Vincenzo, who is returning from exile to his home country to run for election against the tyrannical President Largos. Largos has agreed to the free election, and has even sent a plane to bring Vincenzo back home, but Esteban doesn't trust Largos and believes that the president will try to kill him before his return. The Mercenaries accept the job. Esteban hands over the cash to pay for their services, then falls to the ground dead.

Two days later, at Esteban's gravesite, his brother Vincenzo places flowers onto the tombstone. He then cuts his hand, making a blood oath to free his people or die trying, as his blood drips onto the stone. Vincenzo turns to the Mercenaries, explaining that Largos will not let him reach the election alive and that by helping him makes them a target as well. The Mercenaries agree, but continue their services to protect him. A limousine pulls up to take Vincenzo and the others to the airport where a plane awaits them. The Mercenaries can't risk an ambush, so they decide to take Vincenzo in their own car. The limo driver radios Capt. Morales to tell him of the change of plan. Upon arriving at the airport, a crowd of reporters awaits them as Vincenzo and the Mercenaries board the plane. The Stewardess guides them to their seats and checks their carry-on luggage. Meanwhile, at that moment in the Presidential Palace, President Largos is briefed by his military aide Colonel Velez. The moment the plane lands in their country, an assassin, disguised as a ground mechanic, will shoot down Vincenzo. The perfect plan...

On the plane, the Stewardess comes around to offer Vincenzo and the Mercenaries glasses of champagne. Gordon is suspicious, and forces the Stewardess to drink from the glass first, in case it's poisoned. She drinks, then informs them that lunch will be served shortly. In the meantime, Horst checks on their bags, only to find that all their weapons are gone. The Stewardess returns with their meals, concealing a gun underneath. She open fires, but Gordon is able to push Vincenzo out of the way in time. Horst and Prince pull out their own pistols, hidden within their boots, and kill the Stewardess and her helper. The crew of the plane appear from the cockpit, guns blazing, and the Mercenaries kill them as well. Gordon takes control of the plane, bring it out of its landing approach and away from the airport. As soon as word reaches President Largos, he issues a statement to the people that the plane has been hijacked and will be forced down. Back on the plane, Gordon spots two army jets appearing in the sky to attack. They attack, and the Mercenaries smash out the windows of the plane and begin to shoot back. Prince destroys one of the attacking jets, but Horst misses as the enemy banks up to get at their tail. Gordon pilots the plane towards a narrow pass in the mountains and at a lake where he can bring the plane into a spashdown. The plane hits the water, and the enemy jet breaks off its attack thinking the plane has crashed and everyone's dead.

Two days later, at the Presidential Palace, Colonel Velez informs Largos that the election is over and that Vincenzo has won. Largos smiles. Dead men cannot rule, so he wins by default. However, when he walks onto the palace balcony, he finds the crowds cheering Vincenzo, who is standing before them very much alive, thanks to the Mercenaries. They've earned their pay, even though it's blood money.

Notes

  • This book was first published on June 13, 1985.
  • In this issue's letter column "Let's Make Tracks", editor Murray Boltinoff writes a brief history of the French Foreign Legion, the inspiration for the Mercenaries, from their conception by King Louis-Philippe in 1831 to the present day. He also mentions, in a separate column, about the theft of George Washington's teeth at the Smithsonian, on June 19, 1981.
  • Kana's original trip back to 6th Century Medieval Japan, as mentioned in the third story "Even Gods Bleed", happened back in issue #265.

Trivia

  • No trivia.



See Also

Recommended Reading

Links and References

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