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Rolf Thomsen
Born (1915-05-06)6 May 1915
Died 26 March 2003(2003-03-26) (aged 87)
Place of birth Berlin
Place of death Bonn
Allegiance Nazi Germany Nazi Germany (to 1945)
West Germany West Germany
Service/branch  Kriegsmarine
 German Navy
Years of service 1936–1945, 1955–1972
Rank Kapitänleutnant (Kriegsmarine)
Flottillenadmiral (Bundesmarine)
Unit battleship Schlesien
Kampfgeschwader 26
Commands held U-1202

World War II

Awards Iron Cross 1st Class
Iron Cross 2nd Class
U-boat War Badge
Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves

Rolf Thomsen (6 May 1915 – 26 March 2003) was a Kapitänleutnant with the Kriegsmarine during World War II and later served with the Bundesmarine. 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. He sailed on U-1202 sinking one ship of 7,176 tons on four patrols.

Military career

Thomsen served as a naval aviator from 1939 until early 1943. He transferred to the U-boat service on 1 January 1944 and on 27 January 1944 commissioned U-1202. His first patrol as a U-boat commander took him into the North Atlantic. The first attack was carried out on 10 December 1944. All four torpedoes, which were aimed at merchant vessels of between 6,000 and 7,000 tons, found their mark. Thomsen claimed such as sunk, as corresponding sinking noises were heard. However the enemy only admitted the loss of the 7,176 ton American merchant ship Dan Beard.[1][unreliable source?]

From 1 October 1962 to 30 September 1963 he served as adjutant to the Federal Minister of Defence Kai-Uwe von Hassel.



  1. The Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross were awarded without an official sequential number.[4] The sequential number "852" was assigned by the Association of Knight's Cross Recipients (AKCR).


  1. Kurowski 1995, p. 271.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Busch and Röll 2003, p. 494.
  3. Patzwall and Scherzer 2003, p. 475.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Scherzer 2007, p. 743.
  • 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) (in German). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 – Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtsteile [The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches]. Friedburg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. 
  • Kurowski, Franz. Knight's Cross Holders of the U-Boat Service. Schiffer Publishing Ltd, 1995. ISBN 0-88740-748-X.
  • Patzwall, Klaus D.; Scherzer, Veit (2001) (in German). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II [The German Cross 1941 – 1945 History and Recipients Volume 2]. Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8. 
  • 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. 

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