This month’s pulp story comes from the pages of the May 1934 issue of Thrilling Adventures. It was written by Charles Greenberg using the pseudonym Charles Green. Greenberg was a prolific pulp author who wrote stories in multiple genres from 1929 into the 1960’s.
The Devil’s Squad is a rollicking tale that takes place in the parched, rocky desert of Morocco/Algeria. It has the classic elements of a great Foreign Legion story:
- An elite squad led by the American, Sergeant Bennet, a cockney English grenadier (Henderson), a towering Slav who was a former White Russian officer (Saratof), an Armenian sharpshooter (Blitzky), the 6′ 5″ German (Hauser), the stiletto wielding Spaniard (Fernandez) and the lanky Swede (Larson) wielding the automatic rifle.
- A nasty villain in the form of the simpering, corpulent Lieutenant Colbert who purposely sacrifices the lives of his legionnaires for cash.
- Hundreds of vengeful Arabs who gamely pursue the Devil’s Squad through a maze of rocks and cliffs and die in wonderfully dramatic ways.
In many ways the Devil’s Squad is very similar to the Hell’s Angel’s Squad by Warren Hastings Miller that ran in Blue Book Magazine and to the other pick-up teams of legionnaires you might find in Luck of the Legion or the Grit Gregson: Fighter in the Foreign Legion series. I really liked the way the squad worked together using their personal strengths and choices of weapons. I’m not sure if Greenberg wrote any other stories with these same characters–I can’t tell from the titles of his stories but it’s possible. In any case it’s a really good read and a long one too at 35 pages.
NOTE: Sorry to make you wait on this story. I was away in Canada (just east of Toronto) for the last trip of a busy, busy summer. For those who are interested, Americans can now travel by car to Canada but must have the COVID vax, and a negative COVID test within 72hrs of crossing. Travelers also have to use the “Arrive-CAN” app once they get their test done which requires you to upload passport, vaccination data and estimated crossing time. The good news is the bridge at the Port Huron, MI – Sarnia, ON border crossing was completely deserted and looked like something from a zombie movie. It took all of 5 minutes to get past the teenage looking guard from the Canada Border Services Agency. Once you get into Canada expect to wear a mask inside any public building and store. At restaurants you need to provide contact tracing information (which is dumb but, whatever). Currency rate was .80 CAD to $1.00. Going back to the U.S. required only your passport and vax card. The U.S. Border will open for Canadians on 8 November (but only of course for those fully vaccinated). All in all it was a wonderful trip to a beautiful place with so many things to do and places to eat!