Season 1 Episode 22 – Night Patrol

Directed: Burt Kennedy
Written: Quentin Sparr
Released: 5 Mar 1963

This was probably one of the darkest Combat! episodes that I’ve seen.

It’s about a lone soldier out there operating on his own after getting separated from his squad, or so he says. He shoots a couple of Germans and then goes back into a cave where he’s been using as his hideout as he goes out and on his excursions and kills some more Germans and brings back their weapons and helmet and puts them in a pile inside the cave next to his fireplace.

Stockpile of German weapons
Stockpile of German weapons and helmets that Billy Joe has been collecting in the cave

Saunders and his guys and Hanley and his guys are going out on night patrols to capture prisoners. They have scheduled to rendezvous at the cemetery in the morning.

Saunders takes Caje, Kirby, Little John and Billy Nelson out. They find a spot when a couple of flares goes off. He sends Kirby out forward because he thinks he sees something. Kirby stays out a bit too long and then comes back with an old German as a prisoner. Saunders is all glad about accomplishing the mission so quickly. All of a sudden, a rifle shot is heard and their prisoner is killed. There’s a mysterious soldier that shows up who apologized for killing the prisoner and offers to tag along with them in order to get another one.

Once it starts getting too light, Saunders doesn’t want to risk getting into a fight in order to capture any more Germans. He says that to Billy Joe, the new guy, but he gets chided by him for being afraid of a fight. When Saunders suggests that they need to wait it out until it gets dark, Billy Joe tells them that he knows of a place.

He guides them to the cave where he’s been hiding out all this time. Saunders has the guys search the cave. Saunders finds a German scarecrow dressed up and laying in the water as if some kind of macabre joke.

Billy and Little John
Billy Nelson and Little John standing guard outside the cave. They keep having banter that is completely disjointed from the rest of the story.

After Caje finds a stack of dog tags, Saunders begins questioning Billy Joe about it. He tells him that they hid out from some Germans and got into a fire fight. The reason that he survived was that he ran away from the fight and he’s been fighting on his own ever since. Saunders had discovered that the Lt. that Billy Joe has been pretending to be is already dead inside the cave. A Lieutenant Billy Joe Cranston.

Little John calls down to Saunders that some Krauts are coming. They have to hide out in one of the caves as the Germans enter. They find the fire that’s been freshly put out. They go down one of the paths which leads to an exit. They ambush the Germans as they were coming around the corner. A fire fight ensues. Billy Joe throws a hand grenade, killing the Germans but not before being shot himself. He tells Saunders to tell them that Cranston is still out here fighting the Germans.

When Saunders gets back, he shows Hanley the stack of dog tags. Saunders lies to Hanley about Billy Joe being still alive and told him that they were all dead when they found them. I don’t know the reason why he did that.


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