LOGLINE: During an operation to send out twenty Allied soldiers, two of them attempt an early escape and are nearly captured.
LeBeau leaves the camp to dig for mushrooms when he’s accosted by two American soldiers, Braden and Mills, who tell him they’ve escaped from Stalag 9 and need to talk to Hogan about setting it up. LeBeau asks them if they have a reservation, that they’re backed up until New Year’s Eve, but agrees to take them to see Hogan. One of them whistles and eighteen additional POW’s emerge from the dark.
LeBeau brings the twenty escapees in through the tunnel and up into the barracks, where Hogan explains that they normally help one or two at a time, and that this will be the first venture into the wholesale business. Newkirk will get them clothes, Carter will be responsible for furnishing them with forged papers and money, and Kinch will call and arrange a submarine to pick them up, "a big one, with a trailer." Braden seems upset that it will take so long for all of them to be outfitted and dispatched, and Mills explains that he’s "rock happy" (i.e. stir crazy).
Klink gets a call from General Burkhalter telling him about the escape, and that the kommandant has been sent to the Russian front. Burkhalter orders him to look out for the escapees and not to let down his guard against his own prisoners. (Klink is his usual obsequious self, reminding the General for the unpteenth time that "there has never been a successful escape from Stalag 13.") Klink asks to speak to Hogan, who has been in the outer office, necking with Helga as he tries to find out why Klink wanted to see him.
Klink tells Hogan about the escape and warns him not to get any ideas about escaping themselves and not to get any ideas about tunneling out. Naturally he reassures the kommandant that neither will happen, because "who’d want to leave all this beauty?" On his way out of Klink’s office, he asks how the men from Stalag 9 escaped. After Klink tells him they dug a tunnel and warns him not to get any ideas, Hogan says that they’ll use a helicopter.
That night in the tunnel, Braden wakes Mills and tells him that a water truck from a nearby construction site stops at the camp to refill daily, and that if they can get into the truck and into the tank, they’ll be able to escape. Mills says that Hogan and crew will be getting them out, but Braden persists. Here’s what happens the next day…
The next day, Hogan comes into the barracks and gets upset when he sees the Heroes sitting around playing cards. Carter says they’re all ready, and even moved the entrance to the tunnel. Hogan searches the barracks, but can’t find the entrance, which Carter and Newkirk reveal is under a wash basin.
The escapees are lined up in the barracks, dressed as German civilians, and Hogan sends LeBeau down into the tunnel to coordinate things at the other end. The escapees follow him down into the tunnel. LeBeau climbs up the ladder to ground level and dscovers two German soldiers right outside the entrance. He runs back and tells Hogan, who decides to "exchange one end of the tunnel for the other," and tells him, Carter, and Newkirk to go to the other end and give themselves up. They are not happy about that: Carter wants a transfer to the Paratroopers, and LeBeau asks what happens in the US Army if one shoots an officer, claiming that in his Army they get the Croix de Guerre.
Hogan tells Braden to get the rest of his men into the tunnel, and when he heard two stomps on the floor above, move the men out.
Carter, Newkirk, and LeBeau pop out of the tunnel and, as requested, get captured. Klink, half dressed, demands to know where the other end of the tunnel is, andNewkirk tells him, under "duress," that it’s in hut number three.
Hogan, Kinch, and the rest of the residents of hut number three are putting on the show of closing up the tunnel as Klink, Schultz, and the rest of the guards arrive. As he talks with Hogan, he struggles with putting on his boots. Schultz tries to help him, but he loses his patience and stomps twice on the floor to get his boot on, starting the escapees on their way. As punishment, Klink makes the Heroes fill in the tunnel, then sentences them all to 30 days in the cooler. As his men are being led off, Klink wants to know if Hogan would like to join them. Hogan says he’d like to, but he has to wait for the helicopter…
- Bob Crane as Hogan
- Werner Klemperer as Klink
- John Banner as Schultz
- Robert Clary as LeBeau
- Richard Dawson as Newkirk
- Ivan Dixon as Kinchloe
- Larry Hovis as Carter
- Cynthia Lynn as Helga
- Robert Hogan as Braden
- Dennis Robertson as Mills
Bernard Fein, one of the creators of the series, was a friend of Robert Hogan (the actor), and named Bob Crane’s character after him.
Coming up: Episode 16, "Anchors Aweigh, Men of Stalag 13."