The real life of the recently departed Robert, Count de la Rochefoucauld, makes “Mission: Impossible” look like a walk in the park. This is only one thing he did:
Dropped into the Morvan with two British agents, including one radio operator, La Rochefoucauld teamed up with a Maquis group near Avallon led by a man who called himself The Pope. After destroying the electrical substation at Avallon, and blowing up railway tracks, La Rochefoucauld was awaiting exfiltration by the RAF when he was denounced and arrested. After a series of interrogations, he was condemned to death.
En route to his execution in Auxerre, La Rochefoucauld made a break, leaping from the back of the truck carrying him to his doom, and dodging the bullets fired by his two guards. Sprinting through the empty streets, he found himself in front of the Gestapo’s headquarters, where a chauffeur was pacing near a limousine bearing the swastika flag. Spotting the key in the ignition, La Rochefoucauld jumped in and roared off, following the Route Nationale past the prison he had left an hour earlier.
He smashed through a roadblock before dumping the car and circling back towards Auxerre on foot under cover of night. He sheltered with an epicier. From Auxerre, friends in the Resistance helped him on to a train for Paris, where he evaded German soldiers hunting him by curling up underneath the sink in the lavatory. “When we arrived in Paris I felt drunk with freedom,” he recalled.
Via The Browser. Do, do, do read the whole thing; the Comte de la Rochefoucauld did a hundred things just as daring during the war. The man may have been an aristocrat, but he was also a complete badass. Make a movie of his life, somebody!
UPDATE: I should point out, though the point is so obvious it shouldn’t be necessary, that La Rochefoucauld’s story is morally complicated, to say the least, by much later in life his having helped the Nazi collaborator and Jew-killer Maurice Papon escape to Switzerland. But that does not mean that the things the man did for the Resistance in the Second World War weren’t absolutely breathtaking in their heroism. And that’s what I want to draw attention to.