poll_process(83); ?> View comments

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]

Back Up Next
reviews by Jo DavidsmeyerEpisodes rated from 0 to 4 bayonets

Vic Morrow and Geraldine Brooks in "The Walking Wounded"(018) The Walking Wounded

Rating: 3 bayonets
* * *

First aired: April 30, 1963

Syndication order: 18
Season: One, Episode 30

Written & Directed by:
Burt Kennedy

Produced by:
Burt Kennedy


"The Walking Wounded" shows us Saunders' almost messianic drive to get those around him to not just live up to their potential but to exceed their own expectations. He demands the best and noblest from everyone--and you damned well earn his ire and his contempt if you don't give it. In "The Walking Wounded" Saunders is at his most evangelical, forcing a trio of broken souls to meet the exacting moral standards of a certain blond buck Sergeant--in the process healing their wounds and allowing them to re-discover their own moral center and inner strength. Walking Wounded is a remarkable piece of theater and a moving morality play. The bulk of the credit for the success of this episode must go to Burt Kennedy, who wrote, directed, and produced the episode.

Director Robert Altman claimed credit for forming the character of the TV series Combat! But I disagree. Altman established the visual look and feel of the show, the style. But I believe we owe the heart and the soul of both Saunders and Combat! to the work of Burt Kennedy. For Altman, Saunders was a living martyr to war--a perpetual victim. It was under Kennedy that Saunders developed the moral integrity, the search for something larger and greater to come out of the tragedy and death that surrounded him. Kennedy's Saunders, even when not in control of his situation, was always in control of his own soul, and ultimately, his own destiny. The three scripts by Kennedy ( "The Walking Wounded," and "Next in Command") deal with the theme of coming to grips with living and dying. The three episodes show soldiers walking the edge, determining for themselves whether they will be destroyed or strengthened by war.

Sometimes it's difficult to adore Saunders. He has an annoying tendency to look at everything in absolutes. He is always certain of his own moral rectitude -- he's right, you're usually wrong, and there's no middle ground. His is a world of moral absolutes, no room for discussion, and he's quick to jump to judgment for those who don't live the gospel according to Saunders. This is certainly behavior I would find annoying in a friend, dangerous in a politician, and socially unacceptable at my dinner table. Worse, he usually knows better than yourself what's right for you. He'll insist you do what's right (by his standards), even if it means risking your life on a hopeless quest. He's an impossible creature! And just the type of man I'd want leading me if I was ordered to take a hill. Certainly the man I'd want to be driving my ambulance when a know-it-all doctor has written me off.

Sorry, I've leapt upon my soapbox again. This has turned more into an essay than a review. Okay, some quick review stuff. The lighting throughout is rich and sumptuous, especially the scene in the hayloft, and on any close-up of Geraldine Brooks. Kennedy films her beautifully, always having a bit of a halo effect about her face--so much so that I found it annoying. About as annoying as the little dog. Saunders is noble enough for four characters in this episode, did he have to prove he's nice to dogs, too?

But those are minor distractions from a powerful and thought- provoking story. Morrow is remarkable in this episode, portraying with an all-consuming tenderness this soldier who possesses a moral code more unwavering than any old testament prophet's. There's no velvet glove on his steel fist, but still he conveys the compassion behind each brutal act of kindness.

Odd notes:

  • Okay, I understand why the outside of Saunders' pants leg was cut, to access the bullet wound and bandage it. Why was the INSIDE of the pants leg also cut? There's no bandage there. Was Doc getting a bit touchy-feely?
  • Saunders rolls downhill into barbed-wire and doesn't get any scratches?
  • how come the burning truck carrying the fuel barrels never explodes?
  • CONTINUITY: After the driver changes the tire, he gets in the front of the truck with Saunders; next scene Saunders is driving alone.
  • Call me a curmudgeon, but I hate cute dogs.
  • Speaking of the cute dog, wasn't it disgustingly adorable when Saunders removed his jacket to cover up the dog at night in the hayloft? But when he wakes in the morning, he's got the jacket on. I guess he must have ripped the coat off the shivering dog's body during the night.
  • Toward the end of the episode, when Saunders is filling the radiator with water, he complains that "The radiator's all shot up." Duh! Should have thought of that before you sprayed the truck with your Tommy Gun, Sarge.
  • The driver of the half-track is listed in the credits as "Tanker". Are half-track drivers also referred to as tankers? The major and lieutenant in the jeep both have dialog, but are uncredited.
  • It begins to rain while Saunders is riding in the ambulance. When he gets out of the ambulance, he is already wet.

  • Cast Credits

    Rick Jason
    as Lt. Hanley

    Vic Morrow
    as Sgt. Saunders

    Special Guest Star
    Gary Merrill as Capt. August

    Geraldine Brooks as Lt. Ann Hunter

    Steven Rogers as Doc
    Pierre Jalbert as Caje
    Dick Peabody as Littlejohn

    Steven Joyce .... Jones
    George Davis .... Old Frenchman
    David Manley .... Tanker
    Berkeley Harris .... Pvt. John Lee

    Dialog Excerpts

    There comes a time when we have to make a choice. A choice as to who lives and who doesn't.
    I always thought that was up to somebody else.

    I've seen men with combat fatigue before. Good men. And they fall apart, never get the pieces back together. Not without help.
    You say you're trying to help the Captain?
    The only way I know how. By pushing him. And I'm going to keep pushing him 'til he breaks or finds enough spine to stand up on his hind legs and fight back.

    I'll tell you what this is all about. That could be me lying in that stretcher in there. And if it was, I wouldn't want to be counted out just because some know-it-all didn't think I had a chance.

    It's a funny thing, though, once you make up your mind to stand your ground, just once, you'll be surprised how easy it is after that.
    What happens if that time never comes?
    It will.
    What if it doesn't?
    Then you'll be fighting a war long after this one is over.
    Back Up Next

Related Reading about WWII Surgeons and Medics

Books about WWII doctors and combat Medics

Books about WWII nurses:

View comments about this Episode - add your own comment

Back Up Next


Military Magazines

Military Posters

Patriotic Jigsaw Puzzles

WWII Video Games

WWII toys

American Flag Jewelry


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 - 2017 by Jo Davidsmeyer.  All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy
File last updated December 21, 2015

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