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Operation Hannibal

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OperationHannibal2
Series: Hogan's Heroes
Episode: Operation Hannibal
Original Airdate: January 18, 1969
Production Number: 5784-110
Written by: Laurence Marks
Directed by: Bruce Bilson
Produced by: Edward H. Feldman & William A. Calihan

Regular Edit

Prisoners Edit

Camp Personnel Edit

Semi-Regulars Edit

Guest Stars Edit

Synopsis Edit

Hogan and the daughter of a German General try to photograph her father's plans designed to prolong the war.

Plot Details Edit

The episode opens overlooking a rich mansion. Inside, General Kurt von Behler is in discussion with a Wehrmacht captain over Operation Hannibal, a plan which has taken two years to create and would guarantee a German victory, as Behler triumphantly declares. The two officers are served coffee by Behler's daugther, Hedy. She asks him not to work too hard, and Behler remarks to the captain that she is truly in charge of the house as she leaves.

The prisoners of Stalag 13 meanwhile are working on the local railroad lines. Schultz compliments the prisoners for their work and Hogan remarks that the prisoners want the lines to look good for when the Aliies bomb them. As Schultz and Hogan warm themselves at a nearby stove fire, they (and all the prisoners) notice Hedy von Behler arriving on a bicycle. She is there ostensibly to give sandwiches for the prisoners, which Schultz flatly denies as it is against his orders. Even dropping her father's name fails to change the heavyset sergeant's mind, though he does remark that it is not against orders for him to receive a sandwich. Hedy simply states that there is enough for everyone and hands a particular one to LeBeau who is arrested by Schultz for disobeying orders. The prisoners all laugh at this, with Hogan quipping that Schultz will have eaten the evidence the moment they all turn their backs.

Later at Stalag 13, LeBeau's court martial is underway. Klink acts as if the matter is a serious one whereas LeBeau and Hogan poke fun at the trial at every turn. When Klink presses LeBeau into making a plea, Hogan insists LeBeau cannot answer as it will incriminate him. Klink protests due to that being part of American law but Hogan tells Klink to get used to the idea. Klink then proceeds to sentence LeBeau to five days in the cooler, and despite Hogan's protest that the trial was unfair given that Klink was prosecutor, judge AND jury, Klink merely laughs it off declaring that he has never lost a case. But his moment in the spotlight is ruined as he finds Schultz eating the previously untouched sandwich.

A little later, Carter works on ironing the paper the sandwich was wrapped with (which Hogan stole during the trial) figuring Hedy has given them a message with lemon juice. He and Newkirk have a discussion about the price of lemons in winter before delivering the message to Hogan. It calls for the Heroes to make contact for some vital information and a recognition code "I am the phoenix" and "I rise in flames." Hogan thinks the information will be important indeed, given that her father is on Hitler's planning staff, and she always gives good information in any case (though never anything that could harm her father). Newkirk characteristically volunteers for the mission, but Hogan declines the offer as he feels his own expertise will be required. Hogan decides that he must go as a Luftwaffe officer with appropriate identification papers and a uniform, but another issue arises of what he will do if General von Behler decides to check his identity further. Newkirk again volunteers, insisting he could talk with Hedy without Behler noticing, and act like an officer at the same time. Carter laughs at the plan, citing that no one would believe Newkirk was an officer and sarcastically suggests Newkirk pretend he's Klink. The suggestion does however give Hogan an idea, he will go not as Klink, but Captain Gruber (Klink's adjutant). Gruber is ideal as he is on leave in Berlin, and Hogan knows as much of Stalag 13 as he does. With the matter settled, Hogan orders the Heroes to set up a switchboard in the tunnels and monitor Klink's calls to run interference if General von Behler tries to inquire about "Gruber."

After a uniform and identity cards are made up, Hogan journeys to the Behler residence and meets with Hedy. After giving her the recognition code and a small conversation, they are met by General von Behler who knows "that jackass" Klink personally and asks if he is still in command of Stalag 13. Though disappointed to hear that he is, he appreciates "Gruber's" assertion that Klink is a "fine officer" as Behler admires soldiers who defend their superiors (which is not easy with Klink). Behler leaves the two alone and they discuss the matter at hand on the terrace: General von Behler has completed Operation Hannibal a plan for organised guerilla warfare. Hogan immediately understands the problem, as guerilla warfare could extend the war for years. Hedy shows Hogan the balcony to her father's office, and tells him the plans are in his safe. The general meanwhile calls Stalag 13 and speaks with Klink aka Carter who does a crude but accurate impression of the Prussian Kommandant. Behler asks several pointed questions to verify "Gruber" but "Klink" answers them all appropriately, even praising "Gruber" as having a heart of gold, nerves of steel and muscles of iron, which causes Behler to hang up and leave his office. Hogan wants to try steal the plans immediately but Hedy insists the job be done her way, as she is the only one who will give the safe combination. Behler will be hosting a party the coming Saturday evening, and Hedy insists the plans be photocopied, not stolen, on that date. However, should Hogan or his men be discovered, she will not protect him as her loyalty is to her father. Hogan agrees to the conditions and makes his way back to camp.

Hogan goes over the plan with Carter and Newkirk on a hand-drawn diagram of the house. Carter and LeBeau are to scale the balcony to the general's office, photocopy the plans and get out of the office the same way as they got in. Newkirk is to stay at camp and use the switchboard to run interference in case anything goes wrong. Carter expresses reservations as he didn't do well on the obstacle course in basic training, but Hogan remarks that now is his chance to make a comeback. He then gives Carter a copy of the safe combination, telling him to memorise and eat (Hogan also has to stop Carter from eating the combintion first).

An unshaven LeBeau is released from the cooler and told his part in the plan, though he expresses reservations and sarcastically asks if Hogan thinks he is a one man army, he finds courage when Hogan insists he is a "small, delicate, efficient little army."

Hogan arrives for the party on Saturday evening and converses with Hedy. A guard has been posted on the terrace and another one is guarding the office door. Hogan remarks that the reason Germany is losing the war is that all the troops are on guard duty instead of being on the Front. As H-Hour for their operation begins, Carter and LeBeau emerge from their hiding places and Hedy and Hogan enter Behler's office long enough to place a rope for the two Heroes on the balcony. 

Just as everything seems to be going well, a staff car arrives and a certain 300 pound sergeant steps out to open the door for a certain Prussian colonel. Klink (who apparently has been invited) immediately stamps on Schultz' ideas of accompanying him as an aide (or rather, so he can get to the buffet table) and orders him to wait in the car. 

Hedy brings the terrace guard a plate of food and some wine, which he cheerily eats, giving LeBeau and Carter enough time to scale the balcony unseen.  However, General von Behler steps into his office for a cigar and the two Heroes manage to hide with seconds to spare before the general smokes his cigar on the balcony. Though they manage to stay hidden, all seems lost when the general locks the balcony behind him, but thankfully the watchful Hedy, under the guise of fetching her father for some guests, manages to subtly unlock the balcony door.

Klink in the meantime is trying to cozy up to a female guest by getting her a drink, but as he does so, he spots Hogan and accidentally bumps into General von Behler as he tries to get a better look. Hogan takes the time to slink off as Klink tries to toady to the general, causing him to leave Klink for some much needed drinks. 

LeBeau and Carter meanwhile have finished photographing the plans and are ready to scale down to the terrace, one problem stands in their way however, as the guard has finished his dinner and is enjoying some wine, but is now looking in their direction. Being unable to proceed, they receive another lucky break when "Captain Gruber" comes to the rescue and berates the guard for drinking on duty. So well does Hogan play his part that the guard remains distracted for several seconds even after Hogan and the Heroes have left.

Hogan returns to his borrowed staff car and confirms with LeBeau and Carter. He is soon joined by Hedy who asks if they will see each other again. Hogan is doubtful as he cannot continue acting as Captain Gruber, citing that "my mother would never understand." The two suddenly embrace as Klink walks by, and then kiss just before Carter reminds Hogan that they have to leave. Hogan asks if an American can be sent to the Russian Front before kissing Hedy once again. 

Klink returns to Stalag 13 to be greeted by the real Captain Gruber, who has just returned. Klink asks Gruber why he said he was going to Berlin on his leave, which Gruber insists that was where he went to. Klink also asks about his romance with Hedy, which Gruber naturally knows nothing about. Klink thinks Gruber is merely trying to cover up the issue, and simply asks that he be allowed to go with his adjutant the next time he visits Hedy (so that he has an excuse to curry favour with the general). Klink then speaks with Hogan who has arrived to deliver a medical supply requisition. The Kommandant wonders why Gruber won't help him when he (supposedly) has given Gruber everything. Hogan professes that one can never truly know another person, prompting Klink to ask if he actually knows Hogan. The wily colonel simply replies that he has no secrets as he passes all secrets along whenever he hears them, leaving the hapless Klink much confused.

Story Notes Edit

  • This is the one hundred and tenth episode of the series, but is the one hundredth and ninth episode to be shown on television and is the seventeenth episode shown for the Fourth Season.
  • Ivan Dixon does not appear in this episode.
  • This is the first time that Hogan impersonates Captain Gruber, second-in-command at Stalag 13.
  • Carter vocally impersonates Klink in this episode over the telephone, and does so surprisingly accurately.
  • This is the third and final appearance in the series of Louise Troy, who has earlier appeared in the episodes The Flight of the Valkyrie and Axis Annie as Baroness Lili and Anna Gebhart respectively.
  • This is also the third and final series appearance of Captain Fritz Gruber (Dick Wilson), though perhaps chronologically his second, the third being The Missing Klink, believed to have taken place towards the end of 1944.

Timeline Notes and Speculations Edit

  • This takes place in early 1944, probably sometime in March. Klink states that Hogan has been a POW for two years, yet it is cold enough for Hogan to offer Hedy his overcoat when the two of them are outside together. This would imply that the episode takes place either early or late in the year. An early date appears more likely, since it seems that the Allied invasion of Europe has not yet taken place. Also, with Gruber's presence, this had to have taken place shortly after Don't Forget to Write when the officer first came to Stalag 13, also believed to have taken place in March of 1944.
  • Hedy von Behler (the daughter of German army strategist General von Behler) has been feeding the Allies high-grade intelligence culled directly from her father's top-secret files "for the better part of a year."
  • SPECULATION: Hedy von Behler states that Operation Hannibal "could ruin any chance of a negotiated peace." This remark might place her squarely among the Beck-Goerdeler-Hassell wing of the anti-Hitler conspiracy, as that was one of its chief aims.

Quotes Edit

Bloopers Edit

  • "Operation Hannibal", the supposed plan for extended guerrilla warfare by the Wehrmacht, shares only its name with the real-life "Operation Hannibal", wherein German troops and civilians were evacuated from Courland, East Prussia and the Polish Corridor by sea from January 13th to May 8th, 1945, the day the war ended. During the operation, 161 vessels carrying refugees were sunk...only one of which was an actual military transport. Two, the Gustloff and the Steuben, were luxury liners, and the rest were merchant vessels.
  • In the last scene, when the camera faces Hogan's face, the lighting is clearly from his left. When the camera is showing Hogan from behind the lighting is from his right.

External links Edit


Previous episode:
Who Stole My Copy of Mein Kampf?
Next episode:
My Favorite Prisoner

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