- "Gobler is Dietrich's aide who constantly follows his senior officer about the German encampment and the Tanis excavation. I think he actually annoys the Colonel."
- ―René Emile Belloq[src]
Gobler was a Nazi Major and Colonel Herman Dietrich's personal assistant in 1936. That year, he was among the German presence who attempted to unearth the Ark of the Covenant from the Well of the Souls at the ancient destroyed city of Tanis outside Cairo, Egypt. Gobler helped Dietrich, as well as the hired French archaeologist René Emile Belloq, oversee the digsite during the search for the ancient relic, following his Colonel around constantly to the extent that Belloq believed him to actually annoy his superior.
When the Germans were not making progress on locating the Ark, Gobler and Dietrich suggested that they interrogate the captive American bar owner Marion Ravenwood who had been in possession of the Headpiece to the Staff of Ra, an artefact briefly used in the Nazis’ search, for years, and Gestapo intelligence agent Major Arnold Ernst Toht was brought in to question her. However, as he did so to no avail, at the exact time American archaeologist Indiana Jones, Egyptian excavator Sallah Mohammed Faisel el-Kahir and eleven hired Arabic diggers including Sallah’s brother-in-law Omar dug up the Ark from the Well of the Souls which they had discovered separately, but soon they were stopped and the Nazis took the Ark for themselves, sealing the American archaeologist and Marion inside the Well and taking the native diggers captive.
With the American threat neutralised and the Ark in their possession, the Nazis prepared to fly it to Berlin, Germany aboard the Flying Wing airplane. However, shortly after an inspection of the plane by Gobler, the plane was destroyed by an escaped Jones and Ravenwood, and the Ark was instead to be transported to Cairo by a Mercedes-Benz LG3000 cargo truck. Gobler, a Lieutenant and a gunner drove a Mercedes-Benz G5 troop car alongside the truck to protect the Ark, but when Jones showed up and hijacked the truck, Gobler’s car ended up going over a cliff, destroying the vehicle and killing everyone inside.
Gobler was a Nazi Major, and served as the personal aide and right-hand-man of German Colonel Herman Dietrich. In 1936, during Adolf Hitler’s obsession with ancient relics and artefacts, Eidel assigned Dietrich to unearth the Ark of the Covenant from the Well of the Souls in the ancient destroyed city of Tanis outside Cairo, Egypt. With help from French archaeologist René Emile Belloq, Dietrich and Gobler set up a large Nazi digsite at Tanis with the Colonel’s men.
- "Perhaps the girl can help."
"My thinking exactly. She was in possession of the original piece for years."
- ―Gobler and Herman Dietrich[src]
Under the command of Colonel Dietrich and Frenchman Belloq, Gobler helped his superiors in overseeing the digsite at Tanis. He always stayed by his Colonel’s side, following him around constantly to the extent that Belloq suspected that he may have even annoyed Dietrich. After Nazi Gestapo intelligence agent Major Arnold Ernst Toht failed to gain the Headpiece to the Staff of Ra from American bar owner Marion Ravenwood at her bar, The Raven, in Patan, Nepal, the Nazis were still able to construct a replica of the relic using a burn-print on Toht’s palm from picking up the heated headpiece during a gunfight with American archaeologist Indiana Jones over it, and the headpiece was used to construct the Staff of Ra and locate the Well of the Souls from the Tanis Map Room.
However, the Nazis had only replicated half of the headpiece, and therefore had read only a portion of the instructions on it and constructed the staff too long, meaning that they were digging for the Ark in the wrong place. As a result of their failure, Belloq and Dietrich argued over who was responsible for the Führer’s disappointment as Gobler walked with them through the vast German presence at Tanis. As the trio reached a group of native Egyptians digging within the Nazi site, after Belloq insisted that the Ark was still waiting to be found, Gobler suggested that the captive Marion Ravenwood could help, considering that she had been in possession of the headpiece for years. Despite Belloq’s protests, Dietrich convinced him that he had the perfect man for this kind of work: Major Toht.
Before Toht, Dietrich and Gobler were to interrogate Ravenwood, Belloq, a servant and a guard visited her in his tent, and the Frenchman attempted to get the information the Nazis sought from her before the others arrived and used more painful methods of extraction on her. However, after Marion insisted that she knew nothing of the matter and owed no allegiance to Jones, Belloq had her put on a dress and ended up participating in a drinking game with her alone. When Dietrich, Toht and Gobler arrived at the tent, Marion was holding a knife and backing away from a drunken Belloq to make her escape, only to bump into Toht. Marion leapt away, recognising the agent, and cowered behind Belloq as he rather sinisterly handed his coat to Gobler who placed it on a hanger. As Toht sat down opposite Belloq and Marion, Dietrich sat on a table opposite them and Gobler watched from the entrance to the tent.
Finding the Ark
However, despite their best efforts, the Nazis were unable to gain any information from Marion, and left her in the tent. Whilst walking away, Belloq noticed Indiana Jones, his friend Sallah Mohammed Faisel el-Kahir and eleven native diggers including el-Kahir’s brother-in-law Omar, lifting the Ark out of the Well of the Souls on several ropes. By the time Sallah and the Ark were both out of the cavern and Jones was the only one still inside, the Nazis had surrounded and shut down the operation, captured Sallah, Omar and the rest of the diggers and taken the Ark. Gobler was among the soldiers who watched Belloq torment Jones, and, much to the Frenchman’s dismay, Toht dumping Marion into the pit, causing an argument between Belloq and the Germans as the Well was sealed shut.
It was soon arranged for the Ark to be transported from Tanis to the Führer in Berlin, Germany aboard the jet plane Flying Wing from an airstrip commanded by a German mechanic and officer at the digsite. Shortly before the ancient relic was to be taken out of Egypt, Gobler was driven to the airstrip in a jeep to inspect it, before being taken back to the main Nazi tent to report back to Dietrich. However, the plan backfired when Jones and Ravenwood both escaped from the Well of the Souls and ended up blowing up the Flying Wing before the Ark was loaded upon it.
The Desert Chase
Following the Flying Wing's destruction, Colonel Dietrich decided that the Ark would instead be transported from Tanis to Cairo by truck, ordering Gobler to arrange plenty of protection. With Jones' location unknown, Gobler watched as four of his men carried the Ark into the back of a Mercedes-Benz LG3000 cargo truck, before getting inside themselves to protect the relic along with two other men and a Sergeant, with two other men in the front of the vehicle. The vehicle was protected by a Mercedes-Benz G5 troop car driven by Gobler, containing a Lieutenant who sat in the passenger seat and the gunner in the back, behind which was a motorcycle and sidecar helmed by a driver and his passenger. As he entered the troop car, Gobler put on his goggles.
Soon, the truck, jeep and sidecar began moving, following a 1937 Mercedes-Benz 320 carrying Colonel Dietrich, Major Toht, Belloq and their driver. All seemed to be going well as the convoy's journey through the desert began, but Indiana Jones promptly appeared behind the truck riding an Arabian stallion. Gobler's gunner began peppering Jones with gunfire, but both he and his horse made it to the truck and the American leapt onto the vehicle. Opening the door at the front of the truck, he hurled its front passenger out into the desert, before hopping inside and wrestling the driver. Their brawl caused one soldier to fall out from the back of the truck into the troop carrier's windshield, smashing it. The soldiers in the back struggled to remain inside the truck as it rocked back and forth from the fight, even going right through a construction site and destroying it, which provided a distraction allowing Jones to toss the driver out of the vehicle and over a cliffside.
With Gobler still at the wheel, the troop carrier drove forwards to level with the truck in an effort to allow their gunner to shoot the archaeologist, who was now driving the vehicle. However, Jones rammed into the jeep and knocked it off course into a forest. When the motorcycle and sidecar did the same thing, the truck swiftly knocked the vehicle fully over easily, but as he did the troop carrier stumbled back onto the road and made another attempt to shoot Jones, only to be bashed into and knocked over a cliff to its destruction and the deaths of its passengers. As the jeep fell, the gunner and Lieutenant each went toppling out of the vehicle, leaving Gobler to tumble about inside it and die as it landed on the rocky ground below.
Personality and traits
- "Who's the guy in the uniform down there?"
"That's camp commander Dietrich's aide, Gobler."
- ―Indiana Jones and Marion Ravenwood[src]
A German Major in the Nazi party at Tanis outside Cairo, Egypt, Gobler was a cunning and capable officer, being the one who suggested interrogating Marion Ravenwood on the location of the Ark of the Covenant due to her previously owning the Headpiece to the Staff of Ra, an artefact linked to the Ark. As Colonel Herman Dietrich’s personal aide, Gobler was loyal to his superior, and followed him around to the point where the hired French archaeologist René Emile Belloq thought he even annoyed Dietrich.
Gobler was also in charge of many transport and protection-related arrangements, overseeing the preperation of the Flying Wing jet plane when it was to transport the Ark to Berlin, Germany for the Führer. He was also notably a skilled driver, taking the wheel of the Mercedes-Benz G5 troop car used to defend the Mercedes-Benz LG3000 cargo truck containing the Ark during American archaeologist Indiana Jones’ attempt to apprehend it. However, he was no match for Jones, and ended up being knocked over a cliffside to his doom.
Behind the scenes
Gobler was portrayed by English actor Anthony Higgins in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Stuntman Paul Weston, who also played one of the soldiers killed by Marion Ravenwood during the Flying Wing fight sequence and one of the soldiers guarding the Ark of the Covenant in the back of the Mercedes-Benz LG3000 cargo truck during the desert chase, served as Higgins' double for the scene in which Gobler falls to his death.
The scene in which Gobler's Mercedes-Benz G5 troop car drives over the cliff was an ILM effects shot using a matte painting as the backdrop, and composite shots of a vehicle model and puppets. However, airings of Raiders of the Lost Ark in the United States of America and the Sci-Fi Channel appear to have redone the shot of Gobler's troop car falling down the chasm as CGI. This wasn't done for the 2008 DVD release of Raiders, and there has been no official comment from Lucasfilm Ltd. or Paramount Pictures.
In the Raiders novelization, Gobler dies along with Major Arnold Ernst Toht after his troop car goes over the edge, reflecting an earlier version of Lawrence Kasdan's script. The same happens in the comic book and storybook adaptations, although in the former Gobler drives a 1937 Mercedes-Benz 320 instead of a troop car.
In LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures, Gobler, his gunner and his passenger are all absent from the desert chase, as instead of a Mercedes-Benz G5 and the motorcycle and sidecar, there are about ten Mercedes-Benz LG3000 trucks including the one transporting the Ark, all of which are destroyed by Indiana Jones and Sallah el-Kahir. Gobler doesn’t appear in any other scenes in the game either, nor do his passengers. In the game’s sequel, LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues, instead of just one jeep driven by Gobler, there are many, each driven by different unnamed Nazi soldiers, a driver and a gunner in most of them but just a driver in some. There are also green jungle jeeps, which are later replaced by metallic versions of themselves. Gobler, as such, is cut from the game.
In the LEGO Indiana Jones playset Race for the Stolen Treasure, the truck and troop car both appear, but are both driven by unnamed soldiers, meaning Gobler is absent from this version of events as well.
- Raiders of the Lost Ark novel (First appearance)
- Raiders of the Lost Ark
- Raiders of the Lost Ark comic
- Raiders of the Lost Ark storybook
Notes and references
- Raiders of the Lost Ark Sourcebook
- Raiders of the Lost Ark
- Paul Weston | Vedain | Star Wars Interviews
- From Star Wars To Indiana Jones - The Best of the Lucasfilm Archives
- Raiders of the Lost Ark novel
- Raiders of the Lost Ark comic
- Raiders of the Lost Ark Storybook
- LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures
- LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues
- Race for the Stolen Treasure