"School for Assassins": The Haunted Tank is in the middle of a battle against a German Panzer for control of a vital bridge. The Panzer has the upper hand, and in one of the blasts Sgt. Craig is knocked unconscious. Eddie freezes, believing his father has been killed, but the sergeant wakes up a
- Listen for me in the wind, and you will hear a secret never revealed before... The greatest threats to Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Dwight Eisenhower were not the deadly weapons in the Nazi arsenal... but two students being trained at a very special school half a dozen years before D-Day!
Appearing in "School for Assassins"
- Unnamed male German assassin (Dies)
- Unnamed female German assassin (Dies)
- German Artillery soldiers
- General Dwight Eisenhower
- General George S. Patton
- General Omar Bradley
- American Artillery captain "Skipper"
- American Field medics
- German poison and antidote
- Cross of Lorraine ring
- The Haunted Tank
- Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. B
- American Dodge WC54 Ambulance
- Willys MB U.S. Army Jeep
- Italian Semovente da 75/18 self-propelled gun (destroyed)
Synopsis for "School for Assassins"
The Haunted Tank is in the middle of a battle against a German Panzer for control of a vital bridge. The Panzer has the upper hand, and in one of the blasts Sgt. Craig is knocked unconscious. Eddie freezes, believing his father has been killed, but the sergeant wakes up after a few moments and resumed his position as driver. Rick swings the turret around and gets a shot out at the Panzer at point-blank range. The enemy tank is destroyed, but is now blocking the way across the bridge. Sgt. Craig doesn't see a problem, and rams the Haunted Tank into the smoking Panzer, knocking the wreck over the side and into the river.
Back at base, Sgt. Craig is taken to the field hospital to have his wounds taken care. The medics find him with a concussion, broken ribs, and shrapnel wounds. He is told that he'll have to spend a few days out of action at the hospital. As he is being carried away by the medics, a staff car pulls up and General Eisenhower himself steps out along with Generals Patton, Bradley, and his staff. The General salutes the wounded Sgt. Craig, who returns the salute. He is told that the sergeant should have a ticket back to the states with his wounds, but Craig tells Eisenhower that as long as he's fit he's staying. The other members of the Haunted Tank are in awe at all the top brass, but begin wondering why so many command officers have shown up at their headquarters. Jeb meets with Skipper, and the captain tells him that Eisenhower is using their base for a top-secret conference. Skipper doesn't want to take any chances that the Germans will find out that the top brass is there, so he orders Jeb and the others out on recon patrol in case the enemy get too close. As the Haunted Tank pulls out of HQ on their mission, the ghost of General Stuart appears and Jeb asks him if he has any idea what Eisenhower's plan is. The General doesn't know, but warns Jeb that war can surprise even a general.
Not far out from headquarters, the Haunted Tank runs into their first Panzer tank. The men prepare to lure the tank away from HQ, but before they can act two French resistance fighters emerge from the woods and firebomb the Panzer destroying it. Jeb thanks them for the assistance and offers them a ride back to friendly lines. As Jeb gives the girl a hand up onto the tank, her ring accidentally scratches Jeb in the hand. Within seconds Jeb begins to feel dizzy and passes out. The second fighter, a man, quickly moves into action and raises his gun at Gus, who has emerged to help Jeb. The guys are ushered back into the tank, held under gunpoint by the girl. She explains that they are soldiers of the Führer, and that the ring that scratched Jeb contains the latest German murder device that poisons its victims. She warns them that if they try to attack her or her accomplice, then Jeb will be dead within the hour unless she can give him the antidote. Rick thinks that she's lying, and to prove herself she scratches he cheek with the ring to inject herself with the poison. The man orders Gus to take control of the tank and take them back to the American HQ where they know that Eisenhower and his generals are meeting. The ghost of General J.E.B. Stuart appears before the tank, and to his surprise the German assassin sees him and fires his pistol in the ghost's direction. The General vanishes again, and the man orders Gus to give the order to return.
On their way back to HQ, the Haunted Tank comes under attack by another Panzer hiding in the woods. The assassin orders Rick to fire on the tank. Rick obeys, and the Panzer is destroyed. The assassin shows no remorse to having killed his own men, but says that the mission is more important. Back at the American base, General Eisenhower emerges from the tents to speak with Skipper just as the Haunted Tank appears in the distance. At first they are not alarmed, but then Skipper realizes that something must be wrong if they're returning so soon and orders his men to open fire on the Haunted Tank. An explosion hits the side of the tank, knocking the male assassin off and killing him. The female assassin, knowing their mission is failing, raises her pistol to kill the prisoners inside the tank. Another explosion hits the side of the tank and the woman is hit in the neck by a large piece of shrapnel, killing her. She falls on top of the unconscious Jeb, and they roll her off of him and lift him out of the tank before they too are killing in the shelling. Outside and safe, Jeb begins to regain consciousness. He tells the others that when the woman fell on top of him, her Iron Cross medal scratched him on the cheek and that this was where she was hiding the antidote to the poison. Skipper runs up to the group, asking them how they knew to fly a signal to alert him of the enemy. None of them know what he's talking about, and Skipper points to the burning Nazi flag hanging from the Haunted Tank. Jeb suspects that General Stuart had something to do with it. The General appears, explaining that only those that are about to die can see his form, except for Jeb of course. The two Germans had hoped that their attack would seal their graduation from the School of Assassins, but instead they flunked out!
Appearing in "Homecoming for a Hero"
- Franz's father
- American Infantry soldiers
- German Infantry soldiers
- Victoria Cross medal
- Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. B
- American M4 Sherman tank
Synopsis for "Homecoming for a Hero"
Like all families, the Nazis also awaited the return of their loved ones at the end of World War 2. For one father, it was a endless wait for new about his son Franz. It is now summer, months after the end of the war was declared, and the old man has still not heard anything about the fate of his son. The man has begun to accept the inevitable, that his son has died while gallantly defending his homeland. One night, as he enters the parlor of his home to rekindle the fire, he finds his son Franz sitting in front of the fireplace warming himself. He has returned home. His father take shim into his arms, telling his boy how grateful he is for having him home once again. He states that the army would not tell him anything, not even his whereabouts or even what unit he had been assigned to. Franz tells him that he was just one of millions of soldiers, but his father does not give into his humbleness. He sees the Iron Cross pinned to his son's uniform, and tells him that he had always pictured him in glorious battle in the wastelands of Russia or beating back the Americans at Normandy. The father hugs his boy once again, telling him how proud he is of him. Franz takes his leave of his father, heading upstairs to take a bath. His father goes to fetch Franz some fresh clothing, only then revealing that the man is blind. As Franz washes off the dirt of war, he wishes that he could tell his father the truth. That he had fought not for Germany but for England, and the medal that his father had mistaken for the Iron Cross was in fact the Victoria Cross that he had earned so bravely in battle.
Appearing in "The Body Snatchers"
- The Bravos
- Sergeant Bullett
- Lance Corporal Kiley
- Private Levy
- Private Luney
- Private Wallis
- Private Somers
- Private Douglas
- Private Pilsudski
- Private Gomez
- Unnamed American Green Beret
- Viet Cong soldiers
- American Huey pilot (Dies)
- American Huey co-pilot (Dies)
- American radio operator
- Mekong River, Vietnam
- Mk 2 Grenade
- American Bell UH-1 Iroquois helicopters
- American Boeing B-52 Stratofortress bombers
Synopsis for "The Body Snatchers"
Deep in the jungles of Vietnam, Sgt. Bullett is hustling the men of Bravo Company in the direction of a slick not far from Qui Nhon. Under fire from the Viet Cong, a Huey chopper is trying to make a landing to pick up the men, nearly dragging it's tail in the mud doing it. It finally gets a clearing to land, and Bravo Company load up. The chopper takes off, and Bullett and Kiley hope that their next landing zone (LZ) is a cold one. The chopper pilot points out a squadron of B-52s flying nearby on their way to hit supplies along the Ho Chi Minh trail, and tells Cpl. Kiley that he never worries because rescue is only a radio call away for him. Then, their new mission comes over the radio - they are to search and find a lost survivor of a long range recon patrol (LRRP) before the Viet Cong does. Near the landing zone they spot the lone survivor tied to the ground, a Green Beret. They know that Charlie (the Viet Cong) is staking him out, watching from under cover and waiting for them to land.
Under intense ground fire, the pilot spins the Huey around and down at 4,000 feet a minute. The heavy G's of the dive rip at the men's guts. The gunner is killed during the dive, and Pvt. Levy moves up to take his place. A second gunner is hit, and Wallis takes charge of his gun. On the ground, the Green Beret watches his would-be rescuers take hit after hit. The Huey begins to trail black smoke and flames as it banks sharply away from the blasts. On board, both the pilot and co-pilot are killed, and Sgt. Bullett calls a mayday over the radio. It's too late, and the Huey crashes down into the trees and somehow manages to make a rough but intact landing. Sgt. Bullett orders everyone out of the chopper and into cover just as the Huey is targeted and destroyed. While Bullett attempts to contact a rescue over the co-pilot's survival radio, the others collect the dog tags of the dead and bury the bodies. Bullett is able to get someone to respond over the radio, and is told to make their way two miles northeast to the nearest LZ. As they set out into the jungle, Bullett admits to Kiley that he really has no idea which way is northeast, as his compass was smashed in the crash.
Bravo Company continue up a trail for what they believe is two miles, but without any rivers or familiar landmarks they really are only guessing as to their location. The men soon hear the sound of gunfire not far in the distance, and Bravo Company head in that direction. The gunfire leads them directly to their appointed LZ, and Charlie is giving trouble in the form of ground fire to the two Hueys that are trying to make a landing. Sgt. Bullett orders the Bravos to attack, but not to use grenades in case they blow holes in the LZ. The attack takes Charlie by surprise, and Bravo are able to fight their way through to the LZ in time for the Hueys to land and pick them up. The men want to return to base for rest and chow, but they know that the Green Beret is still out there being used as bait to shoot down unsuspecting rescue parties. They decide to swing around and make a rescue, getting only one chance at it. The chopper spirals down into the line of fire, but then flips the Huey over and goes down sideways. The rotor blades of the chopper cut the tops of the trees to shreds, sending limbs and debris raining down on top of Charlie's head. In the confusion, the pilot lands the chopper and Bravo supplies cover fire while the men run over and rescue the Green Beret. Before they can untie the prisoner, the leader of the Viet Cong jumps out from his hiding place determined to kill the Green Beret instead of allow him to be rescued. Sgt. Bullett runs up and fires, killing the VC leader and rescuing the Green Beret. With everyone back on board the Huey, they take off for safety with their mission completed.
Appearing in "To Skin a Tiger"
- German Artillery commander
- German Artillery soldiers
- American Artillery soldiers
- The Haunted Tank
- American M3 Stuart light tanks (destroyed)
- Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. B (destroyed)
Synopsis for "To Skin a Tiger"
Jeb and the Haunted Tank are out on patrol with two other Stuart tanks when they are attacked by a Panzer hiding in the woods nearby. The first Stuart tank is destroyed, and Rick open fires at the Panzer but can do no damage to the enemy tank because of its heavy forward shielding. Jeb orders Rick to lower the cannon down to fire under the tank. Rick fires, and the shell skips across the ground until it impacts onto the bottom of the Panzer, destroying it. Jeb tells him that he remembers a time when he was young and would skip rocks across the top of the water at a nearby pond, and had hoped the same technique could be used here!
Appearing in "Somebody's Soldier-Son"
- Colonel Treng
- Chinese soldiers
- Viet Cong soldiers
- Secret Police agents
- American bartender
- Mr. O'Brian
- Mrs. O'Brian
- Sean O'Brian (deceased)
- Cambodian citizens
- Black Market weapons dealer
- Mk 2 Grenade
- American Boeing 747 passenger jet
- Chinese fighter plane
Synopsis for "Somebody's Soldier-Son"
The Mercenaries relax at a place called "The Erin Bar" in downtown Boston. Near them, an old man watches the television as a news story about families visiting the graves of loved ones lost on D-Day. He tells the bartender that it's not fair, as he can't even bring his own son Sean home from Vietnam. His son has been declared missing in action somewhere in Cambodia, and the government is unable to enter the country to retrieve the body. The Mercenaries follow the old man out of the bar and down the street to the cemetery, where the old man joins his wife at the site of Sean's empty grave. The three Mercenaries introduce themselves and offer to try and bring their son home to them, free of charge. They tell the old man to meet them at the airport that evening, and the woman gives Horst a kiss on the cheek for helping them.
That evening at the airport, the old man gives Gordon a map that Sean's army buddy Danny had sent to them that marked the possible whereabouts of Sean's unmarked grave. As the three board the plane, the old man and woman pray for their safe return. The plane lands in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and as the Mercenaries disembark they notice the airport is full of secret police agents scanning and watching the new arrivals. They quickly leave the airport and jump on board a bus with a tour group heading for the same hotel to avoid questioning. At the hotel, they are surprised by a Colonel Treng of the Cambodian Police waiting for them in their room. He knows that they are not part of the tour group and asks them of their business in the country. Gordon tells the Colonel that they are scouts for a movie studio looking for locations to film an adventure film. The Colonel accepts the reason, and offers to set up a boat to take them up the Mekong River in the morning along with an armed guard of course. After the Colonel leaves the room, the Mercenaries quickly search the room to find any bugs planted before their arrival. Later that evening, the three make a visit to a local black market warehouse to buy weapons and explosives for the trip. The saleswoman tells them that their "shipment" will be waiting for them at the docks in the morning, hidden in crates of fruit.
The next morning, the Mercenaries meet Colonel Treng on the docks. They are quickly searched for weapons and then board the boat, heading down the river. The trip is long and hot, and one of the Cambodian soldiers tries to open the crates to get at the "fruit". The Mercenaries move to stop them, and the soldiers reveal that the whole set-up was a trap. The Mercenaries quickly pull out the weapons from under the fruit and kill the Cambodian soldiers, throwing their bodies over the side into the river. Immediately they are attacked by a fighter plane, sent by Colonel Treng to finish the job. There is a quick firefight, and Gordon shoots down the plane. They quickly abandon ship with whatever weapons they can grab as the plan barrels down towards them to smash into the boat, destroying it.
Now on land, the Mercenaries head into the jungle on foot following the map given to them by the old man. They find the land markers that lead them to the possible grave, and then begin digging. After a while, they find nothing and realize that the map must be wrong and the grave isn't there. About to give up, they three are attacked from out of the jungle by Colonel Treng and his men who had been following them. A few quick grenades and Treng and his soldiers are taken care of. The explosion opens the side of the hole that they had been digging, and a badly decomposed body is washed into the hole from the Mekong River. Loading up the body, they decide to hike through the jungle all the way to Siam and fly home from there where it is safer.
Back in the States, the body is buried in Sean's grave in Boston. The old woman is so grateful for having her son back with them. The old man thanks the Mercenaries for bringing their boy back home to them. As the Mercenaries leave, the old man has kept the truth from both the Mercenaries and his wife... the body they had brought home was not his son's. He swears to himself to keep it a secret. After all, what difference does it make? He may not be their son, but he was somebody's son.
- The third story "The Body Snatchers" featuring the Bravos also includes a glossary of military terms and abbreviations from the Vietnam War for the reader to refer to on the first page.
- In this issue's letter column Let's Make Tracks, editor Murray Boltinoff announces that the Mercenaries will become the main header for the G.I. Combat comic starting with issue #282, while the Haunted Tank will return when the schedule allows.
- No trivia.
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- Discuss G.I. Combat Vol 1 281 on the forums
- Cover gallery for the G.I. Combat series
- 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)