Hans-Rudolf Rösing

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Hans-Rudolf Rösing
Hans-Rudolf Rösing.jpg
Born (1905-09-28)28 September 1905
Died 16 December 2004(2004-12-16) (aged 99)
Allegiance  Weimar Republic (to 1933)
 Nazi Germany (to 1945)
 West Germany
Service/branch  Reichsmarine
 German Navy
Years of service 1924–45
Rank Kapitän zur See (Kriegsmarine)
Konteradmiral (Bundesmarine)
Unit 1st Schnellboot-Demi-Flotilla
2nd U-boat Flotilla
3rd U-boat Flotilla
5th U-boat Flotilla
7th U-boat Flotilla
U-boat Region West
Commands held Schnellboot S-15 and S-3
U-11, U-35, U-10, U-48
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
Relations Bernhard Rösing (father)

Hans-Rudolf Rösing (28 September 1905 – 16 December 2004) was a German U-boat commander in World War II and later served in the Bundesmarine of the Federal Republic of Germany. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, awarded by Nazi Germany to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.

Early life and pre-war service[edit]

Rösing was born on 28 September 1905 in Wilhelmshaven, at the time an exclave of the Province of Hanover, a province of the Kingdom of Prussia. He was the son of Vizeadmiral Bernhard Rösing (1869–1947) and his wife Elfriede, née Wünsche (1882–1961). He had three brothers, Wilhelm, Kurt-Wolf and Bernhard, all killed during World War II, and a sister named Elfriede.[1]

He joined the Reichsmarine on 31 March 1924 as a member of "Crew 1924" (the incoming class of 1924). He underwent basic military training in the 2nd department of the standing ship division of the Baltic Sea in Stralsund (4 April 1924 – 27 September 1928).[Tr 1][Tr 2] Rösing was then transferred to the Elsass (28 September 1924 – 31 March 1925), attaining the rank of Seekadett (midshipman) on 1 April 1925. Rösing was then transferred to the training ship Niobe (1 April 1925 – 11 July 1925) before continuing his training on board Berlin (12 July 1925 – 30 March 1926). He then underwent a number of cadet training courses at the Naval Academy at Mürwik (31 March 1926 – 23 March 1927). These were interrupted by two navigational training cruises on the tender Nordsee (23 July 1926 – 27 July 1926) and the gunboat Panther (18 October 1926 – 22 October 1926). During this training period he advanced in rank to Fähnrich zur See (officer cadet) on 1 April 1926.[2]

Rösing then attended more training courses, including a torpedo course (24 March 1927 – 28 May 1927), a communication course (29 May 1927 – 3 July 1927), both held at Flensburg-Mürwik. He then attended a pathfinder course (4 July 1927 – 31 July 1927) at Kiel-Wik.[Tr 3] He then attended another naval infantry training course (1 August 1927 – 26 September 1927) with the 2nd department of the standing ship division in Strasund before taking a naval artillery course (27 September 1927 – 8 January 1928) at Kiel-Wik. Following these land based trainings he was stationed on Nymphe for 13 months (9 January 1928 – 10 March 1929). While stationed on Nymphe he was commissioned as officer and attained the rank Leutnant zur See (Second Lieutenant) on 1 October 1928. He then participated in the training course (11 March 1929 – 27 March 1929) for naval anti-aircraft artillery at Wilhelmshaven before again boarding Nymphe for three weeks (28 March 1929 – 16 April 1929).[2]

Rösing was then stationed on Königsberg (17 April 1929 – 31 October 1929) before he was appointed company officer with the 2nd department of the standing ship division of the Baltic Sea on 1 November 1929. During this assignment he was promoted to Oberleutnant zur See (First Lieutenant) on 1 April 1930.[2] Germany was forbidden to operate submarines under the Treaty of Versailles and Rösing was one of a small number of chosen personnel who were detached to foreign navies to gain experience in submarines. On 6 February 1931 he was officially assigned to the special task force of the naval command and put on an exchange program with the Swedish Navy.[Tr 4] After this special assignment on 10 July 1931 he was transferred back to the 2nd department of the standing ship division (11 July 1931 – 21 September 1931). During this posting he also spent one month on board the sailing yacht Asta (1 August 1931 – 30 August 1931).[2]

His next assignment (22 September 1931 – 22 December 1931) placed him on the Admiral's staff at the Baltic Naval Station,[Tr 5] while in parallel he attended a technical officers training course at the Naval Academy at Mürwik. Rösing was then transferred to the 1st Schnellboot-Demi-Flotilla (23 December 1931 – 1 October 1933) where he commanded his first boat, Schnellboot S-15.[Tr 6] During this command he attended two more training courses, anti-gas defence (4 February 1932 – 17 February 1932) and a Spanish language interpreter training vacation (5 May 1932 – 15 June 1932). He passed his Spanish interpreter test on 26 October 1932. From 4 November 1932 the end of his assignment with the 1st Schnellboot-Demi-Flotilla on 1 October 1933 he commanded S-3.[3]

After spending two years at the Unterseebootsabwehrschule, Rösing, recently promoted Kapitänleutnant, was given his first submarine command when he commissioned the new U-11. After two years in this small Type IIB coastal submarine, he took command of U-35, a larger Type VIIA ocean-going boat. In 1937 Rösing was given command of another Type IIB, U-10, and assigned to the Torpedoerprobungskommando, responsible for the testing of new torpedo types. After a year in this post he was appointed commander of 5th U-boat Flotilla - Flotille Emsmann - at Kiel.

World War II[edit]

July 1939 saw Rösing promoted to Korvettenkapitän. Following a short spell of duty on the staff of the Befehlshaber der U-Boote (Dönitz, q.v.), Rösing was posted to command 7th U-boat Flotilla at Kiel. This command lasted until 21 May 1940, at which time he took over the Type VIIB boat U-48 from her highly successful previous commander, Herbert Schultze. His crew, among others, included the highly experienced 1st Watch Officer Reinhard Suhren, 2nd Watch Officer Otto Ites and chief engineer Erich Zürn. In the course of his two war patrols with U-48, Rösing sank 12 ships totaling over 60,000 tons and led a wolfpack dubbed Rösing's wolfpack. These achievements and earning himself the U-Boat War Badge, Iron Cross First Class and Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.

Rösing (left) awards Günther Heydemann with the Knight's Cross.

Rösing left U-48 in December 1940, and was appointed liaison officer to the Italian submarine force operating out of Bordeaux in occupied France. After some months he was given command of 3rd U-boat Flotilla, but in August 1941 returned to the staff of the Befehlshaber der U-boote. In July 1942, Rösing was appointed as FdU West (Führer der Unterseeboote West), with headquarters in both Paris and at Château de Pignerolle near Angers; he was responsible for all boats committed to the Battle of the Atlantic, and thus a great majority of the entire U-boat fleet. In February 1943 he was promoted to Fregattenkapitän, and one month later to Kapitän zur See. He remained as FdU West until autumn 1944, when the Allied liberation of France forced the Kriegsmarine to transfer the remaining boats of 2nd and 7th U-boat flotillas to bases in Norway, Denmark, and northern Germany.

Later life[edit]

After the German surrender in May 1945, Rösing spent about a year in British captivity before being released. Serving as a member of the Naval Historical Team he subsequently joined the post-war Navy, and was given command of German naval units operating in the North Sea (Marine-Abschnittskommando Nordsee), and later Military District I, rising to the rank of Konteradmiral. He retired from active service in 1965, having added to the Bundesverdienstkreuz (Federal Service Cross) to his wartime decorations. He died on 16 December 2004, at the age of 99.

Summary of career[edit]

Ships attacked[edit]

As commander of U-48 Hans-Rudolf Rösing is credited with the sinking of twelve ships for a total of 60,701 gross register tons (GRT), further damaging one ship of 5,888 GRT.

Date Name of ship Nationality Tonnage Fate
5 June 1940 SS Stancor  United Kingdom 798 Sunk at 58°48′N 08°45′W / 58.800°N 8.750°W / 58.800; -8.750 (Stancor (ship))
7 June 1940 SS Frances Massey  United Kingdom 4,212 Sunk at 55°33′N 08°26′W / 55.550°N 8.433°W / 55.550; -8.433 (Frances Massey (ship))
7 June 1940 SS Eros  United Kingdom 5,888 Damaged at 55°33′N 08°26′W / 55.550°N 8.433°W / 55.550; -8.433 (Eros (ship))
11 June 1940 SS Violando N Goulandris  Greece 2,375 Sunk at 44°04′N 12°30′W / 44.067°N 12.500°W / 44.067; -12.500 (Violando N Goulandris (ship))
19 June 1940 MV Tudor  Norway 6,607 Sunk at 45°10′N 11°50′W / 45.167°N 11.833°W / 45.167; -11.833 (Tudor (ship))
19 June 1940 SS Baron Loudoun  United Kingdom 3,164 Sunk at 45°00′N 11°21′W / 45.000°N 11.350°W / 45.000; -11.350 (Baron Loudoun (ship))
19 June 1940 SS British Monarch  United Kingdom 5,661 Sunk at 45°00′N 11°21′W / 45.000°N 11.350°W / 45.000; -11.350 (British Monarch (ship))
20 June 1940 MV Moerdrecht  Netherlands 7,493 Sunk at 43°34′N 14°20′W / 43.567°N 14.333°W / 43.567; -14.333 (Moerdrecht (ship))
16 August 1940 SS Hedrun  Sweden 2,325 Sunk at 57°10′N 16°37′W / 57.167°N 16.617°W / 57.167; -16.617 (Hedrun (ship))
19 August 1940 SS Ville de Gand  Belgium 7,590 Sunk at 55°28′N 15°10′W / 55.467°N 15.167°W / 55.467; -15.167 (Ville de Gand (ship))
24 August 1940 SS La Brea  United Kingdom 6,666 Sunk at 57°24′N 11°21′W / 57.400°N 11.350°W / 57.400; -11.350 (La Brea (ship))
25 August 1940 SS Empire Merlin  United Kingdom 5,763 Sunk at 58°30′N 10°15′W / 58.500°N 10.250°W / 58.500; -10.250 (Empire Merlin (ship))
25 August 1940 MV Athelcrest  United Kingdom 6,825 Sunk at 58°24′N 11°25′W / 58.400°N 11.417°W / 58.400; -11.417 (Athelcrest (ship))



1 April 1925: Seekadett (Midshipman)[2]
1 April 1926: Fähnrich zur See (Officer Cadet)[2]
1 May 1928: Oberfähnrich zur See (Senior Ensign)[2]
1 October 1928: Leutnant zur See (Second Lieutenant)[2]
1 April 1930: Oberleutnant zur See (First Lieutenant)[2]
1 April 1935: Kapitänleutnant (Captain Lieutenant)[3]
1 July 1939: Korvettenkapitän (Corvette Captain)[3]
1 February 1943: Fregattenkapitän (Frigate Captain)[3]
1 March 1943: Kapitän zur See (Captain at Sea) effective as of 1 March 1943 with a rank age dated 1 June 1944[6]
27 July 1961: Flottillenadmiral (Flotilla Admiral)[6]
13 November 1962: Konteradmiral (Rear Admiral)[6]

Translation notes[edit]

  1. ^ 2nd department —II. Abteilung
  2. ^ standing ship division —Schiffsstammdivision
  3. ^ pathfinder—Sperrbrecher
  4. ^ special task force of the naval command—Sonderkommando der Marineleitung
  5. ^ Baltic Naval Station—Marinestation der Ostsee
  6. ^ 1st Schnellboot-Demi-Flotilla—1. Schnellbootshalbflottille



  1. ^ "Bernhard Rösing". uni-bielefeld.de (in German). Retrieved 19 November 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Busch & Röll 2003, p. 55.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Busch & Röll 2003, p. 56.
  4. ^ Scherzer 2007, p. 635.
  5. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 362.
  6. ^ a b c Busch & Röll 2003, p. 57.


  • 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) [1986]. Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile [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. 
  • 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 Militaer-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. 

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Commander of 5th U-boat Flotilla
December 1938 – December 1939
Succeeded by
Kapitänleutnant Karl-Heinz Moehle
Preceded by
Korvettenkapitän Ernst Sobe
Commander of 7th U-boat Flotilla
January 1940 – May 1940
Succeeded by
Kapitänleutnant Herbert Sohler
Preceded by
Kapitänleutnant Hans Eckermann
Commander of 3rd U-boat Flotilla
March 1941 – July 1941
Succeeded by
Kapitänleutnant Herbert Schultze