Objective, Burma! (1945) Movie Script

This is Burma...
the toughest battleground in the world...
where the Japs had sealed off
the Burma road...
and closed the back door to China.
A door that had to be reopened.
After months of secret preparations...
at Mountbatten's base headquarters
in India...
a far-reaching,
combined operations was about to begin.
British General Wingate
conferred with his staff.
Gen. Stilwell speeded up the training
of his Chinese troops.
A special group of American Army
Air Force commandos...
was set up under Col. Bill Cochran.
And deep in the jungle,
the forward command posts...
of a force called Merrill's Marauders
got ready to push off.
Only their top officers
knew where to, or what for.
One hot afternoon, a reconnaissance
plane from an advance air base...
near the border of India
scouted the Jap-infested jungle.
The operation was about to begin.
Its objective:
Major, photographs for the general.
Wait here.
General, the photographs
of the Red Robin operation have come in.
Good work. Fine.
Lad, it's been a long time.
But here's where
we start paying back the Japs.
Your parachuters will get the first crack.
That's okay with us.
- Rush these to Col. Carter.
- Yes, sir.
- Get Carter on the phone.
- Yes, sir.
Take these to Col. Carter,
503rd Parachute Infantry Headquarters.
- Col. Carter.
- Carter?
Feed your men some raw meat.
We're going in.
The Red Robin operation
goes into effect immediately.
- Photographs?
- Yes, sir.
For Col. Carter.
- Okay, Ned. Now you can go back to sleep.
- Thank you, sir.
Nelson, here's your jump area.
- Jacobs, get me a weather report.
- Yes, sir.
Leopard, 5-1.
Looks pretty good to me, Colonel.
Edge of the trees there
ought to make good cover.
With the wind blowing west,
this'll make a good go point.
Weather prediction remains same.
No changes expected.
Good. Report all changes as they occur.
- Nelson, you're ready to go, I think.
- Yes, sir.
You take off at 3:45 a.m.,
and jump at dawn.
Your landing will be covered
by a diversionary bombing.
The CG has assigned six bombers to drop
a load here at Yawe.
Once you and your boys get in, it's
up to you to find the target and blow it.
I don't have to pound on your skull
and make big speeches...
as to what this mission means.
I think you know.
If you do good...
it means the lives
of several thousand men.
So do good.
Jacobs, I'll take the first platoon.
Briefing in an hour.
Nelson, here we go.
Yes, sir.
Hello, Treacy? Briefing, one hour.
First platoon, briefing in an hour. Yes, sir.
Save that for the Japs. Briefing in an hour.
Okay, you guys. Briefing in an hour.
All right, you bathing beauties.
Briefing in an hour.
- Briefing in an hour, Gabby.
- Just a minute.
I'm washing my last pair of nylons.
It's about time.
Never mind filling it, Doc.
We've got briefing in an hour. Pull it.
Briefing in an hour, you guys.
- Thanks for the buck.
- I hate sergeants.
Give me a shampoo, a light trim,
and a manicure.
Finish it after the war.
Briefing in an hour.
You monkeys!
First platoon, briefing in an hour.
Come on. Throw the ball, you dummy.
I want to write a letter.
- But what a babe.
- Yeah?
A real straw job, see?
- Stacked up like a pair of bricks.
- I know the type.
- They take a taxi to cross the street.
- But could she spend the dough.
It's about time we saw some action.
Speaking for myself...
I'd just as soon take it easy
for another 100 years.
All right! Stop hounding me, will you?
- Suppose you get killed?
- So I get killed.
- So you're out $2.
- Quit waving your teeth.
All right, but I still don't think
this is a way to fight a war.
We've been sitting around so much,
we've bunions on our landing gear.
You batted your gums so much,
you have bunions on your lip.
I don't like your attitude.
If I only had one more...
Who's that?
Who's what?
The guy with Lieutenant Jacobs.
I've never seen him before.
He's that newspaper Joe
that just came in yesterday.
No kidding? You mean
we're gonna be in the newspapers?
Just in case he's gonna take pictures.
Why should anybody in his right mind
want a picture of you?
What do you mean?
- I'm a curiosity.
- You're not kidding.
No. I mean on account of I'm on a mission.
My old lady expects
me personally to capture Adolf Hitler...
and here I am in India.
Doesn't that make me a curiosity?
You're just khaki-wacky.
I'll make it short, men.
Capt. Nelson will brief you
on the operation in a moment.
I just want to say this:
Two years ago,
when Gen. Stilwell was run out of Burma...
he said among other things,
that we took an awful pasting...
and somebody ought to go back in there
and do something about it.
We're going.
You men will be
the first to go back into Burma.
The action you're about to see
is the first step...
of an extremely important operation.
On the success of your mission,
depends to a large extent...
the entire course of the war
in this theater.
It's a big job.
And I know you'll do it right.
Good luck to you.
And good hunting.
Capt. Nelson.
Let's get started.
You can smoke if you want to...
and speak up if you can't hear me
in the back.
Our mission is to demolish
a Jap radar station...
and communications center
somewhere near point W...
on operations map B.
All we have to do is to go in,
find the radar station, blow it to pieces.
Then get out of there
before the Japs know we're in.
I guess you're wondering why
the Air Force doesn't go and bomb it.
We know approximately
where the radar station is.
Approximately isn't good enough.
The Air Force needs to know exactly
where it is. They don't.
The target's got to be destroyed.
Someone's got to do it.
We're elected.
All right. We're going in.
All right. Gather around the sand table
and I'll show you where you're going.
Don't shove, Hogan. Take it easy.
Guy must think it's a free lunch counter.
All right. We come in due east.
As soon as we reach the junction
of these two rivers...
we cross this small range of hills here.
The other side of that is the jump field.
We'll jump just as soon as we reach
the edge of the field. Is that understood?
And Miggleori, if we happen to run
across any Burmese dancing girls...
we can't stop and talk to them.
At last reports,
the jump field was undefended.
Jap patrols are from 30 to 60 men
that have been spotted at various...
places this past month,
usually in this area here.
Now, somewhere in this area
is the radar station we're after.
It's not going to be a cinch finding it.
There's a supply depot located at point X.
And it's garrisoned by about 2,000 men.
Now, are there any questions so far?
- Nebraska.
- There aren't any names on the table.
Where is this place?
For security reasons, we won't know
until we board the planes.
Then you'll be given maps with names,
places, locations. Any other questions?
If you don't mind, sir,
how do we get back?
We'll fly back. Two transports are going
to pick us up at an abandoned airstrip...
and fly us back to the base.
I'll ask Maj. Fitzpatrick
of the Burma Rifles to tell you more.
- Go ahead, Major.
- Thanks.
Two years ago,
shortly before evacuating Burma...
we had an occasion to construct
an emergency airstrip here.
It's still there, and the latest aerial
reconnaissance tells us it's still usable.
Following the action against the
radar station, your route of departure...
will be track "E"...
along here to the abandoned
airstrip at "R2" here.
To make sure that you hit the airstrip
on the nose we've assigned...
two Gurkha guides from
the Burma Frontier Force to go with you.
Col. Holgerkin?
They don't speak English
to any worthwhile degree.
But they're extraordinarily familiar with
the terrain and the Burmese language.
I believe that you will find
them excellent guides.
- That's all from me.
- Thank you, Major.
The march from the radar station
to the airstrip will be a forced march...
that shouldn't last over 11 hours at most.
Here's the administration information:
No musette bags, shelter halves
or toilet articles are to be taken.
Each man will be issued
four D rations, two K rations.
You'll carry SOP ammunition loads.
You'll take two.30 caliber machine guns,
1,000 rounds of ammo per gun.
Each man will take six hand grenades.
You'll carry SCR - 536 radios,
one set of panels, four mirrors...
for signal communications.
That's about it.
Stations and HR will be announced later.
You'd better hit the sack early,
get some sleep. You'll need it.
Write your letters now. There's
no mailing service where we're going.
The chaplains of each faith
will hold services in half an hour.
That's all, fellows. Dismissed.
- You're Williams? American news service?
- That's right.
- Nice to know you. I'm Nelson.
- Glad to know you.
- The colonel said you'll be at the briefing.
- He didn't say why.
I don't think you'll fall on my neck
and kiss me when you find out.
But the fact of the matter is,
I'm going along with you.
Yes. GHQ said it was okay for one
correspondent to accompany the mission.
We drew lots for it and I won,
and here I am.
If you got the authority, I can't stop you.
But I ought to warn you...
it's going to be very tough.
Really? It sounded to me
just like a routine job.
It won't be routine,
not even for the kids who are trained.
I guess I can take it for a day or so.
All right. Let's go get your equipment.
Mr. Williams, it's your life,
so I'll give it to you straight.
This isn't a job for you,
it's a young man's job.
I'm not exactly decrepit.
Maybe not. Do you know how old
the colonel is in there?
Do you know how old
our commanding general is?
Young men, all of us. We've got to be.
Do you know why?
I'll give you two good reasons:
We jump out of planes,
and guys shoot at us.
This isn't exactly healthy,
unless you're young enough to take it.
Pardon my asking,
but how old are you, Mr. Williams?
That's a military secret. Wait a minute.
Let me tell you something.
You know what I did before the war? I sat
on a soft cushion in a pine-paneled office...
I gave orders, people jumped
and I made a bucket of dough per week.
Now I'm out here.
I came here as I wanted to be here.
Because I wanted to do what I could...
so the people back home would know
a little better what war is about.
I'm making no dough, Capt. Nelson,
and I may wind up with...
a bullet through my...
I know it isn't easy.
I didn't come here expecting it to be easy.
And you're not fighting this war
from behind a desk, are you? No.
I'm not writing it from behind one, either.
Okay, Pop. Maybe you're a little old,
but you'll do. Glad to have you with us.
I ought to be 20 years younger,
maybe in better condition.
When you get back,
you'll be in a worse state...
you won't be any younger,
I guarantee you.
- Sergeant, I got a customer for you.
- Yes, sir.
Everything from soup to nuts.
Complete jump outfit.
Ever jump before, Williams?
Yes. Several times.
Did you like it?
Doesn't bother me.
- Bothers me.
- Here it is, sir.
Thank you. There's something missing.
What's that, sir?
The jeep to carry it in.
Everything's set, Nelson.
Stations, 3:45 a.m.
Right. Thanks.
Thanks. Thank you.
Hi, Barker.
- Hello, sir.
- You'll haul us?
- Yes, sir.
- Swell. What time you got?
I got 3:25 a.m. On the nose.
That check with you?
- What time do we meet with our bombers?
- 50 minutes out.
- Hi, Sid.
- Hi.
This is Mark Williams,
the American news syndicate.
- I think you two know each other.
- Yeah. How do you do?
Meet Capt. Li, Chinese Republican Army.
How do you do, sir?
Better get your chute on.
The chute. Yeah.
Sid, I think you better take Capt. Li
and one of the Gurkhas with you...
and I'll take Mr. Williams
and the other Gurkha with me.
3:26 a.m.
On the nose. Okay.
Good jump, partner. Take care of yourself.
You say you've jumped before?
- Several times.
- Didn't it bother you?
- What?
- Landing on your head.
- You're sticking it on upside down.
- That's funny. I didn't notice.
You would have eventually.
Get the lead out, you guys!
You're holding up the war.
- Keep your pants on.
- Soapy, give me a hand with my bustle.
Sure. If it doesn't work,
you can bring it back.
Times like these, I wish I were in the Navy.
If you was in the Navy,
I'd sell my war bonds.
As I was telling you about her. I says,
"Honey, this is love at first sight...
"as I only have a 10-hour pass."
Soapy, Hogan,
give him a hand with his chute.
- You going to jump with us?
- Got any objections?
It's your funeral, Pop.
Did you hear that? Grandpa's gonna jump.
He's off his rocker.
Like I always said, civilians got no brains.
I'll stick you behind the newspaper guy.
If he freezes, you know what to do.
- Give him the works.
- It's a pleasure.
All right, boys. Fall in, in this order.
Gordon, 18.
Miggleori, 17. Jarod, 16. Brophy, 15.
Chedrees, 14. Schwartz, 13.
Helvicki, 12. Negulesco, 11. Hollis, 10.
O'Brien, 9. Hogan, 8. Rafferty, 7. Hooper, 6.
Rankin, 5. Higgins, 4.
Treacy, 3. Williams, 2.
You'd look silly
if you fell out of that thing in the air.
Okay, load up!
- Brother, I'm getting sick already.
- Take it easy, fellows.
Ready, boys? Here we go again.
Pass these maps out, Treace.
Pass them out.
So my sweetheart back home
writes to me...
and wants to know what
this gal in Bombay has, that she doesn't.
So I just wrote back to her and says,
"Nothing, honey, only she's got it here."
I know what you mean.
Boys, after this war is over,
I might even make a jump.
If this trip gets a little rough for you,
there's a bucket back there. Use it.
Certainly is hot in here.
You'll cool off.
Just wait until we get up to 11,000 feet.
- Brother, you'll freeze your tonsils.
- 11,000 feet? That's over two miles.
We don't jump from there, do we?
No. Once we get over the Hookon Pass,
we come down to 300 feet to jump.
300 feet. That still seems a long way
from the ground to me.
No, that's close. The closer the better.
Less chance of getting shot at,
and more chance of hitting the right spot.
It still sounds very risky. Very risky.
...and as soon as we bury the chutes
we're shoving off.
Now remember, boys,
we can't tip them off we're in there.
So no shooting
till we hit the radar station.
- Do you get it?
- Yes, sir.
- How you doing?
- Great. Absolutely great.
Well, maybe not absolutely.
Don't worry about it.
Everybody sweats the jump out a bit,
no matter how often you do it.
Some pretty tough hombres
freeze right at the door.
- Really?
- You'll be all right.
Yeah, that's what the cat said
to the canary when he swallowed him:
"You'll be all right."
All right, fellows. Smoke up.
- It's on the house.
- Thanks, Captain.
Don't thank me.
I swiped them from the colonel.
Free butts.
Now I know I'm getting bumped.
- What's your name, son?
- Soapy Higgins from Flatbush.
- One of them bozos?
- That's right.
Got a match?
- Yeah, sure.
- Thanks.
Take it easy, Pop. There's nothing to it.
- Really? That's fine.
- Only one thing, though.
What's that?
After we jump,
if we have to pick you up with a blotter...
where do you want the blotter sent?
To my mother. She collects blotters.
"George pulled out his gun and aimed..."
There's our bomber escort.
Right on time, too.
Those babies are always welcome.
Am I glad to see you.
Take it easy, pal.
You've been through this before.
Lay off, or I'll kick your teeth in.
Got the shakes?
I won't stick in the door.
- Don't worry about me.
- Who's worrying?
- Listen, Gabby.
- Yeah?
You're right behind me.
Just in case I should stick,
give me a little shove, will you?
If you go, you go by yourself.
I ain't shoving nobody through no door.
But you're my friend, ain't you?
Don't let me freeze.
If I stick, they'll kick me out, you hear?
I ever tell you about the time
I froze in the door in Fort Benning?
- You, sir?
- Sure. Oh, boy.
I think it was about my fourth
or fifth jump.
Anyway, about five minutes
before it was time to go...
I felt myself starting to get the shakes.
I got up to the door,
I wanted to go and I couldn't.
I froze just like a cigar-store Indian.
There I was, like that, looking down.
My brain kept saying to me,
"Go on. Jump, will you? Jump!"
Couldn't do it.
Finally, I got so sore at myself,
I said to myself:
"If you don't jump,
when I get you back on the ground...
"I'll drill a hole right through you.
I guess I got so scared
at the idea of shooting myself...
I jumped in self-defense.
Take it easy. Everybody gets
a little nervous in the service.
Have a cigarette. Would you like
a nice, stiff shot of bourbon?
- Yes, sir!
- So would I.
Ten minutes!
Ten minutes more, sir.
Stand up.
Hook up.
- Williams.
- Yeah? Excuse me, please.
I know you're an old hand at this...
but just to refresh your memory
here's what you do.
You hook this on up here, like that.
- You hang on to it till you leave the plane.
- Yeah.
When I say, "Stand in the door,"
you get in line behind me.
- When I go, you go. You got it?
- Yeah, I got it.
That's about all there is to it.
Step out with your right foot first...
like you're reaching for a bar rail.
Your static line will do the rest.
It'll open your chute for you.
When you get near the ground,
keep your knees and feet close together.
- When you hit the dirt, relax. Okay?
- Okay. Wait a minute!
- What happens if my chute doesn't open?
- You'll be the first one on the ground.
Check equipment.
- Come on. Snap out of it, Mig.
- Yeah.
If anything goes wrong, give this a yank.
It's your emergency chute.
Good luck. Keep your chin up
and your strap down.
Sound off for equipment check.
- Eighteen okay!
- Seventeen okay.
- Sixteen okay.
- Fifteen okay.
- Fourteen okay.
- Thirteen okay.
- Twelve okay!
- Eleven okay.
- Ten okay.
- Nine okay.
- Eight okay.
- Seven okay.
- Six okay.
- Five okay.
- Four okay.
- Three okay.
Two okay, I hope.
Stand in the door.
Jump or we'll miss the clearing!
- Get some security out, Sid.
- Right.
- What's that?
- That's our diversionary cover.
If the Jap radar picked us up coming in...
a bunch of slopeheads
would've met us before we hit the ground.
This way they'll think our planes
are bombing their airport right now.
- Darn clever, these Americans.
- So far.
He's found a track.
- Mig, get the point out.
- Yes, sir.
Sid, you bring up the rear guard.
- I'll be just ahead of the first squad.
- Right.
Might be deep.
Mind getting your feet wet?
I jumped out of the plane, didn't I?
Jump in here.
Baker One to Baker Two. Come in.
Baker Two to Baker One. Go ahead.
Jap patrol coming this way.
Okay, Baker One.
Jap patrol coming this way, sir.
Baker One to Baker Two.
Jap patrol passed.
This is it. The other end of this line
is what we're looking for.
We got the sentries,
and Higgins spotted the station.
Here's the layout.
The radar's right in the center.
Over here is the radio shack,
and this building looks like the mess hall.
I think we got a break. They're all at chow.
Here's the plan, Sid.
Take your men and cover the mess hall.
Don't fire till they come out.
Then feed it to 'em.
Treace, take five men
and cover the radio shack.
I'll be on your left. You got it?
It's now 6:47 p.m.
We'll give them the works at 6:54 p.m.
That'll give everyone seven minutes
to get into position. All set?
- Check.
- Right. Let's move out.
- Good job.
- You said it.
Take your demolition team.
We'll blow everything as soon as possible.
Enough said.
- Treace.
- Yes, sir.
- Any of our boys hurt?
- No, sir, but we sure were lucky.
You're not kidding. Get local security out.
Demolition teams, front and center!
Gabby, take two men
and set some charges in the radio shack.
Sweeney, Hallit, do the radar.
You two take this building. Snap it up.
Come on, snap it up, you guys.
I got a date in camp with some Zulus.
Bet you got a room in your house for this.
I think so.
All set now, Chuck.
Right. As soon as we get clear,
give her the works.
- Paratrooper?
Not too close together. Keep spread out.
I'd like to be up to my neck
in ocean about now.
Me, too.
What's the matter?
I was thinking of the time the Japs
caught us swimming in New Guinea.
You were laughing like an idiot and
all the time I was looking for my pants.
You were yelling,
"Take cover! Take cover!"
- You could have used a little yourself.
- I never did find those pants.
We've had a few laughs.
It would be swell if we could
take our next leave together.
Yeah. How about 'Frisco?
Shrimp, clam, lobster.
Yeah, and a steak smothered in chops.
Oh, boy.
It's the old strip all right.
Habeda, scout.
- Hicks, you and Smithy look up that way.
- Yes, sir.
All right, dish out the Atabrine tablets.
Everybody okay?
Okay? Easiest war I ever been in.
What is it today, Hogan?
Chicken dinner with dumplings.
These are the dumplings.
What time are those planes
due to pick us up?
Ten minutes.
- Get a story, Mr. Williams?
- I got more than that.
I don't mind telling you gentlemen,
there were some moments there...
when I wished I was somewhere else.
Almost anywhere else would have done.
If you could be someplace else right now,
Charlie, where would it be?
I don't know. A football game.
How about you?
If I had my choice
I'd be sitting on a nice, soft stool...
in the National Press Club
in Washington, D. C...
surrounding a tall, cold bourbon and soda.
What? I didn't know newspapermen drank.
How about you?
A place you probably never heard of.
Cannonball Island in Central Park.
- Really? New York?
- Yeah, Schenectady, New York.
They have a central park, too,
with this island in the middle.
Sort of take your girl there
if you're real friendly.
Sounds all right.
- I have a lot of friends in Schenectady.
- No kidding.
Yeah. My column is syndicated there,
The Gazette. Your folks live there?
My father has a grocery store
on Crane Street, by the locomotive works.
- Really? Where'd you go to school?
- Union College.
I'm supposed to be a school teacher.
After the war I have an appointment.
History teacher
in Pleasant Valley High School.
That's fine. Your folks will get
quite a kick out of reading about you.
You mean all that stuff
will be in the Schenectady paper?
- Sure. You don't mind, do you?
- Heck, no.
What do you know?
It's a small world, isn't it?
Yes, and it's getting smaller.
If only more folks back home
would realize...
Crane Street, Schenectady
runs all the way to Burma...
- this would be the last war.
- Amen.
All right, boys,
here's the pill that kills the chill.
That's a nice bunch of tombstones
you got in your mouth.
Sarge, come on.
- Sergeant!
- Hey, look. Atabrine.
A pill a day keeps the old doc away.
Wake up.
Throw some water on him.
What's the matter?
I thought I heard something.
Maybe they're not ours. Cover.
Army 27805. Army 27805 from Red Leader.
Calling Army 27805 from Red Leader.
Calling Army 27805 from Red Leader.
Hello, Red Leader.
This is Army 27805 saying go ahead.
Over to you.
Everything clear and ready to land.
Wind direction east to west.
East to west. Over.
Okay, Red Leader, we're coming in.
What kind of a job did you do? Over.
Perfect score. No casualties.
Got the radar station
and about 60 of the garrison. Over.
It was a picnic, eh?
All we do is fly around
in this broken-down birdcage.
Those guys have all the fun.
Any bad spots in the field? Over.
No, it's like a billiard table.
Even you could make a landing here.
Come on in.
Japanese. About 100 men
coming this way.
Ready to move, on the double.
Let me see your map.
Calling Army 27805.
Grab your stuff!
We're moving out on the double.
Don't come in. They're waiting for you.
We're getting out of here.
Gain altitude and leave.
There's about 200 Japs waiting for you.
We're moving out.
Look for us in two days
at map reference G-285906.
You get it? Map reference G-285906.
We'll be there in two days. Over.
G-285906 in two days.
Okay, Red Leader, got it. Over.
Some picnic.
Tell the other plane
we're hightailing it out of here.
Put out a three-man recon.
Come on, snap it.
- Take me to Col. Carter.
- Yes, sir.
- And I came back as soon as I could, sir.
- All right, thank you, Barker.
- Make your report to Intelligence.
- Yes, sir.
Let's see. The action took place here,
and he was going this way to...
I hope he can make it.
- I'm sure he will.
- Yeah. I wish I were sure.
I just mean knowing Nelson,
I'm certain, that's all.
I'm sure he can make it
to G-285906 all right.
It's the rest of it I'm worried about.
The closer he gets to home
the thicker the Japs will be.
The Chindwin river
is lined with them like fleas.
- You sound as if he's going to walk out.
- How else do I get him out?
Why do you think I'm sweating it out?
There isn't another airfield between us
and Nelson that isn't swarming with Japs.
I can't get him out by plane.
He's got to walk out.
That's 150 miles.
Yeah, 150 miles with Japs
lining the whole way, waiting for him.
Oh, brother. This is a wonderful war.
Couldn't they cut an airstrip in the jungle?
With 36 men? It could take weeks.
The Japs
wouldn't leave them alone that long.
- They can't walk out. It can't be done.
- Maybe not.
That remains to be seen.
Let's get a cup of coffee.
Ten-minute break, guys. No smoking.
Salt tablets, everyone.
- Take it easy on the water.
- Yes, sir.
Ten-minute break. No smoking.
Easy on the water.
Me, I crave action.
You can't expect to find a Jap
behind every tree.
- Personally, I like them in front of trees.
- Better take your salt tablets, men.
Come on, Pop. Snap out of it.
Open up your mouth.
This salt's like a shot in the arm.
Worst is yet to come.
I find that hard to believe.
Hard to believe, he says.
You should have been with us
at New Guinea.
That was a war.
- This isn't exactly a clambake.
- I don't go for this. No, sir.
Who does? You guys ain't alone
in this muck and mire.
- Hello, muck.
- Hiya, mire.
The way I figure it is this:
Military science
is a different kind of science...
consisting of tactics.
Maybe you can figure out
how we'll get back to the base.
There is the question that interests me.
- We'll get back, all right. Don't worry.
- Don't make sense to me.
Swamps, jungle, rivers, flies, fleas,
beetles, bugs, snakes. It's monotonous.
What'd you expect to find in a jungle,
booze and babes?
- That ain't a bad idea.
- Look at Williams.
You don't hear him beefing,
and he's an old man.
Where'd you get that "old" stuff?
Can't judge terrain from a map, anyway.
It'll be tough both ways.
What do you think?
- Sounds good to me.
- I think it's best.
That's it.
Close in, fellas. Close in.
Here's the situation.
Somebody switch that motor off.
That guy can go to sleep on a clothesline.
I don't have to tell you that we're behind
that well-known eight ball.
The Japs are cagey.
Plenty cagey, and they're looking for us.
Unless we can outsmart them,
they're gonna find us.
The last contact I made with the planes...
I told them to meet us day after tomorrow
at map reference G-285906.
That's about 30 miles from here.
But I don't know how many miles
that we can travel in a day.
There's no way of telling
through this kind of stuff.
There's two practical ways we can go.
But again, I don't know which is the best
and which is the fastest.
We're going to split up into two groups.
Lt. Jacobs will take one group.
I'll take the other.
That way, if one group hits trouble,
the other has a chance to make contact.
Is that clear?
Okay, fellas.
Good luck to all of us.
Capt. Li, you better come with me.
- You too, Williams, you come with me.
- Thanks.
You're gonna have a longer story
than you thought.
I'll make a novel out of it.
you better take Gurkha Habeda with you,
and the other radio.
Try to keep in touch as often as you can.
Well, I'll be seeing you.
Take care of yourself, pal.
Hollis, I'll bet you a K ration dinner
we get there first.
Okay, Gabby, it's a deal.
Sweeney, mazel tov.
- How you doing?
- Pretty good, sir.
All right, sir.
Yes, sir.
- Try to contact Lt. Jacobs again.
- All right, sir.
Baker One to Baker Two.
We've reached the rendezvous.
Where are you?
Baker One to Baker Two.
We're reached the rendezvous.
Come in, Baker Two.
Hello, George. Baker One calling.
Sorry, sir...
this thing only carries
two and a half miles.
- Guess they aren't in range yet.
- Sure.
Sure, I guess he...
He must have run into some tough jungle.
Maybe so.
- Try him again.
- All right, sir.
Hello, George. Baker One calling.
Baker One to Baker Two.
Come in, Baker Two. Baker One calling.
Army 27805 from Red Leader.
Calling Red Leader.
No contact.
Keep trying.
They're down there somewhere.
Army 27805 from Red Leader.
- There it is.
- Where?
Hi, men!
Calling Army 27805.
Calling Army 27805 from Red Leader.
Hello, Red Leader.
Hang on, here's Barker.
This is Army 27805, saying go ahead.
Over to you.
Army 27805 from Red Leader.
You're coming in on us.
Keep over to your left a little.
All right, hold that course.
You're about a quarter-mile away,
that's all.
Right in my lap!
Who said the air corps is not on the job?
You're coming right over us.
Did you spot us? Come in.
Yes, Red Leader, we've got you spotted.
We'll start dropping your supplies
on the next run.
Get set back there.
All right then, let's have it!
- All right, Treace, get it in.
- Yes, sir.
Paul, Benny, grab a shovel.
Caesar, come on.
Tell my girl I won't be home for dinner!
Back to Army 27805 from Red Leader.
What's the score, Barker?
Any orders for me from headquarters?
Looks bad. There's no way
of getting you out by plane.
Okay, we'll walk out.
You going to keep us supplied? Over.
We'll drop supplies every four days.
You say where. Over.
Don't get out of range.
I'll give you the map reference.
Red Leader to Army 27805.
The next rendezvous will be in four days...
at map reference G-289506.
Did you get it? Over.
G-289506. I got it.
Good luck, Red Leader. Over.
Okay, Barker.
Thanks a lot. Thanks for everything.
Off and over. Roger.
- Break open the cigarettes first.
- One strawberry pie coming up.
- No Thousand Island dressing?
- Here's the skipper.
As you were.
Well, boys, we got another tough break.
I just got word from headquarters
that there's no landing field...
between here and our base
where they can get a plane to pick us up.
That means only one thing.
We got a long hike ahead of us.
Unless we stick together
and work together...
we're going to be in trouble, plenty.
The most important thing
is to take your Atabrine tablets.
Because if you don't and you get sick,
particularly with fever...
it'll be that much tougher
on the rest of us.
So be careful.
As soon as Lt. Jacobs
and his men get here, we'll shove off.
That's all.
Okay, carve the turkey.
If we gotta walk, we gotta eat.
Well, Willie...
Iooks like we're up a Burmese creek
without any paddle.
Capt. Li, ask the Gurkha
how far it is to Sittaung.
He doesn't know exactly,
but about 200 miles.
You ain't just whistling Dixie, brother.
Two hundred...
Let's go get some vitamins.
- You want a hand?
- I can get up by myself.
You hope.
How did you happen to get mixed up
with this outfit of leaping fleas, anyway?
What was it, for fun, money, or marbles?
A bit of each, I guess.
This wouldn't have been so tough...
if the Japs hadn't thrown
a monkey wrench into us at the start.
When you deal with monkeys
you've got to expect some wrenches.
My boys are trained for it.
I thought they were trained to jump,
not walk.
Why didn't you join the Navy?
I can walk further than I can swim,
Broph, cut me a slice of rare roast beef,
will you?
With the gravy dripping onto it.
Thanks. Delicious.
All this meat and no potatoes.
Soapy, see if I know tonight's menu.
Two packages of biscuits, a can of cheese.
One envelope lemonade or orange powder.
Four lumps of sugar.
One package of four cigarettes.
A book of ten matches.
A package of candy.
A piece of chewing gum.
What, no floor show?
Why, sure!
The girls are getting their fans right now.
What's the matter, skipper? You worried?
I wish Jacobs would get here.
Jacobs. He's a nice kid.
You know what he told me?
He used to be a schoolteacher.
That's right.
Funny place for a schoolteacher, isn't it?
Or an architect.
Is that what you were?
- Where?
- Maine.
- Maine. Did you make any money at it?
- No.
Not much, but that was all right.
You see...
most people have to work 50 weeks a year
and they get two weeks' vacation.
I worked two weeks
and had a 50-week vacation.
Gave me plenty of time to go fishing.
Somebody's coming, sir, over there.
Hollis, what happened?
Give me some salt tablets.
What happened? Where's Lt. Jacobs?
We crossed the railroad okay.
Me and...
Sweeney were way up in front.
First thing you know,
the Japs open up with machine guns.
All around, they were all around us.
They let us get by.
Then they opened up on the main body.
Never saw anything like it.
It was a slaughterhouse.
- The Japs follow you here?
- I don't know.
Paul, Chuck, bring a stretcher for Hollis.
We're moving out.
Pass out the grenades
and bury those boxes.
You going to try to take him with us?
I should leave him. He'll slow us up.
But I can't do it.
We'll have to do something for Hollis
or else he'll go into shock.
Can't we stop and give him some plasma?
We can't stop. You'll have to try
to give it to him on the way.
Native village up ahead, sir.
- Take it easy, Hollis.
- I'm all right. Let me up.
- How do you feel, kid?
- Much better, sir.
- Think you can walk?
- I think so, sir.
- Thanks.
- Attaboy.
That plasma even made your hair grow.
- What do you think?
- I don't like it.
It's too quiet.
I think you're right. We'll skip it.
Tell them to come up.
Stick their hands up.
What do they want?
Fifty Japanese were in the village.
They left this morning.
Looking for us?
They wish to help us. They hate the Japan.
The men were made slave,
and even the women.
He says do we wish to see
the other men like us?
The other men like us?
What's he talking about? Where? Ask him.
In the village.
Any Japs there?
They have all gone but two men.
Nebraska, take three men.
Get rid of those sentries...
if they're there. We'll wait for the signal.
Come on, Soapy. Let's go.
You better tell these fellas
to wait in the jungle.
You two go ahead. Cover us.
There's a couple of monkeys
in there we got to get.
you and Rafferty
set a couple of grenade traps.
Stick one in here and one over there.
Yes, sir.
Put about five men that end of the village.
- Take a machine gun with you.
- Yes, sir.
Looks like my mother-in-law's house
in the Bronx.
She's crazy about dogs, too.
Set it in there, Pete.
Brophy over there. Hank, up top.
Nebraska, what did you find?
- I found our boys, Captain.
- Where?
But I wish I hadn't, sir.
They're all cut to pieces.
Too awful to look at.
That's Harris.
Isn't it?
- But who are the others?
- I don't know.
How do I know who they are?
If they were my brothers
I still wouldn't know.
Take it easy.
They can't feel anything now.
But Jacobs. Where's Jacobs?
Where's Jacobs?
Take their tags.
- Bury them.
- Yes, sir.
We found Lt. Jacobs, sir.
No more.
No more, please.
Leave me alone. Please.
It's me, Nelson.
Kill me, Nelson.
Please shoot me.
We're gonna get you out of here.
We're not gonna let you stay here.
Don't touch me.
The others got it, too...
when they wouldn't talk.
"How many men in your party?"
Over and over...
And then they died.
Listen, Nelson, do me a favor.
- Will you, please?
- Anything.
Kill me, Nelson.
Please kill me.
I ask you.
I've been a newspaperman for 30 years.
I thought I'd seen or...
read about everything...
that one man can do to another.
From the torture chambers
of the Middle Ages...
to the gang wars and
the lynchings of the day.
But this...
This is different.
This was done in cold blood.
By a people who...
claim to be civilized!
They're degenerate, immoral idiots.
Stinking little savages.
Wipe them out, I say.
Wipe them off the face of the Earth!
Wipe them off
the face of the Earth, the bastards.
I never thought...
I'd be glad to see you dead.
- Here are the tags, sir.
- Right.
We got about 16 of them,
but they still outnumber us 2 to 1.
Go back to the corporal.
Tell him to pull the machine gun out.
He's got to cover us
until we cross the swamp.
- Go ahead.
- Yes, sir.
you better hang on to these.
I'm going with him.
- But, sir...
- Go on, get going.
When you get your men across,
set the machine gun up to cover us. Go on.
Come on, Mig.
Let's give them a couple of pineapples.
Mazel tov!
Get in the water. Stay close to the bank.
Come on, on the double with that gun!
Now, Miggy, Smith!
Come on.
All right, pull that gun out.
Get going, Treace.
- Lift him up and carry him. Snap it up.
- We won't have to, Captain.
Get his tag.
So long, Soapy.
- Colonel in yet?
- Not yet, sir.
- What's up?
- Plenty.
Wingate and Cochran flew in yesterday.
Big conference, GHQ.
Must be big. Nearly 6:00 a.m.
They've been at it all night.
They're still at it.
I'm loaded with supplies for Nelson.
Wonder if I ought to wait.
- They've left instructions for you.
- Barker, come over here.
When you contact Nelson...
You better write this down.
Nelson was to proceed
along this line due west.
That's out.
Tell him to disregard
all previous instructions.
He's to go north...
to map reference D-2...
He's to get there as quickly as possible
then stay there.
Disregard all previous instructions.
Proceed north
to map reference D-247850...
- and stay there.
- That's it.
I think I'll get some sleep.
- What's up?
- Can't tell you. But it's okay, believe me.
Hey, Pop, writing a letter to your mother?
No, son, to yours, to all your mothers.
What you thinking about, Gabby?
I wonder what happened to those
two Zulus I had a date with last week.
- Looks like one of our ships, sir.
- Try and contact him, Broph.
Army 27805 from Red Leader.
This is Army 27805 to Red Leader.
This is official from Black Leopard.
Disregard all previous instructions. Over.
Just a minute, Barker, while I get my map.
Open to "D" reference.
Okay, ready. Over.
Proceed north to map reference D-247850
as quickly as possible.
And stay there. End of message. Over.
North to map reference D-247850.
- Okay, got it. Over.
- Stand by. We're coming in for a run.
Take it away.
He said north.
I don't get it.
Why, that's directly away from the base.
- We aren't going home?
- Guess not.
I don't get it.
Don't like it either.
Neither do I.
It's orders. So that's where we're going.
You hear that? We ain't going home.
I hope they know what they're doing.
If they order us north, they've
a good reason for ordering us north.
Maybe we're going
to contact the Chinese troops.
Maybe there's another landing strip.
I'll bet that's what it is,
another landing strip.
It could be
there's a British outpost up there.
- Maybe that's why...
- Yeah, maybe.
Maybe if your aunt had a beard,
she'd be your uncle.
I got it. I got the whole solution.
Maybe there's a nice saloon up north
with scoopers of beer a foot high.
And Burmese dancing girls crying
their eyes out just to hold your hand.
Maybe there's a cute little
vine-covered cottage by a waterfall.
Your old gray-haired mother standing
on the front porch waiting...
with a pitcher of milk in each mitt. Maybe.
He's gonna drop it in our laps this time.
Come on, let's bring it in.
Come on.
No, Pete! Come back!
The radio. Smashed to bits.
Come on.
All right, you tell me. Where is he?
How many men has Nelson got left?
Are they alive, or are they dead?
Give me some answers.
At least a portion of the force was left
when they contacted our supply plane.
That was days ago. Take a look at this.
It was taken this morning.
Supply bundles
lying where they were dropped.
Three dead men to keep company,
and play host to every fly in Burma.
Maybe one of them is Nelson.
- How do we know?
- We don't.
They must have run into
a superior Jap force in the clearing.
Couldn't pick up supplies.
Nelson lit out, the Japs lit out after him.
Even if he got away from the Japs, by now
he's certainly out of food and supplies.
He's certainly behind
the well-known eight ball.
Here come the reconnaissance pilots.
How'd you make out?
- Any trace of Nelson?
- No, sir.
I went up and down that route
like a kid on a bicycle. From...
here to here.
I covered this leg on a 90-degree sweep.
Didn't see a thing.
This was my route.
I flew high and low for three hours.
If there was anything underneath
those trees, I didn't see it.
Not a sign of them.
All right, the search is over.
We've got two days of briefing
ahead of us...
and an important operation
at the end of it.
Thanks very much.
Where's Barker?
Why wasn't he here?
Why hasn't he checked in?
He's at the advance base. He's making
a big sweep today and tomorrow.
- Did you tell him it was his last trip?
- No, sir.
I didn't have the guts to tell him, sir.
I know what you mean.
Tell him when he comes in tomorrow.
Search is over. It's finished.
What's the matter, Pop, you got it bad?
Bad enough, I guess.
I'm sorry, Chuck.
You told me not to come.
Sure, my mother told me
to stay home, too.
Helvicki, Negulesco, pick him up.
Come on, close up.
There it is!
It's one of ours!
Here we are, right here!
Wait! Come back!
Here we are! Down here!
Don't leave us here. Wait! Come back!
Over here!
Come on, will ya!
Over here!
Come back! Don't leave us here!
Come back! Look, here we are!
Don't! Come back!
Come back. Don't leave us here.
Hollis, snap out of it!
Leave him alone. He doesn't want anyone.
Better let him get it out of his system.
Let's take 10 minutes.
Do you want to get sick?
Where's your purifying tablet?
I lost them when we made
that last river crossing.
They'll remember me in history.
Gabby Gordon, the guy who purified
all the stinking rivers in Burma.
Here, take these.
- No, Captain, they're yours. You need 'em.
- Take 'em...
or they'll remember you as the guy
who got shot for disobeying orders.
Third time we've missed a plane
in the last two days.
Three strikes is out.
You going soft on me, Treace?
I'm not exactly jumping with joy
at the way things are turning out.
If that's going soft, okay, I'm going soft.
I still don't get this business
of heading north...
toward a place
we don't know anything about.
When we get there, where are we?
Where we're told to go. How's that?
Yes, sir. Sorry.
What do you think is up on that hill?
Nelson said we got to get there.
That means something.
The way home. That's what's up there.
Sure. Remember back in briefing...
when they were telling us
this was gonna be a big operation?
Maybe we're gonna meet our troops there.
Been talking about an airborne invasion.
Yeah, all we do is walk up that hill...
and there's Vinegar Joe Stilwell,
waiting for us with a fistful of medals.
Medals. I'll take a hamburger.
I know you're all in. So am I.
I know you're all wondering why we're
heading north, instead of toward our base.
I don't know the reason,
but there must be one.
The sooner we get to the top of that hill
they've ordered us to...
the sooner we'll reach safety.
Come on. On your feet. Let's go.
Come on. I'd follow him
down the barrel of a cannon.
Hey, Pop.
That's the wrong way.
This way.
give him a hand.
My hat, sir.
But there's nothing here.
Is this the place?
Treace, set the machine gun up over there
at the head of the track.
Gabby, take two men
and dig in over there.
Negulesco, over there.
Nebraska, there.
What's the matter with you?
What did you expect
to find up here, anyway?
I don't like this any better than you do.
But we had orders to come here,
and we'll stay here if we rot waiting.
So get on your feet and start digging in.
Give me that shovel.
Could I have my shovel, sir?
We're going to stay here?
for a long time.
This looks like a one-way street.
How is it?
How's what?
How's the dirt?
How does it stack up against Maine?
In Maine, it's better.
It's sure peaceful so far.
That's the way I like it. Peaceful.
I always said when I starved to death,
I wanted it to be peaceful.
I better get out of here,
before you guys break my heart.
Capt. Nelson. Mr. Williams, he's gone.
He couldn't have got far.
Set out and take a look for him.
Go out and look for Pop.
Here he is, sir! Down here!
Poor old guy.
I'm awfully sorry, Mr. Williams.
Awfully sorry.
Better get a grave dug, Treace.
Yes, sir.
We won't forget you, Pop.
From now on,
if I ever get to buy another newspaper...
I'll remember what a few cents can buy.
So long.
It's funny, how he was always trying
to find out what we were fighting for.
Maybe now he knows.
Say, Gabby...
do you really think
we're going to get out of this?
I mean, honest.
Grow up, you ain't gonna...
- What is it?
- Shut up. Listen.
There it is.
A C-47. One of ours.
Over this way!
Here we are!
- Looks like he's coming right over us.
- Over here!
A signal at two o'clock.
N-E-L-S-O-N. It's Nelson!
- Shoot a signal. Say we'll drop supplies.
- Right.
He's gonna drop supplies.
Gabby, Nebraska!
Get ready back there.
- Let's get at it, now.
- Christmas on a hilltop.
What's the first thing you'll do
when you get back home?
- Two guesses.
- Come on, tell me.
First I'm gonna kiss my girl
like she's never been kissed before.
Yeah? Then what?
Then I'm gonna take off my parachute.
All right, you guys. Break it up.
You could see the chutes come down
10 miles away.
Come on, let's get back under cover.
Hicks, take the booby traps.
Set them down around that draw.
Smitty, you set yours
about 70 yards down the side of the hill.
All right, fellas, get your hand grenades.
Let's get dug in.
- Gets dark fast, doesn't it?
- Yeah.
You think the Japs spotted us?
We'll probably find out
as soon as it gets dark.
What happens now?
What if they come up?
They'll come up.
It isn't dark enough for them yet,
but they'll come up all right.
They'll be playing tricks pretty soon,
so watch yourself.
Just have to sweat it out, that's all.
Did you hear something?
No, you're just jittery.
Who's that?
Take it easy, pal. Are you okay?
Yeah, I'm okay.
Guess I'm getting a little jumpy.
Hollis, you okay?
Yeah, I'm okay.
Where are you, Joe?
Over here.
Here I am, sweetheart.
By the way, my name ain't Joe.
Nelson, you okay?
- Nelson?
- Shut up.
They're trying to draw our fire.
The monkeys have pulled out, sir.
Pulled out?
That's funny.
Who said those guys never quit?
Everybody's okay but Hollis. They got him.
So much for Mrs. Hollis'
nine months of pain...
and 20 years of hope.
Down! Take cover!
Now you know why we were sent here.
That's why they made us wait:
The invasion of Burma.
If Nelson's still alive, he'll join us.
Too bad we had to drop him
those supplies.
I hope it draws every Jap within 50 miles
away from where we're going, that's good.
Even if my mother-in-law
is in one of them, it's still a great sight.
Boy, look at that! It's raining parachutes!
It looks like Broadway and 42nd street!
2nd Battalion reports enemy patrol
activity on his right flank.
Company A reports Capt. Nelson and
11 men are coming through their lines.
- Nelson?
- Yes, sir.
- Guide them into the first-aid station.
- Yes, sir.
- Notify glider S-4.
- Yes, sir.
- You take over.
- Yes, sir.
- Boy, am I glad to see you.
- You're glad?
We gave you up for lost. You're all right.
- You did fine.
- Thanks.
Got a light?
You have no idea how important
blowing up that radar station was to us.
Here's what it cost.
Not much to send home, is it?
A handful of Americans.
We'll have you out of here right away.
Jeeps will take you down to the planes.
I'll see you back at the base.