British officer Sgt. Jack Moffitt is assigned to the Rat Patrol and must prove himself to a resistant Sgt. Troy. Moffitt's mission is to help the Rats locate a buried German supply dump before Dietrich's forces find it.
The Rat Patrol's U.S. Sgt. Sam Troy lets himself be captured as a ploy to take an Africa Korps General hostage. A Rat Patrol jeep frees Sgt. Troy, and grabs the General, but is blocked into a desert canyon behind German lines by Capt. Dietrich's mobile squad. How will the vastly outnumbered Rat Patrol escape, to complete its mission to blow up a Nazi munitions dump ?
Expert lock-pick Sgt. Frank Griffin's mission is to substitute a doctored map for the real one within a German officer's locked cabinet. The Rat Patrol's job is to get Griffin in and out of the seaside Nazi compound.
After liberating POWs, the Rat Patrol must transport to safety surly Sgt. Gribs, who possesses key information about Nazi troop movements. Along for the trip are Tex and Eddie, two privates determined to kill their sergeant for cowardice.
To knock out an Afrika Korps radar station, clearing the way for an Allied bombing raid, the Rat Patrol employs a new explosive. To get there in time, the Desert Rats must uncover an ancient shortcut through the mountains, made even more dangerous by the easily-upset French explosive, which is tossed like a snowball.
The Rat Patrol is taken prisoner by an embittered American soldier turned traitor. From his lavish desert compound he sells captured American weapons and equipment to the Germans. His proposition to Troy and Moffitt: Join me as partners.
The Rat Patrol undertakes an ambitious two-phase mission. First they must rescue an ailing French Resistance leader from a Nazi stronghold and second they must smuggle him aboard a trawler launching from a German-held lighthouse.
The Rats are given orders to liberate prisoners being used to keep a dock area vital to the Germans. The resistance contact Bertaine is organizing the fishing boats to transport the POWS but sacrifices himself to protect the mission.
El Gamil steps in, replacing Betraine, to aid the patrol liberate the POWS. Sgt. Troy secretly meets senior captured officer Major Indrus while Moffitt and Hitchcock connect with Betraine's daughter Marianne, a suspected collaborater.