Private Snafu has a secret: his ship leaves for Africa at 4:30. He's determined to keep it, but bit by bit it slips out, and eventually, the details end up right on Hitler's desk and the ship is engaged.
Often even the most seemingly trivial information can be vital
This is one of a series of training films done by Warner Brothers during World War II under a contract with the US Army and featuring Private Snafu. There will be spoilers ahead:
Private Snafu is the worst soldier in the army and is typically used as an example of what not to do in a given circumstance. Here, he inadvertently triumphs over his own innate incompetence. sloth and stupidity to provide vital information used to locate and destroy a Japanese fleet. True to form, Snafu is completely oblivious to everything.
The short opens on Snafu on a tiny island somewhere in the Pacific after 249 days as a spotter. He has a seagull for a mate and the seagull works harder at the assignment than Snafu. The bird also chain-smokes and buries trash in piles around the island while Snafu lays in his hammock, gripes and sleeps the day away, dreaming of a pinup girl.
The bird finds a can floating on the tide. It's a can of "Fish Eyes with Rice" and stamped on the bottom is "Hon. K Ration Japanese Imperial Fleet", which the bird immediately realizes is important. Snafu, on the other hand, can't be bothered and tells the bird to junk it.
Meanwhile, his commanders have lost track if the Japanese fleet and send out a radio message calling on all outposts to report on anything they've seen or heard. Snafu files the most ridiculously conceived report imaginable, closing with the finding of the can, which immediately sparks interest back at HQ. The bird finds the can once again and Snafu, still completely ignorant of its significance, reads the label and information on the can, which leads to the destruction of the fleet. The short closes with Snafu still completely in the dark, as he will undoubtedly be for all eternity.
This short is available on various DVDs and also online. It's well worth tracking down. Recommended.
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