The Rat Patrol

Season 1 Episode 10

The Moment of Truce Raid

Aired Monday 8:30 PM Nov 14, 1966 on ABC

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  • The Moment Of Truce Raid

    The 10th episode begins with the cool narrator setting up the episode: the Rat Patrol is returning from a raid, still far behind enemy lines and about to cross paths with Hauptmann Dietrich (it doesn't seem to matter where they are: on the frontline or many miles beyond, Dietrich is usually somewhere nearby!) In this instance, Dietrich doesn't have the Rats on his mind at all, as he is occupied with the politics of the local Arab leaders; specifically, trying to sway the desert chieftain Faisal to the German cause. To help, Dietrich has brought along Abu Hassan, an Arab who has been educated abroad and is aligned with the Germans.

    The Rats are almost out of gas, having just enough to get to an unspecified cache, but are suddenly ambushed by Faisel's men hiding along the dune ridges. Dietrich is nearby, and his truck and kubelwagen are also caught in the ambush. Both parties head for a nearby section of ruins for cover (I can't explain why the Rats don't just haul out to the cache instead of holing up in the ruins--I presume Dietrich is sticking around to talk to his arab buds. Soon enough, The Rats and Dietrich find themselves on opposite ends of the ruins, fighting a common enemy. Of course, there are some tense moments between Dietrich and Troy at first, but they soon realize that the common enemy here are the many Arabs shooting at them both, so here we go again with a brief truce for survival's sake.

    The Arabs conduct several charges on foot, pouring down the dunes and toward the ruins, but automatic fire from the Axis and Allies keeps forcing the Arabs back with heavy losses. These guys must all have a lot of spare ammunition, that's for sure!

    After one of the Arab attacks, Tully fires a few shots from his dismounted jeep machinegun, although Troy has already chastised the 2 German soldiers for firing at things they cannot see. "This beautiful girl came dancin' over the hill doin' a Lindy, what do you think about that?" is Tully's mumbled explanation, a pure stream-of-conciousness explanation that only Tully is capable of, at which Troy can only sigh. A burst of enemy fire lands near Tully, and finally Troy retorts, "Looks like that dancing girl's out squirrel hunting!" A very surreal moment for sure, which Troy finishes by telling Hitch to go brew some coffee.

    Dietrich sends one of his soldiers over to keep an eye on Hitch while he makes the coffee, and Hitch shares some Bazooka gum with the Jerry, teaching him how to blow bubbles (I never realized that bubblegum was an American invention and unknown in Europe, but I guess it "You just chew it to soften it up, Hans, " Hitch says, "and then you make like you're blowin' a big bubble!" I won't read too much into this quiet moment of tenderness; yet, I somehow think it ain't right for lonely soldiers out in the desert to be talking this way to each other, but that's just my personal opinion. Thankfully, the Arabs attack at that moment and send the two scurrying back to the cover of the ruins.

    In between shooting, Moffitt takes the time to insult Hassan, at least until Tully gets shot in the arm by a lucky Arab bullet. Hassan doesn't like the way things are going (Moffitt has insulted him, and Dietrich won't go along with his plan to capture and send the Rats out as an offering to Faisel), so he runs out of the ruins toward the Arabs to make peace.

    Of course, he is quickly shot down by Faisel's madmen, and he is left out in the sand to die slowly (though Hitch wants to go get him, which Troy refuses to allow--a very strange side of Hitch is showing in this one, and I'm beginning to think that he's been in the desert WAY too long!

    Night comes. Hitch and the German soldier are off "blowing bubbles" together again, but I have nothing else to say about that. Moffitt is explaining to everyone that Faisel will make a final, fanatical attack at dawn, and Troy tries to convince Dietrich to trade some gasoline for water so that everyone can get away. But Hitch has a better idea, to use the needed gasoline to build a wall of fire and cover their escape. Dietrich seems to like this plan and agrees, even contributing explosives. There is a strange dialogue thread that uses "Arabs coming for breakfast" as a metaphor for the imminent attack, but I'll leave that strangeness alone too.

    The explosives are in place just as the Arabs attack. This is a pretty good little battle with lots of shooting, explosions, and herds of Arabs swarming over the dunes. Finally, the suave narrator tells us that Faisel has had enough, and it's not worth so many Arab lives to kill just seven men, and the Arabs retreat for good. There's a bit of tension as the truce is over between Troy and Dietrich, but one-by-one, everyone goes their two separate ways to the end credits.

    Though not a great episode, it's another one good as a change of pace. The battle scenes are well done, with up to 100 Arabs attacking at various times, a fairly large amount of combatants for this type of TV show. The simplistic plot lends itself well to the heavy action scenes, giving a balanced feel to this enjoyable installment of another day the life of the Rat Patrol.