Led by a former Senator from Tennessee, Luke Lea, a handful of American soldiers take leave over the New Year’s holiday and drive up to the Netherlands with the aim of kidnapping Kaiser Wilhelm II. The Dutch envoy in Brussels gives them a laissez-passer and authorises them to enter his country in uniform. When they get to Amerongen Castle, they brandish the document but fail to convince Count Bentinck’s son to let them meet the Kaiser in person. The Dutch are suspicious, and surround the castle with troops, forcing the Americans to retreat, stealing a monogrammed ashtray on their way out. The US Army holds a disciplinary inquiry, but Lea and his cohorts get little more than a slap on the wrist. They return to civilian life at home and boast of their adventure.
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