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Wilhelm Dommes
File:File:Wilhelm Dommes.jpg
Born (1907-04-16)16 April 1907
Died 23 January 1990(1990-01-23) (aged 82)
Place of birth Buchberg
Place of death Hannover
Allegiance Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Service/branch  Kriegsmarine
Years of service 1933–1945
Rank Fregattenkapitän
Commands held U-431
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Wilhelm Dommes (16 April 1907 in Buchberg, Berent District, West Prussia – 23 January 1990 in Hannover) was a German U-boat commander in World War II and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. He is notable as being the commander of U-boats in the Indian Ocean,[1] whereby German and Japanese forces cooperatively fought for the only time in the war. He was the first commander of the U-boat base, located in the former British seaplane base in Penang.[2]

Summary of career

Ships attacked

As a U-boat commander of U-431 and U-178 Wilhelm Dommes is credited with the sinking of eight ships for a total of 40,103 gross register tons (GRT), sinking one auxiliary warship of 313 gross register tons (GRT), two warships of 3,548 metric tons (3,492 long tons; 3,911 short tons), and damaging one ship of 3,560 gross register tons (GRT) and one warship of 450 t (440 long tons; 500 short tons).

Date U-boat Ship Nationality Tonnage Fate[3]
2 October 1941 U-431 Hatasu  United Kingdom 3,198 Sunk
13 December 1941 U-431 Myriel  United Kingdom 3,560 Damaged
29 January 1942 U-431 HMS Sotra  United Kingdom 313 Sunk
20 May 1942 U-431 Eocene  United Kingdom 4,216 Sunk
15 June 1942 U-431 HMS LCT-119  United Kingdom 450 Damaged
10 November 1942 U-431 HMS Martin  United Kingdom 1,920 Sunk
13 November 1942 U-431 HNMS Isaac Sweers (G 83)  Netherlands 1,628 Sunk
1 June 1943 U-178 SS Salabangka  Netherlands 6,586 Sunk
4 July 1943 U-178 SS Breiviken  Norway 2,669 Sunk
4 July 1943 U-178 SS Michael Livanos  Greece 4,774 Sunk
11 July 1943 U-178 SS Mary Livanos  Greece 4,771 Sunk
14 July 1943 U-178 SS Robert Bacon  USA 7,197 Sunk
17 July 1943 U-178 SS City of Canton  United Kingdom 6,692 Sunk


Wehrmachtbericht reference

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
Sunday, 21 November 1942 Bei den Kämpfen gegen die feindliche Landungsflotte im Mittelmeer zeichnete sich das Unterseeboot unter Führung von Kapitänleutnant Dommes besonders aus.[7] The submarine under the leadership of Captain Lieutenant Dommes has particularly excelled itself in the battles against the enemy's invasion fleet in the Mediterranean.


  1. Klemen, L (1999-2000). "The U-Boat War in the Indian Ocean". Forgotten Campaign: The Dutch East Indies Campaign 1941-1942. 
  2. [1]
  3. date 24 January 2013
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Busch & Röll 2003, p. 283.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Busch & Röll 2003, p. 284.
  6. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 164.
  7. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 2, p. 367.
  • Busch, Rainer & Röll, Hans-Joachim (2003). Der U-Boot-Krieg 1939-1945 - Die Ritterkreuzträger der U-Boot-Waffe von September 1939 bis Mai 1945 (in German). Hamburg, Berlin, Bonn Germany: Verlag E.S. Mittler & Sohn. ISBN 3-8132-0515-0.
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939-1945. Friedburg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 3-7909-0284-5.
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 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 (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.
  • (in German) Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 2, 1. Januar 1942 bis 31. Dezember 1943. München: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985. ISBN 3-423-05944-3. 

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