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Herbert Schultze

Herbert Schultze German Navy Offier and World War II U-boat commander

German Navy Offier and World War II U-boat commander
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro German Navy Offier and World War II U-boat commander
A.K.A. Schultze, Herbert
Countries Germany
Occupations Sailor Submariner Soldier Photographer
Type Arts Military
Gender male
Birth 24 July 1909, Kiel
Death 3 June 1987, Hereford (aged 77 years)
Star sign LeoLeo
Herbert Schultze
The details

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, the eighth most of any Kriegsmarine submarine commander.


Schultze was born in Kiel and joined the Reichsmarine in April 1930. On 9 October 1930 he became a Seekadett. Serving aboard the cruisers Leipzig and 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

Soon after the war started on 1 September 1939 Schultze took U-48 out on her first patrol. On 11 September 1939 he sank the British 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." He sank two more ships for 14,777 GRT during the first patrol.

After returning to base, Schultze gave an interview to William L. Shirer, an American reporter, on 29 September 1939. During the interview it was established that Schultze had sunk another British ship, the Royal Sceptre and like the sinking of the Firby, had arranged for the crew to be rescued by another Allied ship. The interview was recorded and broadcast both in the United States and Great Britain.

Schultze left for four more successful patrols. On 1 March 1940 he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross for his successes. 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 spent five months in hospital recuperating. From October 1940 Schultze took up duties as Second in Command of the 7th U-boat Flotilla, now based at St. Nazaire, in occupied France.

On 17 December 1940 Schultze resumed command of U-48, relieving Heinrich Bleichrodt. He commanded the U-boat on three more patrols, and continued sinking enemy shipping at a great rate. He was 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. In 1956 Schultze joined the Bundesmarine of West Germany and served in a string of staff positions. He became commander of the 3rd Ship home department, he 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


  • 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)
  • Mentioned three times in the Wehrmachtbericht (26 February 1940, 2 April 1941 and 12 June 1941)


  • 26 ships sunk for 169,709 GRT
  • One ship damaged for 9,456 GRT
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