Highly skilled in boxing, brutally strong and able to soak up and deliver blows that should have felled any man, the muscular sergeant was able to best Indiana Jones in hand-to-hand combat before he was torn to shreds by one of the airplane's propellers.
From a small town in Bavaria, Germany, the man who would become chief mechanic of the Tanis excavation was a prizefighter back home, being boxing his hobbie. By 1936, he had become a sergeant in the Nazi Wehrmacht that worked on the expedition in Egypt to unearth the Ark of the Covenant.
The day on which the Ark was recovered out from under the Nazis by the American archaeologist Indiana Jones at the Well of the Souls, the huge Bavarian emerged from his hut on the airstrip of the Flying Wing to find Jones brawling with the mechanic in charge of refueling the plane who was trying to stop the archaeologist taking control of the vehicle.
Apparently eager for a fight, the mechanic took off his shirt and his cap and stepped in after his companion had been taken down by Jones, challenging the American to a fistfight. Jones, who had been trying to take the Flying Wing's pilot unawares, resigned himself into accepting the fight with the mechanic.
Although he easily outmatched Jones, the mechanic unintentionally saved the archaeologist's life at one point. When the pilot was about to shoot Jones, the mechanic unknowingly stepped in between Jones and the pilot, blocking his line of fire before he was knocked unconscious by Marion Ravenwood. Although Jones' blows eventually managed to break the Nazi's nose, they had little effect as the man effortlessly overpowered Jones, pummeling him and knocking him to the ground several times.
Finding the challenge all too easy, the mechanic ordered the archaeologist to fight back, unaware that the rotating plane was drawing the propellers ever closer. Bemused by Jones ducking for safety, the mechanic turned around to look behind him and was immediately cut down by the spinning blades.
Personality and traits
A huge Bavarian man, the German Mechanic rarely wore his uniform while working at the Tanis digsite, usually walking around shirtless or with the shirt unbuttoned, as shown when he appeared on scene to face Indiana Jones at the airstrip.
The German Mechanic loved boxing a lot. He kept in shape via a punching bag located in the mechanics' shed and sparring with his fellow soldiers. When he witnessed Jones fighting against one of his fellows, he saw the opportunity to beat up the American to show his skills, though unfortunately for him, this fight turned out to be his last.
Behind the scenes
The German Mechanic was played by the late stuntman and professional wrestler Pat Roach in Raiders of the Lost Ark. In addition to the mechanic, he also played the Giant Sherpa in the same film and later went to portray the Chief Guard in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and the Gestapo in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Despite being credited as "1st Mechanic", Roach's character is actually the second of the two mechanics to appear onscreen.
In Campbell Black's novelization, this mechanic is described as being a young man with tattoos, thought of as a kid by Marion Ravenwood. He is not as tough as he is in the film, but is nonetheless persistent in his fight with Indiana Jones. Although in the film he overpowers Indy and knocks him to the ground before being killed by the Flying Wing's propellers, Indy punches him into the propeller in the novel, reflecting an earlier version of Lawrence Kasdan's script. In the comic book adaptation, the German Mechanic's demise is notably different. There he is knocked out by the chocks of the Flying Wing, firing his gun into the plane's fuel tank which causes an explosion which kills him and his companion in the process.
In Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures, the plane fight is omitted, but the German Mechanic still appears in Cairo as an end of level boss in the streets at night, which occurs before Indy finds the Well of Souls. As the player jumps on a horsecart, the mechanic hops on and kicks away the player's gun, and the player is forced to have a fist fight with the mechanic. It's possible for Indy to defeat him without getting hurt, unlike Indy's confrontation with him in the film. When he dies, the level is accomplished.
In the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! at Disney World, the second German Mechanic is absent from the plane fight scene. The German Mechanic is thus the one who spots Indy while working on the plane's wing. He is also directing traffic for the Flying Wing as it prepares to land. Roach reprised his role as the mechanic until his death in 2004. The mechanic's death alternates in different performances of the show; he either meets his film demise of being killed by the Flying Wing's propellers (accomplished through a trapdoor) or is accidentally shot by Marion with the Flying Wing's gun.
The Mechanic appears with the name of "Enemy Boxer" as an end-of-level boss in LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures who can only be defeated when the player is carrying an anvil. Like in Greatest Aventures, it is possible for Indy to defeat him without getting hurt. After he is defeated, he is accidentally beheaded by the propellers and in a some comical way, his headless body tries to recover his head, which jumps in the floor. Although playable in the game's sequel, the Mechanic is absent from the story along with the Flying Wing sequence.
- Raiders of the Lost Ark novel (First appearance)
- Raiders of the Lost Ark
- Raiders of the Lost Ark comic
- Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark junior novel
- Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures
- LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures (Non-canonical appearance) (As "Enemy Boxer")
- LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues (Non-canonical appearance) (As "Enemy Boxer")
- Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings (Indirect mention)
- Raiders of the Lost Ark Sourcebook (As "Chief Mechanic")