Combat!, Episode 2: Doughboy, VHS tape
Four out of five stars
This episode has Sgt. Saunders and his unit looking for a giant German gun on a railroad car. The gun is brought out, fires a few powerful and deadly rounds and then goes back into hiding. Aerial reconnaissance has failed to find it, so it is up to the infantry to hunt it down.
During their search, the unit comes under fire from a sniper and Sgt. Saunders is separated from the others. He is captured by an American (Phil) in a soldier’s uniform from World War I. Phil lives in France, has somehow been mentally transported back to 1917-1918 and he considers Saunders to be the enemy. Even though Phil’s wife is also there, Phil refuses to be convinced that Saunders is not the enemy and it is 1918. The presence of the German soldiers of the Second World War finally change Phil’s attitude and the battle is joined.
This war story is different in the sense it is not about the “glory” earned by killing the enemy, but is about the massive psychological trauma that soldiers undergo. While they may give the outward appearance of being functional, events thirty years after their combat experiences can reset them back to the past. In that sense, it is a good story, more realistic than some of the others.