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. 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.
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. Zapp was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 23 April 1942.
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.
Summary of career
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.
|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|
- U-boat War Badge (14 May 1941)
- Iron Cross (1939)
- 2nd Class (6 August 1941)
- 1st Class (6 August 1941)
- War Merit Cross 2nd Class with Swords (30 January 1945)
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 23 April 1942 as Korvettenkapitän and commander of U-66
- Mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht on 27 January 1942 and 7 May 1942