The Rat Patrol
The Rat Patrol
The first episode of The Rat Patrol. A group of men who cause trouble to the Germans in heavily armed jeeps.
The Rat Patrol is an American action and adventure television series that aired on ABC between 1966 and 1968. The show follows the exploits of four Allied soldiers — three Americans and one Englishman — who are part of a long-range desert patrol group in the North African campaign during World War II. Their mission: “to attack, harass and wreak havoc on Field Marshal Rommel’s vaunted Afrika Korps.”
The show was inspired by and loosely modelled on the New Zealand/British/Rhodesian Long Range Desert Group, which used modified trucks armed with machine guns as their transport through the treacherous desert terrain, and Popski’s Private Army. The title of the program refers to the nicknames given to some of the British Commonwealth forces in the North African campaign (Rats of Tobruk or Desert Rats). Consequently, at the time of the original telecast many British viewers took offense at the dominance of American characters on the program, the result being that the show was pulled from the BBC after six episodes.
The four members of the Allied patrol were:
Christopher George, The unit’s leader, Troy is an intuitive, resourceful, clever and gritty-yet-compassionate leader who always wears an Australian army Slouch hat. His common tagline is “Let’s shake it!”, another form of expressing the urgency to hurry or leave.
Gary Raymond, The British member of the unit. An expert on the desert and on the local Arab tribes which inhabit it, Moffitt speaks fluent German and Arabic. Before the outbreak of war, he accompanied his father (a noted archaeologist) on multiple trips to the Sahara. Moffitt wears a black beret.
Cpl. Mark T. Hitchcock
Lawrence Casey, Known as “Hitch.” The college-man-turned-soldier often chews bubblegum and wears a red French kepi with gold trim similar to those worn by Zouave and artillery troops during the American Civil War. Occasionally shows his “Ladies’ Man” side. His tagline is “Who was there: you or me?”
PFC. Tully Pettigrew
Justin Tarr, Called one of the Army’s best wheelmen by Troy, Tully grew up in Kentucky and apparently gained his remarkable driving skills by running moonshine. He is the only member of the Patrol who wears an Army regulation steel helmet.
Notable enemies included:
Hauptmann (Captain) Hans Dietrich
Hans Gudegast, A dedicated, but honorable German officer and the Patrol’s main nemesis. By the end of the series it becomes clear that Dietrich, although a cunning opponent, never stoops to the cruel methods of fellow Nazi officers.
Gudegast later became famous as a soap opera star under the pseudonym Eric Braeden.
For a few episodes during the second season, the storyline required the temporary absence of Tully. Three different characters took turns rounding out the Patrol until Tully returned:
* Peterson (Darwin Joston)
* Andy (Mac McLaughlin)
* Bo Randall (Bo Hopkins)
A Rat Patrol soldier named Cotter (played by Whitey Christy) is shown being hit by enemy fire and slumping over his machine gun during the opening action sequence of the pilot episode, “The Chase of Fire Raid”. The resulting vacancy allowed for the addition of Moffitt to the team.