Standartenführer Gortz was an SS officer serving in Italy. Following the surrender of Fascist Italy, the Italian military abandoned many of its prison camps. These camps then fell under the jurisdiction of Italy's ally, Germany. The inmates of one such prison camp, including US pilot Colonel Joseph L. Ryan and British officer Major Eric Fincham, were loaded onto a prison train commanded by Major von Klement.

Ryan and Fincham staged a revolt and took over the train and headed for neutral Switzerland. Gortz was tasked with bringing them in by his superior, Obergruppenführer von Kleist. He and his men commandeered a troop train and gave chase. At the border, the prisoners and the SS engaged in a firefight. A broken rail prevented the prison train from crossing into Switzerland, so, while half the prisoners fixed the tracks, the other half, led by Ryan and Fincham, held off Gortz and his men.

When the track was finished, the prisoners who'd been holding the Nazis off ran for the back of the moving train. Fincham made it. Ryan, who'd stopped to try and assist his fatally wounded fellow American Bostick, was lagging behind. The SS looked on in anger as their prey escaped, and Gortz, enraged, grabbed an MP40 from one of his men and fired off a burst into the fleeing Ryan's back. The American fell dead across the tracks. But it was only a pyrrhic victory; although Ryan lay dead, all Gortz could do was watch as the prison train safely made it out of Italy and into Switzerland.


  • Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
  • Iron Cross 1st Class
  • Iron Cross 2nd Class
  • Wound Badge (Silver)


  • He is twice referred to incorrectly as an Oberst, including one time by himself.
  • He is played by John Van Dreelen.