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Helmut Möhlmann

Helmut Möhlmann

German world war ii u-boat commander
The basics
Quick Facts
Occupations Korvettenkapitän Submariner
Countries Germany
Gender male
Birth June 25, 1913 (Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany)
Death April 12, 1977 (Prien am Chiemsee, Rosenheim, Upper Bavaria, Bavaria)
Helmut Möhlmann
The details

Helmut Möhlmann (25 June 1913 – 12 April 1977) was a German U-boat commander in World War II and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes). The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.


Möhlmann joined the Reichsmarine on 1 April 1933 as an Offiziersanwärter ("Officer Candidate") as a member of "Crew 1933" (the incoming class of 1933). He served aboard the light cruiser Nürnberg, rising steadily through the junior officer ranks, and during the first months of the war sailed on patrols on the torpedo boat Luchs as Oberleutnant zur See. In April 1940 he transferred to the U-boat force.

He commanded the training U-boats U-143 and U-52, and was promoted to Kapitänleutnant on 1 April 1941, before commissioning the Type VIIC U-boat U-571 in May.

Möhlmann made eight war patrols in U-571, in the Atlantic and the Arctic Sea, sinking seven ships totalling 47,169 gross register tons (GRT) and damaging one of 11,394 GRT. Especially successful was his fourth patrol in March–May 1942, in which during a single week he sank two ships of more than 10,000 tons. He left the U-boat in May 1943, and after a course at the Naval Academy at Berlin he served as a staff officer on the BdU in the Waffenabteilung ("Armaments Department").

In December 1944 Möhlmann was appointed commander of 14th U-boat Flotilla at Narvik, Norway, remaining there until the end of the war. He was promoted to Korvettenkapitän (corvette captain) on 1 April 1945. After the surrender he spent more than four months in captivity.

Möhlmann rejoined the military service of the post World War II Bundeswehr of the Federal Republic of Germany. He entered the Bundesmarine on 1 July 1960 holding the rank of Fregattenkapitän (frigate captain). He served as military attaché at the German Embassy in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil from 24 August 1965 to 24 November 1969. His last service position was Wehrbereichskommandant VI in Munich before retiring on 31 March 1970.

Summary of Raiding Career

Ships attacked
Date Ship Tons Nationality Fate
26 August 1941 Marija Uljanova 3,870  Soviet Union Total loss
29 March 1942 Hertford 10,923  United Kingdom Sunk
6 April 1942 Koll 10,044  Norway Sunk
14 April 1942 Margaret 3,352  United States Sunk
7 July 1942 Umtata 8,141  United Kingdom Sunk
8 July 1942 J.A. Moffett, Jr. 9,788  United States Total loss
9 July 1942 Nicholas Cuneo 1,051  Honduras Sunk
15 July 1942 Pennsylvania Sun 11,394  United States Damaged


  • Wehrmacht Long Service Award 4th Class (2 April 1937)
  • Spanish Cross in Bronze without Swords (6 June 1939)
  • Memel Medal (26 October 1939)
  • Iron Cross (1939)
    • 2nd Class (16 November 1939)
    • 1st Class (1 December 1941)
  • Destroyer War Badge (20 April 1941)
  • U-boat War Badge 1939 (1 December 1941)
  • Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 16 April 1941 as Kapitänleutnant and commander of U-571
  • War Merit Cross with Swords 2nd Class (20 April 1944)
  • U-boat Front Clasp (16 September 1944)
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