Raid on Rommel

Synopsis: Captain Foster plans on raiding German-occupied Tobruk with hand-picked commandos, but a mix-up leaves him with a medical unit containing a Quaker conscientious objector. Despite all odds they succeed with their mission. On the way they pick up and drug the mistress of an Italian general, blow up the entire fuel supply for the Afrika Korps, and swap philatelic gossip with Field Marshal Erwin Rommel.
Genre: Drama, War
Director(s): Henry Hathaway
Production: MCA Universal Home Video
99 min

Captain, I've come from Tobruk.

I've a message from General Lederer.

And these cigars with compliments.

Major, I have orders.

Your men are to leave for Tobruk.

Tobruk? Why, that's crazy!

- Those are my orders.

That's an active war zone! Prisoners

of war are to be sent to a safe area.

Tobruk is now ours.

I assure you it is safe.

The Geneva Convention

has explicit rules...

We also have those rules. Your side

was notified about this movement.

Heil Hitler!

You will do that too. So prepare!

We leave immediately.

- And what if we refuse to go?

We will leave you here.

Then you will see there are

worse things than dysentery.


- Sir?

Pack it.

- Yes, sir.

Captain, the girl. She is crazy.

She is speaking of an airplane.

I will see to her.

Italian whores don't impress me!

Speak English, you Kraut!

What is the problem, Signorina?

- Why am I not leaving to Tobruk?

Special air transport calls for

special authority. - I got!

Courtesy shown the bearer

will greatly oblige General Banducci.

Yes, I know of your position

with the General. - Position?

You are very attached to his staff.

He's molto grande, il Generale!

You only piccolo Captain.

Italians are stylish warriors. I wish

they'd keep their women on a leash.

Any other jokes?


You will travel like the rest of us.

How is that?

- In a truck. Continue packing.

Amsterdam. The Hollanders.

They make good cigars, no?

Very nice. - Cured dry as the Sahara.

Rommel himself smokes these.

You know Rommel? - Yes.

He loves the Sahara. We all do.

By "we",

I mean the professional military.

I'm not a military man, Captain.

War holds no romance for me.

The side effects are repulsive.

- Here there are no side effects.

No women, no children,

no towns to get in the way.

Just men, my Doctor.

Just men?

- Yes...


Get out of the vehicle!

Give orders to leave the vehicles!

Yes, sir!

Follow the vehicle cautiously.

He's alive, Captain.

Dead or alive?

- Dead. They stink already.

Search the dead and the cabin.

Bring me all the papers!

The man is suffering from exposure

and dehydration. He needs treatment.

Give it to him.

We camp here for tonight.

Use the trucks to make a camp.

Pitch the tents.

We will stay till 4 a. m.

Corporal, your pulse

and respiration are quite normal.

You're shamming. Why?

I'm Foster.

Your ID tag reads Weatherly, J.D.

That's my cover. I'm Foster.

Captain, 53rd Combat Engineers.

You don't know?

- What? - 8th Army Intelligence.

I've never had contact with

Intelligence, 8th Army or otherwise.

You are Major Farrow, aren't you?

- I'm Tarkington, Hugh. Medical Corps.

Where the hell is Farrow?

- Who?

Those prisoners in the convoy

are the 5th Commandos, aren't they?

No, that's my outfit,

the 15th field hospital unit.

God damn it to Hell!

The moment he is conscious

bring him to me for questioning.

It may be a little while, Captain.

I'm afraid he's in shock. - Yes...

We continue now with a report

from CBS London and Edward R. Murrow.

This is London.

The loss of Tobruk will make

supplying Malta even more difficult.

And the battle for Egypt

may even now be underway.

At the moment, all that can be said

is that Parliament and the press

are looking for someone to blame.

There's no question

about the conduct of British troops.

Their bravery deserved victory

but they were defeated.

But Rommel is fond of the unorthodox

and speculation is futile.

Rommel is being

reinforced through Tobruk.

Tell me! Are you

a member of the 5th Commandos?

Get him out of here.

Quite a performance.

What in the name of God is that?

Don't worry, she's real.

Belongs to an Italian general.

Any more? - No, she's the only one.

Signorina Vivian something or other.

English pigs!

She's the only passenger...

- What happened to the 5th Commandos?

That's an interesting question.

To ask it makes this the bloody

muck-up of all time. - Who are you?

Sergeant MacKenzie, 5th Commandos.

- 5th Commandos? Any others here?

Well, we're it.

Ed Brown, Bill Wembley,

Dan Garth and Reilly.

We were left behind when

our unit was moved. Acute dysentery.

Except me. I got a bad tattoo

from Alexandria. - And the others?

Shipped to a prison camp in Tunisia.

- Oh, Jesus Christ.

I don't see why that's a surprise.

- Did he brief you? Major Farrow?

Only what he had to. He told us

we were going to Tobruk as prisoners.

On the way, we'd scuttle

the German guard and take over.

Your credentials say you're an expert

on the harbor guns at Tobruk.

If it's any comfort, we had 50 men

trained to blow them to Hell.

You said

he only told you what he had to.

Any idiot private

could spell it out, sir.

Rommel is building up supplies

in Tobruk for his next attack.

He controls the air. The only way

to clobber Tobruk is from the sea.

To clear the way for Navy

those guns have to be knocked out.

That's it, isn't it?

- That's it.

I don't think it concerns us.

- It does. How many men do you have?

Whatever nonsense you have in mind

you're not involving my men.

At 1700 hours tomorrow, one of

our planes will attack the convoy.

The purpose was to create confusion

so the 5th Commandos could take over.

A deliberate air attack?

- Nevertheless, the pilot will strike.

To scrub this mission

I need a radio. The only way I can

do that is by taking over the convoy.

And then?

Then we drive back to British lines.

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Richard M. Bluel

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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