The Rat Patrol

Season 1 Episode 1

The Chase of Fire Raid

Aired Monday 8:30 PM Sep 12, 1966 on ABC
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Episode Summary

The Chase of Fire Raid
The Rat Patrol loses a member in combat, and a replacement (Sgt. Jack Moffitt of the Scots Greys) is sent to ensure the success of a crucial mission behind enemy lines. The British 8th Army has buried a cache of munitions and petrol in a secret location while retreating from the advancing Germans, and it is essential that the cache is destroyed. Only Sgt. Moffitt's desert expertise can find the dune-covered location before it falls into the enemy's hands. Hauptmann Dietrich is determined to find the rumored cache as well, and decides the best plan is to shadow the Rat Patrol to the cache's location, destroy them, and capture the supplies necessary for the upcoming Afrika Korps offensive.moreless

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  • The Chase of Fire Raid

    This opening episode quickly gets to the point of the whole series; after a few stylish shots of the desert landscape, we immediately witness an ambush set up by the Rat Patrol to interdict one of Hauptmann Dietrich's convoys. This ongoing personal battle between Sgt. Troy and Hauptmann Dietrich is the thread that runs the entire series, so it is a very fitting scene to start the action.

    The concept of the show is a strange brew of heroic adventure and mid-20th century military action, taking place in the Western Desert campaign of World War Two. Alhough occurring in roughly the same era as the Combat! series, the Rat Patrol universe is much different than the more realistic and complex series that took place in Europe. This is a 30 minute show, compared to Combat!'s 60 minute time frame, so there is much less time for subplots and character development. This emphasis here is action--driving fast, having a brief confrontation with the enemy, and blowing things up. If the viewer can accept this, then the series is a very enjoyable way to spend a bit of time in front of the tube..

    The ambush-the-German-convoy scene is used in many episodes, but in this one a member of the Rat Patrol is seriously injured or killed. We never find out his name (until the end credits--he didn't have a speaking part) and the other members of the team seem to be unconcerned with the loss of the man (and Sgt. Troy's superiors seemed equally unconcerned about his tactic of using the machinegun-outfitted jeeps to attack enemy armor columns!) Anyway, this loss of a crew member is just a plot device to bring the new member into the team, Sgt. Jack Moffitt.

    The race to find the hidden depot is well done, full of interesting camera work as both the Rat Patrol and Dietrich rush across the sands, at times reminiscent of the style later used in movies such as The Road Warrior. The German airplane flying by was a nice feature too, as it would have eased the budget to not have it (though I must say, the Germans are using a LOT of captured equipment!)

    Overall, this is a very good, straight-forward establishes the characters and the setting for the series, but also works plenty of action into the story as well. There are a few technical issues caused by the fact that some parts were filmed in Spain, some in California, and some in causes continuity issues throughout the whole series and must have been a nightmare to work with. The scene where the depot blows up is very poorly edited, but this is unusual for the thing that always stands out about the series as a whole is that it is very well done from a technical standpointt, and often very stylish too.

    A good beginning for an under-appreciated televison series.moreless
Lawrence Casey

Lawrence Casey

Pvt. Mark Hitchcock

Christopher George

Christopher George

Sgt. Sam Troy

Gary Raymond

Gary Raymond

Sgt. Jack Moffitt

Justin Tarr

Justin Tarr

Pvt. Tully Pettigrew

Eric Braeden

Eric Braeden

Capt. Hans Dietrich

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • The song heard playing at the start of this episode is "Lili Marlene", written in 1915 by German Hans Leip, who combined the names of two friends, and was later set to music by Norbert Schultze in 1938. Even though Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi's propaganda minister, opposed it, the song gained in popularity so much that the German forces radio broadcasted it every evening at 9:55 throughout Europe and the Mediterranean. It quickly became a favorite of both the Allied and German soldiers.

    • Although unmentioned by name in the episode, the member of the Rat Patrol that is killed in the opening scene is listed as Cotter on the end credits.

  • QUOTES (3)

  • NOTES (0)


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