online surveys

Combat! Season 1
Combat! Season 2
Combat! Season 3
Combat! Season 4
Combat! Season 5



Season 4
COMBAT! episodes:

[A Day in June]
[Any Second Now]
[Just for the Record]
[The Squad]
[Lost Sheep, Lost Shepherd]
[Forgotten Front]
[Missing In Action]
[Rear Echelon Commandos]
[The Chateau]
[The Prisoner]
[Escape to Nowhere]
[The Celebrity]
[Far from the Brave]
[The Quiet Warrior]
[Cat and Mouse]
[I Swear by Apollo]
[The Walking Wounded]
[The Medal]
[The Volunteer]
[No Time for Pity]
[Next in Command]
[Night Patrol]
[Off Limits]
[No Hallelujahs for Glory]
[Battle of the Roses]
[Hill 256]
[The Sniper]
[One More for the Road]
[High Named Today]
[No Trumpets, No Drums]


Military Magazines

Military Posters

Patriotic Jigsaw Puzzles

WWII Video Games

WWII toys

American Flag Jewelry


Back Up Next

Combat! reviews by Jo Davidsmeyer * Episodes rated from 0 to 4 bayonets 

(007) Missing In Action


Rating: 2 bayonets

Teleplay by James S. Henerson and Sidney Marshall
Story by Birne Lay, Jr.
Directed by Byron Paul
Produced by Robert Blees

Aired November 13, 1962
Season 1, Episode 6


(Photo to right from the collection of Janice Payne. Copyright ABC television. )

The 456th Bomber Wing is engaged in a "milk run," bombing raids of railway station at Roen. Colonel Japko's plane is shot down.

Two months later: nighttime on the front lines--Fergus, Caje, 2and Braddock are startled by a figure coming through the lines. Fergus shoots him, but the man struggles to the squad's position and identifies himself as an American flyer. Before dying, he tells that the famous Colonel Japko is alive and sequestered in a French farmhouse.

Hanley is detailed to rescue Japko. He takes Caje, Braddock, and Fergus. A member of the French underground, Gallard, smuggles them through German lines hidden in the back of farm truck. But Fergus is wounded when a German shoots into their hiding place in the truck.

Meanwhile, at the farm, the farmer's niece, Denise, has fallen in love with Japko and doesn't want him to leave. She attempts, unsuccessfully, to seduce Hanley to get him to leave Jabko be- hind. Denise, so desperate to keep her love close, becomes an informer. The Germans raid the farm, shooting her aunt and uncle, but leaving her alive. Japko leaves in disgust. He is returned to "milk runs" with his squadron.


missinginaction.jpg (18086 bytes) In "Missing In Action", Hanley and a small band must rescue Colonel Hobey Jabko (Howard Duff), a famous aviator shot down over occupied France two months ago. But in the two months, Jabko has been nursed back to health by a French couple and their beautiful niece Denise (oh, doesn't that have a poetic ring - "niece Denise"). Neither he nor she are anxious for him to be rescued. To complicate Hanley's mission behind enemy lines, one of his men accidentally killed Jabko's crewman whom he had sent to them for help--not something that endears Hanley or his men to the Colonel.

This story of love and betrayal is a bit confused and cluttered. Byron Paul, in his only outing as a Combat! director, doesn't provide any clarity or focus to the story. Perhaps the writer is trying to tell too much. Wrenching scenes of Private Fergus agonizing over accidentally killing the American officer are mixed with comic scenes involving Braddock's personal hy- giene, and a hot scene between Jabko and the deep-voiced Denise. The script asks too much from everyone, especially Caje, who can't decide from scene to scene what his emotional state is--he runs into the barn, announces that Fergus is dead and that he's really nervous hanging around here, then runs out in an agitated state. Next we cut immediately to the interior of the French farmhouse and see Caje laughing and telling jokes with the French farmwife as she prepares a meal.

Strong performances by guest stars Howard Duff and Maria Marchado. And some interesting visual images: a weeping collaborator tripping over the corpse of a German and being left behind in the dirt; a helpless Hanley and Caje watching in silent horror as a soldier is shot before their eyes.

This isn't a bad episode to watch--but it's not among their best. It's just not very Combat! in flavor. This story centers more around the guests than our favorite squad. This episode could just have easily been shot for "Twelve O'Clock High" with no changes to the script except a character name or two.

Oddities, Notes, and Bloopers

  • Can't you shoot women in 1962 television? Denise should have gotten it between the eyes. The resistance didn't tolerate traitors.
  • Also, in 1962 couldn't you make it clear that a woman was offering her body? I wish they had clarified the point a bit more--it established early in the story that Denise was willing to trade "in flesh" to keep her flyer at her side. Unfortunately, she was trading other lives. (Perhaps if Hanley had known how few and far between women were going to be in the five years of Combat!, he might not have been so quick to turn down her offer.)
  • Braddock kicked butt. In this episode we get to see the funny man do some real fighting.
  • Hanley should have taken Denise up on her offer
  • If Gallard (the French resistance fighter) comes and goes easily between the farmhouse and the Allied lines, then why didn't *he* deliver the message about Jabko to the Allies? Did we really need to open the show with a senseless death?
  • Why did Saunders look on the Lieutenant's dog tags to check his rank? Rank isn't on dog tags.

Cast Credits

Rick Jason
as Lt. Gil Hanley

Vic Morrow
as Sgt. Saunders

Shecky Greene as Braddock
Pierre Jalbert as Caje

Howard Duff as
Colonel Hobey Jabko

Maria Machado as

Louis Mercier ..... Gallard
Glen Cannon ..... Tate
Michael Petit ..... Roger
Barton Heyman ..... Fergus

Dialog Excerpts

Just another milk run. That's what it started out to be. But it didn't end that way. We hit the French coast at daylight and broke off in groups of three. When we reached Roen the Germans began to throw everything they had at us. We found ourselves knee-deep in 109s. Before our fighters could get 'em off our back, the ship on my right got it and he had to fall away. I was watching her go when my starboard engine caught fire. I tried to stay in the air, but I couldn't So, I pushed the jump button and headed for the nearest exist. I was the last one out. Everything was suddenly very quiet. Like the war was a million miles away. But it wasn't. It was directly below me. And I was about to land square on top of it.
Why Lieutenant, it isn't every day a soldier gets the opportunity to forsake the dull, boring drudgery of combat for a nice, exciting, glorious mission.
My men haven't been off the line for three weeks, sir. They're coming apart at the seams. What happens proves that--
Lieutenant, this came from upstairs to division. From division to regiment. And regiment to me. Colonel Jabko's a little more important than you and I may think. He's a wing commander.
Yes, sir. His picture's been on magazine covers.
"Send in the best man available." And you're it.
I'm flattered, sir.

Boy, he sure was stupid.
Who was what?
That Mr. Wild-Blue-Yonder there. What's his name? Lt. Tate? Man, he sure was stupid.
Because I killed him?
No. Because he let you kill him.
Wait a minute, Caje. We had just as much to do with it.
Bargin' into a gun emplacement in a combat area like that. Even without yelling or identifying himself.
What did you expect with all those German flares going off? Maybe he should advertise to them where he was.
It's over. Knock it off.

Do you have to take him away?
Well, that's not entirely up to me.
He said you and your men could go back without him. If *you* wished.
He said "maybe."
I could persuade him, I think, if I could persuade you. I love him. He's everything. He came to me weary and tired and with a bad leg. Exhausted from the war. Exhausted from leading too many missions. And I...I healed him. For me there has never been another man. Not before the war, not now. And I want him to stay here on my uncle's farm. And I find the man I've wanted all my life.
It's not up to me.
A little, yes. It is a little up to you. How can I persuade you? What can I do for you to convince you?
Denise Olivier, you're quite a girl.
Back Up Next

Related Reading

Against All Odds: Shot Down over Occupied Territory in WWII
The author and his eight crewmembers bailed out of their crippled B-24 on their 24th mission over enemy territory. Shot at and then captured by the Germans, they were taken to a stalag in Nuremberg, and then on a forced march to another in Moosburg. They were strafed by Allied planes, nearly lynched by an angry mob, starved, and shot at again by retreating SS just before their liberation by General Patton. Incredibly, all nine crewmembers survived, and eight of them contributed to this remarkable account that took 20 years to write.
Paperback, 201 pages.
Check price at Buy book at Buy book at Amazon.Ca in,

Related Viewing — Howard Duff films:

The Naked City (1948) DVD
with Barry Fitzgerald

Brute Force (1947) DVD
with Burt Lancaster
The Twilight Zone: Vol. 22 (1960) DVD
Howard Duff stars in "A World of Difference" a memorable episode written by Richard Matheson. He plays an average businessman who arrives at his office only to discover that he's actually an actor on a soundstage.


SITE MENU: Combat TV Series
The Show
The Cast
The Crew
Combat! A Viewer's Companion
Combat!  Fandom
Combat TV Trivia
Combat! Collectibles
WWII Weapons
WWII Books
Military Posters


HomeWeb site copyright 1995 - 2011 by Jo Davidsmeyer.  All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy
File last updated June 28, 2012

Other WWII TV Shows: Black Sheep Squadron Twelve O'Clock High

Combat! is owned by ABC Television and distributed in the US by Paramount Pictures. It is not our intention to infringe on the copyrights of the creators of Combat! This web page is meant for the free enjoyment of Combat! fans everywhere. Unless otherwise noted, materials Copyright Jo Davidsmeyer. All rights reserved. Photographs from the TV series  copyright ABC-TV.

Dollar Bargains:  Christmas Stocking Stuffers for a Dollar * Halloween Party Favors * July 4th Favors

Copyright 2012 Page last updated 07/19/2012.