A strip from The Victor.
The above map shows the modern day country of Ethiopia, which before independence was called Abyssinia.
See The Victor issues 433 to 446 (07th June 1969 to 06th September 1969).
Writer:- The Victor editorial team. Artist:- possibly drawn by Diaz, but confirmation is required.
Main cast:- Gunner Ben Yule; Captain Vaughan; Battery Sergeant-Major Tom Holliday (note this character also appeared in the Galloping Gunners series); Gunner Trubshaw; Rifleman Pun; 'Batley's Company', Major Raiker, Lieutenant Parrish, Private Hassan.
Time period:- World War Two, Abyssinia, Africa 1940 / 1941. Today the country is known as Ethiopia.
This series tells the stories of the men of 524 Field Battery of Artillery, who fought using the outdated 18 pounder guns against the Italians in Abyssinia, during World War Two. (They were being used as there was a shortage of the more modern 25 pounder guns). The field battery were providing support to an Indian brigade. This is in effect the second series featuring Tom Holliday. None of the other characters from the first series appear in this series. As in the Galloping Gunners series the stories revolved around a few main characters, but in several episodes the stories are about different soldiers, with the main characters appearing briefly. These were the type of stories/series I enjoyed the most. Not all of the supporting characters that appeared in this series survived.
Although there is nothing mentioned in this series that it is a follow on from the Galloping Gunners, there is evidence to suggest otherwise. For example, one image shows a pennant with the number 524 (see image below), which is the number of the Field Battery of Artillery featured in the Galloping Gunners series. Secondly, Tom Holliday features in both series, thirdly, the gunners are from India where they were based and lastly, that they are using 18 pounder guns.
The above image shows the guard post for 524 Field Battery of Artillery. From issue 440.
Halfway through the series the main characters were placed under the command of Major Raiker. 'Raikforce' was a small scratch column made up of a company of infantry, a section of Bombay sappers and two 18 pounder guns from 524 Field Battery. The force's orders were to penetrate the Italian lines and cut the Gondar road, thus delaying enemy troops and supplies from reaching the Italian stronghold of Keren. This in turn would assist a British advance.
The artwork for this series is by a very talented (in my book anyway), artist, who still remains relatively unknown. The work might be by the Spanish artist Diaz, (that's all I know about him), on the other hand it might not be. But whoever it is, they certainly produced some exciting, well-drawn work.
The following adventures of The Second Best Guns are from issues 433, 434, 436, 438, 439, 442, 444 and 445.