— Schröder recites Müller's old adages to his despondent commander
Along with Hartmann, he is a young and relatively new addition to the crew, having not been present in My Country Calling. The two are anything but alike however, with Schröder being fanatical in commitment and steadfast in terms of nerve. Almost all of his dialogue is laced with patriotic rhetoric and forced optimism, much to the annoyance of Kertz. He has no sympathy for fellow countrymen branded as traitors or deserters, and even calls out other members of the crew for defeatist comments. As such he despises Hartmann, seeing his reluctance to fight as a liability and expresses his contempt for him even after he is found dead. To him, surrender to the enemy is unthinkable and seems fully intent on fighting to the death. In spite of this, he considers himself a valuable member of the crew worthy of preservation over the "expendable" Hartmann.
Schröder greatly admires Müller, and aside from following him around constantly when outside the tank, he imitates his philosophy and phrases, while frequently looking to Müller for praise. Müller takes his advice on several occasions, but eventually has a change of heart and rejects Schröder, who in turn slowly begins to oppose Müller. His loyalty to his commander and his loyalty to his commander's former ideals comes to a head in the final scene of the story.
Schröder is first seen shadowing Müller as he returns to the Tiger with new orders. He is seen saluting an officer marching German soldiers, condemned as traitors and deserters, away at gunpoint, while expressing no sympathy for the fate that awaits them. During the battle, Schröder is mainly heard shouting jingoistic mottos and asserting their superiority and assured victory over the enemy, while consistently rebuking Hartmann's pessimistic remarks.
After the rocket attack by Mosquitos when the Tiger is hiding in a ruined building, Schröder suggests Hartmann should leave the tank to scout a way out. Kertz protests, but Schröder's cold pragmatism that Hartmann is "expendable" due to his neurosis and non-essential role in the crew eventually wins over the commander. Hartmann leaves and disappears for sight. When he does not return, Schröder immediately declares him a deserter, and soon after a US Army tank column threatens their encirclement, forcing the tank to leave before Hartmann could return.
On their way back to cathedral defense, the crew encounters the disgraced Germans again, now all hanged from streetlights. Amongst them, they spot Hartmann, himself labeled as a deserter. Schröder reaffirms his contempt for him but is told to shut up by Müller. For the first time, Schröder goes against his commander by continuing to slander their former crew member.
The crew continues onto the headquarters, which is completely deserted. Schröder, expecting an epic united defense, is dismayed to find they are all alone. Müller dismounts the tank to find out what is happening before the cathedral is surrounded by Americans demanding their surrender. While Müller contemplates the situation, an enraged Schröder opens fire in defiance, and the commander hastily reembarks. Despite holding the line, artillery zeroes in across the Tiger, which begins to retreat towards the bridge. Moments before crossing, an explosion tears the bridge to pieces and sends the tank careening down a slope where it becomes immobilized.
Outside the tank, an injured and defeated Kertz intends to desert, and despite a half-hearted appeal from Müller he is left to go. Seeing this, Schröder shoots him in the back with an MP 40, fatally wounding him. Schröder insists he was a traitor and was justified in shooting him, fruitlessly parroting Müller's ideology at him, but Müller himself abandons the tank to comfort his dying friend. US troops arrive and Schröder opens fire. In the chaos, he sees Müller discard his Iron Cross and attempt to surrender. As the last crew member and his own mentor prepare to betray him, he screams in anguish and turns the gun on Müller. Gunshots are heard, but both soldier's fates are not shown.