When the German U-boat leaves for the island in the ocean we see Indiana Jones on the outside of the deck. Any information if the U-boat traveled on the surface the entire way? If it submerged I would think he would have floated off or some how he managed to get into the u-boat unseen. Any answers out there?

  • Related: movies.stackexchange.com/questions/4060/… Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 23:12
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    Submarines of that vintage had limited submerged time and range on the batteries, so mostly ran on the surface to cover distance.
    – zeta-band
    Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 23:20
  • @ James McLeod- Thanks for the link, I have watched that movie many times and was wondering. I know most submarines in the Second World War era ran on the surface to recharge batteries just wish they would have shown it on screen.
    – user76394
    Commented Jan 9, 2018 at 0:18
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    That was much remarked at the time. I remember Mad Magazine explicitly calling it out. I just figured dude was able to heroicly hold his breath. Makes as much sense as some of his whip tricks.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Jan 9, 2018 at 2:43
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    as @zeta-band said - the subs were submerged only when attacking or destroyed. Limited battery life and life support systems (8-10 hrs or so) meant submerging was combat or related emergency only. Since it was 1936 there was no war yet. But the plot still has a hole: Kriegsmarine at this time had literally 2-5 U-boats (depending on precise date, two were available since Feb'36, third in Jun'36, fourth in Jul'36 and so on)... Highly unlikely there would be one detached for such esoteric mission...
    – AcePL
    Commented Jan 9, 2018 at 9:47

1 Answer 1


User Oliver_C posted a fantastic answer to a very similar question on Movies:SE.

The script reveals that Indy attaches himself to the periscope:

Indy climbs the ladder to the top of the turret and braces himself between the two uprights there--the 7 foot radio mast and the 20 foot periscope.

Still the ocean comes up to meet him. Soon the top of the turret is under water and the radio mast is disappearing.

Indy shifts his grip to the periscope, working his way up it and hanging on for dear life as the ocean whips at his body. The periscope is quickly going under. Indy hangs on to the top three feet, all that remains above.

The forward movement of the sub continues, but, to Indy's slowly dawning delight, the dive stops. No more of the periscope goes under. Indy smiles; it's a pretty good smile, too, given the circumstances. Indy pulls out his bullwhip and begins tying himself to the periscope.

And it seems that at least some of this was filmed:

The periscope ride

This is the most well-known of the Indy cut scenes, by virtue of being the one most crucial to the plot. This scene explains how Indy survived his trip at sea attached to a submerged submarine. As the sub descends, he climbs up and grabs hold of its extended periscope. He then lashes himself to it with his whip for the long trip.

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This cut scene did make it into the Marvel Comics adaption:

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  • 1
    I have taken the liberty of updating some of the links from Oliver_Cs answer on the assumption that he won't mind or care
    – Valorum
    Commented Mar 12, 2022 at 16:43

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