The Rat Patrol

Season 1 Episode 5

The Chain of Death Raid

Aired Monday 8:30 PM Oct 10, 1966 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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  • The Chain of Death Raid

    This 5th episode starts with something familiar, the Rats ambushing one of Hauptmann Dietrich's convoys with some nifty voice-over narration setting up the circumstances. This time Troy seems to have learned from his last attempts at this, and the Rats use remote-triggered demolitions to wreak havoc on the convoy. The convoy flees in confusion, and Hitch's jeep overtakes one of the German trucks. Troy jumps onto the back of it, goes over the top and makes the driver stop. The driver knocks Troy onto the ground with the door, which gives Hitch a chance to do his favorite thing, taking the German out with a long burst of automatic fire.

    The truck is big enough to hold a jeep, and they hide the jeep inside. Troy sends Hitch off with the truck to rejoin the German convoy, and waits for Tully and Moffitt to pick him up. Unfortunately, Tully's jeep is stuck in the sand back near they set up the ambush, and Troy is forced to wait for them to arrive. Now, I don't understand the logic of the problem that has developed--Tully and Moffitt are only a few hundred yards away, but oblivious to what transpires ahead.

    It seems that a wounded Dietrich has crawled from the wreckage of one of the trucks destroyed in the ambush, and drawn his pistol on the surprised Troy. There's a bit snappy dialogue between the two, and Troy has just surrendered his own pistol to Dietrich when three armed slave traders arrive on horseback and capture the both of them.

    Troy and Dietrich are joined with a heavy chain and forced through the desert. This part of the story revolves around the two mortal enemies working together to escape. It doesn't take Troy long to come up with a plan: they heat the chain in the campfire and snare the elderly leader with it. After a bit of abuse from the red-hot chain, the leader is dragged away by Troy and Dietrich while the other two henchman are ordered to not follow.

    Of course, the old man doesn't last long during their trek across the dunes. Dietrich wants to kill him, but Troy want to conserve their strength, so they just leave him there to die in the sun. With no water, the two are in bad shape themselves very soon, and crawling through the arid landscape. Troy shows his concern for the fading Dietrich by offering him his personal mouth stone (stored under the tongue to induce saliva, keeping the mouth moist--an old Boy Scout Handbook tip that I never found as being useful myself) though there are surely countless such stones all around them. They take turns reviving

    each other and ultimately reach a truce between the two of them at least until they are free of the chain or back with either side's forces.

    Finally, they stumble upon a German column and it appears Troy will end up being the prisoner of war here--but they tumble down a hill and Dietrich is rendered unconscious. Troy drags him to a wrecked vehicle, and after drinking some water from the radiator (!), he places the long chain across the road so that the convoy will drive over and sever it.

    There is an amusing moment as Dietrich's half of the cut chain catches onto the moving halftrack and he is dragged across the sand. The Germans quickly notice this and stop to gather the almost lifeless Hauptmann (I wonder if they thought they had been dragging the hapless Dietrich along since the ambush the day before, like Chevy Chase forgetfully dragged the dog behind the family stationwagon in "Vacation"?!?)

    The last truck in the convoy is the one Hitch is driving, so he picks up Troy; the other Rats are watching all of this from a nearby dune. It all seems to be taking place in the location of the original ambush which happened the day before, though it defies all logic.

    The convoy arrives at the German-held oasis, which was the point of the mission before Troy got sidetracked. The oasis is heavily guarded by Germans, but Troy has no problem casually strolling over to the waterhole carrying a big satchel charge. He slips the charge into the water (it has fuses that will blow the charge in 90 seconds after contact with water, magnesium fuses maybe?) while Tully and Moffitt's jeep races onto the scene, firing away. The now-revived Dietrich witnesses more of his vehicles blown up, as well as the oasis itself. Hitch unloads the other jeep, and the Rats make a clean getaway.

    I'm not sure how a satchel charge can destroy a large pool of water, but the Rats are looking over the damage from a hilltop in the next scene, and are convinced the Germans won\'t be able to use it for a while. Dietrich is on a nearby hill himself, and they give each a look before they go their separate ways.

    Overall, a good episode with a bit more depth than usual. The odd lapses of logic really stick out though, maybe the result of too much story to tell in so little time. The glaring error of having the camera's shadow in a scene is a terrible one, and is something rarely seen in even the most amateurish of productions. It's so obvious that I just don't get why goof was left in the finished project; unless Ed Wood Jr. happened to be temping in the editing room that week. We'll never know.