5 August 1907|
|Died||5 November 1943
|Allegiance|| Weimar Republic (to 1933)
|Years of service||1926–43|
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross|
Wilhelm Rollmann (5 August 1907 – 5 November 1943) was a German U-boat commander during World War II, in which he commanded the U-34 and U-848. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross of Nazi Germany. He was killed in action in 1943, when his U-boat was sunk by Allied aircraft.
Rollmann joined the Reichsmarine of the Weimar Republic on 1 April 1926 as a member of "Crew 26" (the incoming class of 1926). He served on several ships, which included the light cruiser Karlsruhe. He transferred to the U-boat arm in May 1937, taking command of the Type VIIA U-boat U-34 in October 1938. In seven successful combat patrols, he sank 19 merchant ships (including the neutral, clearly marked and fully lit, Greek merchantman Eleni Stathatou and the neutral Petsamo of Finland, with a cargo of maize, sailing from neutral Rosario to neutral Cork), as well as the British destroyer HMS Whirlwind, the submarine HMS Spearfish, and the Norwegian minelayer HNoMS Frøya. Rollmann rescued one sole survivor from Spearfish. On all seven patrols Leutnant zur See Hans-Hartwig Trojer served as second watch officer on U-34. Kapitänleutnant Heinrich Bleichrodt was a commander in training on U-34's sixth patrol under the command of Rollmann. Rollmann left the U-boat in September 1940, and became an instructor in 2. Unterseeboots-Lehr-Division ("2nd U-boat Training Division"). In February 1943 he commissioned the Type IXD U-boat U-848, sinking one merchant ship on his first and only patrol, bringing his career total to 20 merchant ships sunk for a total of 96,562 GRT, three warships sunk (2,365 GRT) and two ships captured for a total of 4,957 GRT.
Wilhelm Rollmann and his entire crew were killed in action on 5 November 1943 when U-848 was sunk by depth charges from three Liberator and two Mitchell aircraft from the United States Navy Squadron VB-107 and the US Army 1st Composite Squadron south-west of Ascension Island.
Summary of career
As commander of U-34 and U-848 Rollmann is credited with the sinking of 20 merchant ships for a total of 96,562 gross register tons (GRT), further capturing two ships of 4,957 GRT and sinking two warships of 1,770 long tons (1,800 tonnes) and damaging one further warship beyond repair of 595 long tons (605 t).
|Date||U-boat||Name of Ship||Nationality||Tonnage||Fate|
|7 September 1939||U-34||Pukkastan||United Kingdom||5,809||Sunk|
|8 September 1939||U-34||Kennebec||United Kingdom||5,548||Sunk|
|24 September 1939||U-34||Hanonia||Estonia||1,781||Captured|
|20 October 1939||U-34||Gustav Adolf||Sweden||926||Sunk|
|20 October 1939||U-34||Sea Venture||United Kingdom||2,327||Sunk|
|27 October 1939||U-34||Bronte||United Kingdom||5,137||Sunk|
|29 October 1939||U-34||Malabar||United Kingdom||7,976||Sunk|
|9 November 1939||U-34||Snar||Norway||3,176||Captured|
|20 January 1940||U-34||Caroni River||United Kingdom||7,807||Sunk (mine)|
|28 January 1940||U-34||Eleni Stathatou||Greece||5,625||Sunk|
|13 April 1940||U-34||HNoMS Frøya||Royal Norwegian Navy||595||Total loss|
|5 July 1940||U-34||HMS Whirlwind||Royal Navy||1,100||Sunk|
|6 July 1940||U-34||Vapper||Estonia||4,543||Sunk|
|7 July 1940||U-34||Lucrecia||Netherlands||2,584||Sunk|
|9 July 1940||U-34||Tiiu||Estonia||1,865||Sunk|
|10 July 1940||U-34||Petsamo||Finland||4,596||Sunk|
|11 July 1940||U-34||Janna||Norway||2,197||Sunk|
|15 July 1940||U-34||Evdoxia||Greece||2,018||Sunk|
|17 July 1940||U-34||Naftilos||Greece||3,531||Sunk|
|26 July 1940||U-34||Accra||United Kingdom||9,337||Sunk|
|26 July 1940||U-34||Vinemoor||United Kingdom||9,337||Sunk|
|27 July 1940||U-34||Sambre||United Kingdom||5,260||Sunk|
|27 July 1940||U-34||Thiara||United Kingdom||5,267||Sunk|
|1 August 1940||U-34||HMS Spearfish||Royal Navy||670||Sunk|
|2 November 1943||U-848||Baron Semple||United Kingdom||4,573||Sunk|
- Wehrmacht Long Service Award 4th Class (2 October 1936)
- Wehrmacht Long Service Award 3rd Class (1 April 1938)
- Iron Cross (1939) 2nd Class (26 September 1939) & 1st Class (7 February 1940)
- U-boat War Badge (1939) (12 November 1939)
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 31 July 1940 as Kapitänleutnant and commander of U-34
- Busch & Röll 2003, p. 37.
- Morgan & Taylor 2011, p. 53.
- Evans 2010, p. 245.
- Busch & Röll 2003, pp. 39–40.
- Busch & Röll 2003, p. 40.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "Fregattenkapitän Wilhelm Rollmann". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type IXD2 U-boat U-848". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 23 April 2010.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U-34". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U-848". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net.
- Busch & Röll 2003, p. 38.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 637.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 363.
- 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.
- Evans, A.S. (2010). Beneath the Waves: A History of HM Submarine Losses 1904–1971. Barnsley: Pen and Sword. ISBN 978-1-84884-292-2.
- 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.
- Morgan, Daniel; Taylor, Bruce (2011). U-Boat Attack Logs: A Complete Record of Warship Sinkings from Original Sources 1939–1945. Barnsley: Seaforth Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84832-118-2.
- 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.