Catch phrases like ‘lily livered rats’, ‘those blimmin Jerries’, ‘dumkopf’ and Kamerad are etched in the minds of every single Commando comics lover. The dramatic visuals of exploding tanks, trains and aircraft, stories of deceit and traitors, of exceptional bravery and sometimes over the top drama has introduced dime a dozen young lads into the fascinating history surrounding World War II. Of course, the machines itself were always central to the stories and as Josef Stalin put it to the Americans in 1941, the side with the largest number of machines would win the war. That led the allied war machine to churn out hundreds of thousands of vehicles on assembly lines that didn’t stop to catch a breath until the end of the war in 1945. Two of those machines that made a big impact were the James ML and the Ford Jeep, which is why they adorn these pages in the best of livery and, well, passable army uniforms.
'Achtung! Englanders am Himmel', yells the soldier at the top of his voice, pointing into the night sky. A long drone of the air-raid siren cranks up, rousing slumbering German soldiers, and spot lights come on, searching the heavens for the birds of prey. In the distance, the silhouettes of the big Avro Lancasters can be seen, flying slowly like pregnant birds, their bellies filled with little explosive eggs waiting to be laid. The ack-ack guns swivel, gunner crews break into a sweat, reloading furiously as the barrels let off lead with small blazes from the muzzle flash suppressors.
Little do the Germans know, there is death coming to them from behind their backs as well. Another Allied aircraft, this time a Douglas C-53 Skytrooper, has dropped off some gifts for the Jerries - a bunch of famously lethal commandos. They leap off the aircraft in the dead of night, undetected as everybody's concentrating on fending off the bombers in front of them.
The paratroopers get their feet onto the ground and they are armed to the teeth. Their drop zone is a couple of kilometers away from the anti-aircraft gun nests and mobility could be an issue. Not this time, however. They've got their rides all right - little James ML motorcycles that were airdropped with them.
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