No way this movie can be watched as a pure war movie, the humour, the characters, hell, even the music, everything is so completely off the mark of objectiveness we can only take it as a satirical piece using WWII to comment on modern times (that is, the Vietnam era).
Anyway, using the famed German gold as the object of desire, Clint Eastwood convinces his platoon sergeant, played by Telly Savalas, to go 30 miles deep into enemy lines to get 16 million dollars in solid gold bars... But for that they are going to need more than good will and a few men...
What about some tanks? Enter Donald Sutherland, tank commander, hippie (in the 40's!), and all around crazy, with his squad of Shermans, properly disguised, and carrying several unauthorized "special" weapons.
And support? Enter Don Rickles, con-man, always looking out for a deal, and with a soft spot in his heart, whenever he isn't grumbling about something.
Then there is the rest of the whole Army, from the graves registration office up to the General, including a band! Everyone wants to get in on the act. Even the Germans, once they know what's in that bank, and after a showdown suitable to a western, completely out of place in a war flick...
The whole movie goes around with small jokes and satirical characters, but when it tries to get serious it becomes serious (in one small scene on a mined field).
A parade of gags around a serious theme, well worth seeing it!