When a U.S. recon plane crashes, Sgt. Saunders' men race a German patrol to recover the pilot and his film. The Americans get there first, but carrying the wounded airman on a stretcher over heavily wooded hills slows them down. Then the Americans must cross a river to return to camp, while wily Nazi Sgt. Beckman counters Saunders' every trick.Written by
As Littlejohn is getting into the boat, Dick Peabody stumbles for real, and Saunders - Vic Morrow - reacts for a second to help. Saunders says "Get with it, huh, Littlejohn?", but that line is dubbed in since Saunders's lips don't move. An unplanned nod to all the times the character of Littlejohn is seen as clumsy. See more »
I enjoyed Anatomy of a Patrol for a number of reasons. First, the episode shows respect for German intelligence. The rank and file German soldier was stuck in the war just as the rank and file American was. The common denominator for both sides was they were ordinary people killing each other because a hateful madman had come to power.
James Caan plays an outstanding role as German Sergeant Beckman, who figures out what the Americans are up to almost every step of the way. It's like a chess match between he and Saunders.
Secondly, the episode is very realistic in that not one scene suggests anything that could not have happened. All of the combat scenes are painfully realistic - a Bernard McEveety trait.
Thirdly, the episode shows the great comradery on both teams in their efforts to win the war. Both teams realize the importance of retrieving the reconnaissance camera. There is carefully thought out planning by Saunders and Beckman each step of the way.
Fourthly, Saunders reaction to the thank you note offered by the Air Force is strikingly honest and to the point with no political correctness whatever. The message - no one wins in a war.
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