Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Haunted Tank!

Part One of an at least 52 part series of Who's Who entries of New 52 characters (but probably a whole lot more what with cancellations and all).

"The Haunted Tank is the nickname given to the series of tanks commanded during World War Two by Lieutenant Jeb Stuart and watched over by the ghost of General Jeb Stuart, the great military leader for the Confederacy during the Civil War.

General James Ewell Brown (J.E.B.) Stuart became famous during the first Battle of Bull Run. He was placed in command of the cavalry under General Robert E. Lee, but was fatally wounded in 1864 at Yellow Tavern, Virginia, during the battle for Richmond.

Shortly after America became involved in World War Two, the spirit of Alexander the Great assigned the ghost of General Stuart to act as the guardian of the Stuart M3 tank commanded by the general's namesake, Sgt. Jeb Stuart, in North Africa. General Stuart was outraged, since Sgt. Stuart and his crew were all Northerners. However, the general was greatly impressed watching Sgt. Stuart and his men in battle. Finally, Sgt. Stuart, who could see the general's ghost, won him over by flying a Confederate flag on his tank and declaring that they would fight under General Stuart's flag. Ever since then, the general's ghost has gladly watched over his namesake, his crew, and whichever tank they ride. (There are other, different accounts of the Haunted Tank's origin, but this is the one most frequently given.)

Only Sgt. Stuart, who was later promoted to lieutenant, and people who are dying can see and hear the general's ghost. Lt. Stuart's crew thinks that he merely imagines the ghost and is partly crazy, but they have complete faith in his combat skills. The general's ghost is allowed to counsel his namesake, but can only give him warnings in cryptic ways.

Lt. Stuart has lost various tanks in battle. In the most recent accounts, he commands a Sherman tank.

Lt. Stuart's original crew consisted of Private Rick Rawlins, the gunner; Corporal Slim Stryker, the driver; and Corporal Arch Asher, the loader. Asher was killed inside a German tank that caught fire and exploded. He was replaced by Corporal Gus Gray, a black Olympic athlete. Stryker, while temporarily acting as gunner, was killed by shrapnel. Stryker was replaced as driver by Sgt. Bill Craig, who had served for thirty years in the army, first with the horse cavalry and later in a tank in World War One. The Haunted Tank then took on its fourth crew member, Eddie Craig, who is Bill Craig's son. Eddie became the new loader, allowing Gus to become the tank's second gunner. Apart from Stuart himself, the only surviving member of the original crew in the most recently recorded adventures is Rick Rawlins.

It is not yet known whether Lt. Stuart and any of his remaining crew members survived the end of World War Two."

First Appearance: G. I. Combat #87

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