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The Wurrfler gets a stowaway

The Wurrfler,[1] also known as U26,[2] was a Nazi U-boat that was used in the Mediterranean Sea.


In 1936, it took aboard Colonel Dietrich, René Belloq and Major Toht from the Nazi archaeological expedition at Tanis, and set after the Bantu Wind, which was carrying Indiana Jones, Marion Ravenwood, and the stolen Ark of the Covenant.[3]

The next morning, the submarine caught up with the freighter, between Egypt and Sicily, and ordered them to stop. With the deck guns aimed at the suspect merchant ship, several launch boats were sent over from the submarine, carrying Dietrich, Belloq, Toht, and a large number of Nazi soldiers. The soldiers quickly rounded up the crew of the Bantu Wind and recovered the Ark of the Covenant, and found Marion Ravenwood. Belloq and Dietrich returned to the Wurrfler with their cargo and captive, and the ship's officers began to make preparations to get underway.[3]

Unbeknownst to the U-boat's crew, Indiana Jones had swum aboard the ship, and climbed onto the conning tower.[3] When the U-boat dived to head toward its destination, Jones lashed himself to the periscope with his whip, thankful that submarines traveled faster on the surface than deeper underwater.[1]

The submarine arrived at secret island base near Crete,[2] and docked in the submarine pen hidden in a grotto. Jones snuck onto the dock, and hid behind some equipment before procuring a Nazi disguise. Meanwhile, Belloq and Dietrich came out with Ravenwood, and Captain Mohler announced that everything had been set up in accordance with Belloq's wishes for the opening of the Ark at the Tabernacle.[3]

During World War II, the vessel was captained by Klaus Ewerth and was used on a mission to lay mines near the Strait of Gibraltar.[2]


Behind the scenes[]


Indiana Jones tying his bullwhip to the submarine's periscope as depicted in the comic.

The exterior submarine model used in the filming of Raiders of the Lost Ark was borrowed from the production of Wolfgang Petersen's film Das Boot. The filming of the submarine shots occurred at La Rochelle, France, where Das Boot was being shot.[4] To film the arrival of the submarine at its hidden base, the visual effects artists borrowed a miniature prop from Steven Spielberg’s 1979 film 1941. The model was floated through San Francisco Bay towards one of the two Marin Islands just off the shoreline from ILM’s then-headquarters in San Rafael. The real-world-island was later replaced with a matte painting.[5]

How Indiana Jones used the submarine to get to Geheimhaven without entering it is not immediately apparent in the film itself but the archaeologist can be seen clinging to the periscope.[5] Originally, there was to be a scene that depicted Indy grabbing the Wurrfler's periscope to be taken to the island – losing his fedora in the process – but it went unused. Nevertheless, this scene is present in the film's novelization and comic book adaptation.[6][1]

The Wurrfler also appeared in LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures and its sequel.[7][8] In the second game, Oskar Schomburg and the other Wurrfler crew members are absent; instead Belloq and Toht control the entire submarine.[8]



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