Midnight Clear A
It's too hot.
When I get back, I'm gonna put it...
Mother's the oldest in our squad.
He just had his 26th birthday, and two days later his baby was born dead.
We call him Mother... Wilkins...
because he's always hounding us for being sloppy, bugging us...
about leaving things around.
They're a little bent.
You want me to turn you in, Vance?
Between the stuff you did and the stuff I make up...
I could at least get you to a psychiatrist in some hospital.
Couldn't fool anybody.
Wouldn't let me do all this shit.
Only you were here.
Doesn't really count.
You sure fooled me, Mother. I'll tell you that.
You also broke a squad rule.
Well, you said "shit."
What would Father say?
Father Mundy invented our squad 'no obscenity"rule.
We wanna make it clear we're not actually part of this army.
Yes, we have a squad father too.
Mother Wilkins, Father Mundy.
Father Mundy was gonna be a priest, but never made it through the seminary.
The next guard was taken by Bud Miller, our mad mechanical genius...
and resident wit...
and Stan Shutzer, our avengingJewish angel.
They're supposed to be 12 in Intelligence and Reconnaissance squads.
Ours is down to six.
Mel Avakian, our best remaining soldier...
became corporal to our squad at the same time I made sergeant.
It wasn't for anything we did.
Except stay alive.
He hasn't sewn on his stripes either.
Our regimental commander is Major Griffiin.
Griffiin was a mortician in civilian life.
His main passion now seems to be generating business...
for his army counterparts.
It's thanks to Griffiin and his military mortuary skills...
that I've made my recent headlong leap to three stripes.
We lost half our squad, attempting one of his map-inspired, ill-conceived...
When I say 'lost," I mean 'killed."
Nobody in the army ever admits that someone on our side is killed.
They're either lost, like Christopher Robin...
hit, as in a batter hit by a pitched ball...
or they get 'it" like in hide-and-go-seek.
Or maybe they get it as with an ambiguous joke.
Not one of the six killed had an army intelligence score...
of less than 150.
We gained a few miles of European real estate...
and lost the beginnings to untold generations of very bright people.
I think the army considered this a good deal.
So now we've been moved north into the Ardennes Forest...
to await replacements.
It's become a kind of frontline halfway house...
for straightening out our nerves.
I'm not sure I can be straightened out.
I'm scared all the time now.
It's mid-December, 1944.
My family name is Knott. K-N-O-T-T.
My parents named me William.
By the third grade, I was Will Knott.
I've learned to live with it.
What I wasn't prepared for were the guys of the I & Rplatoon...
who decided I was to be known as 'Won't."
Let's go, Knott!
Back in Camp Shelby before we shipped out...
Lieutenant Ware was told that Intelligence was doing a lousy job.
He figured if he filled the squad with intelligent soldiers...
he'd get better Intelligence.
He searched the regimental records for the soldiers with the highest scores...
on the intelligence test...
and requisitioned us as a squad.
Of course, six of us are dead.
So what's intelligence?
Jesus Christ, Knott.
Haven't you got them fucking sergeant stripes sewn on yet?
The supply sergeant says they're all out. They're waiting on a new shipment.
Well, get some staff sergeant stripes and cut 'em down.
That'd be destruction of government property, sir.
Well, I just hope to hell that son of a bitch Griffin doesn't see it.
It's amazing how much profanity goes on in the army...
when you're tuned to hear it.
Yeah, at ease, gentlemen.
Well done. And, Corporal, if we could...
I'd like the water a little warmer tomorrow.
Give that razor a fighting chance up there against the whiskers.
Okay. Lieutenant Ware, Sergeant Knott.
Gentlemen, I'd like you to disregard...
all the rumors you've been hearing around camp lately...
because now there's talk of a imminent all-out enemy offensive.
Of course, the natural route for any such offensive in this sector...
would obviously be up these two roads...
and through this path in the forest.
With that in mind, three days ago, I sent out a patrol.
Now, that patrol has not returned...
and, unfortunately, they have not reported back.
Accordingly, I've made the following decisions.
at this particular clearing in the forest...
is a house.
I'd like you to move into that house with your reduced squad.
Take yourself two jeeps and a week's rations.
And from that house...
you're to report on any and all enemy activity within that sector.
you're to maintain constant radio contact with Sergeant Knott.
- Is that clear, gentlemen? - Yes, sir.
Sir, is there any evidence of enemy occupation at that house?
Well, now, Sergeant Knott...
that's something you're just gonna have to find out, isn't it?
We drive for hours through the snow.
Mother and I haven't talked about our cross-country jaunt through the woods.
He just acts as if it never happened.
That's all right. Just thinking about something like that scares me.
What's going on, Mother?
I don't know. There's something up the road.
- What is it? - You can't see it from here.
All right, stay here.
What is it?
Check it out.
Why do I always have to check it out?
Jimmy Brunowski from Griffin's patrol.
Looks like he finally found a date.
I don't get it.
What's going on?
Those filthy, Nazi...
Kraut-headed motherfucking bastards!
Give me a hand.
May God have mercy on your souls.
I don't see anything. No smoke, no movement.
What do you think? Head on up with the jeeps?
Actually, I thought maybe shoot through an eye.
We head down the road a ways, circle around the back...
then come down the front of the road and check for mines.
Is that okay with you?
- Yeah. We'll cover you. - Great.
If Mel hadn't gotten trench foot, he'd sure as hell be squad leader.
And that's the way it should be.
Or maybe he'd be dead.
I'm not exactly sure what country we're in.
It could be Belgium, Luxembourg, France or even Germany.
I don't know what day it is. I have no watch, so I don't know what time it is.
I'm not even sure of my name.
The next thing you know, they'll be making me a general.
We find four mattresses and satin-quilted covers...
along with some wine and cases of sardines.
The I & Rplatoon, or what's left of it...
will be living in luxury for a few days.
Wow. Sheets and pillows. I haven't had that since home.
Mel, come on. Show 'em how we did it for the old USO.
They call it theJersey Bounce
The rhythm that really counts
The temperature always mounts
Whenever they play that crazy rhythm they play
It started onJournal Square
Somebody heard it there
They put it right on the air
And now you hear it everywhere
Back at Camp Shelby, when we finally realized...
they really were going to ship us overseas...
we went into a mild state of panic.
The thing that bothered us most was that...
with the exception of Mother Wilkins, we were all eleven virgins.
I don't know if this was normal...
or if there's some sort of correlation between a lack of sexual precocity...
and what is known as intelligence.
I think Shutzer came up with the idea. Or maybe it was Eddie.
Eddie was the youngest of all of us.
Four of us managed a weekend pass and headed into town...
to find a nice, complacent whore who could put us out of our misery.
We kept it to four. We figured any more would be some kind of gang bang.
And, well, we had more romantic aspirations.
We had fifty dollars. We spent ten on the room...
and left the rest for the investment.
There was much discussion as to the kind of woman.
I think we were all scared that we'd end up with a real woman...
and not be able to manage it.
And the 'B"girls in the bars were out.
We were well-conditioned by the army VD films.
Avakian and Shutzer were to handle the search.
Eddie and I waited.
What time is it?
- One. - You're kidding.
We got company, guys.
I know right then I won't be able to do it. I'm glad I'm third.
So we'd just about given up...
when we see this girl down by the bus station.
Just sitting there on one of those wooden benches.
Anyway, we got around to talking about what we'd been doing all night.
And right then, out of the blue...
she just volunteered to come back here with us.
I thought she was kidding, but she's serious.
Well, I got an extra rubber you can use if you want, Stan.
I got my own rubbers.
You've gotten as bad as Mother Wilkins.
Actually, I can use one.
I should have known Edward was gonna take forever.
What the fuck are they doing in there?
Watch your language, Stan. What would Father Mundy think?
Fuck Father Mundy.
Hey, Eddie, how you doing in there, huh?
Maybe she rolled him or something.
Knockout drops or a blackjack.
Would you at least say something?
Her name's Janice.
She was engaged to a boy named Matt.
She found out last week that he was killed in the invasion of Sicily.
She came down to Shelby to get his stuff...
and decided to kill herself.
But she couldn't work up the nerve.
All she has now is a bus ticket back home to Pittsburgh.
Janice has only made love to one boy, Matt, just before he left.
Now she's volunteering herself to all of us...
insisting it's what she wants to do.
Of course we're so guilty and scared...
we end up subjecting this simple, lovely idea...
to every kind of spurious rationale.
We wind down before dawn and sleep.
Then just before the morning, Janice comes quietly...
privately to each of us.
We pass through the mythical barrier...
between boys and men...
men and death.
Janice takes us with her.
After a luxurious mass breakfast in bed...
we walk Janice to her bus.
None of us talk about what happened.
And I think I'll always feel strange about my first sexual experience...
masquerading as a dead boy named Matt.
- Knott. - Yeah.
I'll cook lunch if you can get me some wood for the fireplace.
No, Mother. All we need is a bunch of smoke...
to let the Germans know we're here.
Will, if we don't light a fire, we're gonna freeze our butts off.
And it's very hard to kill Germans with a frozen butt.
The smoke's bad, but not as bad as I thought.
You're taking a little long putting that back together, aren't you, Bud?
I'm not working for speed right now.
This wine tastes like sardines.
Well, here. The sardines taste sort of like wine.
I sit here trying to work out four bridge hands.
Miller invented the game, calling it 'compact, cardless, duplicate bridge."
When we lost half the squad, we also lost our only deck of cards.
They were on Eddie.
He died in the fiield hospital.
With his left arm gone and his face the way it was...
I don't think he tried very hard to stay on.
Did Mother and Avakian set up all right down there?
They seemed fine to me.
Good. Listen. You have got to be more careful lighting cigarettes, all right?
Some German could sneak up from behind you, pop one in your head...
while you're pretending to be Walt Whitman.
I think my eyeball's frozen.
- Yeah? - Is that you, Will?
- Yeah. What's going on? - I don't know. I think I saw something.
- What did you see, Mother? - I'm not sure, Will.
I don't know. I think I saw something move on the hill across from us.
Did Avakian see it?
No. Just me.
All right, Mother, hang tight. I'll call up top.
- Father? - Yeah?
Yeah. Mother says he saw something on the opposite hill there.
- Did you see anything? - No. Nothing.
Wilkins must have eyes like an owl. I can't see my hand in front of my face.
All right. Could be he's only jumpy.
Just keep an eye on their backs, all right?
Hey, Bud. Relax. Relax.
Mother's pretty nervous. It's probably nothing.
Probably nothing? That's real reassuring, Will.
Well, what do you think?
I don't know.
Maybe I should tell them about Mother's run through the woods.
The news of his baby being dead did him in for sure.
- Yeah? - We're hearing something down here.
Mother thinks it's the Germans signaling back and forth.
All right, Mel, hold on. We'll be right down.
- Bud. Bud, wake up. - What?
Listen. Mel says he's hearing some noises, all right?
I want you to call Shutzer, tell him I'm going down to the lower post.
Then call Mother and Avakian back and remind them not to shoot me, all right?
Come on. Get up.
Did you hear any more?
Not since the last one.
It's closer that time.
Easy, Mother. Easy.
What do you think? Maybe they're gone?
I don't know.
Maybe they're just being quiet.
Let's you and me go check out the road, all right?
Hey, Will, you go if you want. I'm fine right here.
If they're gone, they're gone.
If they're not, I'm not walking into an ambush.
Put that pin back in that grenade.
- No, it wasn't. - They do shit like this all the time.
- I know, but that wasn't the case. - How do you know?
Do you think it was five of'em?
- Yeah, yeah. - What the hell is going on?
Mel said they were actually talking to you. What did they say?
I don't know. First it was, "Hey, Americana."
Then when they left, they started saying something like "slap guder."
It didn't make any sense.
Shit, that's Yiddish. It's schlaf gut.
It's 'sleep well."
Yeah, Will. 'Sleep well." Get it?
Holy shit. These fucking Nazis. They're softening us up for the kill.
Will, wake up.
Ware's on the phone. He doesn't sound real happy.
- Is Mother out there alone? - Yeah.
- Why? - Why? It's the day.
You don't need to leave two guys out there during the day. What's the point?
I don't know, Bud. How about the Germans?
What do you want, Will? You wanna lose one guy, two guys?
I'm just really glad we talked about this. I'm glad we could work this out.
It's up to you, Bud. Bid or pass?
Able 1 to Able 4. Over.
I tell Ware about our nighttime encounter with the Germans.
Griffiin's desperate for information...
so Ware orders us out to find their command post.
We decided to head south down the pass.
It's as good a guess as any, and that's where their voices seem to come from.
Of course that could be seen as a good argument for heading the other way.
I'm having my usual trouble...
noticing how beautiful the world is just when I might be leaving it.
Just this side of the road.
I'm just enjoying having a fucking Nazi in my sights.
I think I'm getting a hard-on.
I know we could've killed those three guys and gotten away.
I'm also sure they could've done the same thing to us last night.
What I don't know in both cases is why it didn't happen.
Fuck! Here we fucking go!
You're gonna get us killed here. You got to relax.
I said you got to relax. You gotta shut up. You gotta shut up.
- Shut up, Stan! - You're gonna get us all killed.
You're gonna get us all killed. You gotta shut up!
Stan! You gotta...
- You find any Germans? - Yeah, we found them all right.
And they found us. Krauts nearly blew our heads off.
I lost the scope and the map.
Great. Injury to insult.
- What happened, Bud? - What happened?
Germans found us, had a dead in their sights.
They could've killed all of us and they just let us go.
- That's what happened. - They had you and then they let you go?
What are you complaining about? You should be happy.
We should be happy?
Oh, okay, Mundy, we're happy.
We're happy! Yippee! Hooray!
You feel better now?
All right, Stan, come on.
- What the hell is that? - That's just Mother.
Clumping around in the attic again. It's fine.
- Did you find the stuff? - They must've come back after we left.
There's all kind of tracks. They took the scope and the map.
What did you do? Crawl around on your hands and knees looking for it?
No. I could see right off the stuff wasn't there.
I got wet working out a little surprise for our Teutonic friends.
What, a trap?
I built a snowman.
Right where we dropped our stuff.
I used pine needles for a mustache.
And then a branch, like an arm giving the Nazi salute.
I even put a few pine branches over one eye.
- It's not a bad resemblance. - Jesus, Stan.
They could've come up from behind, made a few well placed critical comments...
and one more ventilated whiz kid.
Even stamped out a message in front of my snowman.
Made exclamation points with pine branches.
- Where's Mother? - He's upstairs in his attic.
- What's he doing there? - I have no idea, Will.
Actually, he's been kind of quiet lately.
Maybe he hung himself, huh, Father?
Are you all right, Mother?
Look at the paintings, Will.
Somebody made something...
probably not even for money.
Sometimes I didn't believe there was any love left.
Try to remember who the real enemy is, Will.
Christ, I thought we lost both of you up there.
What did you do, start a family?
Father, you're on next.
Unless anyone objects, Bud...
I think we should go back to at least two on the lower post for now.
It's too weird out there for one guy alone.
What the hell's going on?
The explosion was me throwing a grenade. They haven't fired back yet.
Can you hear that?
Can you hear that?
We can hear without the phone. What are they yelling about now?
I think they're yelling "Fuck Hitler" the way your grandmother would say it.
There's this crazy guy in the cemetery, pretending grenades don't hurt.
Maybe you should send out some straitjackets.
- We're having a snowball fight. - What?
You don't think maybe the war's over and they're not telling us, do you?
- I mean, they wouldn't do that. - You sure you're okay down there?
Goddamn it, Shutzer! You're the one that started this "Fuck Hitler" shit.
Schlaf gut, Kraut.
You got that map?
I'll be a son of a bitch.
I've been trying to figure out all this crazy shit that's been going on...
for the past couple of days, and only one answer makes sense.
Remember the frozen American and the Kraut dancing together?
See, it's like a message. They wanna get together.
- It's crude, but remember who they are. - So?
So then they come around with that schlaf gut bit the first night.
It's like they're saying they know that we're here...
but they're not so mad about it.
- Yeah. - Well, listen.
Okay. Just try to think of one reason they didn't mow us down...
or at least take us prisoner.
I think they're telling us that they wanna talk...
maybe even surrender.
- What? - If I'm right...
they want us to meet them in this clearing at 1200 hours.
What if it's a trap?
If they wanted to kill us, they could've done it a couple of times.
We could've shot them. We didn't. That doesn't mean we wanna surrender.
They could be stalling for reinforcements.
With a snowball fight?
A snowball fight doesn't mean surrender.
Yeah, but look at this.
- I'll mention it to Ware. - Come on, Won't.
We don't wanna get officers involved in this, screwing everything up.
You know, I think we got a chance...
to make something good come out of this for everybody...
if we just use our heads.
What do you say we just go out there and see what's going on?
Just the two of us. I'll take all the risks.
- I still say I should call Ware first. - What do you think Ware is gonna do?
- He'll tell Griffin. - And you know damn well...
that Griffin is gonna come charging out here and arrange everything...
so he looks like General Patton winning the war single-handed.
That's the way it is, Stan. There's nothing we're gonna do about that.
Suppose that one of us captures all the Germans single-handed, all alone...
then we build this guy into a second Sergeant York?
It's got to be worth at least a Silver Star.
Maybe even a trip home as a returning war hero.
- How does that sound? - Sounds like a court-martial.
How are they ever gonna catch on?
You know, for Mother's sake, I think we should at least try.
Sure. Who else?
Oh, boy, that would be perfect.
We testify that the Germans had us pinned down...
and Wilkins comes in the nick of time and saves the whole show.
And we'd have a genuine mob of enemy soldiers to back up our story.
Yeah, okay. For right now we don't tell anybody, okay?
It's just the two of us.
Look, if it doesn't work, at least we tried.
Sneaking out is easy.
Mother's back upstairs by himself...
and Father and Miller are asleep.
We decide we'll have to tell Avakian, who's on guard at the lower post.
You're gonna tromp out there, set up an armistice conference...
and turn Wilkins into a war hero.
What, are you out of your tiny minds?
- I don't think so. - It all makes sense.
It's a theory. You're gonna get your butt shot off for a theory.
Well, I'm going.
Will, listen to me. I'm the one guy here who knows...
Mel, I said I'm going.
But even if you do pull this off...
how are you going to get Mother to go along with it?
- We tell him? - No. No, he's right.
We'll have to draw straws or something and rig it.
Wilkins will never accept it if he thinks it's charity.
Plus, you tell him, he's gonna want to tag along.
I don't think you want Mother facing any Germans.
So what do you think, Sarge?
It's then I tell them about Mother's run through the forest back at headquarters.
I don't think we should tell him.
Okay, look, when we go to get the Krauts...
we'll leave Wilkins here to guard the chateau and mind the radio.
- It's all gonna seem perfectly natural. - What makes you so sure this will work?
What makes you so sure it's not?
Give two quick shots and one more if you need any help.
Then I'll miss you.
Hey, have fun, boys. Don't get killed.
Hey, just calm down!
They want to talk to our officer in charge.
- I don't speak German or Yiddish. - It's okay. I'll translate.
I don't have stripes on my arm. They won't believe I'm an officer.
I just don't think they're very happy about surrendering to a Jew, okay?
Did they say they want to surrender?
Just stuff about wanting to talk to our officer in charge.
- What was all the yelling about? - I'm not sure.
- You're not sure? - Look!
I'm doing the best I can, okay?
Look, just... Just come over with me.
I'll tell them our officer's back at the chateau.
You look goy enough. Maybe they'll come out more with you around.
Okay? Come on.
This is, uh, meine friend. Freund.
He's in the 'schtieb," you know?
Okay, I think I got it. There's seven of them.
They just got sent back from the Russian front...
where it sounds like they got the shit knocked out of'em.
He keeps talking about that big offensive south of here...
and he doesn't want any part of it.
They think the war's almost over and they don't want to get killed...
in the last few days.
I told him we'd bring our leader here tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.
We're going to bring Ware here?
Look, just get Mother out on guard duty...
and get the squad together, all right?
What are we gonna do about an officer?
I don't know about this. Why can't Will just do it?
I don't know about this. Why can't Will just do it?
- He's the leader, for Christ's sake. - They've already seen him.
Besides, no Kraut's ever gonna believe that a guy like Will is an officer.
- Take a look at him. - Thank you, thank you.
Then let's let Mel just do it. He's a natural leader type.
Hey, wait a second. I'm not even sure I want to be part of this plan.
Besides, I don't look like an Aryan god.
What is this? Father, it's all stripes and no rocker.
- What's that mean? - It's something new, Miller.
You're our bastard sergeant minor. Besides, we don't have any rockers.
What if it's like some kind of...
"capture the commander" scheme the Krauts have worked out?
You know, put a bullet in my head or something.
Hey, look, Bud, why don't you just try walking now?
- The man walks like a soldier. - Put more pigheaded asshole into it.
- That I can do. - Chest out, chest out.
Yeah, that's it! That'll do just fine.
Just stand there like an SOB and nod occasionally.
You know, you actually do look like an officer.
- I actually feel like an asshole. - That's about the same thing.
Mother gets off post in five minutes.
- Let's not blow his Christmas present. - Sure this is a good idea?
I can't stop worrying.
God, I hope we're doing the right thing.
- Yeah. - Will, listen.
There are five or six of them down here working like crazy.
They got something big with them. Could be a mortar.
I think maybe you better have somebody man that upper post to cover us.
Shit. Mel, you and Mother go up to the upper post.
Stan says they're setting up a mortar.
All right. Listen. Mother and Avakian are going to the upper post.
You want me down there?
- Father? - Yeah, Will.
Get your butt down here. You of all people shouldn't miss this.
Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas.
For you. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas.
Merry Christmas Happy New Year.
Thank you. Merry Christmas.
All is calm
All is bright
Round yon virgin
Mother and child
- So tender and mild - Merry Christmas.
Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas.
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace
O come ye O come ye
Hey, Father, they teach you German in the seminary?
What the hell were you two talking about?
I just kept saying "Merry Christmas" and "Happy New Year."
I said it maybe 50 times.
- What did he say to you? - Well...
he said something that sounded like...
"Throw me a why not."
And then, when he tried to hand me his gun, he said...
"Why not go shrink."
"Fröhlich Weihnachten" is 'Merry Christmas..."
and "Weihnachtsgeschenk" is 'Christmas present."
I wonder what the Germans thought Father was saying.
What's going on?
Couldn't get anybody to answer the phone.
Oh, my God. Mother, I'm sorry.
I forgot all about you up there.
I heard singing.
- Everything okay? - Yeah.
The Germans just wanted to spread a little holiday cheer.
Father even did some present exchanging.
They gave us sausages, Vance.
- Is that what happened, Will? - Yeah, that's it.
This particular branch of the German army...
seems to believe in turning off the war every once in a while.
I don't know if I can take this kind of war.
I'd rather we kept out of each other's way, except when we have to fight.
This is meine kommandier.
Hey, Will, come over here.
Okay. Okay, they do want to surrender.
As soon as possible. Today. They...
He's convinced that this German push is coming through here any time now.
There's a kicker.
It's a big kicker.
The young ones are scared shitless that if the Germans come through here...
and it looks like they surrendered without a struggle...
it's gonna be taken out on their families.
Everything is nuts back home and they don't want their parents to get shot...
or put in camps because their sons were cowards.
Well, do they have a suggestion?
They want us to take 'em in a fake skirmish.
Just make some noise, leave some spent cartridges, grenade fragments.
No. No, absolutely not.
- Will... - No! It doesn't make any sense.
Just calm down. Now you're gonna blow the whole operation here.
- It's crazy! - Be quiet! Quiet!
- Shut up! - You wanna get us killed?
We're not gonna do it! And don't tell me to shut up!
Will, I know it sounds nuts, I know, but...
I think it's the only way they're gonna go for it.
They're just kids. They're just scared.
They're just scared kids. Look at 'em.
I don't know.
You trust these fuckin' Nazis, Stan?
- What does that mean? - He said they're not Nazis.
They're just regular German army. They're regular army like we are.
I say we do it.
What if it's a trap?
It's not much of a trap, having us both come fully armed to a skirmish.
I mean, at best, it's just mutual suicide, right?
What if they're using the noise to bring in reinforcements?
No. If they wanted to do that, they could've done that the first night.
He's right, Will, he's right. And take a look at 'em.
Things must be bad in the vaterland to have an army of old men and boys.
- Okay, what do we do? - Just give a little nod.
We agree to come this afternoon...
make a lot of noise with rifles and grenades and take them in.
Able 1 to Able 4, over. Able 1 to Able 4, over.
Yeah, you got anything yet, over?
Yes, sir, I think we're gonna be able to take a prisoner, sir.
We found some tracks. Our plan is to hit their outpost...
around 3:00 this afternoon.
- Over. - Good. Do it.
I'll come out. Maybe Griffiin too. We'll bring the prisoner back. Over.
No, sir, I don't think that's necessary, sir.
Tell Major Griffin that...
No sense in him taking the risk coming all the way out here.
We'll have the jeeps ready with the chains...
and we'll get that prisoner to you, sir, over.
- I'll tell him. - Over and out.
Over and out.
I tell Mother we're going out to try for a prisoner.
I tell him if we're not back in two hours to call Ware at the base.
He's obviously glad not to be on the patrol.
We hide Miller's officer outfit under his snow poncho.
Now what? Walk down there and knock on the door?
here I go.
I'm not sure what to do so they don't shoot me.
- Try yelling "comrade." - Is that it?
Well, Stan, you could wave a white fag.
Then it would look like the wrong group was surrendering.
We're right here covering you. Good luck.
We wait. There's nothing else to do.
- What's going on? Everything all right? - Yeah.
He wanted to talk to our officer "Herr Muller" here.
You know, I'm sure it's because I'm a Jew.
All right, you nick-prickJew-type, take me to my Aryan friends.
All right, if they're really giving up...
why are they putting a guy on post?
Who are they guarding themselves from?
Maybe other Germans.
They probably have a Major Griffin of their own.
Ubergruppenfuhrer Griftoch or something.
- That's nice. - Okay, here's how it's gonna work.
They'll wind up in front of the cabin. Miller and I will stay as protection.
All right, now, you go on out with the rest of the squad.
When old Shickelgruber here and I signal, we all start firing.
When we signal again, we all stop.
Then you guys come down the hill, we disarm them and take them in.
All we need is a nod from Miller and they'll get their stuff together.
Dismiss me. I'll go inform Father and Mel.
- What? - Dismiss me.
Will, why don't you get up on that hill and go inform Father and Will... Mel.
Mother! Hold your fire!
Go check on Shutzer and Miller.
Hang in there, Father.
We're gonna get you wrapped up and get you outta here.
You warm enough?
Anybody else hit?
Everybody's fine, Father.
- Are the Germans dead? - Don't worry about that.
You all right?
God have mercy on those poor Germans.
God have mercy on us.
- Don't... Don't tell Mother. - I won't.
- Don't tell Mother. - I won't.
Don't tell... Don't tell Mother.
Is he dead?
I think so, Vance.
He ran out to warn me.
I don't understand.
I had a perfect position.
I don't get it.
He's stupid, Vance.
He does stupid things.
What a mess.
Shit! It looked so easy.
Looks like our friend here got a million-dollar wound.
The one guy who wants to fight these bastards...
and I get the million-dollar wound?
Isn't it the way?
He's dead. He died fast. There was nothing I could do.
What a fuckup.
Father said don't tell Mother.
That's what we'll do.
We were pinned down, and he saved us.
That's the plan.
Mother tells us why he came out after us.
Ware and Griffiin are at the chateau, looking for their prisoner.
Well, we've got one, if he stays alive.
It's hard to look at Father.
I keep waiting for his eyes to open...
waiting for him to tell me it'll be all right if I just have faith.
- Yes, sir. - Get some men out on post.
The enemy camp may have heard that skirmish and sent out a patrol.
Well, sir, before the prisoner went into shock...
he told Shutzer that an enemy attack was expected at any time.
Well, now, holy shit, soldier!
Just when the fuck were you gonna tell us that?
I thought this was an I & R platoon, for Christ's sake!
Lieutenant, get me Regiment on the horn immediately.
Whiz kids, my ass!
Able 1 to Able 4, over.
- Able 1 to Able 4, over. - Corporal Leary here, over.
Son, this is Major Griffin. You take down this message...
and get it to Regimental Command on the double-quick, over.
Wilco, sir. Over.
"Have contacted enemy and taken prisoner.
Have suffered casualties. One dead, one wounded.
Have destroyed enemy outpost.
Prisoner claims impending enemy attack through this sector at any moment.
Repeating. Prisoner claims impending enemy attack at any moment.
Am leaving immediately with prisoner and wounded for base. Signed, Major Griffin."
- Get that to the regimental commander. - He ain't gonna make it.
Over and out. Let's go.
have your men transfer the chains from your jeep to my vehicle.
We have a long way to go, and the road's gonna be very rough.
- Yes, sir. - Son...
I am shocked by the conditions of these quarters.
This is private property.
The United States government is responsible for it.
It was in bad shape when they moved in, Major.
Are you finished, Lieutenant?
Because there is ample evidence to indicate a dereliction of duty...
and conduct not becoming an American combat troop.
I'll be dead honest with you here, son.
I wonder if your fucking men even know there's a war going on outside.
Were it not for extreme extenuating circumstances...
I would see that this soldier, as noncom in charge...
were brought before a military review board and severely disciplined.
And where the fuck are your stripes?
I'll be goddamned if you haven't had enough time to sew them on.
- I'll get on it. - No! You know what you'll do?
You will march your ass outside...
and transfer those chains from your jeep to my vehicle on the double-time.
do not ever contradict me in front of the men again.
All right, buddy, you're almost home.
What do you think, Mel? Is he gonna be all right?
Yeah, Shutzer's strong. He'll be okay.
They won't fall out if you're careful, sir.
It's a rough trip, but it'd help if you'd loosen the tourniquets...
every once in a while.
- We'll do the best we can, Knott. - Thank you, sir.
Don't worry, Knott. You done a good job.
I don't think so, sir.
Knott, Major Griffin wants you to keep the squad here...
until the Krauts attack.
Stay here, sir?
What do we do when the attack comes?
You contact us by radio. We'll give you our position...
then you get the hell out, understood?
- Understood, Knott? - Yes, sir.
Lieutenant Ware, goddamn it!
Are you going to baby-sit or drive this fucking jeep?
- Be right there, sir, on the double. - Get your ass in here!
Good luck, Knott.
Did you ever think about how many dead people there must be?
Looks like Father just joined the great majority.
Father told me he still wanted to be a priest.
He just didn't think he was pure enough.
You know, I've been thinking maybe Father's the lucky one.
I mean, is this whole world run by shits like Griffin?
If we get through this, is that the way it's gonna be?
What's the tree for? You gonna burn it?
Vance thought a little Christmas cheer...
would pick things up around here a little bit.
Thought we could roast some chestnuts and stuff ourselves with turkey.
You first, Will.
You aren't the rankest, but...
you do have rank on us.
It's a Christmas present.
We try to turn off the war. We don't even keep a guard on.
We figure when the attack starts, we'll hear it.
I asked Ware to put you in for a citation.
I hope that's okay.
I think Father or Stan should get it.
No. You should.
The Germans had us pinned down, and you saved our asses.
I only shot twice.
After Father went down, l... I didn't shoot anymore.
My glasses were all fogged up.
- I don't even know if I hit anybody. - It doesn't matter.
Just stick with the story.
You shot them all. That's what I told Ware.
Maybe if you get decorated, we can get you pulled out of here.
Two-thirds of the squad is gone now. I don't see how we're gonna make it.
I'll make you a bet, Vance.
I'll bet you that in six months...
you're back with Linda, and she's pregnant...
and this will all be something you hardly remember.
I doubt that.
I'll bet you $100.
Who has $100?
You can pay me off a bit at a time.
We'll start New Year's Day, 1946.
- It's a bet. - Yeah.
Able 1 to Able 4, over.
Able 1 to Able 4, over.
Able 1 to Able 4, over.
- Able 1 to anybody, over. - Will, we got to go.
Pull up the phones and the wires.
Miller, if anybody can get through on this thing you can.
Just keep trying, all right? Let's get Father out to the jeep.
- Come on. - Able 1 in.
Able 4, come on. Able 1 to Able 4.
- Come on! - Come on, Will! Let's go!
Come on, Will, move it! Move it!
Fuckin' Griffin took the chains off the jeep!
Christ! There they are!
- Oh, fuck! - You all right?
- I think so. - Father got some.
Another 100 yards and we'll be out of range!
- Straighten out. - I can't! It's not doing anything!
Straighten out! Jesus Christ!
- You guys all right? - Hold it! We're about to slide over.
Put some weight on the back, Mother, on the back!
Let's go. Let's go.
- All right? - Let's get Father and get out of here!
Well, Sergeant Knott, what the fuck do we do now?
I can't believe they'd just leave.
Mel, what do you think?
I don't know, but we'd better keep moving.
- I have no idea where we are. - Just go.
- We could be heading for Berlin. - Just go!
We're out of gas.
We'll probably have to surrender any time now.
Miller insisted on rigging up the.30 caliber.
But without a real mount...
it probably wouldn't sit still long enough to hit anything.
We can't stay here long, and the jeep is dead.
I wish Shutzer were here. He might know what to do.
I'm through playing soldier.
Did you see those markings? That was honest-to-shit SS.
What do we do now, Will?
We stay away from them.
What, you think they were advancing or retreating?
I wonder what they'll think?
Maybe this will convince them I am over the edge.
We'll have a mutiny.
I'll join it.
- Thirty caliber? - We'll bury it.
- Radio? - Bury it.
- Rifes too? - There's no other way.
Even if we pull this off and get back, what are we going to say?
We'll say we were captured and they took our weapons and then we escaped.
But I'm thinking with all this confusion going on...
there's not gonna be too many questions.
We do it together or nothing.
If anybody has any objections, any at all, speak up now.
Well, for what it's worth, I say we do it.
Yeah, me too.
I mean, the idea's so wild, I'd be sorry for the rest of my life if I didn't try.
Of course, the rest of my life could be today.
Mother, don't let us pressure you. You make up your own mind.
I already have. I was only waiting on the other guys...
so I wouldn't put pressure on them.
This could be the deepest finesse in squad history.
I've never seen a better smile.
It's the smile I need to make myself do what we're gonna do.
Bleacher, goddamn it!
We don't know the counter. We're from another sector.
Stay where you are.
Is that blood?
We give him our escape story.
They tell us to take Father to the grave registrar.
They drive us back to our own regiment.
I'm sent straight to Ware, and I tell him our story.
I wander into the kitchen tent...
and curl up to sleep behind the warm pots of hot water.
Just wanted to let you know it's all settled.
Since you weren't in a POW compound, you won't have to go through clearance.
You can go right back out in the field.
I'm gonna fill out your platoon with an antitank group they broke up.
I put in for a Bronze Star for Wilkins.
Had him reassigned to the motor pool. He's gonna be okay.
Thank you, sir.
Just wanted you to know I did my best to radio you before we pulled out...
but Griffin said there wasn't any time.
How's Shutzer doing?
Real tough shit. He was dead before we even got back.
Kraut was dead too. Didn't even have time to interrogate him.
Before I go, you're gonna have to fill out a statement of charges...
for the jeep, radio and phones.
We'll be moving out soon.
Gonna push those fucking Kraut bastards all the way back to Berlin.
Merry Christmas, Knott.
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