The Rat Patrol: The Fire and Brimstone Raid

Dietrich has occupied a winery that has been in the family of its current owner, a sheik, for a millennium. “Contrary to popular opinion, the Germans are not warriors at all, but frustrated landlords,” says the sheik.

“I’ve heard all the speeches from both sides,” he tells the hauptmann, “they are remarkably similar. The verbs and adjectives remain the same, only the proper nouns change.”

He helps the Americans because, “I’m growing tired of German coffee, which is execrable.” The patrol is trapped inside the winery, which is being used as an ammo dump. Transportation is needed, preferably motorized. “My dear man,” Sgt. Moffitt is told, “the Germans ate all my horses months ago.”

The ceremonial weapons of the sheik’s family are requisitioned by Dietrich, bows and arrows, in a tight situation. Moffitt’s religion forbids suicide, and so does the sheik’s, “except under certain circumstances.”

The Americans depart, “now for the Germans.” Dietrich escapes just before the sheik sets off a German grenade in the ammo dump.

The noble teleplay by Stan Sherman is an opportunity for Michael Pate as the sheik which is met more than ably. “Medieval,” Sgt. Troy calls Dietrich’s “variant of an airborne assault” by two soldiers through the roof silently armed.


The Rat Patrol: The Death Do Us Part Raid

“They say the place was built over the ruins of a Byzantine citadel”, code phrase for a contact in an Arab village who is not the Irish tutor but her prize pupil.

The Germans lie in ambush, Troy falls wounded, the rest are captured.

“Thus far,” says Dietrich, “we have been able to abstain from this sort of thing in the African campaign.” He is ordered to place a Star of David on the boy, arrests him.

A colonel receives the patrol. “Aptly named. You have contaminated the desert long enough. You will be exterminated.”

The tutor fills a canteen, “a drop to drink in a dungeon”. Troy will go, there are “less violent ways”, she objects.

They go together, she dies in the successful escape.

Compressed to a stark surrealism, Lawrence’s teleplay justifies more than one decision not to kill Dietrich outright.

The “new German supply camp” previously known to the contact only is destroyed.


The Rat Patrol: The Hickory Dickory Dock Raid

The skillful teleplay by Edward J. Lakso illustrates the tangible advantages of detachment.

Allied bombing sends German armor and transport to a repair depot and POW camp within an Arab fortress. Reveille is observed to be a quarter-hour before dawn, by the clock.

Moffitt is informed that his younger brother is dead in battle. He kills a German sentry, the alarm is raised.

They try again, Moffitt restrains himself, the clock is neutralized but gives out a general alert. “I’m a late riser,” Troy explains to the German captain.

As the patrol breaks out, Pettigrew is caught. Troy holds back a few moments for the diversion of a low-level bombing raid.

Moffitt finds hopeful solace in the cumulative effort, “you can’t hate them.”