The Rat Patrol

Season 1 Episode 3

The Wildest Raid of All

Aired Monday 8:30 PM Sep 26, 1966 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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  • The Wildest Raid Of All

    This is only the 3rd episode in the series, but it's one of the wackiest episodes I have ever seen in a dramatic series; it's like a cartoon. I swear, the only thing missing is the laugh track, and this would be perfect television comedy.

    We start right with the action: Hitch and Troy have been captured and the jeep is being led into the German field headquarters by Hauptmann Dietrich. But Troy's plans are beyond imagination, and this is just one of the amazing ones. After the beaming Dietrich brings out General Helmreich (the most famous general in the Afrika Korps, twice decorated by Hitler personally!!), Troy's plan goes into action.

    Hitch deploys a flare onto the ground, and Helmreich is lassoed with Troy behind the jeep. Hitch guns the jeep out of the German position, dragging both Troy and Helmreich along the sand at a high rate of speed! Just then, Tully and Moffitt's jeep spring over a dune, firing away at the shocked Germans. This the first appearance of the "batmobile" jeeps, loaded with amazing and opportune this instance, the jeep lays down a thick smokescreen that prevents the jerries from getting a good shot at the escaping commandos.

    The Rats pause in the deep desert with their captive after making a clean getaway (strangely, not a scratch on Helmreich or his unform after the rough treatment. Helmreich senses that he is part of a vaster plot, and refuses to go along further. Threats go back and forth, and finally Troy tells Hitch to remove the General's boots and belt; .maybe this is some sort of profound insult to the Aryan pride that I am not aware of, but Helmrich agrees to go along with the plan for now.

    Helmreich's good behavior doesn't last long, and he secretly manuevers the jeep's side mirror to reflect the sun, which the searching Dietrich spots from far away. Troy kicks the General out of the moving jeep to teach him a lesson, but Dietrich's halftracks are already heading to block the only pass the Rats can use. The Rats pause on a ridge overlooking the enemy-filled pass when Helmreich removes a jeep antenna, wacks Moffitt in the neck with it, and fires the jeep's machinegun to alert Dietrich.

    We find out that the pass is the quickest way to a German ammuntion dump that the Rats must destroy, no time to take the long way because the German offensive starts in 24 hours. While this is being debated, Dietrich's tanks appear in the pass, and things are looking bad.

    But the batmobile jeeps and Troy's amazing spontaneous plans are the answer. Hitch sneaks down and plants explosive charges. One jeep is deployed with huge speakers and a device that plays the recording of tanks moving. The other jeep is outfitted with a device that both sprays stored dust and kicks up the native variety as well--amazing devices to be poked away on the cramped vehicles!

    When the explosives are triggered, and Dietrich see the dust and hears the "tanks", he naturally assumes that he is being attacked by "9 or 10 Sherman tanks", and retreats without bothering to send a recon to check it out. He radios for tank support (though we saw German tanks a few minutes ago, they are nowhere to be seen now!) and gets out fast.

    The Rats get through the vacated pass and near the ammo dump. The General again refuses to cooperate any further, which Troy remedies by utilizing a karate chop on Helmreich's neck that's just as effective and quick as a Vulcan nerve pinch.

    They roll right up to the ammo depot and tell the squads of armed sentries that the General is dying of sunstroke. They offer to trade the "dying" Helmreich for gas and water to get back to their lines, and the German in charge reluctantly agrees. While the Germans attend the General with Troy, Hitch manages to sneak away and kill 2 jerries with a razor blade to get one of their uniforms. Then he takes a cycle and goes to where the ammo is kept, places an explosive canteen in the bunker, sets it ticking and heads back. Meanwhile, Helmreich wakes up and the Rats are in trouble.

    Helmreich sees that Hitch's canteen is missing and knows it must be of the explosive kind (wouldn't we all jump to that conclusion?). There's a standoff as the Rats refuse to tell where the bomb is (surely the ammo bunker would be the logical place for the Germans to look!) and the General's armed men won't let them leave; .the imminent threat of being blown to bits crack the German boys first, so Helmreich starts slapping them around, at which point the Rats open fire and shoot their way to the jeeps, just as the ammo and the base starts blowing up. The Rats get away clean, just as Dietrich arrives in time to see the huge explosions.

    But hey, the fun ain't over yet! The Rats pull into a village left over from one of Sergio Leone's movies, and a sultry young woman offers them water; Troy offers her money and merchandise for the water, which she Hitch she wants, so they trade Hitch for the water, leaving him behind to work out the specifics of the trade. Amazing!

    This episode is so far over the top, I almost gave it a high rating due to the hilarious, cartoonish events. Troy yells "shake it!" 3 times in this one episode! But Rat Patrol isn't supposed to be a comedy, and in this case it goes too far--though entertaining it certainly is!

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