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



Season 5
COMBAT! episodes:
[The Gun]
[The Losers]
[Ollie Joe]
[The Brothers]
[The Chapel at Able Five]
[A Child's Game]
[The Letter]
[The Outsider]
[The Bankroll]
[Cry for Help]
[The Furlough]
[The Gantlet]
[The Masquers]
[A Little Jazz]
[Nightmare on the Red Ball Run]
[The Partisan]

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

combat12_image006.jpg (23965 bytes)
(photo copyright Earl Parker, taken on set during filming)

(130) The Chapel at Able Five


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3-1/2 bayonets

Written by Phillip W. Hoffman
Directed by Michael Caffey
First aired 11-Oct-1966
Episode 5 of Season 5


Saunders is blinded by a land mine explosion as he attempts to get vital information back to his lines. The blinded Saunders is rescued by a German chaplain who pretends to be English to get Saunders' help in carrying a wounded German captain to safety. When he learns the identity of his rescuer, Saunders is held prisoner by the chaplain. The appearance of both Hanley and a German patrol put the decision of who lives and dies in other hands.


"The Chapel at Able-Five" provides a thought-provoking moral dilemma in the best tradition of the series. At first, the viewer may question whether the Chaplain is using Saunders, with no concern for his well-being. As the story progresses, the Chaplain's dilemma is how to save both charges that God has placed in his hands.

The interplay of the three characters is well written. It shows that all three characters (Saunders, Krauss, and Miller) are behaving in a moral manner, by their own standards of battlefield morality. All are willing to sacrifice their lives in the pursuit of a higher purpose. The two soldiers operate under the principle that it is better to sacrifice one or two soldiers so that the greater number can survive. Kraus is willing to commit murder to save his people, even to attack a priest; Saunders is willing to let a man bleed to death for the same purpose.

The chaplain thinks the soldiers are fools, so dedicated to destruction that they cannot see the waste. Fritz Weaver instills his chaplain with tenderness and understated power.


  • On radio, the captain says that he's King Two. Actually, he's King Six.
  • Filmed at Franklin Canyon
  • Saunders conveniently loses his .45 when the script calls for it.
  • The two Germans speak English among themselves.
  • For throwing himself on top of a live grenade, the Chaplain's body was amazingly in one piece.


Vic Morrow as Sgt. Saunders
Rick Jason as Lt. Hanley

Guest star
Fritz Weaver as Major Chaplain Ernest Miller

Jack Hogan as Kirby
Pierre Jalbert as Caje
Dick Peabody as Littlejohn
Conlan Carter as Doc

John Hudson as Captain Jampel
George Sawaya German Sergeant
(Note: Paul Busch also appears as a German sergeant)
Louis Elias as Pvt. David Cochran
David Armstrong as American Corporal
Jan Malmsjo as Captain Krauss

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Reading recommendations
by Combat! fans for Combat! fans

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Battlefield Chaplains:
Catholic Priests in World War II

by Donald F. Crosby

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Book Description
wpe12B.jpg (121584 bytes)"If death must come — then far better for it to come when I'm shoulder to shoulder with these men who are fighting to preserve our country. . . . They are going to know that, in spite of being 'scared as hell' like the rest of them, a Catholic Priest is still going ahead and doing his work."

Father James P. Flynn could have been speaking for the rest of the chaplain corps, for he and his comrades shared fully in the lot of the common soldier: in Pacific island jungles, Europe's battered cities, North African deserts, and the oceans in between. And like the common soldier, chaplains endured the same combat perils, exposure to the elements, internal conflicts, boredom, and intense longings for peace and home.

Father Donald Crosby chronicles the little-known but crucial wartime role of Catholic chaplains and celebrates their compassion, courage, good humor, and humility. Their wartime efforts saved lives, provided comfort and hope, and renewed lost faith in a dark time. In the process, he shows, they also forged the beginnings of what would become the widespread ecumenical spirit of cooperation among Catholics, Protestants, and Jews that followed the war's end.

Although Crosby praises their heroic efforts, very much like those of Protestant and Jewish chaplains, he reveals that they were subject to the same human frailties as the men they comforted. They were also intensely patriotic and raised few objections to the racist and propagandistic depictions of the enemy, to the massed bombings of German and Japanese cities, or even to the use of the atomic bomb at war's end. (On the other hand, they zealously opposed many of their charges' sexual activities, including the use of prophylactics.)

Drawing upon many previously untapped church and government archival sources, as well as extensive interviews, Crosby's study vividly portrays faith under fire and grace at groundlevel, reminding us again that "there are no atheists in foxholes."

From the back cover of Battlefield Chaplains : Catholic Priests in WWII

"A story both authentic and stirring. Under hostile fire, the chaplains risked their lives. They sought the wounded, the dying, and the dead who lay exposed and helpless. They succored them, rescued them, brought them back to medical aid stations, and prayed over them. They buried bodies and wrote to the families of the deceased. . . . Crosby's words will bring lumps to the throat, tears to the eyes, and a sense of wonder and joy for their heroism."--Martin Blumenson, author of The Patton Papers

"Crosby captures the experience of war from the grass roots: the human agony, fearful anticipation, omnipresent danger, and the overwhelming reality of death, and he demonstrates the crucial role played by chaplains. This is a significant contribution to the field of American Catholic and religious history. Scholars and general readers alike will find it fascinating because of the compelling personalities and dramatic anecdotes."--David J. O'Brien, author of Public Catholicism

"Unsentimental and realistic in his approach, painstaking in his research, and stirring in his presentation, Crosby has given us a story never before told. And he has done so in a style characteristic of the finest examples of America's vast World War II literature."--Eric Hammel, author of Guadalcanal: Starvation Island

300 pages
Dimensions (in inches): 0.81 x 9.02 x 6.04
Publisher: Univ Pr of Kansas
ISBN: 0700608141

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