An out-of-his-depth oil executive, Capt. Douglas (Michael Caine), is ordered to guide a tough band of convicts, including the cynical and possibly treacherous Capt. Leech (Nigel Davenport), to destroy a Nazi fuel depot in North Africa during World War II. Though it's probably a suicide mission, it has to be completed. But the mission, the enemy and the brutal desert aren't the only things Douglas has to worry about, as it becomes clear that Leech is undermining his authority at every turn.