The Rubber Band Heroes:
The Unknown Soldier stands at a checkpoint with a major general as a column of tanks approaches. A voice speaking French is heard in the lead tank and the column is halted. It turns out the tanks have been "borrowed" by a group of men from Nazi-occupied countries in Europe and elsewhere. They intend to attack "Kastle Krieg," a medieval castle on a island in the middle of a frozen lake with no other approach but a thin causeway pinpointed by German 88s.
The multi-national group, seen as harmless, when they tagged along with the Allied advance doing menial work, is ordered from their tanks. We meet a Frenchman who fights for his country even though he'd been sent to Devil's Island for murder, a Greek strongman looking for revenge for his circus mates, murdered by the Germans, Abdul, an Arab following Allah's wishes, Denich, a Yugoslavian whose family was murdered, and Steiner, a German who never fell for the Nazis' promises. As they are led away, the Unknown Soldier, seeing himself in those men, suggests a plan to the general.
Soon, the Unknown Soldier appears before the group of men dressed as a Polish major of cavalry, Stanislaus Sobriskie. He tells them he is their new commander and he has a mission for them. He is challenged by the Frenchman with a knife, and the Soldier hits him over the head with the flat of his sword. Next , the Greek, Patmos, puts him in a full nelson. The Soldier escapes with a well-placed boot to a sensitive spot. This convinces the other men and they agree to follow him in an attack on Kastle Krieg.
When the Soldier shows them their weapons, the men without countries are unsure, for they discover they've been recruited into the Camofleur Corps and will ride rubber tanks into battle. The rubber tanks ride on auto chassis and merely look like tanks. The Soldier tells them they are to divert the German guns by attacking via the causeway while the real advance crosses the frozen lake. Understanding their role is sacrificial at best, the accept their status as "rubber band soldiers." Under the taunts of real tankers, they move forward.
Once they are on the causeway, the "tanks" are attacked by the German 88's. At that moment, the real tanks attack, only to discover the ice on the lake is too thin to hold their weight, and they retreat. Their rubber tanks destroyed and without help, the "rubber band soldiers" convince the Soldier to continue their attack. One by one, the men die assisting the advance and takeover of Kastle Krieg, the last one being Steiner, the German, who saves the Soldier at the cost of his own life. The general, pleased with the outcome, tells the Soldier he's putting them in for the Silver Star. The Unknown Soldier says the dead men have no need for medals, but he grabs a handful of rubber bands, saying they are more appropriate.
Bob Kanigher's Gallery of War: Of Blood and Roses.
Is this parallel story, Jan Tetlens, a Boer farmer complains to his wife about the soil on their farm near Bloemfontein, in South Africa, while in England, gentleman farmer Leslie Forsythe wins a prize for the rose he named after his wife, Adrian. A month later, Tetlens and Forsythe face each other across a battlefield, Tetjens leading his Boer rebels against Forsythe's company of British soldiers.
The Boer cavalry charge expends itself fruitlessly against massed British rifles, and retreat. Tetjens realizes his Boers can't go toe-to-toe with the British, so they try to adopt guerilla tactics like the colonists used in the Revolution. In the next few months, the Boers train themselves while Forsythe sets about making roses grow in the weak soil. None of his Adrian roses, though. He has to get back to the war.
Forsythe and his men come up to a Boer held position, and he orders a bayonet charge. The British soon discover the Boers are straw-filled dummies and they are soon routed by Boer snipers in the trees. Forsythe survives the ambush and crawls toward a farmhouse, Tetjen's. Dying and delirious, Forsythe asks to be buried on Tetjens' land, thinking he's talking to Adrian. Jan Tetjens respects Forsythe's dying wish. After the war ends, Tetjens and his wife discover roses he never planted growing in the soil around Forsythe's grave.
War Beneath the Waves:
A man named Robert Starr waits for a Japanese submarine with a satchel of explosives. Starr is a experience diver who has trained his lungs to the point where he can stay underwater for much longer than anyone else. He has undertaken this mission on the orders of a Captain named Westlake. Westlake has ordered Starr on missions before; the last one as commander of a group of untrained men, all of whom died. Starr went AWOL for a month until Westlake brought him back to sink this Japanese sub.
Starr intercepts the submarine and prepares to place the explosive. He is attacked by a shark, an attack that is heard by the submarine's crew. The Japanese captain orders divers to investigate. Starr waits for the shark to return and breaks its jaw. The Japanese divers attack and Starr fights them off. More follow and they trap Starr in a net with weights that drag him toward the bottom of the ocean. Starr curses Westlake's name as he falls into blackness.