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This episode taken from The Wizard issue: 1721 February 7th 1959.


General Wenningen, one of Hitler’s most ruthless generals, had been shot dead in front of a parade of the Black Guards in a Breslau park. The assassin had escaped into the River Oder. Up and down either bank, search parties carried on their work and drove of inquisitive civilians. Yet, in spite of their efforts, the news leaked out. Before nightfall everyone in Breslau knew that another killing had been carried out by the Deathless Men.

The whole of Germany was talking about the Deathless Men, and of the blows they had struck in Paris; Berlin and now Breslau. Nazi leaders had been killed in spite of all the precautions taken to protect them. It was 1942, during the Second World War, and most of Europe was occupied by German armies, and under the heel of the Gestapo, the German Secret State Police. Many people were imprisoned without trial in the dreaded Gestapo concentration camps, built on the orders of the Nazi party, who were then in control of Germany. The power of the Gestapo, under their leader, Heinrich Himmler, was absolute, even greater than that of the S.S. –called the Black Guards because of the colour of their uniforms. Hitler himself was staying at a mansion outside Breslau, directing the campaign of the German armies against Russia on the Eastern Front, and had flown into a towering rage when the news of this latest killing had reached him. He had demanded a personal report from the man who had been in charge of the Black Guards—Colonel Von Reich, second only to Himmler in the Gestapo, and now in command of all Gestapo and S.S. units in Breslau. It was late that evening when Von Reich left the guarded headquarters of the dictator and stepped into his waiting car. Von Reich’s lips were a tight, grim line, his eyes stared straight ahead, he spoke to nobody, and nobody spoke to him. Onlookers had guessed the kind of interview he had just had. They guessed that Hitler had ranted and raged, and heaped blame upon him. What they did not know was that Von Reich had found it hard to keep his hands off the dictator’s throat! For the man the Nazis knew as Colonel Von Reich was actually a British Secret Service man named Aylmer Gregson, and it was he who had was organizing the V for Vengeance campaign which was causing the Nazi leaders to tremble. The Deathless Men were under his control! The Deathless Men were all victims of Nazi cruelty. They were men of many nations, bound together by common hatred of the Nazis, and of the fiendish treatment they had received at the Nazis’ hands. The Deathless Men, living on borrowed time, as they put it, lived only for vengeance and were ready to die to get it. Gregson had a great responsibility, and as he drove back to the hotel where he had his headquarters, he was not thinking of the screeching German leader he had just left, but of the man who had shot General Wenningen. Gregson was wondering if the Deathless Man had escaped. The car drew into the yard at the side of the hotel, and he noted that two machine-guns had been placed to guard the entrance since his departure that evening. Aylmer Gregson had been clever enough to put his name of Colonel Von Reich on the list of those tyrants and traitors doomed by the avengers. For this reason, every precaution was being taken to protect him against the Deathless Men. The more guards there were around him, the more difficult it was for him to keep in touch with the organisation which he ran. Yet tonight he intended to do that very thing. “I am going to bed. See that I’m not disturbed!” he snapped to his secretary. Declining the attentions of an orderly, Gregson locked himself in his room and removed his uniform. He put on a shabby dark suit, a battered, felt hat, an old raincoat, and a pair of spectacles. To get out of the hotel unseen was not going to be easy, but he had given Considerable thought to the matter since his arrival, and was soon quietly descending the fire escape. He arrived in the courtyard below, where two armoured cars were drawn up, the crews quietly talking as they stood beside one of them. Armoured cars were patrolling the streets of Breslau that night. These would take their turn when others came in. Gregson knew it was getting near the hour when the change-over would be made, and he quietly made for the car which was furthest from the crews. The type of vehicle was well-known to him. Armour plating curved down over the wheels to protect the tyres. This armour reached almost to the ground on all sides, but there was room for him to crawl underneath. A long, steel locker contained tool-kit and spares. He wriggled onto this and lay flat. Ten minutes later the crews climbed aboard and started their motors. A sharp hooting outside caused the guards to open the gates. The two armoured cars that had been on the patrol came in. The relieving, cars moved out. The two cars swung to the right, entered a narrow, side street which would lead them into the main thoroughfare, and as they slowed to turn the sharp corner, Gregson rolled from the locker to the road. There was just room for the wheels to avoid his feet. He lay still until the heavy vehicles were round the bend, then rose and dusted himself down. He had been carried past all the sentries posted to protect him from the Deathless Men, and was now on his way to meet that organisation of avengers. Gregson had supplied himself with a card that declared him to be a waiter at the Dom café, a place much frequented by soldiers. On arriving at the Dom café he went in by the side door reserved for the staff. A narrow flight of stairs led to the rooms above, and it was up these that Gregson climbed. At the top of the stairs was a door. The place looked dilapidated and unoccupied, but Gregson knocked softly on the door—four times, in a way that anyone knowing the morse code would know represented the letter V. The door was swiftly opened. All was dark within. Gregson could discern a vague figure that merged into the background, and a grey-gloved hand reached out and guided him inside. Not until the door was relocked did lights come on, and he found himself between two men who were identical in appearance. They were tall, stoop-shouldered, and dressed entirely in grey. They had grey masks over their faces; they wore grey suits and hats. They had grey gloves on their hands, and wore rubber soled shoes of the same colour. “Zaleski?” Gregson asked, naming the Deathless Man who had wrought vengeance on General Wenningen. “He got back safely an hour ago,” replied one of the men. “Good!” nodded Gregson. “He did a fine job. I have selected the next victim, and he will not be easy to get,” went on the secret leader of the Deathless Men. “Carl Lutze, Chief of the S.A., is coming here tomorrow to meet Hitler.” The eyes of the two figures in grey gleamed through the eye slits in their masks. Carl Lutze, the chief of the S.A.—Nazi Storm Troopers—was a man responsible for unspeakable brutalities. His men formed the guards at prison camps. They were encouraged by him to treat the helpless prisoners worse than beasts. Aylmer Gregson moved to the centre of the room. “It will need both of you to do this,” he told those grim, grey figures. “Here is my plan—”


Carl Lutze was one of the best guarded men in Germany. Wherever he went he was accompanied by a picked body of Storm Troopers. His car was specially armoured, and the route by which he travelled was never known to anyone before he arrived.

But Gregson’s discovery that Lutze was due to meet Hitler the following morning gave the Deathless Men their big chance. There were only two entrances to the mansion where Hitler was living outside Breslau, and only two possible ways by which the S.A. chief could arrive. That was why Gregson detailed both of the grey avengers to carry out the vengeance plan on Carl Lutze. They took up their positions as cock-crow, one on one road, and the other on the alternative route. It was nearly midday when a dozen Storm Troopers on motor-cycles came roaring into view on the southern approach. Behind them the bullet-proof car of Lutze was travelling at an equally high speed. Another dozen motor-cyclists brought up the rear. The grey man in the ditch reached for the bomb at his side. The motor-cyclists sped by, and the grey man kept as still as possible. As soon as the escort had passed, when the closed car was almost on him, he rose to his knees, and flung up his right arm. The bomb flew true from his hand to the centre of the road, landing under the front wheels of the car. There was a blinding flash. The bomb had been a powerful one, and perfectly placed. Heavy and solid though the car was, it was thrown over on its side. Then a yell went up from the Storm Troopers in the rear who had managed to stop their motor-cycles and avoid running into the car. A limping figure in grey had emerged from the ditch and was crossing to the overturned car. Before anyone could fire a shot, the avenger had dropped another bomb inside the car through a shattered bullet-proof window. As he turned away there was another violent explosion. The steel-plated sides of the car burst asunder. Crack – crack – crack! Sub machine-guns fastened to the motor-cycles opened fire, but the killer had jumped into the deep ditch and was running along it in the direction of some woods. Storm Troopers raced to overtake him, and there was another burst of firing as he climbed out the other side and ran for the trees. He was seen to stagger. He had been hit. The Storm Troopers yelled, left their motor-cycles, and raced across the corner of the field on foot. On the far side of those woods the other road leading to Hitler’s headquarters had been watched by the second of the Deathless Men, Ernst Hoewe. As soon as he heard the explosion of his colleague’s bomb, Hoewe was alert for action. Rising to his feet, Hoewe ran along behind the hedge towards the woods. As he did so the second explosion followed. He grunted. Jan Fernok, the Deathless Man who had thrown the bombs was making sure of vengeance on Carl Lutze. Racing through the woods, Hoewe reached the other side as bullets began to whistle among the branches overhead. The Storm Troopers were firing at Fernok. Hoewe was in time to see his comrade stumble but reach cover. On came the Storm Troopers. Nine or ten of them in a bunch were ahead of the others. Hoewe lifted his right hand, holding in it the bomb which he intended using if Lutze had travelled by the other road, and waited. Three seconds later he threw the bomb, and from the open field came the roar of an explosion. The leading Storm Troopers were blown to pieces. The killer of Lutze was supporting himself against a tree when Hoewe reached his side. Fernok was pinning a printed notice to a tree where it would be seen by the Storm Troopers when they arrived. The notice was headed by a blood-red letter V, and under this was printed in German—


V For Vengeance

The free peoples of Europe strike again.

This murderer is only one of many who will die.

The oppressed peoples of France, Poland, Belgium, Yugoslavia,

Czechoslovakia, Greece and the other occupied countries

have long cried for vengeance.

The Deathless Men are answering the call.

It is now the turn of the tyrants, the murderers, and

the torturers to tremble.

Before long, all the under-mentioned will share the fate of Lutze.

They cannot escape us.

There time is coming.


There followed a long list of names of police officials, commanders of concentration camps, German governors of captured cities, notorious members of the Gestapo, the S.A., and the S.S., and of Nazi officials of various ranks, both in the occupied countries and Germany. The name Carl Lutze had been crossed off in red, as were the names of all the other victims of the grey avengers. The man who had just pinned up this notice turned to Hoewe. “Get away while you have the chance, Ernst!” he panted. “You can do nothing for me, Go!” Ernst Hoewe made no reply. He was setting the fuse on his second bomb and waiting for the Storm Troopers to rise at the edge of the woods. “Don’t wait get away now!” snapped Jan Fernok. “You have your duty to do.” In his hand he held a small hard capsule. It was a poison capsule such as every one of the Deathless Men carried. When capture was certain they swallowed this to avoid falling into the hands of the Nazis. “Go before they see you!” pleaded Fernok. “They don’t know there are two of us. When they find my body they will look no further. Go!” Ernst Hoewe reached out for a moment to grip his friend’s hand, then turned reluctantly away. What Fernok said was right. One of them should live to report to Gregson. Another volley of bullets whistled through the trees, and a yell came from the wounded Deathless Man, Ernst Hoewe turned and saw Fernok holding a bloodstained hand. “Ernst! Ernst! Come back and kill me. They’ve shot the capsule out of my hand. They’re coming! Don’t let them get me alive, Ernst!” called Fernok. His voice was that of a man nearly demented by fear. Ernst Hoewe knew it was not fear for himself that prompted Jan Fernok to shout. It was because he feared the Nazis would torture information out of him which might enable them to strike at the organisation of the Deathless Men. The Storm Troopers came rushing through the trees. They had heard the words. They closed in on Fernok from all sides. Wounded though he was, Jan fought madly in their grip. Eight or nine of them were holding him when Ernst Hoewe rose from behind a bush some ten yards away and lobbed the bomb into their midst. There came a blinding flash and a deafening roar, and Ernst Hoewe knew that he had killed his friend and avenged him at the same time.


The explosion temporarily stunned Hoewe for he had been too close to the scene for safety, but he started to crawl away before the echoes ceased ringing in his ears. He crawled towards the other side of the small wood.

His head cleared as he went, and presently he rose to his feet, hearing behind him the infuriated voices of the remaining Storm Troopers who had crossed from the road. They had been joined by S.S. troops from a nearby headquarters. Figures in uniform were converging on the woods from both sides. Ernst Hoewe realised he had a very small chance of getting away. Determined not to be landed in the same plight as his friend, he took out a poison capsule and placed it in his mouth, taking care neither to swallow it nor bite it. It would be there when he wanted it! He reached the end of the woods and held back as he studied the situation. A Car had stopped on the other road and five S.S. officers were running from it towards the scene. Ernst Hoewe crouched and waited until the officers were almost level with him. Then he made a dash past them to the rear. The soldiers yelled, the officers turned and gaped in astonishment at the grey figure limping so rapidly towards their car. Ernst ran his hardest. Shots whistled around him as he scrambled into the military car. The engine had been left running. He had only to release the brake and put the engine into gear. Accelerating violently, he sped away from the scene of excitement. He drove recklessly. He knew there would be pursuit. He did not expect to escape altogether, but he wanted to get to Breslau before he died. The poison capsule was still under his tongue. At seventy miles an hour Hoewe roared up the main street of Breslau, sounding his electric horn incessantly. Narrowly escaping a crash between two buses, he pulled up with a violent skid in front of the hotel that served as the headquarters of the Gestapo. He knew Aylmer Gregson would be there, carrying out his duties as Colonel Von Reich. The clamour of his arrival and the shouts of the startled sentries caused the tall figure of the Secret Service man to appear at the top of the steps. Across the heads of the running Nazi soldiers Von Reich and Hoewe looked at each other. Soldiers were rushing to try to board the car. Ernst Hoewe stood up for a moment, and shook his fist in the direction of the black-uniformed man on the steps. “V for Vengeance! Lutze is dead, and you’ll be one of the next, Von Reich!” he yelled, and dropped into the car’s driving seat to stamp on the accelerator. Aylmer Gregson’s expression did not change. The threat had been heard by everyone. It was a bluff that would avert suspicion from Von Reich. The message that Lutze had been dealt with had been delivered. Half a dozen soldiers were now clinging to the sides of the car, trying to drag Hoewe away from the wheel. He was forcing the accelerator down further and further. The powerful car was speeding straight for the corner. As it got there a detachment of S.S. men came round the bend at the double. Hoewe deliberately steered into the ranks. Moving at more than fifty miles an hour, the car had mown down twenty men before it came to rest. Hoewe was jerked forward over the wheel, and as he felt the jolt he bit hard on the capsule that he had been holding between his teeth. “Seize him! Take him alive! He is one of the Deathless Men!” howled those about him. Ernst Hoewe turned his masked face towards them, and there was a mocking look in his eyes. A score of hands gripped and dragged him over the side. Blows were rained on him. He would have been torn to pieces by the infuriated soldiers if Von Reich had not come charging into their midst. “Stop that!” he roared, hitting out right and left at the crowd. “We want that man alive.” They fell back from where the Deathless Man lay upon the ground. Von Reich bent over him, under a pretext of patting his clothes to see if he was armed. No one saw his lips move as he whispered—“Well done, comrade! We are proud of you!” Just for a moment Hoewe’s eyes gleamed triumphantly through the slits in the mask, then they closed, the grey-clad body went limp, and Von Reich straightened with a bellow. “Carry him to the nearest doctor! You fools!” There was a rush to carry out his orders. A military surgery was just opposite, and into this Ernst Hoewe was rushed. The British agent was inwardly shaken by what he had seen. Such devotion to the cause almost startled him, but outwardly he had to pretend to be a German official driven to a frenzy by the stupidity of his underlings. He bawled and bellowed at the S.S. Troops. Von Reich had to let loose a new outburst of fury when word came that Hoewe was already dead. He was not surprised, for he had provided the Deathless Men with a quick-acting poison which never failed. Only by refusing to be taken alive could they guard their secrets. Stamping back to his office, Von Reich grabbed the phone to make his report. Yet another of the gangsters who surrounded Hitler had been removed, and the man who had plunged Europe into misery must have realised that the tide of vengeance was rising and rolling in his direction. The names on the list of doomed were getting fewer as red lines crossed off those already executed by the Deathless Men.


Who will be next on the list of

doomed men to die? Find out in

NEXT TUESDAY’S dramatic install-

ment of this thrill-a-line war story

in the BIG 24 page “Wizard.”

V FOR VENGEANCE – This episode, taken from The Wizard issue: 1722 February 14th 1959


A pall of black smoke hung over the village of Czarndo, in western Poland. Not an entire building remained standing. Amid the blackened rubble lay the bodies of one hundred and thirty people. Eighty-one other bodies hung on crude gallows at the nearby crossroads. The only movement in the village of death was that made by a German soldier who was hammering a stake upright in a pile of debris. On that stake was a crosspiece with a notice pinned to it. It read—


Take Warning!

The village of Czarndo has been utterly destroyed because it

harboured saboteurs and rebels. A similar fate will be dealt

out to any community that refuses to obey the German military

laws, or shelters those who give the authorities trouble.

By order of Major General Leo Edler.


It was the year 1942, during the Second World War, and most of Europe was occupied by German armies—and the dreaded Gestapo, the German Secret State Police.

Victims of the Gestapo were imprisoned in the terrible concentration camps built on the orders of the Nazi party, which was then in power in Germany. Heinrich Himmler was head of the Gestapo, and also leader of the S.S. troops or Black Guards, picked men, fanatical and ruthless, who were, in effect, the private army of the Nazi dictator, Adolf Hitler.

Just outside the smoking village, two armoured cars and three troop lorries were drawn up. About a hundred S.S. men had participated in this ruthless massacre, and they were laughing and joking as they waited for their comrade to rejoin them. They were men who were utterly without mercy. The dread, warning notice was now erected, the S.S. man walked back to his comrades, and they drove off. The detachment came from the barracks in a market town about twenty miles away. Once they reached the main road they increased speed. Hardly had the dust of their going settled when there was a movement on one of the slag heaps in the destroyed village. The surface bulged, broke open, and a blackened figure stood upright. It was the figure of a man plastered with coal dust from head to foot. He was the sole survivor and the sole witness of the massacre of Czarndo. His name was Stanislaus Kurich. A foreman in the nearby mine, he had been out of the village when the Germans had arrived. When they had opened up with their machine-guns on the villagers, he had returned, cautiously crawling on hands and knees, finally burrowing into the coal dust and remained still until they had gone. Kurich did not go over to the smouldering heaps to see what he could find. He knew it was useless. Every member of his family had been killed, as well as his neighbours. Not a word escaped him as he turned and headed after the armoured cars and lorries. He walked like a man in a dream. The blood was pounding in his head. He knew only one thing. He must have vengeance. He must kill a German, many if possible, but certainly one. Kurich reached the road and trudged steadily eastwards. If he did not find a German before nightfall, he would enter the town itself and seek one out. The day was drawing to an end. It was dusk, and low clouds threatened rain, when he heard the deep note of a heavy lorry approaching from the west. He got down in the ditch, picked up a heavy stone, and waited. It was a box-type military lorry, totally enclosed, that approached and there was only one man in the cab, the driver. This man was in German uniform. The lorry was travelling at moderate speed.

Stanislaus Kurich tightened his hold on the stone and measured the distance carefully. Then he hurled the stone with all his might. It crashed through the side window missing the driver’s head by inches. The driver just managed to prevent the lorry running into the ditch. He put on the brakes hard and switched off the engine. As the vehicle stopped, he leaped down on to the road, reaching for his revolver. But Stanislaus Kurich did no wait. Though he had nothing but his bare hands, he hurled himself at the driver. The uniformed man clinched with him and gasped in Polish: “Don’t be a fool, comrade! Don’t waste your rage on me, I’m a fellow-countryman, a Pole like yourself.” “What?” gasped Kurich, relaxing his hold. “You—” He broke off sharply, for the door at the back of the lorry had opened, and a group of men were revealed, packed tightly inside. They were not in German uniform. They were dressed alike, in grey. They wore grey suits, with grey masks over their faces, grey gloves, and rubber-soled shoes of the same colour. “What’s happened, Alex?” called one of them, and he also spoke in Polish. “This man here tried to wreck us,” answered the driver. “He nearly brained me. It seems he does not like Germans and mistook me for one.” “I would willingly die as long as I can kill a German first,” hissed Kurich. “They have murdered my family and all my friends and neighbours.” His eyes gleamed with hatred as he described the massacre of Czarndo. One by one the grey men got down from the lorry to listen to him. The story Kurich told brought low exclamations of rage from them. They were a grim group, with hard, expressionless eyes. Their voices were dead and toneless. Most of them limped. “Who did you say was the German responsible for this?” asked one of them when Kurich had finished. “Major – General Leo Elder,” Kurich said. “Leo Elder!” said the grey man, taking a printed notice from his pocket and glancing down a long list of names. “He’s already on the list, but he’ll receive prior attention after this!” He held out the list to show Kurich the hated name, and the Pole saw a blood-red letter V at the top. He just had time to read— “V for Vengeance. The free peoples of Europe strike again—” “You are the Deathless Men!” he cried. “You are the avengers of the oppressed peoples. You are the executioners, the men who have been killing of German tyrants in Paris, Berlin, Breslau, and other places. The grey-clad men closed around him. “Yes, we are the Deathless Men, sworn to exterminate all those on this list. You have heard of us here in this part of Poland?” “Yes, yes, we hear through secret means whenever you make a kill,” replied Kurich. “We can’t discuss this on the road,” said the tall leader of the grey men. “We are only a few of the Polish section, and we are on our way to visit our chief. He has sent for us. If you direct us to the chateau where he is staying, you can come with us. Perhaps we will be able to persuade him to let us deal with Elder before anyone else!” “Perhaps I can persuade him to let me join you!” cried Stanislaus Kurich. “Where do you want to go? I know the country for a hundred miles around.” They pulled him inside and closed the door. The driver jumped behind the wheel. Inside the crowded lorry Kurich learned of the destination of the Deathless Men, and told them the best way to get there.


Colonel Von Reich, second-in-command of the notorious Gestapo, was on leave. He had asked for leave after the killings by the Deathless Men in Breslau. His own name was on the list of doomed men.

He had been advised to go somewhere quiet, and get some open-air sport. He had chosen the commandeered house of a Polish nobleman in the forest of Huta, not more than twenty miles from the pre-war German frontier. There was good boar shooting to be had there. He had gone there secretly with only one orderly, and had refused all other guards or escorts. It was a windy night, and the trees rustled noisily outside as he paced his bedroom alone at midnight. His orderly believed he had retired an hour ago, and had himself gone to bed. Actually Von Reich was dressed for going out. The lights were out in the room, but one window opening on to the forest was wide open. From time to time Von Reich stood there listening intently. It was twelve-thirty when he heard the sound he was waiting for—the engine of a lorry climbing the hill on the other side of the valley. Meantime, the lorry had come to a stop alongside a woodman’s deserted cottage. It was a solid little place, but had not been occupied since the war. The Deathless Men got out of the vehicle, and filed inside, taking Kurich with them. The lorry was then driven right underneath the trees, where it would not be seen. Within the cottage, the Deathless Men found a glowing fire, a kettle boiling, and food awaiting them. They set to work to provide themselves with a meal, and as they ate, Stanislaus Kurich discovered most of them had faces that had been battered or disfigured hideously by their captors when they had been in Nazi hands. Each and every one of them had been a victim of brutal torture and they now lived solely for vengeance against their tormentors. They cared not whether or not they died for the cause. They were, in fact, living on borrowed as they put it. They had barely finished their meal when the sentry they had left outside the door called a warning in a low voice. The door opened, and a tall figure in the uniform of the Gestapo entered. It was Colonel Von Reich, and at the sight of him Stanislaus Kurich gave a snarl and snatched a revolver from the table. His nearest neighbour grabbed his arm and knocked aside the weapon before it could be fired. “Stop!” he commanded. “This is our chief, the man you wish to see.” Kurich’s mouth opened wide in amazement as he heard Von Reich address the Deathless Men in low, commanding terms. Someone whispered to him that although the Germans knew the visitor as Colonel Von Reich of the Gestapo, he was actually Aylmer Gregson, a British Secret Service man who had been “planted” in the Nazi party years before the war. It was Gregson who organised the Deathless Men. It was he who had drawn up the list of their victims and who had organised all the killings of the German tyrants, murderers, and torturers. He had asked for country leave in Poland because he knew several of their intended victims were there. The detachment of grey men who had just arrived had come at his call. “Who is the stranger?” Gregson asked sharply a moment later. They explained who Kurich was and how he came to be among them. “I had had other plans, but we’ll change them for the time being,” Gregson snapped. “Leo Edler shall be our first victim. “Let me be the one to kill him!” Kurich exclaimed. “Let me join the Deathless Men. I swear to give my life whenever it is needed.” Gregson looked at the grimy figure before him keenly. “You’re the kind of man I need,” he said. “You can join us, but you’ll obey orders and play your part with the others. No one man can handle Leo Edler alone. We have to make careful plans for him. I want him killed at the scene of his monstrous crime, so that the Germans will know why we have taken vengeance upon him. You say there are gallows already there? Good.” He began outlining his plan, swiftly and simply.

At his headquarters in the nearby town the following morning, one of Major-General Leo Edler’s first phone calls of the day was from Colonel Von Reich. As it was the General’s task to provide military protection for Himmler’s second-in-command if needed, he already knew that Von Reich was occupying the chateau in the woods a dozen miles distance. Edler was very gratified to receive from Von Reich an invitation to spend the week-end boar hunting. He gladly accepted the invitation, and promised to be over in time for dinner on Friday evening. “We dine at eight, General,” concluded Von Reich. “I take it you will be there by then?” “I’ll be there at precisely seven-thirty,” said Edler, who prided himself on his punctually. He had no idea that he was arranging the hour of his own death! Once he knew the hour at which Edler was arriving, however, Von Reich was able to calculate the approximate time the German would be passing a certain spot where the Deathless Men would be told to wait! Friday evening came, wet, stormy, and dark. Ahead, the forest had never looked wilder. As Major-General Edler stepped into his big, closed car, he told his chauffeur to drive carefully. Beside the chauffeur sat the General’s orderly, with a sub machine-gun on his knees. The car travelled smoothly Leo Edler had had a busy day, before he had been travelling ten minutes he was asleep. Soon afterwards the car entered the forest. Several times the car had to pass round fallen branches and portions of trees that partly blocked the road, but it was not until they were in the heart of the forest that the driver applied the brakes and came to a halt. “Are we there?” snorted Edler, suddenly wakening. “No, sir, but there’s a tree across the road, I don’t think we can pass,” said the chauffeur. “Holtz and I will go and see, sir.” The chauffeur and the orderly got out and walked over to the tree. The orderly had the sub machine-gun tucked under his arm. He had been told never to let it out of his possession. General Edler watched them bending over the obstacle, and just then a gloved hand with an automatic pistol was pushed through the door window of the car. “Order that man to drop the sub machine-gun!” rasped a grey figure who had jumped on to the running board. General Edler nearly choked with fear. “Holtz, drop that gun!” he managed to shout. “I order you to drop that gun!” Corporal Holtz was a typical German soldier. He always obeyed orders. He never asked questions. He dropped the sub machine-gun at once. Instantly half a dozen grey clad figures leaped from the nearby bushes and tied the two Nazis to trees. The man with the automatic pistol had been joined by yet another of the masked attackers. The other Deathless Men rolled the tree out of the way. Then they all crowded round the car. There was not room for all of them inside, so two stood on either running-board, holding tightly as the car lurched forward. “Where are you taking me?” snarled Edler. “To the village of Czarndo,” replied one of the men beside him. His voice was cold as death itself! Major-General Leo Edler’s face drained of all colour!


The smoke had long since drifted away, all was cold now and nothing moved in the ruins of Czarndo when the big car pulled up at the scene of the massacre.

The bodies on the gallows at the cross-roads had been left hanging, a grim testimony to the savagery of the S.S. men. Major-General Leo Edler buckled at the knees when the Deathless Men lifted him out of the car, but once in the road he started to struggle. With eight of them to handle him, he had no chance. A rope was put about his neck, and he was hoisted on to the roof of the car, which was driven under a grim gallows for the purpose. The other end of the rope was made fast to the crosspiece of the gallows, and at a signal the car was driven away. Major-General Leo Edler was left dangling among his victims. On his chest was pinned one of the printed proclamations of the Deathless Men, headed V for Vengeance! The grey ones then drove the car to an open coal-shaft and pushed it in. After that they tramped away from Czarndo to regain their refuge in the forest, and, as they crossed the top of the valley within sight of the chateau where Colonel Von Reich was staying, one of them flash a hand torch twice in that direction. It was the signal to their secret leader that the job had been done. Stanislaus Kurich’s relatives and friends had been avenged. At eight o’clock Von Reich rang up the barracks in the town to ask if General Edler had forgotten his appointment. He pretended to be surprised when informed that the General had left long before, and that he should have arrived by now. “Perhaps he’s had a breakdown on the road,” said Von Reich. “I suggest you send out a car to look for him.” Half an hour later the phone rang again, and an agitated voice told Von Reich that the search-party had found the General’s chauffeur and orderly tied to trees, and that they declared the General had been taken away in his own car by eight men dressed entirely in grey. “The Deathless Men!” gasped Von Reich. “Tell your commanding officer to send out all available troops to comb the district. It may already be too late. I shall also want an armed guard for this house. I’m on the vengeance list drawn by these terrorists. Send me all the troops you can spare, and do it quickly!” “Yes, sir!” replied the telephonist at the other end. “And Dr Kruger, is he still at the barracks?” continued Von Reich. “Tell him to stay there in case the searchers have to phone for him.” “Yes, sir, he is in his quarters at the moment, and will stay there.” Von Reich moved away from the phone. So far so good, but the night’s work was not yet over. The Deathless Men were going to strike again before morning, and at the barracks in the town. That was why Von Reich had suggested sending out every available soldier, and why he had asked for an armed guard at the chateau. The more soldiers that were called away, the fewer there would be when the avengers called. The man for whom they would call was Dr Kurt Kruger, whose name was high up on the list of those marked for death. It was Dr Kruger who, after the capture of Warsaw by German troops, had refused to allow medical attention to be given to wounded Poles. An hour later an armed guard arrived, and Von Reich personally posted them round the house. They reported that the barracks had been practically emptied of troops, and that search was being made for the missing General far and wide. “Good!” exclaimed Von Reich. “Let us hope they find him before it is too late. Now you are here I can get some sleep.” He returned to his upstairs room and switched on the lights before pulling down the blinds. On the opposite side of the valley a tall figure in grey saw the momentary illuminating of the window. It was the signal for which he waited. Turning he limped through the forest to the woodsman’s hut. “The chief has just signalled that it’s time for us to start,” he told his grey comrades. The Deathless Men scrambled into the military lorry, one of them, dressed in German army uniform, taking the wheel. Two minutes later they were heading for the road leading to the town. There was great activity on the road that night. Cars and troops were everywhere, but no one heeded the heavy army lorry. It was allowed to pass and to enter the town. The lorry passed through the streets and turned towards the barrack gates. The two sentries peered out, saw the familiar type of vehicle, and opened the barrier. The lorry drove through and stopped in the darkest corner of the yard. Then eight, silent, grey-clad figures dropped from the rear of the lorry. They were sliding along the wall towards the guards at the gates, and when they made their quick rush it was all over in ten seconds. No shots were fired, but there were two German soldiers fewer in Poland! The gates had been refastened on the inside after the lorry had passed through. The Deathless Men, moving without a sound, made for the side door of the barracks, for that was the nearest to the quarters of Dr Kruger. It was easy to find the surgery by the smell of chemicals, and they guessed Kurt Kruger’s room would be adjoining. The eight men split up, four of them remaining in the passage to guard the approaches. The other four made for the closed door behind which the doctor could be heard moving. A signal passed between them. They posted themselves flat to the wall on either side of the door. One raised his hand and knocked sharply. “Yes, who is it?” came Kurt Kruger’s voice. “You are wanted, sir, at once.” The waiting avengers heard someone rise from a chair and come to the door. Unsuspecting, Kurt Kruger turned the key and stepped out into the passage. Before he could utter a cry, a hand was clapped over his mouth from behind, and the four Deathless Men bundled him back into the room from which he had emerged!

What fate awaits Dr Kruger? For the

Answer to that question read

NEXT TUESDAY’S sensational

Instalment of this great war story

In the extra-value, extra-pages “Wizard.”


V FOR VENGEANCE – This episode, taken from The Wizard issue: 1723 February 21st 1959


It was the year 1942, during the Second World War, and most of Europe was occupied by German armies—and the dreaded Gestapo, the German Secret Police. Victims of the Gestapo were imprisoned in the terrible concentration camps built on the orders of the Nazi party, which was then in power in Germany. Heinrich Himmler was head of the Gestapo and also leader of the S.S. troops or Black Guards, picked men, fanatical and ruthless, who were, in effect, the private army of the Nazi dictator, Adolf Hitler.


One of the many recent atrocities committed by S.S. men was the complete destruction of the Polish village of Czarndo and its inhabitants, by order of Major-General Leo Edler. But one man of Czarndo had escaped. He had joined the Polish branch of the Deathless Men, a band of men of many nationalities who had suffered horribly at the hands of the Gestapo. Clothed completely in grey, including grey masks, these men had drawn up a list of Nazis who were to die for their dreadful crimes. The motto of the men in grey was V for Vengeance. They had already killed many on their list, and their latest victim was Leo Edler—hanged on the site of the destroyed village of Czarndo. The barracks in the Polish town near Czarndo were strangely silent. The German garrison had been turned out urgently to seek their missing General, Leo Edler. But something had happened at the barracks since the Nazis had poured forth in their lorry. Within the gates the two sentries lay dead. Just within the passage leading from the side entrance to the surgery stood four grim figures clothed in grey, four Deathless Men. Silently, the Deathless Men stood. They were on guard, alert, their eyes watching the square outside, their ears striving to catch sounds from the surgery at the end of the passage. No sounds came, for the walls were thick, yet within that elaborately-equipped room Dr Kurt Kruger, of the German Medical Corps, fought in the grip of four other grey men. The grey men carried him to the operating table and stretched him out. There were straps for holding patients in position, and he was quickly bound and gagged. The grey men straightened up, and their eyes were hard through the slits in their masks. Kurt Kruger, you were present when Warsaw fell,” said one of them sternly. “Many Polish wounded fell into your hands, but you refused them medical aid. You stood by and laughed at their dying agonies, Kruger, and for that reason you have been doomed by the Deathless Men!” went on the grey one remorselessly. Kruger could make no reply. He strained his neck to try to look towards the door, but no help was coming. When the Deathless Men had planned this vengeance raid they had known that all the troops in the barracks would be out searching for General Edler. The whole operation had been carefully planned by a man in a chateau in the forest about twenty miles outside the town. This man was known to the Germans as Colonel Von Reich, second-in-command of the Gestapo, but actually he was Aylmer Gregson, a British agent who had been “planted” in the Nazi party long before the war. “You are going to die, Kurt Kruger,” said the grey man, picking up a surgical knife. “We are not going to torture you, but you are going to die slowly, as those poor wounded men in Warsaw died.” Kruger’s sleeve was ripped up, the man with the knife stooped for a moment, then made a deep cut. Kurt Kruger shivered, blood began to well out, and the avengers stepped back. The Deathless Men had cut one of Kruger’s arteries. He would bleed to death. It was a terrible vengeance, but then Kurt Kruger had been a terrible creature without mercy. The Deathless Men silently left the surgery and joined their comrades in the passage. In the courtyard was the German lorry in which they had arrived. A comrade dressed in Nazi uniform waited at the wheel. He had the motor already turning over. Seven of the grey men swarmed into the lorry from the rear, the eighth ran to open the gates. The lorry passed through, he closed the gates, and joined his comrades. It was when the Deathless Men were a dozen miles outside the town that they encountered a procession of cars and lorries trailing behind a closed car, motor-cyclists brought up the rear. The lorry containing the grey men pulled in to the side of the road. “Any news of General Edler?” called the uniformed driver to a motor-cyclist who had stopped nearby. “Yes, we have found him!” was the grim reply. He had been hanged from one of the gallows over at Czarndo.” The motor-cyclist passed on with the procession. The lorry started to move away, and the driver turned his head to call softly, through the small hatch—“They have found Edler, comrades.” Grunts came from within. Justice had been meted out in no uncertain fashion this night. Perhaps at this moment someone had burst down the door of the surgery and found the body of Dr Kruger, with one of the printed proclamations of the Deathless Men pinned to his chest. The Deathless Men always left those proclamations on or near their victims. At the top was a blood-red letter V, then came a proclamation from the free peoples of Europe, and afterwards the list of those Nazi tyrants, brutal torturers, and murderers doomed to die. The names of those already dead had been crossed out with thick red lines. On a lonely part of the road, the lorry turned off the main thoroughfare and entered the forest. In a secluded spot was an abandoned woodman’s hut which the Deathless Men were using as their headquarters. The hut was within walking distance of the chateau where Colonel Von Reich was officially taking a brief leave from his duties. Just before dawn he heard the lorry in the distance, and was content. The news about General Edler had been phoned to him, and he had expressed well-feigned horror. There was a grim smile on his face when he climbed into bed for a few hours sleep. He knew the news would have reached Hitler, the German dictator. It was the intention of Aylmer Gregson to remove the leading Nazis one by one, leaving Hitler to the end. In that way the dictator’s terror would increase as the list of the doomed men shortened.


Directly after breakfast, before news came from the town of the death of Dr Kruger, Von Reich announced he was going boar-hunting. The young officer in charge of the detachment detailed to guard Von Reich looked as though he thought his superior was crazy to take such risks with the Deathless Men in the district, for Von Reich had been crafty enough to put his own name on their vengeance list, of course.

As though he realised what the other was thinking, Von Reich roared—“Why should I give up my hunt because these Deathless Men are at large? I came here for a rest, to get away from it all, and I’m going to have the sport I planned! How many of your men can ride horses?” “About a dozen of them, sir,” stammered the officer. “There are enough horses for them in the stable,” snapped Von Reich. “They can escort me and see that nothing happens to me. You will ride at my side.” The officer saluted and hurried off. The cavalcade got away half an hour later. The estate had previously belonged to a Polish nobleman who had been killed at the outbreak of the war. Some of his gamekeepers had been compelled to remain, and two of those acted as guides to the party, leading them to the valley where the wild boars were likely to be found. Aylmer Gregson had no intention of shooting boars. His mind was on more serious things. He wanted to visit the grey men in the woodman’s hut, and to do that he had to shake off his escort. He did it very cunningly. Taking a long pin from his pocket, he waited until the first wild boar dashed squealing from cover, then jabbed the pin into the horse he was riding. This sudden uproar and the sharp pain caused the horse to rear and bolt. Gregson was an experienced horseman, and could have stopped the animal had he wished. Instead of that, pretending to have lost control, he allowed it to run away with him. He had taken care to be riding the best and fastest horse in the stable, and although some of the escort started in pursuit, they were soon left behind. Once out of sight, Gregson soothed the startled beast and circled round to the west. Ten minutes later he was riding up to the woodman’s hut and calling softly to those inside it. “I can remain only a few minutes,” he told the silent, grey-masked figures. “My escort will be searching for me. I want to congratulate you on your splendid work last night, and tell you the name of your next victim.” They waited tensely, eyes glittering through their masks. “Sigismund Kitsch,” Von Reich said. “The so-called Labour Protector of Poland! The man responsible for sending two million Poles into slavery!” cried one of the group. “Tomorrow he will be leaving Warsaw by special train for Prague,” replied Gregson grimly. “There he is to have a conference with the Labour Protector of Czechoslovakia. The train carrying Kitsch will pass within ten miles of here.” The grey men stiffened and leaned forward to hear his next words. “Here is the plan I suggest,” Gregson continued. “I have worked it our most carefully, for Kitsch is one of the most difficult men to get near. Even on the train he will be strongly guarded.” Fifteen minutes later, Von Reich was again mounted and riding stealthily through the forest. He deliberately fell from his horse into a thorny bush, tearing his clothes and scratching his face. Limping, holding the reins in one hand, he led the animal back towards his searchers. When he got near enough he shouted for help, and a little later the anxious young officer in charge came galloping up. “Are you not supposed to be escorting me?” exploded Von Reich, with well-feigned anger. “What kind of a horse was I given? Why was I given a beast that bolts directly it sees a boar?” He continued his tirade against the escort, but to their relief declared the hunt was over. He went straight back to the chateau, where he found awaiting him not only a report of the terrible end of Dr Kruger, but a dispatch from Germany. The dispatch was from Himmler. It ordered Von Reich to board the special train that was bringing Sigismund Kitsch from Warsaw the following day, and to travel with him to Prague. Aylmer Gregson stared at the blank wall ahead of him, and his jaw tightened. He had expected orders, but not these orders. He was being commanded to board at Kalisz the very train which he had just given his Deathless Men orders to wreck!


The special train carrying Sigismund Kitsch arrived at Kalisz dead on time. The Labour Protector of Poland had only a few civilian staff with him, the rest of the coaches being filled with picked guards, who manned machine-guns at the windows.


Von Reich boarded the train as arranged. He went immediately to Kitsch, a huge, stout, white-faced man with thick lips and cruel, little eyes. Kitsch greeted Von Reich, motioned him to a seat, and at once began to talk about the stubbornness and stupidity of the Polish men who would not willingly work in German factories. This was his favourite topic, and he was likely to keep at it until Prague was reached. Knowing that every minute brought them closer to the place where death awaited. Von Reich at length got to his feet. “I have some dispatches and reports to show you,” he said, “but I have left them in my baggage in the van, I will go back and get them.” He clicked his heels and strode through the second coach. There was a luggage van behind it, and a brake van at the rear. The door to the luggage van was locked, but was opened for Von Reich. He passed through and stood midst bags and cases. He lifted up one of his briefcases and proceeded to try various keys in the lock. He took care not to fit the right key, and his face grew more and more impatient as he pretended to fail to get the case open. Through the open door to the coach, the soldiers watched him with interest. He could not very well close the sliding door, but he noticed the motion of the train was making it jerk sideways. In a few minutes it would be almost closed. Beside him was the door of the van which opened on to the line. It was fastened, but under cover of his body he pulled up the lever and made it possible to open the door immediately the time came. At last the partition door closed. Gregson hurriedly flung the side door open. Ahead was a bridge over a gorge. Already they were on a small bridge which ran higher than the massed pine trees below. There was only a two foot rail between the track and a drop of thirty feet to the trees. There would never be a better chance. Calmly, unhurriedly, Gregson dived from the moving luggage van into space. He turned over once in the air as he had planned to do, then he was falling feet first through branches. There was a final jolt as he became tightly wedged in a forked branch, his face came in violent contact with the bark, and he felt the blood running down his cheeks. As he hung there, winded and dazed, he heard the roar he had been expecting. The Deathless Men had acted according to plan. They had blown up the second bridge as the train had been crossing it. The sound galvanized Von Reich into action. He wriggled round, heard a branch break, dropped another ten feet, then snatched a hold. There was a pain in his ribs, and blood poured down his face, but he swarmed down the tree to the ground below. He was a quarter of a mile from the second bridge. There would be some survivors from those aboard the train, and he intended to be among them. He dared not be found away down the track. He started to run. He could hear the rattle of machine-gun fire. The thing he had feared had happened. Not all the train had plunged through the gap in the bridge. Perhaps not sufficient explosive had been used for the detonation, but it had been impossible to provide the Deathless Men with more at such short notice. He saw a column of smoke arising, and scrambled through the undergrowth towards the water’s edge, finally falling face downwards in the rushes. From there he saw what was happening. The central span of the bridge had not broken, but a portion of it hung to one side. The engine had been overturned, but not the coaches, though they were off the rails. All the windows had been smashed and the luggage van hung over the brink. From the second coach came the splutter of machine-gun fire. Some of the soldiers were fighting back at their attackers. The chances were that Sigismund Kitsch was still alive. Then Gregson saw two of the grey men, masked, swift-footed, emerge from hiding and run along the bridge towards the north. They ran in full view of the soldiers in the rain, and the machine-guns were at once turned on them. One of the Deathless Men tripped, fell, and rose again. When he continued to run he was seen to be wounded. His comrade helped him along. They got among the trees. Someone shouted orders within the coach. A dozen German soldiers came leaping on to the track, carrying rifles or automatics. They believed those two masked men to be responsible for the explosion. They did not know there were six others hidden nearby, waiting for them to leave the train. Only a handful of soldiers were left on the train after the pursuit had been taken up. They moved to the passenger coach in order to discover if Kitsch and his party were hurt. As soon as they came into the open, a sub-machine gun spluttered from behind the parapet of the bridge. The remaining six Deathless Men were going into action. As they fired they charged forward, throwing hand-grenades. Aylmer Gregson rose to his feet in his excitement. It was superb to see the reckless manner in which the Deathless Men rushed forward. One of the grey ones dropped with a bullet in the head, but the others did not stop. They were determined to finish the job. They lived for vengeance and gladly gave their lives to gain it. Three of the grey men swarmed up the side of the coach. One was badly wounded, and as he fell he raised a hand to his mouth. He was swallowing the poison capsule that each Deathless Man carried in case of capture. They knew that should they fall into enemy hands, the Nazis would torture them to make them betray the secrets of the organisation. Rather than risk giving away those vital secrets, the grey ones took poison. The automatics of the other Deathless Men were pouring shot after shot into the compartment. Sigismund Kitsch must have been riddled. Not until they were certain of this did the masked men drop and rejoin their comrades. From the nearby woods came the crash of hand-grenades and the splutter of rifles. The two men who had offered themselves as bait were selling their lives dearly. They were making so much noise that the soldiers who surrounded them did not hear the battle on the train. The surviving grey-clad figures ran for the far end of the bridge and dived into the forest. Four lives had been lost in order that Sigismund Kitsch should be killed, but the Deathless men considered it well worth while. Kitsch had been one of the best guarded men in Poland, and his death would be a great blow to the other Nazis. Aylmer Gregson began to crawl up the slope towards the top. When he was close enough to the track to be seen when the relief party arrived, he sprawled on his back and lay still. He looked sufficiently torn, scratched, and bloodstained to bear out his story of having been thrown from the luggage van in the explosion on the bridge. Once again the Deathless Men had succeeded in their object—but they did not know that on this occasion they had almost killed their leader as well!


V For Vengeance 24 episodes appeared in The Wizard issues 1333 – 1356 (1951 – 1952)

V For Vengeance 11 episodes appeared in The Wizard issues 1363 – 1373 (1952)

The Voice from Berlin 12 episodes appeared in The Wizard issues 1494 - 1510 (1954)

M Marks the Spot 12 episodes appeared in The Wizard issues 1517 - 1528 (1955)

V For Vengeance 15 episodes appeared in The Wizard issues 1565 – 1579 (1956)

V For Vengeance 24 episodes (repeat of 1951 series) appeared in The Wizard issues 1716 – 1739 (1959)

Red Vengeance 20 episodes appeared in The Wizard issues 1841 - 1860 (1961)


© D. C. Thomson & Co Ltd 

Vic Whittle 2006