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Heinz-Otto Schultze

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Heinz-Otto Schultze

Heinz-Otto Schultze
Heinz-Otto Schultze
Born (1915-09-13)13 September 1915

25 November 1943(1943-11-25) (aged 28)
South Atlantic
06°30′S 05°40′W / 6.500°S 5.667°W / -6.500; -5.667

Allegiance Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Service/branch  Kriegsmarine
Years of service 1934–1943
Rank Kapitänleutnant
Unit SSS Gorch Fock
light cruiser Karlsruhe
SMS Schleswig-Holstein
Commands held U-4
Battles/wars World War II 
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
Relations Otto Schultze (father)

Heinz-Otto Schultze (13 September 1915 in Kiel – 25 November 1943 in the South Atlantic) was a German U-boat commander in World War II and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes). The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. He is credited with the sinking of 20 ships for a total of 67,991 gross register tons (GRT) plus damaging a further two ships for a total of 15,666 GRT.

Naval career

Heinz-Otto Schultze was the son of Otto Schultze, commander of U-63 during World War I and a recipient of the coveted Pour le Mérite and later Generaladmiral of the Kriegsmarine.

Schultze joined the Reichsmarine on 8 April 1934 as a member of Crew 1934 (the incoming class of 1934) where he received his basic military infantry training with the II. Schiff-Stamm-Abteilung der Ostsee (2nd department of the standing ship division) of the Baltic Sea in Stralsund.[Notes 1] He was transferred to the school ship SSS Gorch Fock on 15 June 1934 for his on board training. Here he was promoted to Seekadett (Midshipman) on 26 September 1934. He then was transferred to the light cruiser Karlsruhe on 27 September 1934.[1]

He transferred to the U boat service on 19 May 1937 and completed the U boat school. Schultze was first posted on board of U-31 on 30 March 1938, initially serving as a second watch officer. He was made first watch officer on board of U-31 on 6 November 1938 and promoted to Oberleutnant zur See (Senior Lieutenant at Sea) on 1 April 1939. He received command of his first U boat, U-4, a school U boat, on 8 June 1940.[2]

Schultze was ordered to the Schichau-Werke, a shipyard in Danzig (now: Gdańsk, Poland), for construction familiarization of U-432. He commissioned U-432 on 26 April 1941. His first war patrol as a commander, his fifth of the war, lasted from 30 July until 19 September 1941 and resulted in the sinking of four ships totalling 10,774 GRT. Schultze surrendered command of U-432 on 16 January 1943 taking command of U-849 on 11 March 1943. His fifth patrol as a commander of U-432 targeted the East Coast of the United States of America. U-432 left La Pallice on 21 January 1942 and returned to La Pallice on 16 March 1942. During this patrol Schultze torpedoed and sank five ships for 25,107 GRT. After his return, Schultze was heavily criticized by the Befehlshaber der U-Boote (BdU) for the sinking of a Brazilian ship without warning. This attack was conducted against standing orders.[2]

U-849 left Kiel on its first war patrol on 2 October 1943 and was sunk by depth charges from a US B-24 Liberator B-6 from Navy-Squadron VB-107 on 25 November that year in the South Atlantic west of the Congo estuary, in position 06°30′S 05°40′W / 6.500°S 5.667°W / -6.500; -5.667. Schultze and the entire crew of U-849 were killed in the sinking. This was Schultze's 12th patrol of the war.[3]




  • Busch, Rainer & Röll, Hans-Joachim (2003). Der U-Boot-Krieg 1939-1945 - Die Ritterkreuzträger der U-Boot-Waffe von September 1939 bis Mai 1945 (in German). Hamburg, Berlin, Bonn Germany: Verlag E.S. Mittler & Sohn. ISBN 3-8132-0515-0.
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939-1945. Friedburg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 3-7909-0284-5.
  • 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 (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.

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