U-boat Crew Casualties


These pages contain a compilation of all known losses of life from U-boats that either survived the incident or were put into commission shortly afterwards.


U-582, 10 Jan 1942
During heavy weather in the North Atlantic a lookout on U-582 broke his arm.

U-654, 12 Jan 1942
During heavy weather in the North Atlantic a lookout on U-654 broke his arm.

U-575, 25 Jan 1942
During bad weather in the North Atlantic a lookout on U-575 broke his arm.

U-591, 29 Jan 1942
A lookout broke his arm in rough seas west of Bantry Bay, Ireland.


U-585, 5 Feb 1942
21 year old Fähnrich zur See Eberhardt Vollmer (Crew 1940) was lost overboard in the south Barents Sea.

U-156, 16 Feb 1942
U-156 began to shell the oil refinery at Aruba in the Caribbean, but the gun crew forgot to remove the water plug from the barrel, causing an explosion that killed one man [Matrosengefreiter Heinrich Büssinger]. The gunnery officer [II WO Leutnant zur See Dietrich von dem Borne, see right] lost his right leg in this incident, and so had to be put ashore into captivity at Martinique on 21 February. The commander decided to saw off the ruined portion of the gun barrel, and using this shorter barrel, on 27 February U-156 sank a 2,498-ton British steamer.

U-454, 26 Feb 1942
Matrosengefreiter Josef Kauerlost was lost overboard when U-454 was two days out from Trondheim, Norway.


U-155, 10 Mar 1942
On the return from the US eastern seaboard, I WO Oberleutnant zur See Gert Rentrop was lost overboard.

U-123, 27 Mar 1942
After being torpedoed by U-123 off the US east coast, the American Q-ship USS Atik (AK 101) took the Germans by surprise with their counter-attack. One man from U-123 was fatally wounded and the Q-ship was sunk with all hands. [Fähnrich zur See Rudi Holzer]

U-703, 29 Mar 1942
One crew member on U-703 was badly injured in an accident off Heligoland.


U-81, 5 Apr 1942
One of U-81's crew was injured in an accident.

U-334, 13 Apr 1942
A day before U-334 reached base at Trondheim, Norway 19 year old Matrosengefreiter Otto Mayerhofer was lost overboard.

U-657, 27 Apr 1942
The boat was damaged in an air raid on the harbour at Trondheim, Norway. One of the crew was injured.


U-507, 5 May 1942
One of the crew broke his arm during the handling of a torpedo.

U-594, 25 May 1942
A man was lost when crash diving on patrol in the Caribbean. [Matrosengefreiter Walter Kunde]


U-595, 1 Jun 1942
A crew member fell overboard and drowned during gunnery training off Hela in the Gulf of Danzig at 1523hrs. [Matrosengefreiter Günther Hoppe]

U-514, 3 Jun 1942
An officer lost his life during a rescue operation in the Baltic. [I WO Leutnant zur See der Reserve Rolf Kühl]

U-265, 28 Jun 1942
Three crew members drowned while bathing at the seaside resort Heringsdorf-Neuhof when U-265 was based at the nearby Swinemünde for trials. [Obermaschinist Fredy Schönbeck, Maschinenobergefreiter Hinrich Engelkes, Mechanikergefreiter Helmut Fritz Wolfgang Olbrich]


U-209, 9 Jul 1942
Two men died during an accident on the harbour quay at Bergen, Norway. The boat next went on patrol on 17 July. [Funkgefreiter Edmund Kiepulski, Funkgefreiter Alfons Kuklinski]

U-106, 27 Jul 1942
15.30 hrs, Bay of Biscay, outbound: strafing and bombing by a Wellington (311 Sqn RAF/A) killed the I WO, Oberleutnant zur See Günter Wißmann and wounded the commander. The boat had only left Lorient two days earlier and was forced to return to base by severe damage.


U-598, 5 Aug 1942
While U-598 was refuelling in the Middle Atlantic by U-463 one of its men drowned during maintenance work on the hydroplanes and propellers. [Maschinenmaat Willi Bredereck]

U-612, 6 Aug 1942
During working up exercises in the Baltic U-612 sank after colliding with U-444. Two men from U-612 died. The boat was later raised and used for training. [Obermaschinist Wilhelm Merz, Maschinenobergefreiter Gerhard Ehrlich] (The I WO, Herbert A. Werner, described this event in his book Iron Coffins)

U-135, 10 Aug 1942
18.25 hrs, north of Cape Ferrol, Spain, outbound: the boat was strafed by a Czech-crewed Wellington (RAF Sqdn 311/H, pilot F/O J. Nývlt) which also dropped four depth charges. The boat returned fire with the 20mm AA gun during the first attack, and survived six more depth charges dropped after diving.

U-135 sustained only minor damage, but one man was killed by gunfire and another died from wounds an hour after the attack. [Matrosenobergefreiter Emil Hafner, Matrosenobergefreiter Erhard Pömpner]

U-653, 18 Aug 1942
A British B-24 Liberator (Sqdn 120/F) attacked U-653 near convoy SL 119 in the Atlantic west of Portugal. One man was lost when the boat dived. (although there was a report that the man was saved by a British destroyer.) The boat was seriously damaged and had to limp back to base, reaching Brest on 30 August. [Matrosengefreiter Willi Pröhl]

U-155, 19 Aug 1942
A man was lost overboard during an air attack off the coast of French Guyana, S. America. [Maschinengefreiter Konrad Garneier]

U-596, 30 Aug 1942
U-596 lost a man overboard in the North Atlantic. [Fähnrich zur See Wolfgang Aldag]


U-203, 11 Sep 1942
The commander of U-203 (Kptlt. Rolf Mützelburg) died in a unique accident on this day. He had stopped the boat to allow the crew to swim in the sea, and as he dived from the conning tower, the boat moved and he hit the saddle tank, suffering serious injuries. He died the next day.

U-515, 20 Sep 1942
A gunner from U-515 was killed by a misfire on the 2cm machine gun. [Matrosengefreiter Matthias Biazza]

U-258, 22 Sep 1942
The navigator was lost overboard from U-258. [Obersteuermann Heinrich Wittmann]

U-177, 23 Sep 1942
On 23 Sept at 06.05 hrs a man was lost overboard. [Bootsmannmaat Erwin Henning]


U-575, 5 Oct 1942
A man was lost overboard. [Oberbootsmaat Herbert Bühler]

U-333, 6 Oct 1942
The boat fought an epic battle with the British corvette HMS Crocus off the coast of Sierra Leone, west Africa on 6 Oct. 1942. The U-boat lost three men (including the IWO) and several men were wounded, including the commander, Peter Erich Cremer. The boat was heavily damaged and limped back to base with the help of a replacement WO, Kptlt. Lorenz Kasch, from U-107. The doctor from the milch cow boat U-459 tended the wounded. Cremer then spent three months in hospital. [Oberleutnant zur See Bernhard Hermann, Bootsmaat Heinz Kurze, Maschinenobergefreiter Erwin Levermann].

U-443, 9 Oct 1942
During very bad weather in the North Atlantic a lookout broke his arm.

U-442, 10 Oct 1942
On board U-442, bad weather caused an accident in which one man was badly injured.

U-453, 13 Oct 1942
One man was killed and three wounded in an accident with the machine gun. [Matrosengefreiter Horst Saupe + on 13th Oct., Steuermannsgefreiter Helmut Lorenz died 2 months later]

U-629, 15 Oct 1942
Two crew members were washed overboard while trying to repair a leakage about 6nm north of Rixhöft at 1037hrs and drowned. The U-boat on transfer from Gotenhafen to Kiel searched in vain for them until 1248hrs. [Leutnant (Ing.) Gerhard Helmholz, Maschinengefreiter Wilhelm Köhl]

U-67, 27 Oct 1942
One man died following an explosion during torpedo loading on U-67 [Matrosenobergefreiter Heinz Hartmann].

U-706, 27 Oct 1942
Three men were washed overboard: two died but the third was rescued by U-463. [Leutnant zur See Erich Eichmann, see right, Matrosenobergefreiter Ralf Köhler]


U-197, 4 Nov 1942
Obermaschinist Alfred Wernicke died following an accident in Kiel.

U-117, 8 Nov 1942
While refuelling U-454 on 8 Nov Leutnant zur See der Reserve Helmut Schwenzel from U-117 was lost overboard.

U-620, 10 Nov 1942
1430hrs, 15 miles NNW of El Ferrol, Spain, inbound: boat was attacked by a British Whitley (502 Sqn RAF/G). The aircraft made a sharp turn to starboard to evade AA fire from the U-boat during the first approach and then turned again to attack from less than half a mile with the front gunner returning fire. The AA gunners had not anticipated this maneouver, and as they had opened fire too early their clips were empty as the Whitley attacked from the starboard beam and dropped six depth charges about 100ft (30m) ahead of the boat. The explosions were too far away to cause damage, but machine gun fire from the rear gunner mortally wounded one man [Bootsmaat Josef Leisten]. U-620 escaped further attacks by crash diving immediately afterwards.

U-505, 10 Nov 1942
Aircraft attack, aircraft shot down:
British Hudson V9253 (53 Sqn RAF/L, pilot F/S R.R. Sillcock, RAAF)

The II WO and a lookout were seriously wounded in a surprise air attack out of low cloud by a Hudson bomber SE of Trinidad. Four depth charges were released and a direct hit was scored, but the explosion also destroyed the aircraft and the five aircrew. Heavy damage cased the boat to abandon the patrol. 12 days later the II WO was transferred to the milch cow U-462.

U-354, 11 Nov 1942
A crew member was washed overboard and drowned after his safety belt broke in heavy seas in the Denmark Strait at 1800hrs. [Fähnrich zur See Horst Meyn]


U-610, 16 Dec 1942
During heavy weather in the North Atlantic a lookout on U-610 broke his arm.

U-653, 22 Dec 1942
A man was lost overboard at 08.10hrs in the Atlantic west of Portugal. [Bootsmaat Heinz Wendler]

Total numer of losses:
61 men in 45 incidents
(43 dead and 18 wounded)

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