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Colonel Mario Girotti was not really much of a soldier. He was more than happy to be stuck in the North African desert, in charge of a rarely-used railway station. He spent his days listening to classical music on his trusty gramophone or reading poetry.
But the culture-loving Italian's peaceful war was rudely interrupted by the arrival of a group of his fellow countrymen, followed by some Nazis, all bent on escaping the oncoming British onslaught with some looted priceless treasure and, naturally enough, they wanted one of Mario's trains.
Mario decided that maybe the time was right to fight after all!