Military Wiki
Herbert Schultze
Herbert Schultze
Nickname Vaddi (Daddy)
Born (1909-07-24)24 July 1909
Died June 3, 1987(1987-06-03) (aged 77)
Place of birth Kiel
Place of death London
Allegiance Germany Weimar Republic (to 1933)
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany (to 1945)
West Germany West Germany
Service/branch  Reichsmarine
 German Navy
Years of service 1930-1945 — 1956-1968
Rank Leutnant zur see (Reichsmarine)
Korvettenkapitän (Kriegsmarine)
Kapitän zur See (Bundesmarine)
Unit U-Bootschulflottille
7th U-boat Flotilla
Commands held U-2,31 January 1938 – 16 March 1939 (Training)
U-48, 22 April 1939 – 20 May 1940 (5 patrols)
U-48, 17 December 1940 – 27 July 1941 (3 patrols)
3rd U-boat Flotilla
Department II, Marineschule Mürwick
Battles/wars Second Battle of the Atlantic
Awards Iron Cross 1st Class
U-boat War Badge with Diamonds
Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves
Other work Served in the Bundesmarine

Captain Herbert Schultze (24 July 1909 – 3 June 1987), was a German U-boat commander of the Kriegsmarine during World War II. He commanded U-48 for eight patrols during the early part of the war, sinking 169,709 gross register tons (GRT) and earning him eighth place on the Aces of the Deep list. Due to several incidents of openly broadcasting his sinkings to alert the Allies of the plight of the crews, he became quite a celebrity even on the allied side. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (German language: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub). 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. It was Germany's highest military decoration at the time of its presentation to Herbert Schultze.[Note 1]


Schultze was born in Kiel and joined the Reichsmarine in April 1930. On 9 October 1930 he became a Seekadett. Serving aboard the cruisers German cruiser Leipzig and Karlsruhe with other future U-boat aces, including Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock.

In May 1937, with a rank of Oberleutnant zur See, Schultze transferred to the U-boat force, taking command of the Type IIA U-boat U-2 on 31 January 1938. The U-2 was assigned to the U-Bootschulflottille (U-boat school flotilla), and Schultze 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. U-48 was assigned to 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 its 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." This message, addressed to the First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill directly, made Schultze famous, both in Germany and Great Britain. 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 similarly as 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.

Now something of a media celebrity, 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 the 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 in St Nazaire, France.

On 17 December 1940 Schultze resumed command of the U-48, relieving Heinrich Bleichrodt. He led U-48 on three more patrols, and continued sinking enemy shipping at a great rate. Thus Schultze was awarded the Oak Leaves to his Knight's Cross on 12 June 1941.

On 27 July 1941 Schultze left the U-48 to take command of 3rd U-boat Flotilla operating from La Rochelle. 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. In December 1942 he was assigned to Admiral Karl Dönitz staff. 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.

After the war

from the corresponding article in the German Wikipedia

In August 1945 he was employed by the Allies as commander of the Naval Academy Mürwik 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, served as Staff Officer Personnel (A1) on the command staff of the naval base, was commander of convoy ships, teaching group leader at the Naval Academy Mürwik and head of the volunteer adoption headquarters of the Navy until his retirement on 30 September 1968 with the rank of captain.

Schultze died on 3 June 1987 in London and was buried in Wilhelmshaven; amongst others, former U-boat ace and Bundesmarine admiral Otto Kretschmer spoke at his funeral:

"Deeply respected by friend and foe, revered by his crew, Herbert Schultze was an exemplary naval officer in the best tradition."

Summary of military career

From the corresponding article in the German Wikipedia


  • Entry into the Navy. Crew 30 (1 April 1930)
  • Infantry training in II.Abteilung ship master division of the Baltic, Stralsund. (1 April-30 June 1930)
  • Training on board the sail training ship Niobe. (1 July-9 October 1930)
  • Training on board the light cruiser Emden. (10 October 1930 – 4 January 1932)
  • Infantry course for cadets in the II.Abteilung ship master division of the Baltic, Stralsund. (5 January-31 March 1932)
  • Main course for midshipmen at the Naval Academy Flensburg-Mürwik. (1 April 1932 – 28 March 1933)
  • Blocking and artillery training course for cadets at the barrier and naval artillery school Kiel-Wik. (29 March-28 June 1933)
  • Torpedo and intelligence course for midshipmen at the Naval Academy Flensburg-Mürwik. (29 June-18 August 1933)
  • Fla-course for cadets at the Coast Artillery School Schilling and Wilhelmshaven. (18–31 August 1933)
  • Torpedo and intelligence course for midshipmen at the Naval Academy Flensburg-Mürwik. (1 September-1 October 1933)
  • Board training and Division Lieutenant on the light cruiser Leipzig. (2 October 1933 – 7 October 1934)
  • Technical training as radio officer at the intelligence school Flensburg-Mürwik. (8 October-22 December 1934)


  • Second radio technical officer on the light cruiser Leipzig. (23 December 1934 – 22 September 1935)
  • Second Radio Technical Officer and Division Lieutenant on the light cruiser Karlsruhe. (23 September 1935 – 5 July 1936)
  • Group officer in the Navy school Flensburg-Mürwik. (6 July 1936 – 30 March 1937)
  • Training officer for reserve officer candidates in the Marine NCO teaching department of Wesermünde. (31 March-18 May 1937)
  • Commander of students at the submarine school at Neustadt, also Commander of in representation of U5 (type II B) (August 1937) in the U-Bootsschulflottille (19 May-4 October 1937)
  • Torpedo-B and U-torpedo torpedo officer course at the school and intelligence Flensburg-Mürwik. (5 October 1937 – 29 January 1938)
  • Commander of U-2 (type II B) in the U-Schulflottille. (30 January 1938 – 16 March 1939)
  • Building instruction U-48 at the Germaniawerft shipyard Kiel. (17 March-21 April 1939)
  • Commander of U-48 (Type VII B) in the Flotilla and WEGENER 7.U Flotilla in Kiel. Following the outbreak of war, in five undersea patrols he sank 16 ships totaling 109,074 tons;22 people died. (22 April 1939 – 20 May 1940)
  • Hospitalised for severe illness (21 May–October 1940)
  • Chief representative in the 7.U-Boat Flotilla in Kiel. (October-15 December 1940)
  • Commander of U-48 in the 7.U Flotilla in Kiel and St. Nazaire. In three undersea patrols, he sank 10 ships totaling 60,635 GRT;over 143 people (143 proven) died. (16 December 1940 – 27 July 1941)
  • Chief of the 3rd Flotilla in La Pallice (in February 1942 he had a residence in Bad Nauheim Kurlazarett) (28 July 1941 – 16 March 1942)
  • Staff officer to the Admiral U-boats in the Marine Group North. (17 March-3 December 1942)


from the corresponding article in the German Wikipedia


  • 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) – 1 April 1943


  • Fregattenkapitän (frigate captain/commander) - 2 July 1956
  • Kapitän zur See (captain at sea/captain) - 1 July 1966


References in the Wehrmachtbericht

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
Monday, 26 February 1940 Ein Unterseeboot unter Führung des Kapitänleutnants Herbert Schultze hat, von der Feindfahrt zurückgekehrt, die Versenkung von 34 130 BRT gemeldet. Damit hat dieses Unterseeboot insgesamt 16 Schiffe mit 114 510 BRT versenkt.[4] A submarine under the command of Captain Lieutenant Herbert Schultze, returned from the war patrol, and reported the sinking of 34 130 GRT. So that this submarine ships has sunk a total of 16 114 510 GRT.
Wednesday, 2 April 1941 Ein Unterseeboot unter Führung des Kapitänleutnants Herbert Schultze versenkte im Nordatlantik, zum größten Teil aus Geleitzügen heraus, fünf feindliche Schiffe mit zusammen 35 300 BRT. Mit der Vernichtung eines weiteren torpedierten Dampfers ist zu rechnen. [5] A submarine under the command of Captain Lieutenant Herbert Schultze sank in the North Atlantic, mainly from convoys, five enemy ships with a total of 35 300 GRT. The destruction of another torpedoed steamer is to be expected.
Thursday, 12 June 1941 Kapitänleutnant Herbert Schultze hat als sechster Unterseebootkommandant über 200 000 BRT versenkt.[6]

Captain Lieutenant Herbert Schultze, as sixth submarine captain, has sunk more than 200 000 tons.


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


  1. Until late September 1941, the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves was second only to the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross (Großkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes), which was awarded only to senior commanders for winning a major battle or campaign, in the military order of the Third Reich. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves as highest military order was surpassed on 28 September 1941 by the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern).


  1. 1.0 1.1 Busch & Röll 2003, p.21.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Busch & Röll 2003, p.22.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Scherzer 2007, p. 690.
  4. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, p. 82.
  5. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, p. 461.
  6. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, p. 557.
  • Busch, Hans-Joachim; Röll (2003) (in German). Der U-Boot-Krieg 1939–1945 — Die Ritterkreuzträger der U-Boot-Waffe von September 1939 bis Mai 1945 [The U-Boat War 1939–1945 — The Knight's Cross Bearers of the U-Boat Force from September 1939 to May 1945]. Hamburg, Berlin, Bonn Germany: Verlag E.S. Mittler & Sohn. ISBN 978-3-8132-0515-2. 
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939-1945 (in German). Friedburg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 3-7909-0284-5.
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007) (in German). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives]. Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. 
  • (in German) Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, 1. September 1939 bis 31. Dezember 1941 [The Wehrmacht Reports 1939–1945 Volume 1, 1 September 1939 to 31 December 1941]. München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985. ISBN 978-3-423-05944-2. 

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Kapitänleutnant Hans-Rudolf Rösing
Commander of 3rd U-boat Flotilla
July 1941 – March 1942
Succeeded by
Kapitänleutnant Heinz von Reiche

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