A Tough Sergeant was present at the Tanis digsite for the Ark of the Covenant outside Cairo, Egypt in 1936, a Corporal under the orders of Colonel Dietrich and Major Gobler, and after the Ark was found he was among the men who prepared to defend the convoy transporting the relic. After the Ark was loaded onto a cargo truck, the Sergeant boarded the same truck with his men, with several other vehicles also arranged in order to defend the Ark from American archaeologist Indiana Jones and his comrades. During a chase which ensued as a result of the arrival of Jones, the Sergeant stayed in the back of the truck as all of his men were defeated, one by one, by Jones, and soon he decided to deal with the issue personally. Though he managed to briefly gain the upper hand, the Sergeant was ultimately defeated and run over by Jones.
In 1936, this German Sergeant was among the men who made up the Nazi party who attempted to unearth the Ark of the Covenant from the Well of the Souls at Tanis outside Cairo, Egypt under the orders of Colonel Herman Dietrich, Major Gobler, French archaeologist René Emile Belloq and Gestapo agent Major Arnold Ernst Toht. The Ark was secretly dug up overnight by American archaeologist Indiana Jones and his associates, including Arab excavator Sallah Mohammed Faisel el-Kahir, but Dietrich and Belloq confronted them, took the Ark, arrested Sallah and his men and sealed Jones and Marion Ravenwood inside the cave. However, the two soon managed to escape, and ended up blowing up the Flying Wing, the jet plane meant to transport the Ark to Berlin, Germany.
Following the Flying Wing's destruction, Colonel Dietrich decided that the Ark would instead be transported from Tanis to Cairo by truck. With Jones' location unknown, this Sergeant 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 the Sergeant himself, with two other men in the front of the vehicle. The vehicle was protected by a Mercedes-Benz G5 troop car driven by Major 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.
The Desert Chase
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.
Jones then used the truck to bash the staff car off course, but soon the driver managed to steer it back onto the road. As the six soldiers remained in the back of the truck with their Sergeant, 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.
With the troop carrier and sidecar both destroyed and the soldiers in the front of the truck gone, the Sergeant ordered four other men to climb around the side of the truck to confront their opponent head-on, whilst he and this soldier remained in the back. Another soldier and his backup went around the left rearview mirror's side of the truck, whilst two other men went around the other side. But, unfortunately for the soldiers, Jones noticed them in his mirror. In an attempt to remove them from the vehicle, Jones first drove through a large bush, knocking one soldier and his backup off and allowing them to roll away from the road and down a hill.
Clinging tightly so as not to suffer the same fate of their companions, one soldier and his colleague clung tightly to the cover of the truck. At one point, the soldier's feet slipped, but he managed to regain his balance. However, Jones finally got rid of the soldier by hitting him against a weak tree with the truck, catching the soldier's cap between its branches and dumping him down into the steep road, his backup falling off shortly afterwards. The other soldier did not fall through the tree, but the cape of the awning which he was holding did not resist his weight any longer and it ripped, causing the soldier to fall down the steep road, rolling comically to the joy of Jones.
After the final soldier ripped away part of the awning as he fell from the truck, the last soldier in the back of the truck, the Sergeant's only remaining subordinate quickly clambered through the gap and reached the cabin. There, clinging to the outside of the door, he shot Jones in the arm. In pain, Jones kicked the door open, leaving the soldier at the mercy of falling but managed to hold on despite Jones's attempts to dislodge him. He consistently made attempts to swing the door back, but Jones kicked it back every time, and at one point he risked being pulled under the tires of the vehicle. After the soldier suffered beating his feet against a small ravine, however, the door gave way and broke off, taking the Nazi with it, much to the displeasure of his superior who, upon seeing the soldier rolling in the sand below, then moved to deal with the archaeologist personally.
Climbing over the roof of the truck, the Sergeant clung to the cloth beneath him, his cap succumbing to the wind and blowing off along the way. Staying strong, the older man crawled across the roof to the cabin, where he moved to the side and clambered into the driver's seat, kicking Jones' wound where he had been shot. Beating Jones' wound with his powerful fist, the Sergeant rendered the man defenseless, before picking Jones up and hurling him out of the front window of the vehicle, before grabbing the wheel. As he did so, Jones just managed to remain on the front of the truck, and, on orders from Belloq and Dietrich, the Sergeant began speeding forwards in an effort to crush the man against the back of the staff car.
However, Jones was able to slip under the truck, and skillfully clung to the equipment on the bottom of the vehicle and crawled under it, then using his whip to attach to the rear of the cargo truck and allow himself to be dragged forwards by it. As he was dragged forwards, he slowly grew closer to the truck, before he finally hopped into the back of it, grabbed his whip, clambered through the awning and attacked the Sergeant. Mimicking the Sergeant's earlier attacks used on him, the archaeologist beat him with punches, slammed him against the wall behind him and the engine, before finally tossing him out of the front window. But, the Sergeant was not as fortunate as Jones, and, though he clung to the truck, he soon let go and was trampled by the wheels of the large vehicle.
Behind the scenes
In the third draft of the film's script, written by Lawrence Kasdan, instead of taking control of the truck, the Sergeant is shot by an armed guard in the pursuing staff car on the orders of Colonel Dietrich, then named Shliemann, who fears that if the Sergeant kills Jones the Ark will be damaged in the crash. However, Dietrich shoots the Sergeant himself in the film's storybook adaptation.
The Raiders novelization doesn't feature the Sergeant, though it does include a scene wherein two soldiers climb atop the truck, but the aforementioned armed guard in the staff car blows the scheme, allowing Indy to abruptly stop the truck, sending the two soldiers flying off the vehicle.