Helmut Witte

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Helmut Witte
Helmut Witte.jpg
Born (1915-04-06)6 April 1915
Bojendorf on Fehmarn
Died 3 October 2005(2005-10-03) (aged 90)
Duisburg
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch  Kriegsmarine
Years of service 1934-1945
Rank Korvettenkapitän
Commands held U-159
Battles/wars

Spanish Civil War
World War II

Awards Spanish Cross
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
Other work Personnel manager

Helmut Witte (6 April 1915—3 October 2005) was a Korvettenkapitän with the Kriegsmarine during World War II. As commander of the Type IXC U-boat U-159, he sank twenty-three ships on four patrols, for a total of 119,554 tons of Allied shipping, to become the 20th highest scoring U-Boat ace of World War II.[1] He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes). The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.

Career[edit]

Witte joined the Reichsmarine in April 1934, serving on the light cruiser Köln, the destroyer Z-22, and on several torpedo boats before transferring to the U-boat arm in July 1940.[1] Witte was 1.WO (second-in-command) on U-107 under Günther Hessler, and took part in the most successful patrol of the war in early 1941, during which 14 ships totalling 86,699 tons were sunk.[2]

Witte commissioned U-159 in October 1941,[1] and in late 1942 accomplished World War II's fourth most successful patrol, sinking 63,730 tons of shipping.[3] In his four patrols in U-159 Witte sank 23 ships in all totalling 119,554 GRT. From June 1943 he served in several staff positions.[1]

Post-war[edit]

At the end of the war Witte spent two months as a prisoner of the British. After spells as a farm hand and a factory worker, Witte had a successful business career, and in the 1960s became personnel manager of a large German industrial group. He died in 2005 aged 90.[1]

Awards[edit]

References in the Wehrmachtbericht[edit]

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
Thursday, 18 June 1942 Die Unterseeboote unter Führung der Kapitänleutnante Mohr, Topp, Witte und von Rosenstiel und des Oberleutnants zur See Ites haben sich bei der Bekämpfung der feindlichen Versorgungsschiffahrt besonders ausgezeichnet.[6] The submarines under the leadership of Captain Lieutenant Mohr, Topp, Witte and von Rosenstiel and Lieutenant at Sea Ites have in the fight against the enemy supply shipping particularly distinguished themselves.

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ a b c d e "Korvettenkapitän Helmut Witte". uboat.net. Retrieved 18 April 2010. 
  2. ^ "Patrol of U-boat U-107 from 29 Mar 1941 to 2 Jul 1941". uboat.net. Retrieved 28 April 2010. 
  3. ^ "Most successful U-boat patrols". uboat.net. Retrieved 28 April 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Busch and Röll 2003, p. 267.
  5. ^ Scherzer 2007, p. 792.
  6. ^ Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939-1945 Band 2, p. 166.
Bibliography
  • Busch, Rainer; Röll, Hans-Joachim (2003). 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] (in German). 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 – 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] (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. 
  • Huß, Jürgen; Viohl, Armin (2003). Die Ritterkreuzträger des Eisernen Kreuzes der preußischen Provinz Schleswig-Holstein und der Freien und Hansestadt Lübeck 1939–1945 [The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross Bearers of the Prussian Province of Schleswig-Holstein and the Free and Hanseatic City of Lübeck 1939–1945] (in German). Zweibrücken, Germany: VDM Heinz Nickel. ISBN 978-3-925480-79-9. 
  • Kurowski, Franz (1995). Knight's Cross Holders of the U-Boat Service. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing. ISBN 978-0-88740-748-2. 
  • Range, Clemens (1974). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Kriegsmarine [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the Navy]. Stuttgart, Germany: Motorbuch Verlag. ISBN 978-3-87943-355-1. 
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007). 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] (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. 
  • Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 3, 1. Januar 1944 bis 9. Mai 1945 [The Wehrmacht Reports 1939–1945 Volume 3, 1 January 1944 to 9 May 1945] (in German). München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985. ISBN 978-3-423-05944-2. 

External links[edit]