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)
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch  Kriegsmarine
Years of service 1934–45
Rank Korvettenkapitän
Commands held U-159

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 German naval officer 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 of Nazi Germany.


Witte joined the Reichsmarine in April 1934, serving on the light cruiser Köln, the destroyer Z22 "Anton Schmitt", 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]


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]




  1. ^ a b c d e Helgason, Guðmundur. "Korvettenkapitän Helmut Witte". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 18 April 2010. 
  2. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol of U-boat U-107 from 29 Mar 1941 to 2 Jul 1941". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 28 April 2010. 
  3. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Most successful U-boat patrols". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 28 April 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Busch & Röll 2003, p. 267.
  5. ^ Scherzer 2007, p. 792.


  • 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 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.