Written and Directed by Burt Kennedy
Released: 30 Oct 1962
In this episode, we’re introduced to the main guys in the squad. These include Caje, Kirby, Little John, Billy Nelson. It also included Pvt. Braddock, played by Shecky Green and used as comic relief.
It starts off with the squad in a fire fight with a German machine gun nest. Pvt. Grady Long, who is the BAR man and has been with Saunders since Africa, gets two bullets in the head and dies with his helmet rolling down the hill. Grady Long getting killed really hit Saunders hard and you could sense the emotional loss in the graveyard scene that comes afterwards as they bury him there. That’s pretty unusual in this series, where they usually just leave the dead where they lay. G.I.’s with the rifle with fixed bayonet and helmet and the Germans simply where they got killed.
The men are resting in a barn yard afterwards in a village. Braddock decides to catch a chicken to put in the pot since it’s been so long since any of them has had any real meat.
After Braddock got a hold of this chicken, he hung onto it for the entire episode. I was surprised that Saunders didn’t tell him off for it and to let it go.
We find out in a later episode (The Celebrity) the name of the village that they were left behind in.
A new replacement shows up named Pvt. Delaney. He is to be the new BAR man but he hasn’t had any experience, having been a cook’s assistant for his Army career. You can tell from first appearances that he’s a pretty hapless soldier. He even has a discussion about it later on with Braddock that he’s 40 years old and volunteered for the Army and the Infantry so that he could look back on what he did during the war. He arrives in the squad, however, without any combat experience.
Kirby obviously wants to be the new BAR man but Saunders gives the job to Delaney instead, much to Kirby’s dismay and chagrin.
At this point, I really don’t understand what Saunders’ problem with giving the BAR to Kirby is? He is the most qualified man, having carried Grady’s ammo for him and knew the BAR inside and out.
BAR’s usually requires a team of soldiers, usually one to handle the weapon and other(s )to help carry the ammo. The support soldier would usually carry a lighter weapon in order to assist with the BAR, such as a M1 Carbine. They don’t do that in Combat though; leaving the BAR man on his own to carry his own ammo.
Hanley gets in contact with Battalion. His orders are that Saunders’ squad is to remain behind after everybody else pulls back to be the “eyes and ears” to assess what the German strength are as they come in to fill in the gap.
Braddock asks Saunders where all the other troops are going, Saunders replies “Avranches” and everybody is happy. Only, the bad news immediately follows with the news of their mission of remaining behind.
They hide out in one of the ruined buildings and it’s not long before they’re surrounded by Germans with around 10 tanks and Half-Tracks, the works. (quote from Hanley)
They used the same set as in Rear Echelon Commandos because I recognize the church steeple and the bridge over the canal.
Saunders wants to call in a fire mission and make a break for it in the resulting chaos. Hanley doesn’t want to take the chance so they wait in a building until some Germans come into where they’re at and decide to set up an O.P.
That’s when their hand is forced and Hanley decides to take the chance and call the fire mission in and make a break for it.
When the artillery begins, they rush out of the room killing the Germans on the way out.
They run through the explosions until they get pinned down by a machine gun team on the back of a Half-Track which was blocking their way across the bridge.
Hanley and Saunders take refuge under a wooden boat. (that’s some pretty scarce protection!)
The rest of the squad is taking cover but Delaney is overcome with fear and hides in amongst a bunch of rubble.
That’s when Saunders goes to get him and gives him a motivational speech about how he’ll never be able to live with himself if he doesn’t pick up that gun and help save the squad.
Saunders then collapses after an artillery shell explodes nearby. Delaney then gets enough courage to pick up the BAR to fire against the machine gunners in the Half-Track.
He basically commits suicide though, when he gets a few shots off without seeking any cover at all and then gets cut down by the machine gun. Why didn’t he take any cover? If he would’ve just set his BAR up behind the stonework!
Saunders is finally seen leaving Delaney’s body on the bridge and he grabs the BAR as he walks away.
The end sees Saunders sad over Delaney getting killed. It turns out that the reason he didn’t give the BAR to Kirby is because he didn’t want one of the guys that he’s been serving with for a long time to “get it”. He thought that it wouldn’t be as bad but it was. He was disappointed in himself for not knowing Delaney’s first name before sending him out to get killed. He’s obviously feeling guilty about having done that.
They all get in the back of truck and Saunders is introduced to the new BAR man named Pvt. Albert Baker. Saunders makes it a point to learn the new soldier’s first name. Which translates to… you guessed it. (he’s going to “get it”)
Saunders killed 2 Germans
Knocked down from an artillery explosion.
Hanley killed 2 Germans