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Rat Pack was a long-running series set in World War II, principally drawn by Carlos Ezquerra (but also by many others including Mike White, Massimo Belardinelli, Cam Kennedy, Eduard Vano, Colin Page, John Cooper, Bill Lacey and Eric Bradbury on occasion) and written at various times by Terry Magee, Alan Hebden, Pat Mills, Eric Hebden, Gerry Finley-Day, Peter Harris, WG Ede, Ron Carpenter, HJ Johnson, Brian Bullen, Ken Mennell and others. It appeared in Battle Picture Weekly from its first issue (8th March 1975) until mid 1980 (it was later reprinted, out of sequence, from 1982 to 1988, and new stories continued to appear in Battle annuals).

The strip focused on a covert commando unit originally led by Major Taggart and composed of four soldiers, court martialled for various offences, who were effectively serving with him as an alternative to lengthy prison sentences. The members were: Kabul "the Turk" Hasan, a violent individual who had been jailed for attacking his commanding officers; Matthew Dancer, a knifeman who had been jailed for looting; Ian "Scarface" Rogan, a deserter; and the improbably named Ronald Weasel,1 a convicted safecracker who had tried to steal the Army payroll.

At one point, with Taggart (whom the squad hated) hospitalised after they abandoned him to the Gestapo, the Pack were led for a while by another Battle star, the laconic Major Eazy (whom they hated even more) until Taggart was combat ready again. This serial began in Battle's 100th issue, and was effectively a celebratory exercise bringing together two of the title's most popular strips.

There were six series of Rat Pack between 1975 and 1980, though there were frequently lengthy gaps between them. The strip was inspired by the movie The Dirty Dozen. A lot of its tension was generated by the fact that the four members of the squad were all basically untrustworthy and hated pretty much everyone, including each other, with their greatest loathing reserved not for the Nazis but for their own commanding officer.

1Has J. K. Rowling read Rat Pack?

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