Combat! Episode four: Vendetta
The Saunders’ squad is across the front lines searching for a German rocket fuel depot. It is heavily fortified, so their mission is to locate it and report back. When they are pinned down by the Germans and in danger of being killed or captured, a small team of Greek fighters led by Colonel Kapsalis swoops in on jeeps and rescues them.
The American unit is eager to get back to their lines and report, but Colonel Kapsalis has other ideas. He wants to attack the German depot, an action that the Americans deem suicidal. However, according to Allied protocol, when units from different countries unite in battle conditions, the highest ranking officer present assumes command. Therefore, the Americans have no choice but to follow the Colonel’s orders.
Later, they learn that the Colonel is from a village in Greece that was wiped out by the Germans, which is the reason for his fanatic and fatalistic approach to the fighting. This leads to a bit of a thaw in the relations between the two units and they embark on a plan of action to attack the depot.
Telly Savalas is superb as the Greek Colonel, displaying a range of emotions and sentimentality that one associates with the Greeks. The supporting actors playing the other Greek soldiers also demonstrate absolute loyalty to their commander, even though they are aware that any attack has very little chance of success. All of the actors playing the American soldiers display reluctance and uncertainty about their new commander, yet orders are orders and they do what is required. Every actor plays their role to perfection in an episode where personal goals get in the way of sound military tactics.