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Robert Gysae

Robert Gysae

German World War II U-boat commander

Robert Gysae (14 January 1911 – 26 April 1989) was a German U-boat commander in the Kriegsmarine during World War II. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves of Nazi Germany. Gysae commanded U-98 and U-177, being credited with sinking twenty-five ships on eight patrols, for a total of 146,815 gross register tons (GRT) of Allied shipping.

Career

Gysae joined the Reichsmarine in 1931 and served on torpedo boats before transferring to the U-Bootwaffe ("U-boat force") in April 1940. In October 1940 he was appointed commander of the Type VIIC U-boat U-98, unusually without serving any time as either 1.WO (1. Wachoffizier, "1st Watch Officer") or Kommandantenschüler ("Commander-in-Training") on any other U-boats. After six patrols in the north Atlantic in command of U-98, in March 1942 he transferred to the Type IXD2 U-boat U-177 for another two patrols, this time operating off South Africa and Portuguese East Africa. He sank a total of 25 ships, including the armed merchant cruiser HMS Salopian.

On 28 November 1942 off the coast of Natal Province, Gysae sank the 6,796 ton British troop ship RMS Nova Scotia with three torpedoes. She was carrying 780 Italians; a mixture of prisoners of war and civilian internees. Gysae rescued two survivors to identify the ship, who turned out to be Italian merchant sailors. Mindful of the Laconia Order issued two months previously, Gysae radioed the BdU, who ordered him to continue his patrol. The BdU notified the Portuguese authorities, who sent the frigate NRP Afonso de Albuquerque from Lourenço Marques to help. Of 1,052 people from the Nova Scotia only 194 survived: 192 rescued by the frigate and two others in subsequent days. 858 were killed, including 650 Italians.

In January 1944 he became commander of 25th U-boat Flotilla, a training flotilla based at Gotenhafen. In April 1945, during the last month of the war, Gysae commanded the Marinepanzerjagd-Regiment 1, a naval anti-tank regiment. After the war he served in the German Mine Sweeping Administration (Deutscher Minenräumdienst) for more than two years. In 1956 he joined the Bundesmarine, serving for four years as naval attaché in the United States, and then three years as commander of Marinedivision Nordsee with the rank of Flottillenadmiral before retiring in 1970. He died in 1989 aged 78.

Summary of career

Ships attacked

During his career Gysae sunk 24 commercial ships for 136,266 GRT, one auxiliary warship of 10,549 GRT, and damaged one ship for 2,588 GRT.

Date U-Boat Name of Ship Nationality Tonnage Fate
27 March 1941 U-98 Koranton  United Kingdom 6,695 Sunk at 59°N 27°W / 59°N 27°W / 59; -27 (Koranton (ship))
4 April 1941 U-98 Helle  Norway 2,467 Sunk at 59°06′N 24°12′W / 59.100°N 24.200°W / 59.100; -24.200 (Helle (ship))
4 April 1941 U-98 Welcombe  United Kingdom 5,122 Sunk at 59°09′N 23°40′W / 59.150°N 23.667°W / 59.150; -23.667 (Welcombe (ship))
9 April 1941 U-98 Prins Willem II  Netherlands 1,304 Sunk at 59°50′N 24°25′W / 59.833°N 24.417°W / 59.833; -24.417 (Prins Willem II (ship))
13 May 1941 U-98 HMS Salopian  Royal Navy 10,549 Sunk at 59°04′N 38°15′W / 59.067°N 38.250°W / 59.067; -38.250 (HMS Salopian (ship))
20 May 1941 U-98 Rothermere  United Kingdom 5,356 Sunk at 57°48′N 41°36′W / 57.800°N 41.600°W / 57.800; -41.600 (Rothermere (ship))
21 May 1941 U-98 Marconi  United Kingdom 7,402 Sunk at 58°N 41°W / 58°N 41°W / 58; -41 (Marconi (ship))
9 July 1941 U-98 Designer  United Kingdom 5,945 Sunk at 42°59′N 31°40′W / 42.983°N 31.667°W / 42.983; -31.667 (Designer (ship))
9 July 1941 U-98 Inverness  United Kingdom 4,897 Sunk at 42°46′N 32°45′W / 42.767°N 32.750°W / 42.767; -32.750 (Inverness (ship))
16 September 1941 U-98 Jedmoor  United Kingdom 4,392 Sunk at 59°N 10°W / 59°N 10°W / 59; -10 (Jedmoor (ship))
15 February 1942 U-98 Biela  United Kingdom 5,298 Sunk at 42°55′N 45°40′W / 42.917°N 45.667°W / 42.917; -45.667 (Biela (ship))
2 November 1942 U-177 Aegeus  Greece 4,538 Sunk at 32°30′S 16°00′E / 32.500°S 16.000°E / -32.500; 16.000 (Aegeus (ship))
9 November 1942 U-177 Cerion  United Kingdom 2,588 Damaged at 35°58′S 26°37′E / 35.967°S 26.617°E / -35.967; 26.617 (Cerion (ship))
19 November 1942 U-177 Scottish Chief  United Kingdom 7,006 Sunk at 30°39′S 34°41′E / 30.650°S 34.683°E / -30.650; 34.683 (Scottish Chief (ship))
20 November 1942 U-177 Pierce Butler  United States 7,191 Sunk at 29°40′S 36°35′E / 29.667°S 36.583°E / -29.667; 36.583 (Pierce Butler (ship))
28 November 1942 U-177 RMS Nova Scotia  United Kingdom 6,796 Sunk at 28°30′S 33°00′E / 28.500°S 33.000°E / -28.500; 33.000 (Nova Scotia (ship))
30 November 1942 U-177 Llandaff Castle  United Kingdom 10,799 Sunk at 27°20′S 33°40′E / 27.333°S 33.667°E / -27.333; 33.667 (Llandaff Castle (ship))
7 December 1942 U-177 Saronikos  Greece 3,548 Sunk at 24°46′S 35°30′E / 24.767°S 35.500°E / -24.767; 35.500 (Saronikos (ship))
12 December 1942 U-177 Empire Gull  United Kingdom 6,408 Sunk at 26°15′S 34°40′E / 26.250°S 34.667°E / -26.250; 34.667 (Empire Gull (ship))
14 December 1942 U-177 Sawahloento  Netherlands 3,085 Sunk at 31°02′S 34°00′E / 31.033°S 34.000°E / -31.033; 34.000 (Sawahloento (ship))
28 May 1943 U-177 Agwimonte  United States 6,679 Sunk at 34°57′S 19°33′E / 34.950°S 19.550°E / -34.950; 19.550 (Agwimonte (ship))
28 May 1943 U-177 Storaas  Norway 7,886 Sunk at 34°57′S 19°33′E / 34.950°S 19.550°E / -34.950; 19.550 (Storaas (ship))
6 July 1943 U-177 Jasper Park  Canada 7,129 Sunk at 32°52′S 42°15′E / 32.867°S 42.250°E / -32.867; 42.250 (Jasper Park (ship))
10 July 1943 U-177 Alice F. Palmer  United States 7,176 Sunk at 26°30′S 44°20′E / 26.500°S 44.333°E / -26.500; 44.333 (Alice F. Palmer (ship))
29 July 1943 U-177 Cornish City  United Kingdom 4,952 Sunk at 27°20′S 52°10′E / 27.333°S 52.167°E / -27.333; 52.167 (Cornish City (ship))
5 August 1943 U-177 Efthalia Mari  Greece 4,195 Sunk at 24°21′S 48°55′E / 24.350°S 48.917°E / -24.350; 48.917 (Efthalia Mari (ship))

Awards

  • Wehrmacht Long Service Award 4th Class (2 October 1936)
  • The Return of Sudetenland Commemorative Medal of 1 October 1938 (20 December 1939)
  • Spanish Cross in Bronze with Swords
  • Iron Cross (1939) 2nd Class (31 May 1940) & 1st Class (15 April 1941)
  • Knight's Cross of the Order of the Crown of Italy (11 March 1941)
  • U-boat War Badge (1939) (31 May 1941); with Diamonds
  • Croce di Guerra with Swords (Italy, 25 May 1943)
  • Wound Badge (1939) in Black (25 June 1943)
  • War Merit Cross, 2nd Class with Swords (1 September 1944)
  • U-boat Front Clasp in Bronze (1 October 1944)
  • Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
    • Knight's Cross (31 December 1941) as commander of U-98
    • 250th Oak Leaves (31 May 1943) as commander of U-177
  • Mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht on 23 May 1941
  • Legion of Merit (United States of America)
  • Officer's Cross, Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
Robert Gysae Robert Gysae
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