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Werner Herrmann

Werner Herrmann

The basics
Quick Facts
Gender male
Birth January 14, 1920 (Völklingen, Regionalverband Saarbrücken, Saarland, Germany)
The details

Werner Herrmann (born 1920) was a German submarine commander during World War II who was the basis for the character of the "Second Watch Officer" in both the novel and film Das Boot. In the film version, he is portrayed by actor Martin Semmelrogge.

Early life and entry to navy

Werner Herrmann was born 14 January 1920 in Völklingen, then in the Territory of the Saar Basin, and joined the Kriegsmarine at the age of eighteen. He was accepted into officer candidate training in October of that year and, following initial basic training, further appointed as a sea cadet in the summer of 1939. Shortly after World War II began, he was appointed as a Midshipman and accepted into submarine training the following year. He graduated U-Boat officer school in April 1941 and was appointed a Leutnant zur See.

U-boat service

Herrmann's first active war assignment was as the Second Watch Officer on board the U-boat U-96. He reported for duty in October 1941 and departed at the end of that month for the ship's seventh war patrol. During this trip, German Naval correspondent Lothar-Günther Buchheim chronicled the voyage and later used his notes regarding Herrmann as the basis for one of the characters in his novel Das Boot.

After serving on one more patrol, Herrmann was detached from U-96 in the spring of 1942, afterwards he reported to the headquarters of the 2nd U-boat Flotilla where he served as a staff officer. The following year he was transferred to the staff of the 24th U-boat Flotilla. He was screened for command in the summer of 1944 and appointed commander of German submarine U-2510 in September 1944. Hermann's boat, a Type XXI submarine, was used for training purposes only. In May 1945, Herrmann was discharged from the Navy as part of Germany's general surrender.

Post War

In the 1950s, Herrmann was working as a school teacher in Germany.

Service history

Dates of rank

  • October 1938: Offiziersanwärter (Officer Candidate)
  • July 1939: Seekadett (Sea Cadet)
  • December 1939: Fähnrich zur See (Midshipman)
  • August 1940: Oberfähnrich zur See (Senior Midshipman)
  • April 1941: Leutnant zur See (Lieutenant)
  • April 1943: Oberleutnant zur See (Senior Lieutenant)


  • Iron Cross (Second Class)
  • U-boat War Badge

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Early life and entry to navy U-boat service Post War Service history
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