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Georg-Wilhelm Schulz

German World War II U-boat commander
The basics
About
Occupation Korvettenkapitän Submariner
Country Germany
Date of birth Cologne, Cologne Government Region, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
Date of death Jul 05, 1986 Hamburg, Germany
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, Spanish Cross
Authority Library of congress id VIAF id Openlibrary id
The details
Biography

Georg-Wilhelm Schulz (10 March 1906 – 5 July 1986) was a German U-boat commander of the Second World War. From September 1939 until retiring from front line service in September 1941, he sank 19 ships for a total of 89,885 gross register tons (GRT). For this he received the Knight's Cross, among other commendations.

Early life

Schulz was born on 10 March 1906 in Cologne. He initially entered the merchant marine, eventually spending ten years there, including time spent on sailing ships. He joined the navy in October 1933, initially as HSO, Handelschiffoffizier (merchant ship officer). He moved to the U-boat arm on 27 September 1935 as an Oberfähnrich zur See, spending the next three and half years training on submarines. During this time he appears to have been amongst those sent to help the Spanish Nationalists during the Spanish Civil War as he was awarded the Spanish Cross on 6 June 1939. He received his first command on 5 January 1939 when he took over U-10. He was promoted to Kapitänleutnant on 1 April 1939 and on the outbreak of war he carried out two short patrols later that year, before leaving U-10 on 15 October.

Wartime career

His next command was U-64, which he took over on 16 December 1939. He took her on her first patrol off the Norwegian coast in April 1940. The patrol was only eight days old when U-64 was detected by British naval air forces on 13 April, whilst in the Herjangsfjord near Narvik. She was attacked by a Fairey Swordfish from the battleship HMS Warspite and hit by a 350-pound bomb and raked with machine gun fire. U-64 was sunk, killing eight of the crew, but 38 survivors including Schulz managed to escape to be rescued from the water by German mountain troops. Two months later Schulz took over command of U-124 and took her on a number of successful patrols.

His greatest success was on his fourth patrol, where he sank 11 ships for a total of 52,379 tons, whilst also having damaged two other merchants. He was awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class on 25 September 1940, and the Knight's Cross on 4 April 1941. He stepped down as commander of U-124 on 7 September 1941, handing over to Johann Mohr. During this time several later successful U-boat captains had served under Schulz, including Mohr, Reinhard Hardegen and Werner Henke.

Schulz then took over as commander of 6th U-boat Flotilla, initially based in Danzig, and later in Saint Nazaire. He was promoted to Korvettenkapitän on 1 April 1943, and in October 1943 he was attached to the Staff of the 'FdU Ausbildungsflottillen' (Commander Training flotillas) in Gotenhafen. He spent time here as a staff officer, and also as the leader of the 'Erprobungsgruppe U-Boote' (U-boat testing group). He briefly moved on 22 April 1945 to become the last commander of 25th U-boat Flotilla.

Postwar

Little is known about Schulz's postwar activities. He died in Hamburg on 5 July 1986 at the age of 80.

In 1994 the Köhler Mittler Verlag in Hamburg published his autobiographical account "Über dem nassen Abgrund: Als Kommandant und Flottillenchef im U-Boot-Krieg" (engl. "Above the Abyss"), which has been reissued in several editions. An unauthorized and undated Czech translation has later surfaced, titled "Ponorkové eso".

Awards

  • Wehrmacht Long Service Award 4th Class (15 October 1937)
  • Spanish Cross in Bronze (6 June 1939)
  • The Return of Sudetenland Commemorative Medal of 1 October 1938 (1 October 1939)
  • Iron Cross (1939)
    • 2nd Class (25 September 1940)
    • 1st Class (25 September 1940)
  • U-boat War Badge (1939) (23 December 1939)
  • War Merit Cross 2nd Class and 1st Class with Swords (30 January 1945)
  • Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 4 April 1941 as Kapitänleutnant and commander of U-124
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