No. 135 – Invasion!

Bottom panel: wearing Red Army uniforms, Russian military personnel parade in Red Square, Moscow, during the May 9, 2006 celebration of the 61st anniversary of the Day of Victory [День Победы] over Nazi Germany (©Getty Images)

Volgan invading forces featured in prog 1’s (1977) Invasion! written by Pat Mills and drawn by Jesús Blasco (1919–1995) v Soviet army

Writer Mills had originally intended the invading forces to indeed be Soviet Russian, but was advised by 2000 AD’s publishers (then IPC Magazines) against an overt reference to the Soviet Union, as the Cold War (1946–1989) still figured widely on the political landscape at the time, and would continue to do so for over a decade.

Volgograd [Волгогра́д], formerly Stalingrad [Сталингра́д​] (so-named 1925–1961, and Tsaritsyn [Цари́цын], 1589–1925), the Russian city after which the fictitious Volgan forces are named, would in fact have been a feasible centre of Russian power, being a polulous, heavily industrialised city on the west bank of the river Volga; and the theatre of the Battle of Stalingrad (23 August 1942–2 February 1943), one of the bloodiest battles in history, with casualties estimated at 1,250,000–1,798,619.

The total number of deaths[2], military and civilian, suffered by the Soviet Union during the Second World War (1939–1945) was 24,000,000 (over half of them civilian); the total number, including civilians, suffered by the UK was 450,700 and by the US, 418,500.

Notes:

  1. Source: National WWII Museum, New Orleans, US

No. 134 – Rogue Trooper

Right panel: Pvt. Clarence Ware (W.I.A., Normandy) applies war paint to Pvt. Charles Plaudo, 5 June 1944

Rogue Trooper by Cam Kennedy for the cover of Rogue Trooper Book Two (Titan Books, 1986), written by Gerry Finley-Day vs. The Filthy Thirteen

Prog 228 (1981) by Dave Gibbons

The Filthy Thirteen was the name given to the 1st Demolition Section of the Regimental Headquarters Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, or “Screaming Eagles”, of the US Army; a modular light infantry division trained for air assault operations.

During the Second World War it was renowned for its role in Operation Overlord – the D-Day landings starting 6 June 1944, in Normandy, France – Operation Market Garden, the liberation of the Netherlands, and action during the Battle of the Bulge around the city of Bastogne, Belgium.

The war paint idea came from James Elbert “Jake” McNiece (1919–2013) – part Choctaw himself – to honour his Native American heritage and to energize the men for the danger ahead.

This particular photograph was the one of the inspirations for Rogue Trooper’s look, along with a photograph of the Rats of Tobruk [not necessarily this particular image], the name given to the Australian garrison that held the Libyan port of Tobruk against the German Afrika Corps during the Siege of Tobruk (1941) in the Second World War.

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