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Hans Jenisch
German World War II U-boat commander

Hans Jenisch

Hans Jenisch
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro German World War II U-boat commander
Was Sailor Submariner Lieutenant
From Germany
Type Military
Gender male
Birth 19 October 1913, Zheleznodorozhny, Kaliningrad Oblast
Death 29 April 1982, Kronshagen (aged 68 years)
Star sign Libra
The details (from wikipedia)


Hans Jenisch (19 October 1913 – 29 April 1982) was a Kapitänleutnant in Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II and a Kapitän zur See in West Germany's Bundesmarine. He commanded the Type VIIA U-boat U-32, sinking seventeen ships on seven patrols, for a total of 110,139 gross register tons (GRT) of Allied shipping, to become the 26th highest scoring U-Boat ace of World War II.


Jenisch joined the navy, then named Reichsmarine, in 1933, and after serving in the cruiser Deutschland transferred to the U-boat arm in 1937. He served as 1WO (second-in-command) of U-32 under Werner Lott, before taking command of the U-boat in February 1940.

Empress of Britain

On 26 October 1940, Empress of Britain was spotted by a German Focke-Wulf C 200 Condor long-range bomber, commanded by Oberleutnant Bernhard Jope. Jope's bomber strafed Empress of Britain three times and hit her twice with 250 kilograms (550 lb) bombs causing severe damage to the ship. Jenisch had been informed of the location of the damaged vessel and intercepted her on the evening of 27 October. Jenisch fired three torpedoes, hitting her twice. Empress of Britain sank at 02:05 on 28 October 1940. At 42,348 gross tons, she was the largest ship sunk by a German U-boat.


Jenisch was captured on 30 October 1940 after U-32 was sunk north-west of Ireland by the British destroyers Harvester and Highlander. Nine of her crew died, but 33 survived to be taken prisoner, including Jenisch. He spent the next 6.5 years in British captivity before his return to Germany in June 1947.


Even though Jenisch became known as a celebrated U-boat commander, his subsequent assessment of submarines was highly negative. In POW camp, he told a shocked Wilfried Prellberg (ex-CO of U-31) he considered submarines in warfare "obsolete. All of it." On joining the West German Bundesmarine in 1956, Jenisch held staff positions and commanded the training frigate Hipper (originally a Black Swan-class sloop, the ex-HMS Actaeon) for a time.

Jenisch was Divisional Training Commander at the Führungsakademie der Bundeswehr in Hamburg from 1 October 1966 to 31 March 1970. He retired in 1972 with the rank of Kapitän zur See, and died in 1982.

Summary of career

Ships attacked

During seven patrols he sank 17 ships, including the 42,348 ton RMS Empress of Britain, for a career total of 110,139 GRT, as well as damaging 3 ships for 22,749 tons, including the cruiser HMS Fiji.

Date Name of Ship Nationality Tonnage Fate
2 March 1940 Lagaholm  Sweden 2,818 Sunk
18 June 1940 Altair  Norway 1,522 Sunk
18 June 1940 Nuevo Ons  Spain 108 Sunk
18 June 1940 Sálvora  Spain 108 Sunk
19 June 1940 Labud  Yugoslavia 5,334 Sunk
22 June 1940 Eli Knudsen  Norway 9,026 Sunk
30 August 1940 Chelsea  United Kingdom 4,804 Sunk
30 August 1940 Mill Hill  United Kingdom 4,318 Sunk
30 August 1940 Norne  Norway 3,971 Sunk
1 September 1940 HMS Fiji  United Kingdom 8,000 Damaged
22 September 1940 Collegian  United Kingdom 7,886 Damaged
25 September 1940 Mabriton  United Kingdom 6,694 Sunk
26 September 1940 Corrientes  United Kingdom 6,863 Damaged
26 September 1940 Darcoila  United Kingdom 4,084 Sunk
26 September 1940 Tancred  Norway 6,094 Sunk
28 September 1940 Empire Ocelot  United Kingdom 5,759 Sunk
29 September 1940 Bassa  United Kingdom 5,267 Sunk
30 September 1940 Haulerwijk  Netherlands 3,278 Sunk
2 October 1940 Kayeson  United Kingdom 4,606 Sunk
28 October 1940 Empress of Britain  United Kingdom 42,348 Sunk


  • Iron Cross (1939) 2nd and 1st Class
  • U-boat War Badge (1939)
  • Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 7 October 1940 as Oberleutnant zur See and commander of U-32
  • Mentioned four times in the Wehrmachtbericht (12 September 1940, 1 October 1940, 3 October 1940 and 28 October 1940)

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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