Monday, July 5, 2010

War Picture Library 269 Ghost Platoon

This is a very tidy story about seeking redemption and accepting repentance with a touch of the supernatural thrown in to make things interesting.

As Eight Platoon prepares for their assault on Chateau de Ruhl on old Shepard greats the platoon with a premonition that there will only be one survivor from the ensuing battle. The local villagers dismiss the old boy as being crazy but Eight Platoon’s morale is shaken by his comments.

The platoon’s morale is already in trouble as their new officer, Second Lieutenant Mark Nichols, panicked in his first action during an artillery barrage and lost both his own confidence and the confidence of his men.

The platoon was only saved during the subsequent battle by the leadership of the veteran Sergeant Burke and a gutsy display by private “Rusty” Grant. The sergeant is ready to report Nichols’ cowardice to company command but he is persuaded by Grant to give Nichols a second chance.

Soon enough the platoon is ordered to occupy a chateau where they are promptly surrounded and cut-off by the enemy.

So when Nichols formulates a plan to save the platoon by volunteering to go through enemy lines to get help it is met with cynicism. What follows is a dangerous escapade as Nichols and “Rusty” Grant (a fluent German speaker) work their way through enemy lines.

The story ends as it starts with the old Shepard witnessing the eerie spectacle of ghostly British troops marching towards the front.

This is a nicely crafted story. Action sequences contribute to the narrative the whole way through and there’s no need for superfluous exploding trucks, trains, boats, buildings, bridges or tanks. A lot could have gone wrong with the introduction of the ghostly element but thankfully it is used well. There’s strong pathos to this story as even though the good guys are heroic it is not enough to enable their survival.

Fear. I'll show you fear if you can catch me!

Here's a man who loves his job! There's also one of those rare dead guys you find in wars - with blood!

A damn good aaagh!

An even better aaagh!

The classic short aaagh!

Where's the side order of fries?

A great looking panel.


  1. Some first-class "Aaaagh"s for sure. This is great stuff. I'll have to hunt down some issues on eBay. Great post!

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