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In 1942 Maj. Donald Craig of the British North African Army is captured by the Vichy French and then rescued by German-born Palestinian Jews working with the Allies. He is taken to the headquarters of Col. John Harker, who explains to him that because of his knowledge of desert topography he is needed for a potentially suicidal raid on the fuel bunkers at Tobruk, a Mediterranean seaport and Rommel's key supply source occupied by German and Italian troops. The plan is to proceed to Tobruk by having the Palestinian Jews, under the command of Capt. Kurt Bergman, pose as German soldiers escorting a battalion of British prisoners. In the course of their long journey across the Libyan Desert, the men trick Italian and German tank units into firing upon each other, shoot down an Allied strafing plane rather than reveal their identity, and capture two Nazi civilian spies. When the spies escape, it becomes apparent to Harker and Craig that one of their group is a traitor, and Bergman becomes the chief suspect. Upon reaching Tobruk, Craig and Harker lead the attack on the fuel depot and the surrounding gun emplacements. In the heat of battle Bergman's second in command, Lieut. Max Mohnfeld, is exposed as the traitor. The intense fighting rages until dawn, and when the mission is completed, only 4 survivors remain of the 83 who started out on the expedition. They are picked up by a small boat from one of the ships in the British task force and evacuated by sea.