Battle stations (1963)

Texts by Donne Avenell

Drawings by Hugo Pratt

This story appeared in “War at Sea Picture Library” issue 34 (June, 1963), Fleetway Publications Ltd.

This is a story of sea and shipwrecks that begins on the night of June 13, 1943 when an American tanker is torpedoed off the coast of Miami by a U-boat that, shortly afterwards, also sinks the Lotus. The few survivors from the two ships that have climbed aboard the lifeboats are cut down by bursts of machine-gun fired from the submarine, which has emerged in the meantime. Only three sailors, Rayner, Ford and Scully survive the massacre and are spotted by a friendly ship and rescued. Months later, the three are aboard the Vengeful, a warship that is engaged in battle some days later with a German ship. History repeats itself: the three sailors find themselves stranded once again on a life-raft, but this time together with three German sailors. The drama that follows sums up all the horror of a war fought with no holds barred, and when only Rayner and one of the Germans survive a new sense of understanding and friendship is created between the two men of different races.