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"Haunted Tank: "Tank Raiders"": Everyone at Tank Squadron Headquarters is waiting for the return of Lieutenant Larry Gold and his tank crew from patrol after their radio had cut out during a fight with a Nazi Tiger tank. Jeb Stuart, along with his crew Slim, Rick and Arch, wait next to their own


Quote1 Having our tank snatched like that from under us-- is like getting a direct hit! We might as well be dead! We've got to get our tank back! Quote2
Lt. Jeb Stuart

G.I. Combat #90 is an issue of the series G.I. Combat (Volume 1) with a cover date of November, 1961.

Appearing in Haunted Tank: "Tank Raiders"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Antagonists:

  • German Artillery soldiers
  • German Infantry soldiers

Other Characters:

  • Lieutenant Larry Gold (Dies)
  • Lieutenant Mack Gibbon (Dies)
  • Lieutenant Nick Brown
  • American Artillery soldiers
  • American Infantry soldiers

Locations:

Items:

  • T.N.T. sticks
  • M1 grenades

Vehicles:

  • The Haunted Tank
  • German Panzerkampfwagen IV tank
  • German-captured Willys MB jeep

Synopsis for Haunted Tank: "Tank Raiders"

Everyone at Tank Squadron Headquarters is waiting for the return of Lieutenant Larry Gold and his tank crew from patrol after their radio had cut out during a fight with a Nazi Tiger tank. Jeb Stuart, along with his crew Slim, Rick and Arch, wait next to their own tank watching for any sign of Larry. The ghost of General J.E.B. Stuart appears briefly before Jeb, encouraging him that a real fighting man returns to carry on the fight. Then, they hear the agonized grinding of shot up treads in the distance. Larry brought back his tank, but he and his crew didn't survived the trip. The other crews quickly climb aboard their own tanks to begin the next patrol. Jeb and the Haunted Tank leads the patrol out, and Jeb tells his crew that the squadron's never lost a tank except by a direct hit... and that's the way it's going to stay. They leave headquarters towards the given coordinates, followed by Lt. Mack Gibbon's tank and then Lt. Nick Brown's. Over the radio, Jeb receives a distress call from one of the Infantry units in the area, pinned down by German artillery. He relays the orders to head for coordinates L-4 and the patrol is on their way.

When they arrive at coordinates L-4, they find ground without any cover facing a wooden rise. Coming up from behind the pinned infantry, the tanks form a defensive line and move forward towards the tree line towards the enemy fire. The pillboxes have the high ground, and one quickly takes out Mack Gibbon's tank. Shortly after, Nick Brown's hatch and cannon gets hit, putting a stop to that tank. The Haunted Tank is now along, allowing the pillboxes to bring all their attention onto them. The Germans are using smokeless powder, which helps in hiding their exact position to allow for Rick to get a clean shot. Then, the ground turns into a sheet of flame around the Haunted Tank. Jeb is knocked unconscious by the blast, leaving his crew below to drive blindly into the enemy's position. Then, Slim hears orders for him to turn left, then straight ahead, and then turn right. When Jeb finally comes to, he can see that they are just to the left of one of the camouflaged pillboxes. He shouts the order, and Rick fires taking out the first pillbox. The second pillbox is well hidden, but Jeb can see the shaking of the branches around it every time it fires. Slim moves the tank up onto the incline so that Rick can get enough elevation. He fires, and the second pillbox is destroyed. With the immediate threat dealt with, Jeb signals for the infantry to move in. As the Haunted Tank backs off to let the infantry do their job, Slim congratulates Jeb on the great work with his navigation around the pillboxes. Jeb is puzzled, as he was unconscious during that time, then realizes that it must of been his ancestor's ghost that gave the orders and saved their lives. As the Haunted Tank continues on with their mission, Nick Brown's tank is too damaged to continue on and its crew is forced to turn around and head back to headquarters.

The front shifts back and forth several times over the next few days, and eventually the battle sets the woods around them ablaze. The Haunted Tank avoids getting fried in the fire, but its crew begins to boil from the heat of being cooped up within the small tank for days. Finally, the fighting shifts to another direction, giving the Haunted Tank crew some time away from the battle. They find a small pond to park nearby, and the four enjoy a long swim in the cool waters. At their most vulnerable, the Germans surprise them in an American jeep with an attack from the woods. The four dive as deep as they can to avoid the gunfire. When they resurface, the see that the Germans are attempting to hijack the Haunted Tank. They quickly run out of the water, wearing only their shorts, and grab what little firepower they had with their uniforms. Arch and Slim throw two grenades at the Germans, but even those are unable to stop the enemy from stealing their tank. The four watch as the Haunted Tank disappear into the distance. Having their tank taken from under them is an unacceptable defeat, and they have to get it back!

The crew of the lost Haunted Tank quickly get dressed and begin to follow the trail left by the Germans. It is not hard to follow the Stuart's track in the soft ground. A few miles down the road they find the stolen American jeep the Germans had used to trick them, and the driver dead at the wheel - their grenades must have got him. They remove the driver and take off in the jeep to try and catch up with their tank. Jeb begins to worry how easy it was to find the jeep, and why the Germans would have just left it there for them to find. He gets his answer a second later when the Haunted Tank appears out from the underbrush in the woods and fires on them. The road beside them is hit, rolling the jeep onto its side and throwing the four out to land hard onto the road. The guys are stunned, and the Haunted Tank then continues down the road. After it is gone, Jeb and the others get back up, lucky to still be alive. They roll the jeep back onto its wheels and then continue on after their stolen tank. A mile away they are forced to stop on the edge of a small cliff, having missed the turn and lost the trail. Then, they spot the Haunted Tank on the road below them. With no time to back-track and desperate to stop the tank before it can get away again, Jeb, Rick and Arch quickly begin climbing down the side of the cliff. Slim, left atop with the jeep, gives it full gas and leaps out just as the jeep drives right off the cliff and into the air. It cannonballs right into the front of the tank, blocking the enemy's way and forcing them to stop. The three others leap onto the tank and attack the Germans before they can react, firing their pistol into the hatch and killing the Germans inside.

Back at tank headquarters, everyone watches and waits for Jeb and the Haunted Tank's return. They are long overdue, but everyone keeps up hope. Then, in the distance, the Haunted Tank clanks its way towards them on the road. The ghost of General J.E.B. Stuart appears to Jeb, congratulating him for his good job and telling him that he and his men are good enough to soldier in his Confederate army. Jeb smiles, realizing that even though the Confederate army stopped their fight nearly a hundred years before, the General's fight continues on with him and his men.

Appearing in "Patrol in the Parlor"

Featured Characters:

  • Private Harry Harper

Antagonists:

Other Characters:

  • American Infantry sergeant
  • American Infantry soldiers

Locations:

Items:

  • Canteen
  • Thompson submachine gun
  • Flare gun
  • Grenade
  • German 15cm sFH 18 howitzer gun

Vehicles:

  • American LCVP landing craft

Synopsis for "Patrol in the Parlor"

Private Harry Harper, a new and green recruit to his infantry squad, doesn't know where his place is in this war. He's an odd-ball, attached to Baker Company stationed in the North African desert. he craves action, but when the time comes he finds himself out of place and clumsy. He is a problem to the company. During an intense firefight against the Germans in the desert, he tries to keep up with the rest of the men, even when his sergeant yells at him to move up, but he can't seem to get his mind on the battle. The only thought is of the blistering sun and heat, and his thirst for water. After the battle, he feels terrible. A burden to the company. However, the others try to reassure him. They tell him that not everyone is cut out for fighting in the desert, and that maybe once they move into the mountains he'll get better.

After North Africa, Baker Company blasted their way into Italy and its snowy mountains. The battle against the Axis wages on, and still Private Harper can't find his grove. His mind is only on the freezing cold, distracted by his constant shivering and numb fingers. He manages to get his frozen finger around the trigger of his rifle, but his haphazard shots only result in causing an avalanche form the snow shelf above. The men in his company dig him out, and afterwards he warms around the fire, depressed and defeated. The men tell him that he just hasn't found his specialty yet, and that he'll discover his true calling soon.

Time passes, and the company find themselves in many battles in many different landscapes and places. But it's the same old story. In the mud... in the forest... and in the water, he just seems to be a hindrance to the safety of himself and the company. The others start to believe that maybe Private Harper isn't good for anything, and begin to wonder want they're going to do with him.

Soon after, many of the combat outfits are shifted to England, and Baker Company is part of the first wave at D-Day. They hit the beaches of France. The attack begins, and Private Harper finds himself seasick and unable to fight back. But he manages to keep up with the rest of the company on the beach, sometimes dragged along by the other men. Once Baker Company gets its hold in Nazi-held ground, Harper is ashamed of himself, but the men try to encourage him. Every time he eliminates another type of fighting, he gets closer to discovering his perfect combat specialty. The Sarge isn't so sure, after all what else is left?

As the days go by, the Sarge begins to believe that maybe Harper isn't cut out for fighting. He sends him on a mission to recon an old castle along their path, and when it is okay to fire a flare so the rest of the company can move past. An easy, and safe, assignment. Harper takes the mission, fighting his conscious all the way up the hill to the abandoned castle gates. Inside, the place is empty, not even a ghost around, or so he thinks. Noticing his boot has come untied, he bends down to retie it just as a barrage of bullets whip past his head to strike the way behind him. From out of the darkness come a squad of German soldiers hiding in the castle! With a quick reaction, Harper grabs hold of the carpet and pulls, sending the German soldiers tumbling to the floor! He ducks into the dining room, ahead of their gunfire. Hiding under the table, he tosses a grenade towards the entering soldiers. The blast kills his pursuers, but has also brought out more enemy from their hiding places. In his hurry to get away, he drops the flare gun. Escaping to the second floor, he watches out a window as the Germans fire the green flare into the sky to trick the Americans into a trap. He can see the enemy has set up a howitzer and gun crew for their arrival. The gun crew spot him int he window, and one of the Germans throw a grenade at him. It bounces across the floor towards him. Harper gives it a swift kick, sending it flying back out the window and down onto the gun crew below. It explodes, destroying the howitzer. Inside, the Germans have once again found Harper, and pursue him through the corridors to the grand staircase. Private Harper slides down the banister, rifle drawn firing back. To his surprise, once he reaches bottom Baker Company has arrived to give him a helping hand! They fire back, taking out the remaining Germans. The Sarge congratulates Harper for his good work, and for finally finding his combat specialty - parlor fighting!

Appearing in "Flame Fighter!"

Featured Characters:

  • Seaman Kirk

Antagonists:

  • Japanese pilots

Other Characters:

  • Kirk's dad (Flashback only)
  • City firefighters (Flashback only)
  • American Navy firefighters "Hot Papas"
  • American Navy pilots
  • American Navy captain

Locations:

Items:

  • Asbestos suit
  • Firefighting foam

Vehicles:

  • American Aircraft carrier
  • American Grumman F4F Wildcat fighter plane
  • Japanese coastal attack submarine
  • American Sikorsky H-5 rescue helicopter
  • Japanese Mitsubishi A6M "Zero" long-range fighter aircraft

Synopsis for "Flame Fighter!"

Seaman Kirk had always wanted to be a firefighter like his father was before him. As he was growing up, he watched his father fight fires and rescue people from burning building. Then, when he came of age, he was ready to take the firefighter's exam, but found he has a paralyzing fear of fire. Therefore, to get as far away from fire, and his family, Kirk joined the Navy. After boot camp, Kirk was assigned to an aircraft carrier bound for the Pacific. But his phobia resurfaced when he found himself assigned to the Hot Papas, the on-board firefighting unit.

Only a few days later, his day of dread came - enemy fighters were sighted and battle-stations were called. Fear hits Kirk as the first shots are fired. Flame shots high from one end of the ship, but Kirk is told that it's not in their zone and to remain at his post. Relief surges over him as their planes attack and destroy the enemy sub. However, one of their Wildcats has been hit and is coming in hot and fast. The Hot Papas take their positions to douse the flames. Kirk is frozen to his spot, unable to move and overcome with fear. The plane hits the deck in a roaring fireball, skids across, and then slides off the side and overboard into the water. Kirk thanks his guardian angel as he watches the rescue helicopters take off to retrieve the pilot.

Three days later, the carrier comes under kamikaze attack again. Flames dance across the deck. The call is sent out. This is it... the Hot Papas are in the action. Kirk runs out onto the deck to find himself all alone. With no one to help him, it's up to Kirk to find the courage to put out the flames. He thinks back to his dad, the career firefighter, and how he would rush in to rescue the kids from the burning building. Kirk point his extinguisher hose towards the flames. It's up to him... all up to him! It was the battle of his life, and he was winning! He pulls the trigger and foam shoots out of the hose to douse the flames before him. But the flames were only a small part of the battle. A call for the port bow gunners is sounded over the loud speaker, but Kirk can see that all the gunners have been knocked out and the guns surrounded by flames. With his asbestos suit to protect him, he throws down his hose and walks through the flames to take a position in the gunner's seat. His gloves sizzle as it touches the hot metal. He open fires towards the enemy Zeros in the air. The lead Zero bears down on him, opening fire. Bullets whiz past him, some ripping holes into his asbestos suit. Kirk holds down the trigger, and blasts the lead Zero right out of the sky. Just as he begins to lose consciousness from the extreme heat, he is pulled from the gunner's seat by the other Hot Papas who see him as a real hero.

The kamikaze attack was over, and as the battered carrier limps towards port for repairs Kirk is celebrated as a hero and gets the thanks of his commanding officers. Back in his home town, his father shows his fellow firefighters at the station the awards his son received. A very proud father to one of the hottest of the Hot Papas in the Navy.

Notes

  • Between the first and second story is the full-page "A Message from Otto the Robot!" public service announcement, where a young boy, after visiting his uncle's factory, dreams about meeting a robot that explains to him why he should stay in school. Written by Jack Schiff with art by Bernard Baily.
  • Page 15 contains a half-page "U.S. Army Insignia" guide, showing the insignia for the U.S. Ground Forces, the Army Air Forces, and the Army Service Forces, along with brief explanations of their origins.
  • "Tank Raiders!" is reprinted in Our Army at War #190.

Trivia

  • "Sgt. Rock's Combat Corner" has the Rock answering questions from readers such as "How far apart should foxholes be?" (five paces), "What was the taxicab army of World War 1?" (the French Sixth Army), and "How much does a torpedo weigh?" (around 1,500 to 1,800 pounds).



See Also

Recommended Reading

Links and References

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