Herbert Schultze: German Navy Officer and World War II U-boat commander (1909 - 1987) | Biography, Facts, Information, Career, Wiki, Life
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Herbert Schultze
German Navy Officer and World War II U-boat commander

Herbert Schultze

Herbert Schultze
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro German Navy Officer and World War II U-boat commander
A.K.A. Schultze, Herbert
Was Sailor Submariner Soldier Photographer
From Germany
Field Arts Military
Gender male
Birth 24 July 1909, Kiel, Germany
Death 3 June 1987, Hereford, United Kingdom (aged 77 years)
Star sign Leo
The details (from wikipedia)


Herbert Emil Schultze (24 July 1909 – 3 June 1987), was a German U-boat (submarine) commander of the Kriegsmarine (the German navy in World War II). He commanded U-48 for eight patrols during the early part of the war, sinking 169,709 gross register tons (GRT) of shipping.

Schultze was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. Legally it was Nazi Germany's highest military decoration at the time of its presentation to Herbert Schultze, although the later higher ranked Swords and Diamonds grades to the Knight's Cross had already been awarded in June and July 1941.

Early life and career

Schultze was born in Kiel. He joined the Reichsmarine on 1 April 1930 as a member of "Crew 30" (the incoming class of 1930). He underwent basic military training in the 2nd department of the standing ship division of the Baltic Sea in Stralsund (1 April 1930 – 30 June 1930). Schultze was then transferred to the training ship Niobe (1 July 1930 – 9 October 1930), attaining the rank of Seekadett (midshipman) on 9 October 1930. Following a 14-month stay onboard the cruiser Emden (10 October 1930 – 4 January 1932), he advanced in rank to Fähnrich zur See (officer cadet) on 1 January 1932.

Schultze then underwent a number of officer training courses at the Naval Academy at Mürwik before transferring to the light cruiser Leipzig (2 October 1933 – 7 October 1934). During this assignment, he was promoted to Oberfähnrich zur See (senior midshipman) on 1 April 1934 and to Leutnant zur See (acting sub-lieutenant) on 1 October 1934. He also served aboard the cruiser Karlsruhe with other future U-boat aces, including Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock.

In May 1937, now an Oberleutnant zur See, Schultze transferred to the U-boat force, taking command of the Type IIA U-boat U-2 on 31 January 1938. U-2 was assigned to the U-Bootschulflottille (U-boat school flotilla); he spent the next year and a half training with the sub.

On 22 April 1939 Schultze commissioned U-48, a Type VIIB U-boat. U-48 was later to become the most successful submarine of the war. She was assigned to the 7th U-boat Flotilla, and spent the next four months in training. On 1 June 1939 Schultze was promoted to Kapitänleutnant.

World War II

On 19 August 1939, on the eve of World War II, Schultze took U-48 out on her first patrol. On this patrol, which took U-48 to the North Atlantic, southwest of Ireland and to the Rockall Bank before returning to Kiel on 17 September, Leutnant zur See Reinhard Suhren served as 1st watch officer. U-48's 2nd watch officer on this patrol was Leutnant zur See Otto Ites.

He was at sea when the war started on 1 September 1939. On 11 September 1939 he sank the British 4,869-gross register ton (GRT) freighter Firby. After the sinking he sent the plain language radio message "cq - cq- cq - transmit to Mr. Churchill. I have sunk the British steamer "Firby". Posit 59.40 North and 13.50 West. Save the crew, if you please. German submarine." This message, addressed to the First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill directly. Schultze and his crew had already sunk Royal Sceptre on 5 September and Winkleigh three days later for a combined total of 9,908 GRT.

Schultze intercepted the freighter Browning some time later and ordered to pick up survivors from Royal Sceptre. Schultze's cease-fire action was on the provision that the British crew did not use their radios to report him. After returning to base, Schultze gave an interview to William L. Shirer, an American reporter, on 29 September 1939. The patrol yielded 14,777 GRT of shipping.

The second patrol began on 4 October and ended 21 days later. During the sortie he sank 37,153 GRT in 22 days. From 12–17 October 1939, Schultze sank five ships. Tanker Emile Miguet (14,115 GRT), Heronspool 15,202 GRT Louisiane 6,903 GRT, Sneaton 3,677 GRT and 7,256 GRT Clan Chisholm. Schultze abided by prize law in all but the sinking of Clan Chisholm which sailed in convoy HG 3. Nine men were killed aboard Schultze's first eight victims. During the attack he ordered the stern torpedo fired at a destroyer—probably HMS Escort—with no result. A number of the ships were photographed during their sinking by the German crew.

Schultze's third patrol lasted from 20 November to 20 December. The boat sank 25,618 GRT. Over 8 and 9 December Schultze intercepted Brandon (6,668 GRT) and San Alberto 7,397 GRT and the Germaine for 5,217 GRT on 15 December. The patrol lasted only seven days. Upon Schultze's departure from the Atlantic Ocean on 19 December there were no U-boats in the sea for five days.

Knight's Cross

In January 1940 B-Dienst intercepted British naval signals suggesting Ark Royal was a en route through the English Channel. Schultze was ordered to take up position at the Western end with two other boats—U-26 and U-37—and sink her. They were ordered to take up their stations on 12 February. Schultze, believing the other boats were joining him to attack a convoy he was shadowing, decided to stay with the convoy and ignored the orders of Befehlshaber der U-Boote (BdU). He proceeded to expend all but one torpedo and missed the carrier which docked in Portsmouth unmolested. Schultze received a mild reprimand by Dönitz. Schultze's fourth patrol yielded four more ships from 10–17 February 1940. Two Dutch ships and one Finnish ship accompanied the 12,306 GRT Sultan Star, sunk on 14 February 1940. Schultze was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross for his successes on 2 March. He had sunk 109,074 GRT of shipping.

On 9 April 1940 the Kriegsmarine executed Operation Weserübung. In support of the invasions of Norway and Denmark U-48 carried out combat operations against warships. On 14 April Schultze attacked the battleship Warspite but the torpedoes failed. U-25 made attacks against the battleship in Vestfjorden without success, and probably due to torpedo failure. In a third attack, U-47 commanded by Günther Prien attempted to sink the battleship but failed for the same reason. The widespread mechanical failures of torpedoes at this stage of the war threatened morale. Detailed reports were made to Dönitz. On 20 May 1940 Schultze handed command of U-48 over to Hans Rudolf Rösing due to illness stemming from a stomach and kidney disorder. Schultze was sent to a naval hospital to recuperate. From October 1940 Schultze became part of the naval staff of the 7th U-boat Flotilla, at St Nazaire, in France.

On 17 December 1940 Schultze resumed command of U-48, relieving Heinrich Bleichrodt. His resumption of combat operations coincided with the period known as the "First Happy Time." In the midst of his next patrol—6 February 1941—Hitler issued Directive 23. The order singled out the British sea lanes as a priority target for the navy and Luftwaffe.

On 20 January 1941 Schultze began his sixth patrol which ended on 17 February. Nicolas Angelos, a 4,351 GRT ship, was sunk from convoy OB 279 on 1 February and Nailsea Lass, 4,289 GRT followed from convoy SLS 64 23 days later. The convoy was attacked by Admiral Hipper and several other U-boats. A seventh patrol from 17 March–8 April 1941 resulted in four sinkings. Schultze intercepted HX 115 on 29 March and sank three ships. The Hylton 5,197 GRT, Germanic, 5,352 GRT, and Limbourg, 2,483 GRT. The detached Beaverdale was sunk on 2 April which increased the tally by 9,957 GRT. In Schultze's eighth and penultimate patrol from 22 May–17 June 1941, he sank five ships. On 3 June Inversuir 9,456 GRT from convoy OB 327, on the 5th Wellfield 6,054 GRT from convoy OB 328, and on the 6th and 8th Tregarthen 5,201 GRT and then Pendrecht 10,746 GRT from convoy OB 329. Empire Dew 7,005 GRT from convoy OG 64 was Schultze's final victim.


Schultze was thus awarded the Oak Leaves to his Knight's Cross on 12 June 1941. The presentation was made on 30 June 1941 by Hitler at the Führer Headquarter Wolfsschanze (Wolf's Lair) in Rastenburg (now Kętrzyn in Poland).

On 27 July 1941 Schultze left U-48 to take command of the 3rd U-boat Flotilla operating from La Rochelle, also in France. He served in this capacity until March 1942, when he was assigned to the staff of Marinegruppe Nord as Admiral Staff Officer for U-boats. He was assigned to the staff of Admiral Karl Dönitz in December 1942. On 1 April 1943 he was promoted to Korvettenkapitän. In March 1944 he was assigned as commander of Department II, Marineschule Mürwik, where he served to the end of the war.


In August 1945 he was employed by the Allies as commander of the Naval Academy at Mürwik near Flensburg and the Heinz Krey-bearing. In November 1945, now a civilian, he took the job of manager of the naval facilities in Flensburg-Mürwik until October 1946.

On 2 July 1956, Schultze joined the Bundesmarine of West Germany and served in a string of staff positions. His first disposition was commander of the 3rd Ship Home Department. He served in this capacity from 2 July 1956 to 15 February 1959. He then served as Staff Officer Personnel (A1) on the command staff of the naval base, was commander of convoy ships, teaching group leaders at the Naval Academy and head of the volunteer adoption headquarters of the Navy until his retirement on 30 September 1968 with the rank of Kapitän zur See. Schultze died on 3 June 1987 in London.

Summary of military career

Ships attacked

As commander of U-48, Schultze is credited with the sinking of 26 ships for a total of 169,709 gross register tons (GRT), further damaging three ships of 169,709 GRT and damaging one further ship of 9,456 GRT.

Chronicle of ships attacked
Date Ship Nationality Tonnage Fate Location
5 September 1939 Royal Sceptre  United Kingdom 4,853 Sunk 46°23′N 14°59′W / 46.383°N 14.983°W / 46.383; -14.983
8 September 1939 Winkleigh  United Kingdom 5,055 Sunk 48°06′N 18°12′W / 48.100°N 18.200°W / 48.100; -18.200
11 September 1939 Firby  Canada 4,869 Sunk 59°40′N 13°50′W / 59.667°N 13.833°W / 59.667; -13.833
12 October 1939 Emile Miguet  France 14,115 Sunk 50°15′N 14°50′W / 50.250°N 14.833°W / 50.250; -14.833
12 October 1939 Heronspool  United Kingdom 5,202 Sunk 50°13′N 14°48′W / 50.217°N 14.800°W / 50.217; -14.800
13 October 1939 Louisiane  France 6,903 Sunk 50°14′N 15°20′W / 50.233°N 15.333°W / 50.233; -15.333
14 October 1939 Sneaton  United Kingdom 3,677 Sunk 49°05′N 13°05′W / 49.083°N 13.083°W / 49.083; -13.083
17 October 1939 Clan Chisholm  United Kingdom 7,256 Sunk 44°57′N 13°40′W / 44.950°N 13.667°W / 44.950; -13.667
26 November 1939 Gustaf E. Reuter  Sweden 6,336 Sunk 59°38′N 02°03′W / 59.633°N 2.050°W / 59.633; -2.050
8 December 1939 Brandon  United Kingdom 6,668 Sunk 50°28′N 08°28′W / 50.467°N 8.467°W / 50.467; -8.467
9 December 1939 San Alberto  United Kingdom 7,397 Damaged, scuttled by HMS Mackay 49°20′N 09°45′W / 49.333°N 9.750°W / 49.333; -9.750
15 December 1939 Germaine  Greece 5,217 Sunk 51°00′N 12°18′W / 51.000°N 12.300°W / 51.000; -12.300
10 February 1940 Burgerdijk  Netherlands 6,853 Sunk 49°45′N 06°30′W / 49.750°N 6.500°W / 49.750; -6.500
14 February 1940 Sultan Star  United Kingdom 12,306 Sunk 48°54′N 10°03′W / 48.900°N 10.050°W / 48.900; -10.050
15 February 1940 Den Haag  Netherlands 8,971 Sunk 48°02′N 08°26′W / 48.033°N 8.433°W / 48.033; -8.433
17 February 1940 Wilja  Finland 3,392 Sunk 49°00′N 06°33′W / 49.000°N 6.550°W / 49.000; -6.550
1 February 1941 Nicolaos Angelos  Greece 4,351 Sunk 59°00′N 17°00′W / 59.000°N 17.000°W / 59.000; -17.000
24 February 1941 Nailsea Lass  United Kingdom 4,289 Sunk 50°06′N 10°23′W / 50.100°N 10.383°W / 50.100; -10.383
29 March 1941 Germanic  United Kingdom 5,352 Sunk 61°18′N 22°05′W / 61.300°N 22.083°W / 61.300; -22.083
29 March 1941 Limbourg  Belgium 2,483 Sunk 61°18′N 22°05′W / 61.300°N 22.083°W / 61.300; -22.083
29 March 1941 Eastlea  United Kingdom 4,267 Sunk
29 March 1941 Hylton  United Kingdom 5,197 Sunk 60°20′N 18°10′W / 60.333°N 18.167°W / 60.333; -18.167
2 April 1941 Beaverdale  United Kingdom 9,957 Sunk 60°50′N 29°19′W / 60.833°N 29.317°W / 60.833; -29.317
3 June 1941 Inversuir  United Kingdom 9,456 Damaged by U-48, sunk by U-75 48°30′N 28°30′W / 48.500°N 28.500°W / 48.500; -28.500
5 June 1941 Wellfield  United Kingdom 6,054 Sunk 48°34′N 31°34′W / 48.567°N 31.567°W / 48.567; -31.567
6 June 1941 Tregathen  United Kingdom 5,201 Sunk 46°17′N 36°20′W / 46.283°N 36.333°W / 46.283; -36.333
8 June 1941 Pendrecht  Netherlands 10,746 Sunk 45°18′N 36°40′W / 45.300°N 36.667°W / 45.300; -36.667
12 June 1941 Empire Dew  United Kingdom 7,005 Sunk 51°09′N 30°16′W / 51.150°N 30.267°W / 51.150; -30.267


  • Wehrmacht Long Service Award 4th Class (2 October 1936)
  • Olympic Games Decoration (20 April 1937)
  • Iron Cross (1939)
    • 2nd Class (25 September 1939)
    • 1st Class (27 October 1939)
  • Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
    • Knight's Cross on 1 March 1940 as Kapitänleutnant and commander of U-48
    • 15th Oak Leaves on 12 June 1941 as Kapitänleutnant and commander of U-48
  • Croce di Guerra with Swords (14 October 1941)
  • U-boat War Badge (1939) (25 October 1939)
    • with Diamonds (15 July 1941)



  • Offiziersanwärter (officer cadet) – 1 April 1930
  • Seekadett (naval cadet) – 9 October 1930
  • Fähnrich zur See (midshipman) – 1 January 1932
  • Oberfähnrich zur See (senior midshipman) – 1 April 1934
  • Leutnant zur See (acting sub-lieutenant) – 1 October 1934


  • Oberleutnant zur See (sub-lieutenant) – 1 June 1936
  • Kapitänleutnant (captain lieutenant/lieutenant) – 1 June 1939
  • Korvettenkapitän (corvette captain/lieutenant commander) – 18 March 1943, effective as of 1 April 1943


  • Fregattenkapitän (frigate captain/commander) - 1 November 1956, effective as of 2 July 1956
  • Kapitän zur See (captain at sea/captain) - 1 July 1966

Translation notes

  1. ^ 2nd department —II. Abteilung
  2. ^ standing ship division —Schiffsstammdivision
  3. ^ 3rd Ship Home Department—3. Schiffsstammabteilung
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 08 Mar 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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