TANKWAR IV: FIREBRAND BY LARRY STEELBAUGH

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Copyright 1991.

It is several days into WWIII and there is a tenuous truce. The First Guards Tank Corp has failed to successfully withdraw to a more tenable position thanks to Captain Max Tag and his supertank Xm-F4 No Slack Too. This didn’t come without a cost. Their driver Wheels Latta was killed. Fortunately they find a replacement in Tag’s girlfriend Lt. Giesla Ruther. Yet they still have their orders to continue to harass the trapped unit. So with his supertank, two advanced Bradleys and some Rangers he continues his attacks against the Soviets. They manage to destroy a recon battalion before the Soviets surrender.

So this book sees the war in Europe come to an end. The Soviets due to internal rebellion see the hardline government overthrown and a new democratic one take it’s place. You can tell that this series was already running out of steam. It has this supertank very overpowering and it is endless skirmishes with the Soviets. Naturally they achieve an overwhelming victory each time. Yet you get this sense reading this that it is pointless. The Soviets are clearly defeated so why bother? The book came out literally two months before the Soviet Union actually collapsed so it was already becoming highly improbable for this scenario to happen, I actually thought this was the last but I found out that there were two more books for this series future.

TANKWAR III: FIRESTORM BY LARRY STEELBAUGH

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Copyright 1991.

The Soviets have resorted to a tactical nuclear strike on NATO forces in southern Germany. NATO responds and devastates the Soviet divisions. A truce is called for units to withdraw from contaminated areas. General Kettle though wants to punish the First Guards Tank Army which was the unit that launched the strike. The army is trapped between lake Constance and contaminated fallout areas. So Captain Max Tag with his supertank XM-F4 No Slack Too is given the job of harassing them. Because of the truce he will be operating without any support. Although he gets two super enhanced Bradley APCs and a company of Rangers to help him out. So begins a series of hit and run attacks against the army. Yet the commander a Colonel Yeshev has his own formidable tanks in the new T-80B.

For the third book the author ups the stakes by going nuclear. This seems to have hurt the Soviets more than NATO. After this we have units deserting. We are also introduced to the Soviet perspective in this book. Colonel Yeshev gives up a look at how hardliners took over. He is someone who is a sympathetic character and not some cartoon caricature that sometimes populate these type of books. We get plenty of over the top action as the No Slack Too causes mayhem with the Soviets. Needless to say the T-80Bs do not live up the the hype that the book hints at. It ends with them successful in preventing the Tank army from withdrawing but they do lose the driver Wheels Latta.

TANKWAR II: FIREBALL BY LARRY STEELBAUGH

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Copyright 1990.

World War III has started with a Warsaw Pact invasion of western Europe. Sgt. Max Tag has managed to get the experimental tank back to NATO lines. Now he finds out his new mission from General Ross Kettle the commander of NATO. First he gets promoted to captain. Then with the newer XM-F4 No Slack Too he is to go back behind enemy lines to gather intelligence and hit rear area command and supply. They are also to go after units that are bringing up tactical nukes. So Tag and his tank are reunited with the Jagd Commandos and American supply company. Operating from an old mine and working with the local resistance they manage to take out a rear area HQ and many of the units bringing up tactical nukes. Only they don’t succeed in getting them all and a nuclear attack is launched against the NATO armies in southern Germany at the end of the book.

So the second has Tag and his supertank going behind enemy lines. They reunite with the units that helped them including his girlfriend Giesla. It must be great to be in a combat unit and have your girlfriend along for the occasional sex during those rest periods. Somehow I don’t think the real world works that way but this series was not set in the real world. You also get a new character introduced in Sgt. N. Sain. A hashish smoking rock musician who was visiting during a USO tour and now commands a Bradley. He was in the reserve Army and has his two keepers Mad Dog and Rabies. He spouts all this goofy new age mumbo-jumbo. This came out in December of 1990 which by then it was obvious that the Warsaw Pact was a Humpty-Dumpty that wasn’t getting put back together again. Still it was an enjoyable action series that you just suspended belief to enjoy. Ends with a big cliffhanger of a nuclear strike to give the reader a sense of much more serious stuff to come.

TANKWAR BY LARRY STEELBAUGH

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Copyright 1989.

It is the near future and hardliners in the Soviet Union have taken over. They have reasserted themselves in Eastern Europe and tensions are about to break out in open war. Sgt. Max Tag is testing out a new prototype of tank. The XM-F3 No Slack is on maneuvers near the Czech border when the war starts. They find themselves trapped behind enemy lines. Luckily they hook up with some Jagd Commandos a specialized unit of West Germans in light attack vehicles that are to harass the Soviets rear lines. They also pick up some American rear echelon supply company also trapped behind the lines. This motley group has to fight its way through the Warsaw Pact forces to the NATO lines.

This series just came out one month before the Berlin Wall came down so the idea soon became a bit dated. Yet this is a pretty solid little military action series based on what seemed like a very credible scenario. It had a decent run in the early nineties. You have this super-dooper advanced tank with anti-air missiles, monopolar carbide armor, advanced computers, laser targeting and radar. Not the mention it can go 80mph. The crew is your typical stereotypes that you get in these type of series. Fruits Tutti the loader who is an Italian from the Bronx that’s also a genius with computers. Wheels Latta a hillbilly that was a moonshine runner in his civilian life is the driver. Naturally he uses his driving perfected from evading revenuers to evade the Soviets. Then there is Ham Jefferson the gunner who is your token black guy.

You also like many men’s adventure series the romantic hot girl for the main protagonist. This this case a Lt. in the Jagd Kommandos who is the sister of his best friend. Naturally they have the obligatory very graphic detail sex scene during one of the lulls in fighting. We find out that Max Tag’s manhood is so big she has to use both hands to lift it. Yes it is that big. The story gives everything from the groups perspective and we don’t get a big perspective on the war in general which I think was a good idea. Gives a more intimate feel to the story. We do get some flashbacks to show Tag’s past. Like his time growing up in Montana and a fight with the local biker gang that leads to him finding out about his father’s service in Vietnam. His past experiences in fighting off an Yemeni-Iranian invasion of Oman and another in Honduras fighting a Communist coalition. Naturally they make it back to fight WWIII another day.

C.A.D.S. #12 TECH ASSASSINS BY JOHN SIEVERT

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Copyright 1991.

The C.A.D.S. under Colonel Dean Sturgis have successfully rescued President Williamson from The Lenin. What they didn’t know is he has already been brainwashed while a prisoner. Programmed to find the nuclear reactor at Hardbase Alpha and then wait for the miniature nuclear bomb implanted in him to go off. So Sturgis and his men must fight other guards at the base who were ordered by the President to stop them. After a whole bunch of fights that take up the first third of the book they manage to stop the President. They get the bomb taken out of him and have him deprogrammed. This incident has given the President the idea that a new Continental Congress should be convened to declare a second Declaration of Independence.

Needless to say evil Supreme Marshal Veloshnikov goes nuts over this idea. Aboard his new super sub The Leonid Breshnev he begins an all out attack on the free communities scattered across a devastated post-nuke America. Such units as Supreme Soviet Death Division, Black Raskolnikov Brigade and my favorite- Sergeivitch Ivanovsky Bolkenskvo Spetnaz Brigade for the Utter Destruction of American Freedom and National Sovereignty. Yow what a mouthful. So the C.A.D.S. have to come to the rescue. They meet the Soviets in a big endless battle that takes up the second half of the book. After endless fighting the C.A.D.S. come out victorious. At the end the congress meets and broadcasts via a giant holographic image up in the sky. Veloshnikov sits in front of the TV glowering and thinking up his next brilliant plan to destroy America.

We never do find out his brilliant plan for this was the last in the series. It’s a bit ironic that the books ends with him saying “Death to America. Long live the Soviet Union.” This book came out December of 1991 the year that the Soviet Union was officially dissolved. So that event pretty much sounded the death knell for books like this. In this case it was probably a mercy that the series was finally put out of it’s misery. Although it may have been heading there anyway. I gave up on this series with the last book. Only recently did I find this book at Half Price to complete my collection. I didn’t miss anything all those years.

This was a really bad book. I mean it is filled with a constant stream of such cringe worthy dialogue as “Attack these putrid Yankee scum suckers, brave comrades,” or “Your doltish American taunts fall on deaf ears, craven imperialist lackeys.” Now this series started out pretty good. A solid if absurd little post-nuke action adventure. Now like most of these series they tend to go off in some very weird tangents. Which it was doing under it’s original creator Ryder Syvertson. It took the replacement with David Alexander to bring the series to a whole new level of crap. Still his crappy writing was good for a few laughs. Although it was probably good that the series ended before my brain turned to complete mush from reading too much of this.

C.A.D.S. #11 DEATH ZONE ATTACK BY JOHN SIEVERT

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Copyright 1991.

The C.A.D.S. under Colonel Dean Sturgis are on the offensive. They attack Fortress Kerensky which lies on the ruins of St. Louis. After defeating the invaders by creating an artificial tornado they take the fortress intact. Seems the Soviets are not doing well. So Marshal Veloshnikov the evil leader decides to hold a bogus peace conference. President Williamson goes to meet the puppet Soviet premier at Colonial Williamsburg. Williamsburg has been converted to the first Communist theme park called Stalinland. Sounds like something the Antifa crowd would enjoy. Anyway it turns out to be a set up. The puppet premier had a small nuclear bomb implanted in him. The President escapes but is captured and taken to the giant saucer sub Lenin. Also the Soviets launch a two prong attack from Siberia into Alaska and Mexico into the Southwest. C.A.D.S. manage to stop both. Then they go to the Lenin and rescue the President.

OK so this book was just nuts. It had the typical endless scenes of fighting with high tech helicopters, jet fighters and hovertanks with lasers and missiles against the super C.A.D.S. Also a special appearance by the Greysuits who are clearly inferior. There is very little wasted on plot and character development. The President’s capture is casually devoted one whole sentence. Don’t want to get too wordy about stuff not involving high tech fights. He does have a moment where Veloshnikov stops on an island in Nova Scotia with the President to have a talk. Its whole purpose seemed to show how truly evil Veloshnikov is. He takes the time to bash a baby seal to death with a rock. Then takes an assault rifle and slaughters all the others just for fun. Yes this guy kills baby seals for the fun of it. How evil can you get? Also the giant sub Lenin has all of a sudden lost it’s traditional sub shape and become a giant saucer. The C.A.D.S. easily manage to destroy it and free the President. Of course evil Veloshnikov escapes in his mach 20 escape craft and plots how to destroy the evil Amerikanski.

Now surprisingly the editor must have woken up for the glaring grammatical errors weren’t present in this book like the past two. In fact this had some of the most glorious passages to date. For instance the description of the deaths from the artificial tornado.

First their eyeballs squirted from the sockets of their skulls. Then their teeth flew out of their gaping mouths. Finally all the blood in their veins emptied out through their noses, eyes, dicks and assholes.

Wow what a visual. There’s more.

Clapping his hands on full servo power, Sturgis send a miniature sonic boom thundering in their direction. The supersonic clap shattered the Russians’ eardrums and made blood squeezed from their rupturing brains spurt from their nostrils with such fantastic pressure that it blew their noses clean off their faces in a shower of sticky red glop.

But wait. There’s still more.

A second supersonic clap and the eyeballs of the hapless Russians squirted from their socket, hanging uselessly down their faces on twisted white nerve threads. A third and final thunderclap from Sturgis and their hearts exploded in their chests, causing their bodies to explode.

Well nothing like being thorough. The book had writing like this throughout. It was glorious to read such incredible descriptive writing. Oh and one final little quote I enjoyed. A Greysuit has one final curse before he buys it.

The colonel muttered a Ukrainian peasants oath that damned the American to a thousand lifetimes in hell picking dirt from between the devil’s toes and sucking the eternally shitting assholes of the damned.

Now there is a curse that is creative. Go ahead and use it instead the more pedestrian “Go to Hell” or “Fuck you”.

C.A.D.S. #9 SUICIDE ATTACK BY JOHN SIEVERT

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Copyright 1990.

After the destruction of Ft. Collins the C.A.D.S. under Colonel Dean Sturgis go on the offensive. They split into three groups to attack major Soviet bases in the west. One under Sturgis attacks Ft. Kharkov in Colorado. Another hits a base in Utah that are harvesting Americans for their organs to give to the Soviet elite. The third to hit a base in California. Only this group somehow gets lost after hijacking a Soviet APC and ends up in Salt Lake City. The city is controlled by mutant bikers and they have some important prisoners they were selling to the Soviets. It turns out the guys were from a secret U.S./CIA base called Hardbase Alpha. This base was a weapons research base in a huge cavern under the Nevada desert. So now America has a new base as HQ in their fight against the Russians.

Anyway after they destroy the bases they find out the evil plan of Supreme Marshall Veloshnikov. He plans to saturate the southwest with massive neutron bombs that will destroy the C.A.D.S. So they go their and destroy the base. Oh yeah and there was subplot where Robin, Sturgis’s wife was captured by the evil KGB major Denisov. He wires her with explosives and detonates them in front of Sturgis. He was hoping to drive Sturgis insane which he did but unfortunately it drove him so insane he defeated Denisov’s troops. Then Sturgis cuts off Denisov’s ears for a necklace. At the end Sturgis is so depressed he starts drinking. After FIVE bottles of White Lightning and still being conscious( I guess all that sex must fortify the metabolism)he has a tizzy fit when he hears his men talk about his problem. So after his drunken fit he goes out in the desert to live in a cave.

So big changes in the series. For one Ryder Syvertsen was replaced by David Alexander as the writer. Now Alexander of Phoenix fame (a book series that will definitely be covered later) makes Syvertsen look like Hemmingway. This guys is just incredibly a bad writer. Its also obvious he could care less. With all the grammatical errors at this stage neither did the editor. They must have needed a new writer for this series and Alexander could just crank one out.

He did keep the major characters but made some changes. First was he changed the color of the suits from black to silver. Now they were called Silversuits. Never mind they never had any time to upgrade their suits from the last book. Also he decided to get rid of Robin. Now that actually made sense. The character was very boring. Plus the fact that Sturgis was always banging other women made her being his one true love not very sincere. He did introduce a new female doctor for the unit. Vicky Novack was described a women with the body of a showgirl. Yet nothing ever came of a future romance.

In fact under Alexander there was no more sex for Sturgis. His writing style is one of just unending action sequences. Filled with fights against helicopters, fighters and hover tanks all armed with a variety of lasers and missiles. There are acronym filled weapons systems aplenty. All this action can’t find any room for that useless stuff like plot or character development. This is definitely where the series went downhill.

C.A.D.S. #8 CYBERTECH KILLING ZONE BY JOHN SIEVERT

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Copyright 1989.

Colonel Dean Sturgis and this C.A.D.S. have made it to White Sands and find that the Soviets have dropped a biological weapon on the site. Fortunately they were able to close the doors before the germs were able to get into the base. Yet the site is now compromised so they evacuate just before the Soviets drop a nuke on the base. Their destination is the new base they discovered in the last book. Fort Collins has a wealth of tech that could be used in the fight against the invading Soviets. Meanwhile in Soviet occupied South Carolina the reverent Jerry Jeff Jeeters has been found out to be an American agent and escapes to the resistance. He tells the Revengers of the imminent attack on White Sands and they mount an expedition to warn them. Unfortunately a tad too late.

So the C.A.D.S. with the survivors of White Sands meet up with a community lead by the Saloonkeeper. The guy was part of a western being shot and looks like John Carradine. His group are also cannibals and capture the C.A.D.S. using gallons of glue they spray on them. Then they plan to use the captives as meat. Sturgis, Dixon and the kids captured are put in veal pens and force feed to fatten them up. Luckily Dixon manages to escape and finds a National Guard unit nearby led by a former NBA player. They rescue the C.A.D.S. and continue on to Fort Collins.

Before they get their they run into Chief Naktu and his Naqui Indians. They are also joined by Reverend Jeeters and the Revengers that set out to warn them. Only now the warning is Pinky Ellis the industrialist traitor now has control over Fort Collins. He has joined forces with the cultist Anetra and together they have declared themselves Emperor and Empress of America. The forces at Fort Collins capture the group. At this time Marshall Veloshnikov comes with the intention of capturing the fort. Anyway Jeeters manages to set off the self destruct and Sturgis and his men escape before the fortress explodes.

Well just when you think this series can’t get any weirder along comes this book. Where to begin. I suppose first is how easy it is always for the guys to get captured. I mean some idiot cannibals with gallons of glue manage to disable the suits. What the hell is all this glue doing on a movie set anyway? Plus it seemed like the author had a rant against the veal industry. Pinky Ellis finds someone to fall in love with the kooky Anetra and her cult. Yet at the end he kills her because she wanted to have sex while the base was about to blow up and Pinky still wanted to live. It ended ambiguously whether Pinky survived. We do know that Veloshnikov managed to escape yet missing an eye and other injuries. Also Robin who was freeze dried and though dead has her coffin blown out and found by a prospector yet she has no memory. Oh and she also was OK with Sturgis’s other girlfriend and was going to share him with her. Man this guy has it made.

This was the last book for Ryder Syvertson in the series. He definitely went out with a bang. This was one wild and crazy book.

C.A.D.S #6 TECH INFERNO BY JOHN SIEVERT

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Copyright 1988.

Five years after the sneak attack by the Soviets and live continues on. Yet the Soviets are still out to conquer America and drop three atomic bombs on two fledgling settlements out west and the Utah Aerodrome. The government in White Sands under President Williamson wants to retaliate but the tactical situation is grim. So they come up with a bold plan to strike at the heart of the evil Soviet empire. Colonel Dean Sturgis will lead his C.A.D.S. on a strike at the leadership in Moscow. So they get on a plane and are airdropped in the Arctic. Than they walk into Siberia and steal some transport to Moscow.

So things go fairly on plan. They have to fight off a giant mutant walrus and a pack of lobster wolves that have acid come out of their fangs. They find a small village inhabited by Uzbecs who are very anti-Soviet. They help the C.A.D.S. make it to Moscow. There they find a secret passage from Lenin’s Tomb into the Kremlin and destroy it along with the Soviet premier who started the war. Oh and Sturgis manages to rescue his wife Robin who was prisoner in the dungeon.

This book was probably the high point in the series. In fact I can’t remember what the plots were to the books that came after this. As I read them I understand why. This was a fun and enjoyable story. The group gets to attack Moscow and kill off all the cowardly leaders. There was one scene that actually had some relevance in 2020. There is a toilet paper shortage in Moscow and the gang manage to trade some for bullets. This probably struck me now in 2020 more than thirty years ago since well you know what. There was also the goofy stuff that Syvertson was know for in his writing post-nuke stories. Namely the way the Soviets seemed to adopt the practices of the Romans. In this case they crucify their dissidents. Even have an official mourner who prays for ten minutes by the victims. Then there was the torturers that use some crazy Rube-Goldberg type devices. The mutant creatures and the equally over the top evil Soviets. Another enjoyable book.

C.A.D.S. #5 TECH SATAN BY JOHN SIEVERT

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Copyright 1988.

Its been three years since the Soviet sneak attack has reduced America to a shattered land. They have not made much progress in occupying America thanks to the C.A.D.S. force. Yet they continue their efforts. They have decided to airdrop troops in the Midwest to start growing food for the starving masses back home. At one of these outposts in Arkansas Robin Adler the wife of C.A.D.S. leader Dean Sturgis is captured and brainwashed into loving the Soviet commander Major Denirov.

Anyway the C.A.D.S. are heading back to the secret base at White Sands, NM. They find it locked down due to mysterious microwaves that are bombarding the base. They find out it was started by arch traitor Pinky Ellis who didn’t die last book. They manages to destroy the transmitter but then Sturgis has to deal with the President’s cabinet who try to get him court martialed on some trumped up charges. Beating those he than gets his next assignment. The leaders have decided to split the C.A.D.S. up to take out these Soviet outposts in the Midwest. They also plan to get some prop planes and fly salvaged nukes and bomb the Soviet harbors on the east coast.

Sturgis thinks the plan is nuts but obeys orders. With his team he is assigned the post in Arkansas. Along the way they let their guard down and get captured by some nutjob who has control of some kids. But they manage to escape and continue on. At the outpost the Soviets have allied with a Sister Anetra and her kooky mind control cult. Sturgis gets captured while visiting her to negotiate an alliance and gets mind controlled and becomes a drone in her cult. Yet he manages to break the drugs and lead his men to destroy her. Although Anetra escapes to cause trouble in the future.

Later he gets an offer from Denirov. He is a member of a faction that wants peace. So Sturgis doesn’t destroy the fort and heads back to White Sands with the message from Danirov. Reluctantly he also leaves his wife who claims she is now in love with Danirov. Of course she’s brainwashed but we’ll see how that turns out next book.

Well this an interesting book. It has all the trademarks of a Syvertson book. A kooky cult that uses drugs to control it’s members. The very decadent Soviets. This Danirov is just a major in an isolated garrison but somehow manages to live like a king. His quarters are opulent with his own butler. He has plenty of exotic foods, Dom Perignon, and other luxuries. He also brings back Pinky Ellis who continues to cause trouble. Although Pinky is obsessed with getting back Morgana Pinter who he kept as a slave. Which is why he doesn’t tell the Soviets about White Sands.

Finally poor Sturgis loses to love of his life to the evil Soviets. Fortunately he gets plenty of sex from his girlfriends Dr. Decamp and Morgana Pinter so that helps him get over it. A very strange book. The writer gives us Martel who supposedly committed suicide in book two. This was faked for some reason never really explained. The President’s cabinet has some bug up their ass with Sturgis because I guess their assholes. Oh and the kooky plan to use prop planes to nuke the Soviets is never really told how that turned out but it is assumed it failed. Gosh I wonder why? Still another enjoyable romp in the kooky post-nuke world.