Task Force Baum: Patton's Top Secret Raid
(Original Title: Road to Hammelburg)
Finalist in the 2012 (Road to Hammelburg) & 2014 Creative World Awards Screenwriting Competition
Written by JD Lock, A World War II story based on actual events.
Tagline: Outgunned, betrayed and alone, duty was all that remained.
Logline: In the waning days of World War II, a fearless Jewish US Army captain finds himself fighting both General George S. Patton and the German army on a Top-Secret raid to liberate a Nazi POW camp 50 miles behind enemy lines.
As World War II winds down in Europe, Lt. General GEORGE S. PATTON, Jr., hastily orders a raid to liberate a Nazi POW camp 50 miles behind German lines, located in the vicinity of the town of Hammelburg. He chooses D-Day veteran and battle-tested Captain ABRAHAM BAUM, a heavily decorated Jew from the Bronx, to command the unsupported task force and sends his aide, Major ALEXANDER STINER, along as liaison and unsuspecting insurance.
Believing an ulterior motive but unable to determine the true purpose of the mission, Baum, contrary to military intelligence reports that he’d only encounter “light resistance” along the route of advance, finds himself leading and fighting his unsupported, small armored command of 54 vehicles and 307 battle-weary men, through a gauntlet of ever increasingly destructive German forces, to include deadly German tank destroyers. Along the way, Baum clashes with Stiner, who withholds vital information and continually questions Baum’s command decisions.
After 16 hours of nearly continuous combat, the badly mauled task force finally overruns the Hammelburg POW camp and frees 1,300 American POWs, many more than expected.
Only then does Stiner reveal the real reason for the raid—to rescue Patton’s son-in-law, Lt. Colonel JOHN WATERS. Waters, however, is seriously wounded during the camp battle. Angry, exhausted and wounded himself, Baum prepares his men to fight their way back to American lines with only 300 of the POWs, the most he can transport. While one of those 300 POWs is Ernest Hemingway's son, Lieutenant JACK HEMINGWAY, an OSS operative, none are John Waters, who must be left behind given his near mortal wounds.
Withdrawing shortly after having captured the POW camp, the embattled American command encounters enemy ambush after ambush. With no help coming from U.S. forces, Baum must find a way to break out, or else.
Seeking to reorganize, Baum’s battered command unknowingly bivouacs on a German training area tank gunnery range during the early morning hours, while large enemy armored and infantry forces silently encircle them. At dawn, the remnants of Task Force Baum begin to move again, literally minutes before the savage enemy onslaught begins. As Nazi infantry closes in, Stiner confesses his respect for Baum’s leadership under impossible circumstances and apologizes for failing to tell him up front the truth about the mission.
Nearly 32 hours into the mission, Baum’s force is finally overwhelmed and virtually annihilated. The remaining task force survivors, including the badly wounded Baum and Stiner, become POWs in the very camp they had liberated just hours before. Only 15 of Baum’s men eventually escape and return to friendly lines.
To cover up the disaster, Patton classifies the raid “Top Secret,” which remained that way for nearly 30 years. Writing in his diary shortly after the failed raid, Patton conceded that he knew “of no error I made throughout the war except of failing to send a larger Combat Command to Hammelburg.”