14 January 1911|
Berlin-Charlottenburg, German Empire
|Died||26 April 1989
|Allegiance|| Weimar Republic (to 1933)
Nazi Germany (to 1945)
|Years of service||1931–1945, 1956–1970|
|Rank||Korvettenkapitän (Kriegsmarine), Flottillenadmiral (Bundesmarine)|
|Battles/wars||Battle of the Atlantic (1939-1945)|
|Awards||Iron Cross 1st Class
Iron Cross 2nd Class
U-boat War Badge
Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves
U-boat Front Clasp
Robert Gysae (January 14, 1911 – April 26, 1989) was a Korvettenkapitän with the Kriegsmarine during World War II. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (German: 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. Gysae commanded U-98 and U-177, sinking twenty-five ships on eight patrols, for a total of 146,815 gross register tons (GRT) tons of Allied shipping, to become the fifteenth highest scoring U-Boat ace of World War II.
Gysae joined the Reichsmarine in 1931 and served on torpedo boats before transferring to the U-bootwaffe ("U-boat force") in April 1940. In October 1940 he was appointed commander of the Type VIIC U-boat U-98, unusually without serving any time as either 1.WO (1. Wachoffizier, "1st Watch Officer") or Kommandantenschüler ("Commander-in-Training") on any other U-boats. After six patrols in the north Atlantic in command of U-98, in March 1942 he transferred to the Type IXD2 U-boat U-177 for another two patrols, this time operating off South Africa and Portuguese East Africa. He sank a total of 25 ships, including the armed merchant cruiser HMS Salopian.
On 28 November 1942 off the coast of Natal Province, Gysae sank the 6,796 ton British troop ship RMS Nova Scotia with three torpedoes. She was carrying 780 Italians; a mixture of prisoners of war and civilian internees. Gysae rescued two survivors to identify the ship, who turned out to be Italian merchant sailors. Mindful of the Laconia Order issued two months previously, Gysae radioed the BdU, who ordered him to continue his patrol. The BdU notified the Portuguese authorities, who sent the frigate NRP Afonso de Albuquerque from Lourenço Marques to help. Of 1,052 people from the Nova Scotia only 194 survived: 192 rescued by the frigate and two others in subsequent days. 858 were killed, including 650 Italians.
In January 1944 he became commander of 25th U-boat Flotilla, a training flotilla based at Gotenhafen. In April 1945, during the last month of the war, Gysae commanded the Marinepanzerjagd-Regiment 1, a naval anti-tank regiment. After the war he served in the Deutscher Minenräumdienst ("German Mine Sweeping Administration") for more than two years. In 1956 he joined the Bundesmarine, serving for four years as Navy attaché in the United States, and then three years as commander of Marinedivision Nordsee with the rank of Flottillenadmiral before retiring in 1970. He died in 1989 aged 78.
Summary of career
|Date||Name of Ship||Nationality||Tonnage||Fate|
|27 March 1941||Koranton||United Kingdom||6,695||Sunk at|
|4 April 1941||Helle||Norway||2,467||Sunk at|
|Welcombe||United Kingdom||5,122||Sunk at|
|9 April 1941||Prins Willem II||Netherlands||1,304||Sunk at|
|13 May 1941||HMS Salopian||United Kingdom||10,549||Sunk at|
|20 May 1941||Rothermere||United Kingdom||5,356||Sunk at|
|21 May 1941||Marconi||United Kingdom||7,402||Sunk at|
|9 July 1941||Designer||United Kingdom||5,945||Sunk at|
|Inverness||United Kingdom||4,897||Sunk at|
|16 September 1941||Jedmoor||United Kingdom||4,392||Sunk at|
|15 February 1942||Biela||United Kingdom||5,298||Sunk at|
|2 November 1942||Aegeus||Greece||4,538||Sunk at|
|9 November 1942||Cerion||United Kingdom||2,588||Damaged at|
|19 November 1942||Scottish Chief||United Kingdom||7,006||Sunk at|
|20 November 1942||Pierce Butler||United States||7,191||Sunk at|
|28 November 1942||RMS Nova Scotia||United Kingdom||6,796||Sunk at|
|30 November 1942||Llandaff Castle||United Kingdom||10,799||Sunk at|
|7 December 1942||Saronikos||Greece||3,548||Sunk at|
|12 December 1942||Empire Gull||United Kingdom||6,408||Sunk at|
|14 December 1942||Sawahloento||Netherlands||3,085||Sunk at|
|28 May 1943||Agwimonte||United States||6,679||Sunk at|
|6 July 1943||Jasper Park||Canada||7,129||Sunk at|
|10 July 1943||Alice F. Palmer||United States||7,176||Sunk at|
|29 July 1943||Cornish City||United Kingdom||4,952||Sunk at|
|5 August 1943||Efthalia Mari||Greece||4,195||Sunk at|
- Wehrmacht Long Service Award 4th Class (2 October 1936)
- The Return of Sudetenland Commemorative Medal of 1 October 1938 (20 December 1939)
- Spanish Cross in Bronze with Swords
- Iron Cross (1939)
- Knight's Cross of the Order of the Crown of Italy (11 March 1941)
- U-boat War Badge (1939) (31 May 1941)
- with Diamonds
- Croce di Guerra with Swords (Italy, 25 May 1943)
- Wound Badge (1939) in Black (25 June 1943)
- War Merit Cross, 2nd Class with Swords (1 September 1944)
- U-boat Front Clasp in Bronze (1 October 1944) 
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
- Mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht on 23 May 1941
- Legion of Merit (United States of America)
- Merit Cross 1st Class of the Federal Republic of Germany
|Date||Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording||Direct English translation|
|Friday, 23 May 1941||Bei Angriffen gegen den erwähnten feindlichen Geleitzug zeichneten sich die von Kapitänleutnant Wohlfahrt und Kapitänleutnant Gysae geführten Unterseeboote besonders aus.||In attacks against the already mentioned enemy convoy distinguished themselves from the rest the submarines under the leadership of Captain Lieutenant Wohlfahrt (sic) and Captain Lieutenant Gysae.|
- "Nova Scotia (Troop transport) - Ships hit by U-boats - uboat.net". uboat.net. Retrieved 5 March 2010.
- "Korvettenkapitän Robert Gysae". uboat.net. Retrieved 18 April 2010.
- Busch & Röll 2003, p. 182.
- Busch & Röll 2003, p. 183.
- Busch & Röll 2003, p. 184.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 356.
- Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, p. 537.
- Busch, Hans-Joachim; Röll (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.
- 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.
- Schaulen, Fritjof (2003). Eichenlaubträger 1940 – 1945 Zeitgeschichte in Farbe I Abraham – Huppertz [Oak Leaves Bearers 1940 – 1945 Contemporary History in Color I Abraham – Huppertz] (in German). Selent, Germany: Pour le Mérite. ISBN 978-3-932381-20-1.
- 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 1, 1. September 1939 bis 31. Dezember 1941 [The Wehrmacht Reports 1939–1945 Volume 1, 1 September 1939 to 31 December 1941] (in German). München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985. ISBN 978-3-423-05944-2.
Fregattenkapitän Karl Neitzel
|Commander of the 25th U-boat Flotilla
5 January 1944 – 21 April 1945
Korvettenkapitän Georg-Wilhelm Schulz