Robert-Richard Zapp

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Robert-Richard Zapp
Richard Zapp.jpg
Richard Zapp
Born (1904-04-03)3 April 1904
Died 17 July 1964(1964-07-17) (aged 60)
Years of service 1923–45
Rank Fregattenkapitän
Commands held
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Robert-Richard Zapp (3 April 1904 – 17 July 1964) was a German U-boat commander in World War II. As commander of the Type IXC U-boat U-66, he sank sixteen ships on five patrols, for a total of 106,200 tons of Allied shipping, to become the 27th highest scoring U-Boat ace of World War II. 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.


Robert-Richard Zapp joined the Reichsmarine in May 1923.[Note 1] Before joining the U-boat service in 1939, he served aboard a minesweeper and later on took command of 251 Marineflak (Naval anti-aircraft artillery). After initial training, he served on board U-46 for a short while under Oberleutnant zur See Engelbert Endrass, with whom he participated in the battle against Convoy HX 79 in October 1940.[1]

Zapp was appointed commander of U-66 in January 1941. U-66 was one of the boats that participated in the first wave of attacks in "Operation Drumbeat". On the first patrol of this operation, he sank five vessels, totalling 33,456 tons. On his second patrol off the eastern seaboard of the USA he sank six vessels totaling 43,946 tons. They included the 7,988 GRT Canadian passenger liner RMS Lady Hawkins on 19 January, whose final death toll was 251.[2] Zapp was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 23 April 1942.[1]

In June 1942 he was posted ashore to become commander of 3rd U-boat Flotilla, based at La Rochelle, France. On 1 January 1945 he was promoted to Fregattenkapitän. In the last three months of the war, he became commander of Marine-Regiment Zapp and defended the U-boat base at La Rochelle until the very end of the war in May 1945. He spent over two years in a French captivity and was released on 7 July 1947.[1]

Summary of career[edit]

Ships attacked[edit]

As commander of U-66 Zapp is credited with the sinking of 16 ships for a total of 106,200 gross register tons (GRT), and damaging one further ship, Geo. W. McNight, of 12,502 GRT.

Date Ship Nationality Tonnage Fate
29 June 1941 George J. Goulandris  Greece 4,345 Sunk
29 June 1941 Kalypso Vergotti  Greece 5,686 Sunk
30 June 1941 Saint Aslem  United Kingdom 5,614 Sunk
19 July 1941 Holmside  United Kingdom 3,433 Sunk
26 July 1941 I. C. White  Panama 7,052 Sunk
18 January 1942 Allan Jackson  United States 6,635 Sunk
19 January 1942 RMS Lady Hawkins  Royal Canadian Navy 7,988 Sunk
22 January 1942 Olympic  Panama 5,335 Sunk
24 January 1942 Empire Gem  United Kingdom 8,139 Sunk
24 January 1942 Venore  United States 8,017 Sunk
14 April 1942 Korthion  Greece 2,116 Sunk
16 April 1942 Amsterdam  Netherlands 7,329 Sunk
17 April 1942 Heinrich von Riedemann  Panama 11,020 Sunk
26 April 1942 Alcoa Partner  United States 5,513 Sunk
29 April 1942 Harry G. Siedel  Panama 10,354 Sunk
2 May 1942 Sandar  Norway 7,624 Sunk
3 May 1942 Geo. W. McNight  United Kingdom 12,502 Damaged



  1. ^ The German Reichsmarine which was renamed the Kriegsmarine on 1 June 1935.



  1. ^ a b c Helgason, Guðmundur. "Fregattenkapitän Richard Zapp". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 27 April 2010. 
  2. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur (1995–2014). "Lady Hawkins - Ships hit by U-boats". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 4 January 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c Busch & Röll 2003, p. 210.
  4. ^ Busch & Röll 2003, p. 211.
  5. ^ Scherzer 2007, p. 802.
  6. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 455.


  • 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: 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: 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: Scherzers Militaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. 
  • Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 2, 1. Januar 1942 bis 31. Dezember 1943 [The Wehrmacht Reports 1939–1945 Volume 2, 1 January 1942 to 31 December 1943] (in German). München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985. ISBN 978-3-423-05944-2. 

External links[edit]

  • Helgason, Guðmundur. "Robert-Richard Zapp". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
Military offices
Preceded by
Kapitänleutnant Heinz von Reiche
Commander of 3rd U-boat Flotilla
June, 1942 – October, 1944
Succeeded by