“The U-505’s Service History before Capture: An Introduction” by S.M. O’Connor

The U-505 at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago is one of only four full-sized U-boats to have been preserved from the Second Great World War and one of those other three U-boats is exhibited in pieces.  [German-speaking peoples call all submarines Unterseeboots (“undersea boats”), or U-boots for short, and English-speakers call all submarines made in Germany (and, in the past, the Austro-Hungarian Empire) U-boats.  In both of the Great World Wars, German navies employed U-boats.  In the First Great World War, the Austro-Hungarian Empire did, too.  The German defense industry continues to build U-boats for the Deutsche Marine (German Navy) and the navies of foreign countries.] The most notable thing about the U-505, of course, was her capture by U.S. Navy Hunter-Killer Task Group 22.3 on Sunday, June 4, 1944, but her service history for the Kriegsmarine (War Navy, as Third Reich Germany’s navy was known between 1935 and 1945) until that point was also of historical interest.  She was a front-line sub that sank seven ships and killed at least sixty-seven people.  Sabotage by French dockworkers enabled Allied anti-submarine forces to track down the U-505 several times to attack her and forced her second Commanding Officer to abort multiple war patrols when things went haywire.   Her first Commanding Officer had to be relieved of command due to appendicitis and her second Commanding Officer, who died at sea under mysterious circumstances, is believed to be the only U-boat skipper to have committed suicide during a war cruise.

The Kriegsmarine commissioned the construction of fifty-four Type IX, Class C U-boats, of which the U-505 was one.  These were not the largest submarines manufactured during the Second Great World War, by any means, but they were much larger than the medium-sized Type VII U-boat that was the workhorse of the Kriegsmarine.  [It is a fictional version of the U-96, a Type VII-C U-boat that Wolfgang Petersen depicted in Das Boot (1981), which is widely considered one of the best German-made films of any type and one of the best submarine films made anywhere in cinematic history.]  The Type VII U-boats were designed to defend the coast line of Germany in the Baltic Sea, not to go far out into the Atlantic Ocean, although after the Germans conquered France and availed themselves of the opportunity to use French ports, Type VII U-boats were able to operate off the coast of North America.  The larger Type IX U-boats, by contrast, were designed as deep-sea raiders that could act independently.  They were capable of operating off the coast not only of North America, but South Americas, as well.  A few of them went all the way around Africa into the Indian Ocean to rendezvous with submarines of the Japanese Imperial Navy.

 

NUMBER OF TYPE IX U-BOATS CONSTRUCTED[1]

 

Type IX-A

8

Type IX-B

14

Type IX-C

54

Type IX-C/40

87

Type IX-D1

2

Type IX-D2

28

Type IX-D2/42

1

 

When Adolph Hitler (1889-1945) came to power in 1933,[2] Admiral Erich Raeder had been Oberbefehlshaber der Reichsmarine (Commander-in-Chief of the Reichsmarine, as the German Navy was known under the Weimar Republic and the early years of the Third Reich until 1935).  The Reichsmarine of the Weimar Republic was restricted to a surface fleet and was only permitted a minute surface fleet of six battleships and six cruisers under the Treaty of Versailles.[3]    The Anglo-German Naval Treaty (1935) allowed Germany, once again, to build a large surface fleet and a submarine fleet.[4]  The first new U-boats already existed, but in pieces, so they only waited assembly.[5]  Shortly after the treaty was signed in June of 1935, the German Navy had a fleet of six U-boats.[6] In 1935, Hitler changed the Reichswehr (Realm’s Defense), of which the Reichsmarine was a part, into the Wehrmacht (Defense Forces), and the Reichsmarine (Realm’s Navy) into the Kriegsmarine (War Navy).   Admiral Erich Raeder appointed Karl Dönitz (1891-1980), who had been commanding officer of the cruiser Emden, Führer der U-boot (Leader of U-boats).[7]  Like Raeder, Dönitz was a veteran of the Kaiserliche Marine (German Imperial Navy).  By year’s end, Dönitz had a fleet of twenty-two U-boats.[8]  In 1939, Hitler promoted Raeder to Grand Admiral.  That same year, Admiral Karl Dönitz’s title changed to Befehlshaber der Unterseeboote (Commander of the Submarines), or BdU for short.[9]  This abbreviation, BdU, was used for both his title and office.[10]

Following the British victory of the Battles of the Barents Sea on Thursday, December 31, 1942, Hitler effectively fired Raeder on Friday, January 30, 1943, by accepting his resignation and giving him the ceremonial post of Admiral Inspector.[11]  The B.B.C. had boasted about the victory of British forces against a superior German force, the cruiser Hipper and the pocket battleship Lutzow, and Hitler demanded a report from the flagship Hipper, which observed radio silence, and Raeder refused to order her commanding officer to break it.[12]  Reichsmarschall (Marshal of the Reich) Hermann Göring (1893-1946), Minister without Portfolio and Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe (Air Force), one of Hitler’s most powerful lieutenants, belittled the surface fleet and insisted he be in charge of all German warplanes, which, coupled with his unwillingness to cooperate with Raeder, deprived the Kriegsmarine of critical air support.[13]  Hitler replaced Grand Admiral Raeder as Commander-in-Chief of the Navy with Dönitz, and promoted Dönitz to Grand Admiral.[14]  The Führer wanted to scrap what remained of the surface fleet and rely entirely on submarines.  Dönitz dissuaded him from this course of action, but hardly used the surface fleet.  Kapitän zur See (Captain of the Line) Eberhard Godt (1900-1995) took command of the Untersee-waffe, and in March of 1943 Dönitz promoted him to Konteradmiral (Rear Admiral) to reflect his position.  At war’s end, Soviet troops captured Raeder.  In the political testament that accompanied his will, Hitler named Dönitz (rather than one of his longtime lieutenants, none of whom he trusted anymore) as President of the Reich and Minister of War, so it fell upon Dönitz to order German Armed Forces and the Waffen-SS to surrender.  The British R.A.F. captured Dönitz.  At the Nuremburg Trials, Raeder was sentenced to life in prison, but was released in 1955 due to ill health and a campaign by his wife, Erika.  Dönitz also spent ten years in Spandau Prison.

The U-505 had a total of three Kommandanten (Commandants or Commanding Officers). The first Kommandant (Commandant) of the U-505 was Kapitänleutnant (Captain-Lieutenant, the equivalent of a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy and a Hauptman in the Heer or Captain in the U.S. Army) Axel-Olaf Löwe, the second was Oberleutnant zur See (Lieutenant Junior Grade) Peter Zschech, and the third was Oberleutnant zur See Harald Lange.  [Note that German names with an umlaut over an o (ö) can alternatively be spelt with an e after an o, so that Löwe become Loewe, Förster becomes Foerster, and Göbeler becomes Goebeler, which is how they appear in most American sources.  After he immigrated to the U.S.A. and wrote his memoir for an American naval magazine, U-505 crewmember Hans Joachim Decker used this simplified spelling for Löwe and Förster, as well as Dönitz.]  None of those three men were in the Unterseebootswaffe (Submarine Fleet) when Germany entered the Second Great World War with the invasion of Poland on Friday, September 1, 1939.[15]

Each Kommandant or Commanding Officer (C.O.) of the U-505 had a Wappen, a personal emblem that was emblazoned on the Conning Tower.[16]  Löwe’s surname is German for lion and his emblem was a lion rampant holding a battle axe.[17]  The axe was a reference to Löwe having been in the Naval Academy Class of 1928, which had an axe as a symbol.[18]   In the postwar years, Löwe adopted this emblem as his family’s coat of arms.[19]  Zschech dropped the lion rampant, made the axe bigger, and added Olympic Rings.[20]  The Olympic Rings were a reference to Zschech having been part of the Naval Academy Class of 1936,[21] which chose the Olympic Rings as their symbol because they entered the Naval Academy in 1936, the year the Summer Olympics were held in Berlin and the Winter Olympics were held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.[22]  Lange retained nothing from Zschech’s emblem and replaced it with a scallop shell.[23]  The U-505 did not have a Nazi swastika painted on the Conning Tower because U-boats were only so marked on those rare occasions when they went into the Pacific Ocean and might encounter the naval and air forces of a fellow Axis Power, the Japanese Empire.[24]  The emblem of the 2nd U-boat Flotilla, was painted on the front of the Conning Tower.[25]  This was a blue rune (letter from one of several German written languages before the Germans adopted the Latin alphabet) that represented victory and resembles a lightning bolt with a U-boat running across the upper part of the victory rune.[26]  The submarine is running through the rune from right to left.[27]  Kapitänleutnant Löwe assumed command when the U-505 was commissioned.[28]  The motto on the U-505 guest book, now at the Museum of Science and Industry, was “We are sailing against England.”[29]

The officers and crewmen of the U-505 sank a total of eight ships, all of them in 1942, seven of them under Kapitänleutnant Axel-Olaf Löwe and one under Kapitänleutnant Peter Zschech.  Löwe sank the British steam freighter Benmohr on March 5th, the Norwegian motor tanker Sydhav on March 7th, the American steam freighter West Irmo on April 3rd, the Dutch steam freighter Alphacca on April 4th, the American steam freighter Sea Thrush on June 28th, the American steam freighter Thomas McKean on June 29th, and the three-master Colombian schooner Roamar on July 22nd.[30] The only ship sunk by Zschech was the British steam freighter Ocean Justice on November 7th.[31]

More significantly, because human lives are more important than property, the officers and crewmen of the U-505 killed at least sixty-eight people by my reckoning.  Combining Admiral Gallery’s count in Twenty Million Tons Under the Sea, Lawrence Paterson’s count in “From the Lion’s Roar to Blunted Axe: The War Patrols of the U-505” in Hunt & Kill: U-505 and the U-Boat War and Mulligan from “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology” in Hunt & Kill, we find when the U-505 sank the Sydhav, Captain Nils O. Helgesen and eleven of his thirty-five men died in the explosion resulting from their ship, which had been carrying 11,400 tons of oil being stricken by two torpedoes, or went down with the ship, and one of the twenty-three survivors was eaten by a shark or sharks before some others righted a lifeboat and the U-505 surfaced to offer food, fresh water, and bandages to them;[32] ten African stevedores perished when the West Irmo sank;[33] fourteen of the seventy-two passengers and crew of the Alphacca died the day she sank and a fifteenth succumbed to wounds the next day;[34] five men died with the sinking of the Thomas McKean;[35] all twenty-three crewmen and passengers, including four women, died, with the sinking of the Roamar;[36] and two men died with the sinking of the Ocean Justice.[37]

 

CASUALTIES OF U-505 ATTACKS

 

Vessel Name

Number of Casualties

Sydhav

13

West Irmo

10

Alphacca

15

Thomas McKean

5

Roamar

23

Ocean Justice

2

 

Admiral Gallery commented in Twenty Million Tons Under the Sea, “I’ll say this for them – they were worthy opponents and fought bravely for an evil cause.  They risked their lives to torpedo ships and then steamed off and left the survivors to make the best of their way ashore or to the bottom, as the case might be.  They did not machine gun life boats as our propaganda claimed they did.  When we sank one of their subs and paused to fish them out of the water they were grateful – and surprised.  Their propaganda had told them to expect machine-gun bullets instead of rescue!”[38]

 

When we tried to hang Admirals Raeder and Doentiz at the Nuremburg war criminals trial one of the charges was that they had ordered U-boat skippers to machine-gun the survivors of torpedoed ships.  This was disproved.  In the whole war there was only one authenticated case of machine gunning survivors at sea.  This was done by a U-boat skipper named EMS.  The British shot him after the war.[39]

 

On Monday, September 25, 1939, the Kriegsmarine gave a contract to the corporation Deutsche Werft, AG (now Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft) Hamburg-Finkenwerder to build five IX-C U-boats, one of which, Number 295, became the U-505.[40]  [Note that the aforementioned Hans Joachim Decker stated in “404 Days! The War Patrol of the German U-505” that the U-505 was being outfitted at the Deutsche Werke shipyard in Hamburg (rather than the Deutsche Werft shipyard) when he joined the crew in May of 1941.[41]  Deutsche Werke was an entirely different company from Deutsche Werft.  It was a state-owned enterprise.  However, Howladtswerke purchased the Deutsche Werke shipyard in 1955, so by the time Decker wrote his article, the two companies had merged, so that may explain the discrepancy.  Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft is now part of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, and continues to manufacture U-boats at Kiel.  It manufactures virtually silent A.I.P. submarines with HDW fuel cells (rather than nuclear submarines) for coastal defense and blue water fleets of over twenty countries.] Deutsche Werft, AG began construction of the U-505 by laying her keel in the port-city of Hamburg, Germany on Wednesday, June 12, 1940 – the same day that French resistance to the German invasion collapsed.[42]  [German armies marched into Paris two days later.[43]]  Decker was part of a group of fourteen U-505 crewmen who turned up at the terminal train station in Hamburg in May of 1941 after they had graduated from the three-month-long submarine school at Gotenhafen with orders to go to the shipyard in Hamburg where the U-505 was being outfitted.[44]  [Note that in September of 1939, German troops occupied the Polish port-city of Gdynia on the south coast of the Baltic Sea and renamed it “Gotenhafen” in honor of the Goths, the ancient German tribe best remembered now for having conquered Roman Spain and Italy.]  In Hunt and Kill: U-505 and the U-boat War in the Atlantic, Lawrence Paterson stated the U-505 slid down ramps into the Elbe River on Saturday, May 24, 1941,[45] while in that same book Dr. Timothy Mulligan gave the launch date of the U-505 as Sunday, May 25, 1941.[46]

Axel-Olaf Löwe’s crew arrived at the shipyard before him.[47]  This included Kapitänleutnant Fritz Förster, the Chief Engineer; Oberleutant zur See Herbert Nollau (1916-1968), the First Watch Officer (often identified by Americans as the Executive Officer or X.O.); Leutnant Gottfried Stolzenburg, Second Watch Officer; Obersteurmann (Chief Navigator) Alfred Reinig; and Obermaschinist (Senior Machinist) Otto Fricke.[48] [Note that Decker misspelt Alfred Reinig’s surname “Reining.”[49]]  Förster had entered the Reichsmarine in 1933 as a lowly stoker,[50] one of the men in the boiler room of a steam ship who threw coal into the fire.  However, that same year, he entered the Naval Academy as a naval engineering cadet in the Class of 1933.[51]  In April of 1935, he passed his exams and subsequently served aboard the cruiser Leipzig, the pocket battleship Deutschland, and the pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee.[52]  He joined the crew of the U-505 while she was under construction, as with Löwe.[53]

Nollau, a graduate of the Naval Academy who had been part of the Class of 1936, who had started out in the surface fleet like Löwe and Förster.[54]  After surviving the sinking of the heavy cruiser Blücher during the conquest of Norway, he spent nine months serving in a harbor defense flotilla for Oslo, before he switched to the Unterseebootswaffe.[55]  He was popular with the men and once wasted two hours in a fruitless chase of sea tortoises in the hopes of getting them fresh meat.[56]

Stolzenburg by contrast, was a twenty-nine-year-old naval reservist whose civilian job had been in the merchant marine (much like the U-505’s third commandant, Harald Lange), rather than a career navy man.[57]  Though the U-505’s first war cruise would be his first time at the warfront, his skills as a navigator would prove valuable to Löwe.[58]

GERMAN COMMISSIONED OFFICER RANKS AND AMERICAN EQUIVALENTS[59]

German Ranks Literal Translation Practical Translation American Equivalent Ranks
Großadmiral (also spelt Grossadmiral) Grand-admiral or Great-admiral Grand Admiral or Great Admiral Admiral of the Fleet
Generaladmiral General-admiral General-Admiral None
Admiral Admiral Admiral Admiral
Vizeadmiral Vice-admiral Vice-Admiral Vice Admiral
Konteradmiral Rear-admiral Rear-Admiral Rear Admiral
Kommodore Commodore Commodore Commodore[60]
Kapitän zur See Captain to the Sea Sea Captain[61] Captain
Fregattemkapitän Frigate-captain Frigate Captain[62] Commander
Korvettenkapitän Corvette-captain Corvette Captain[63] Lieutenant Commander
Kapitänleutnant

(“Kaleu”)

Captain-lieutenant Captain Lieutenant Lieutenant
Oberleutant zur See Over-lieutenant of the Sea Principal Lieutenant-at-Sea Lieutenant Junior Grade
Leutnant zur See Lieutenant to the Sea Lieutenant-at-Sea Ensign

 

GERMAN OFFICER CANDIDATE RANKS AND AMERICAN PETTY OFFICER EQUIVALENTS[64]

Obefrähnrich zur See Over-ensign to the Sea Leading Ensign-at-Sea Senior Midshipman (today a Senior Chief Petty Officer)
Fähnrich zur See Ensign to the Sea Ensign-at-Sea Midshipman (today a Petty Officer First Class)
Seekadett Sea-cadet Naval Cadet Midshipman

 

ENLISTED MEN

GERMAN NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICER RANKS AND AMERICAN EQUIVALENTS[65]

WARRANT OFFICERS AND CHIEF PETTY OFFICERS

 

Obersteuermann Upper-taxman Chief Helmsman (Chief Petty Officer)

 

Quartermaster[66] of Warrant Officer rank
Obermaschinst Upper-machinist Senior Machinist Warrant Officer Machinist
Oberbootsmann Upper-boat’s man Senior Boatswain Chief Petty Officer

Chief Boatswain’s Mate

 

GERMAN NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICER RANKS AND AMERICAN EQUIVALENTS[67]

 

Bootsmann Boat’s Man Boatswain[68] Petty Officer First Class

Boatswain’s Mate First Class

Mechaniker Mechanic Mechanic Artificer’s Mate First Class

Torpedoman’s Mate First Class

Oberbootsmannsmaat Upper-boat’s Man’s Mate Senior Boatswain’s Mate or Chief Boatswain’s Mate or Chief Bosun’s Mate Petty Officer Second Class

Boatswain’s Mate Second Class

Obermechanikersmaat Upper-mechanic’s Mate Senior Mechanic’s Mate Artificer’s Mate Second Class

Torpedoman’s Mate Second Class

Oberfunkmaat Upper-radio-mate Senior Radio Operator’s Mate Radioman Second Class
Bootsmannsmaat Boatman’s Mate Boatman’s Mate or

Coxswain

Petty Officer Third Class

Coxswain

Maschinistenmaat Machinist’s Mate Machinist’s Mate Artificer’s Mate  Third Class

Tordpedoman’s Mate Third Class

Funkmaat Radio-mate Radio (Operator’s) Mate Radioman Third Class

 

 

GERMAN SEAMAN RANKS (Non-rated Personnel) AND AMERICAN EQUIVALENTS[69]

 

(1)   Stabsmatrose

(2)   Matrosenobergefreiter

(3)   Mechanikerobergefreiter

(4)   Funkobergefreiter

(1)   Corporal-sailor

(2)   Sailor-upper-private first class

(3)   Mechanic-upper-private first class

(4)   Radio-upper-private first class

(1) Seaman Corporal

(2) Seaman Senior First Class

(3) Mechanic Senior Seaman First Class

(4) Radio Operator Senior Seaman Second Class

Seaman First Class

(now Seaman)

Maschinenobergefreiter Mechanic-over-private first class Mechanic Senior Seaman Second Class Fireman Second Class
(1) Obermatrose

(2) Matrosengefreiter

(3) Mechanikergefreiter

(4) Maschinengefreiter

(5) Funkgefreiter

(1) Upper-sailor

(2) Sailor-private

(3) Sailor

Mechanical-corporal

(4) Machinist-upper-private first class

(5) Radio-private

(1) Senior Sailor

(2) Sailor (Apprentice)

(3) Mechanic Seaman (Apprentice)

(4) Machinist Second Class

(5) Radio Operator (Apprentice)

 

Seaman Second Class

(now Seaman Apprentice)

Maschinengefreiter Machine-private first class Machinist (Apprentice) Fireman Third Class
Matrose Sailor Seaman Recruit Seaman Recruit (apprentice)

 

 

 

In English-speaking navies, non-commissioned officers (non-coms or N.C.O.s) are called petty officers.  Chief petty officers are senior non-coms below the commissioned officers and above the (other) petty officers.  They are sometimes called Unteroffiziere mit Portpee (“Under Officers with Sword-knot”).[70]  Today, an Oberstabsbootsmann is the highest-ranking non-commissioned officer in the German Navy, the equivalent to a Master Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, an Oberstabsfeldwebel (Upper Staff Field Usher) in the German Army and German Air Force, a Sargent Major in the U.S. Army, and a Chief Master Sargent in the U.S. Air Force. This is the highest-ranking Unteroffiziere mit Portpee.  A Bootsmann (Boat’s Man) is the same thing as a Boatswain in the English language.  During the Second Great World War, a Bootsmann was the equivalent of a Boatswain in the U.S. Navy, but today a Bootsmann is the equivalent of a Petty Office First Class in the U.S. Navy.  This is the equivalent of a Feldwebel (Field Usher) in the German Army, which today is the equivalent of a Staff Sargent in the U.S. Army or a Technical Sargent in the U.S. Air Force.  This is the lowest-ranking Unteroffiziere mit Portpee.   Midshipmen nominally have the same status as chief petty officers but (unless they badly mess up) it is only a matter of time before they become commissioned officers.  Petty officers are above the other sailors, the non-rated sailors, who are called seamen.  The Germans sometimes call petty officers (as well as N.C.O.s in the German Army and German Air Force) Unteroffiziere (Under Officers).  [This is the plural from of Unteroffizier (Under Officer).]  Mannschaften (literally men-ship, but practically ship-men) are non-rated enlisted men, seamen or ship crewmen.  [That is the plural form of mannschaft (ship-man), a seaman or ship crewman.[71]]  Petty Officers are distinguishable from Chief Petty Officers because of the suffix Maat (Mate) in their titles.[72]  A Matrose (Sailor or Seaman) is a Seaman Recruit, the bottom rank or starting position for an enlisted man.  Besatzung is the crew of a boat or ship.  About half the crewmen would be Seemänner (Seamen) and technical specialists.[73]  The latter included Techniker (technical or engineering personnel), such as radiomen and torpedo mechanics.[74]  In 1942, the U-505 had a crew of four officers, two midshipmen, four senior petty officers, twelve petty officers, and twenty-eight seamen (non-rated enlisted men) for a total of fifty.[75]  Over the course of her service history, approximately 101 non-commissioned officers and non-rated enlisted men served aboard the U-505 from the time she completed training until her capture on Sunday, June 4, 1944.[76]

Between early 1942 and March of 1943, twenty of the U-505’s original twenty-eight unrated enlisted men transferred off her.[77]  Only four of the original twenty-eight unrated enlisted men remained on the U-505 from her first patrol to her last.[78]   In that same time period, one-third of the original twelve petty officers transferred off the U-505.[79]  Five of the original twelve petty officers remained aboard the U-505 until her final patrol, one of whom had been promoted to chief petty officer.[80]

Mulligan pointed out that Löwe benefited from having an experienced Chief Engineer and two competent Watch Officers.[81]  In addition, Löwe had two officer candidates, Fähnrich zur See Horst Dödens and Fähnrich zur See Werner Jacobi, who both joined the U-505 at Danzig on Friday, September 26, 1941.[82]  These midshipmen were subordinate to the watch officers like the non-coms and served aboard the U-505 until May of 1942.[83]  Dödens rose to become Second Watch Officer on the U-845, and survived to become a P.O.W. when she was sunk on Friday, March 10, 1944.[84]  Jacobi, who incurred the wrath of Nollau when he failed to provision the U-505 with sufficient soap before a patrol, later requested a reassignment when he found out he had been assigned as a watch officer on the U-534, which Nollau commanded.[85]  Unfortunately for Jacobi and his family, this understandable decision cost him his life because he died aboard the U-973 in March of 1944.[86]

Admiral Gallery explained the average age of the U-505 crewmen was twenty.[87]  “They were born soon after World War I, most of them were sired by soldiers and sailors who fought for the Kaiser.”[88]  In the main, they were boys when Hitler had his abortive Beer Hall Putsch (November 8-9, 1923) in Munich, Bavaria, was subsequently imprisoned, and published Mein Kampf in 1925-1926.[89]  Many of them had been in the Hitlerjugend (Hitler Youth organization, a sort of Nazi replica of the Boy Scout movement) in their teens “but were too young to be full-fledged Nazi Party members.  Besides, the Navy discouraged party membership.  The career officers who ran the Navy were willing to go along with Hitler and rebuild their service under him, but they avoided joining the party when possible.  I fished men from three submarine crews out of the Atlantic and all of them said, ‘I am a German soldier – but not a Nazi.’” [90]

Strictly speaking this was true, but several U-505 officers were former Nazi Party members who had to lay aside party affiliations while in active military service.  Stolzenburg was to be the first of four officers of the U-505 to be an actual member of the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (“National Socialistic German Worker’s Party,” abbreviated as N.S.D.A.P.), which he joined as member #1,540,181.[91]  As a reservist, he could be a Nazi Party member, but when he was called up to active service in 1938, he had to set aside his party membership.[92]

Members of the Wehrmacht had to lay aside all party affiliations while active in the service.  This was by order of Wehrgesetz (German Military Law Code) Politik in der Wehrmacht (“Politics in the Armed Forces”), §26, passed May 21, 1935, while the Nazis were in power.[93]  [Undoubtedly, the Nazis passed this law to assuage fears on the part of military officers they intended to turn the military, which was part of the institutional state, into an apparatus of the Nazi Party, which had been the avowed goal of one of Hitler’s key lieutenants, Ernst Röhm (1887-1934), co-founder and leader of the Sturmabteilung (also known as the S.A. and the Brown Shirts), the N.S.D.A.P.’s militia or private army.  Röhm wanted the S.A. to replace the Reichswehr (Realm Defense forces), as the German military was known under the Weimar Republic and the early years of Hitler’s Third Reich, as the “People’s Army.”  Hitler used the Schutzstaffel (SS), which began as his personal bodyguard within the S.A., and the Gestapo, which is short for Geheime Staatspolizei (Secret State Police), to kill Röhm and many other people both within and without the Nazi Party during a purge called the Night of the Long Knives between June 30th and July 2nd of 1934.]  The only professional naval officers allowed in the party were Grand Admiral Erich Raeder and Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz – as honorary party members.[94]  Wolfgang Lüth (1913-1945), the second-most successful U-boat commandant of the Second Great World War, was an enthusiastic National Socialist, and when he died in a friendly fire incident on May 13, 1945, Dönitz received permission from the Allies to give him a Nazi funeral on May 16, 1945.[95]

ENDNOTES

[1] Gordon Williamson, Kriegsmarine U-boats 1939-45, Volume 2. Oxford, England: Osprey Publishing (2002), pages 5-9

See also Eberhard Möller and Werner Brack, The Encyclopedia of U-Boats: From 1904 to the Present. Andrea Battson and Roger Chesneau, translators.  London, England: Greenhill Books and Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania: Stackpole Books (2004), p. 98

[2] In January of 1933, Generalfeldmarschall (Field Marshal) Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg (1847-1934), President of the Republic of Germany (1925-1934), appointed Adolph Hitler, Führer (Leader) of the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National Socialist German Workers’ Party, N.S.D.A.P.) Reichskanzler (Chancellor of the Reich).  As such, Hitler was head of the Reichstag (Imperial Diet, the German national legislature).  He was the chief-of-state, while Hindenburg was the head-of-state.  Upon von Hindeburg’s death in 1934, Hitler declared the presidency vacant and himself Führer und Reichskanzler (Leader & Chancellor of the Reich).

[3] Jordan Vause, U-boat Ace: The Story of Wolfgang Lüth. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press (1990), p. 12

[4] Vause, p. 12

[5] Vause, p. 12

[6] Vause, p. 12

[7] Vause, p. 12

[8] Vause, p. 12 and 13

[9] Vause, p. 13

[10] Vause, p. 13

[11] Daniel V. Gallery, Twenty Million Tons Under the Sea: The Daring Capture of the U-505. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press (1956, 2001), p. 54

[12] Gallery, p. 54

[13] Gallery, p. 54

[14] Gallery, pages 16 and 54

[15] Timothy P. Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505.” Hunt and Kill: U-505 and the U-boat War in the Atlantic. Edited by Theodore P. Savas. New York City, New York: Savas Beatie, L.L.C. (2004), p. 26

[16] Lawrence Paterson, “From the Lion’s Roar to Blunted Axe: The Combat Patrols of U-505.” Hunt & Kill: U-505 and the U-Boat War.  Edited by Theodore P. Savas.  New York City, New York: Savas Beatie LLC (2004), p. 59

[17] Gallery, p. 63

See also Paterson, “From the Lion’s Roar to Blunted Axe,” p. 59

See also James E. Wise, Jr. U-505: The Final Journey. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press (2005), p. 11

[18] Paterson, “From the Lion’s Roar to Blunted Axe,” p. 59

See also Wise, U-505: The Final Journey, p. 11

[19] Wise, U-505: The Final Journey, p. 11

[20] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 33

See also Wise, U-505: The Final Journey, p. 11

[21] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 33

[22] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 33

See also Wise, U-505: The Final Journey, p. 11

[23] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 39

Wise, U-505: The Final Journey, p. 11

[24] Wise, U-505: The Final Journey, p. 3

[25] Wise, U-505: The Final Journey, p. 11

[26] Wise, U-505: The Final Journey, p. 11

[27] Wise, U-505: The Final Journey, p. 11

[28] Gallery, p. 36

[29] Gallery, p. 36

[30] Gallery, pages 102-104, 117, 124, 125, and 154-156

See also Hans Joachim Decker, “404 Days! The War Patrol Life of the German U-505,” United States Naval Institute Proceedings, March, 1960, Volume 86/3/865, pages 36-39

See also Hans Jacob Göbeler with John Vanzo, Steel Boats, Iron Hearts: A U-boat Crewman’s Life aboard U-505. New York City, New York: Savas Beatie (2005), pages 23-54

See also “Operations Information for U-505” ubootwaffe.net (“Kriesgsmarine and U-Boat History”)

(http://66.102.7.104/search?q=cache:fniZtKfThYAJ:www.ubootwaffe.net/ops/boat.cgi%3Fboat%3D505+Benmohr+Sydhav+Roamar&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=1&client=safari) Accessed 05/23/06

[31] Gallery, pages 165 and 166

See also Decker, p. 40

See also Göbeler, pages 75 and 76

[32] Paterson, “From the Lion’s Roar to Blunted Axe,” p. 64

Note that Mulligan makes no mention of how many casualties there were when the U-505 sank the Sydhav, only that there were survivors (p. 225).

[33] Patterson, p. 65

See also Timothy Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology.” Hunt and Kill: U-505 and the U-boat War in the Atlantic. Edited by Theodore P. Savas. New York City, New York: Savas Beatie, L.L.C. (2004), p. 225

[34] Paterson, pages 66 and 245 Endnote 13

Note, Mulligan stated there were “no apparent casualties among crew,” of the Alphacca (p. 225).

[35] Patterson, p. 70

See also Mulligan, p. 226

[36] Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 226

[37] Paterson, “From the Lion’s Roar to Blunted Axe: The War Patrols of U-505,” p. 75

Note that Mulligan stated “all 54 crewmen including nine British naval and military gunners, survive[d]” (Mulligan, p. 227).

[38] Gallery, pages 61 and 62

[39] Gallery, p. 62 Footnote

[40] Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 224

See also Paterson, p. 57

[41] Decker, p. 33

[42] Gallery, pages 24 and 40

See also Hans Göbeler and John Vanzo, Steel Boat, Iron Hearts: A U-Boat Crewman’s Life aboard U-505. New York City, New York: Savas Beatie (2005), p. 9

See also Eric C. Rust, “Appendix A: Type IXC U-Boats: Technical Data.” Hunt and Kill: U-505 and the U-boat War in the Atlantic. Edited by Theodore P. Savas. New York City, New York: Savas Beatie, L.L.C. (2004), p. 221

See also Mulligan, p.224

[43] Gallery, p. 25

[44] Hans Joachim Decker, p. 33

[45] Paterson, “From the Lion’s Roar to Blunted Axe: The War Patrols of U-505,” p. 57

[46] Mulligan, “Appendix B: U-505 Combat Chronology,” p. 224

[47] Decker, p. 34

[48] Decker, p. 34

[49] Decker, p. 34

[50] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 28

[51] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 28

[52] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 29

[53] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 29

[54] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 29

[55] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 29

[56] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 29

See also Gallery, pages 153 and 154

[57] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 29

[58] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 29

[59] Vause, p. ix

Note that although there is no U.S. Navy equivalent to a German Nany Generaladmiral, it is the equivalent of a German Army Colonel-General, which is the rank just below Field Marshal.

See also James E. Wise, Jr. U-505: The Final Journey. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press (2005), p. xii

[60] Commodore was formerly a rank in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard lower than a Rear Admiral and higher than a Captain.  Commodores were flag officers like admirals.   [Fans of Star Trek television shows may recall that periodically captains of the Enterprise had to make reports to commodores.]  Commodore remains a rank in the British Royal Navy and Royal Canadian Navy, while Air Commodore remains a rank in the British Royal Air Force equivalent to a Brigadier in the British Army.  [Note that in the British Army a Brigadier is no longer a Brigadier General like in the U.S. Army.]  Today, however, in the U.S. Navy, Commodore is an honorary title held by senior Captains.

[61] A naval officer with the rank of Captain in the British Royal Navy and the U.S. Navy commands a capital ship, a ship-of-the-line.  In the German and Royal Netherlands Navies, a Kapitän zur See is the equivalent.

[62] Over the course of four centuries, warships with the classification of frigate evolved from ships that were too small to serve in the line-of-battle to medium-sized warships that served as escorts for other warships and merchant ships.

[63] A corvette is a small warship (500 to 3,000 tons in modern navies).  In several navies, a Corvette Captain is the rank held by the commander of a small warship.  The equivalent in the British Royal Navy and U.S. Navy is a Lieutenant Commander.  This is the lowest rank for a senior officer.

[64] Vause, p. ix

See also Wise, p. xii

[65] For the first and fourth rows, see Wise, p. xii

See also Timothy Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” in Hunt & Kill: U-505 and the U-Boat War.  Edited by Thodore P. Savas.  New York City, New York: Savas Beatie LLC (2004), p. 43

[66] Note that in an army a quartermaster is a soldier of senior rank who is in charge of storing and disbursing supplies and provisions, but in a navy a quartermaster is a non-commissioned officer, who, in the British Royal Navy and Commonwealth Navies, is the helmsman, and, in the U.S. Navy, is a navigation specialist. In the U.S. Navy, the ship’s navigator will be an officer and the quartermaster will aid the navigator.

[67] For the first and fourth rows, see Wise, p. xii

[68] The word boatswain is sometimes abbreviated “bo’s’n” and sometimes this is spelt “bosun.”

[69] Wise, p. xiii

[70] Non-commissioned officers with sword knots were entitled to have swords as part of their dress uniforms.  [In a former age, they would have truly been armed with swords for use in battle.]  Wearing swords like commissioned officers would distinguish them from lower non-commissioned officers.

[71] Note that a mannschaft can also be an army squad or team.

[72] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 42

[73] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 42

[74] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 42

[75] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 41

[76] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 42

[77] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 44

[78] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 44

[79] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 44

[80] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 44

[81] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” pages 28 and 29

[82] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 30

[83] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 30

[84] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 30

[85] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 30

[86] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 30

[87] Gallery, p. 60

[88] Gallery, pages 60 and 61

[89] Gallery, p. 61

[90] Gallery, p. 61

[91] Ibid

[92] Mulligan, “A Community Bound by Fate: The Crew of U-505,” p. 30

[93] E-mail dated February 15, 2007, from Wilhelm Knöß to Sean M. O’Connor

A historian, Knöß (which can be transliterated Knoess) is an employee of the Deutsches Marinemuseum at Wilhelmshaven and a nephew of U-505 torpedo mechanic mate Hermann Knöß.

I assume this was part of, or related to, the Reich Defense Law the German Cabinet passed on May 21, 1935.  Supreme Commanders of the Army, Navy, and Air Forces received copies of the Reich Defense Law on June 24, 1935.  See Yale Law School, Lillian Goldman Library, The International Military Tribunal for Germany, Contents of The Nuremberg Trials Collection, Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Volume 2, Chapter XV, Part 3. (http://avalon.law.yale.edu/imt/chap15_part03.asp) Accessed 04/25/18

[94] E-mail dated February 15, 2007, from Wilhelm Knöß to Sean M. O’Connor

[95] Vause, pages xxi, 7, 45, 46, 207, and 208

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