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Wilhelm Rollmann

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Wilhelm Rollmann

Wilhelm Rollmann
Born (1907-08-05)5 August 1907

5 November 1943(1943-11-05) (aged 36)
South Atlantic
10°09′S 18°00′W / 10.150°S 18.000°W / -10.150; -18.000

Allegiance  Weimar Republic (to 1933)
 Nazi Germany
Service/branch  Reichsmarine
Years of service 1926–1943
Rank Fregattenkapitän
Unit SSS Niobe
cruiser Emden
aviso Grille
Commands held U-34

World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Wilhelm Rollmann (5 August 1907 – 5 November 1943) was a Fregattenkapitän with the Kriegsmarine during World War II, in which he commanded the U-boats U-34 and U-848. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.


Rollmann joined the Reichsmarine in April 1926, serving 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. On all seven patrols Leutnant zur See Hans-Hartwig Trojer served as second watch officer on U-34. 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.[1]


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.[2]


Wehrmachtbericht references

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
Monday, 29 July 1940 Im Seekrieg gegen England hielten die erfolge unserer Unterseeboote an. Ein Boot unter Führung von Kapitänleutnant Wilhelm Rollmann hat, wie schon durch Sondermeldung bekanntgegeben, aus einem stark gesicherten englischen Geleitzug fünf bewaffnete Großhandelsschiffe mit insgesamt 48 000 BRT versenkt, darunter einen Hilfskreuzer von 18 000 BRT. Der Geleitzug wurde zersprengt. Dieses Boot hat außerdem ein bewaffnetes britisches Handelsschiff von 6 000 BRT torpediert.[5] The successes of our submarines continue in the naval war against England. A boat under the command of Captain Lieutenant William Rollman, as already announced by special bulletin, has sunk from a heavily secured convoy five major armed British merchant ships with a total of 48 000 GRT, including an auxiliary cruiser of 18 000 GRT. The convoy was dispersed. This boat also has torpedoed an armed British merchant ship of 6 000 GRT.
Friday, 2 August 1940 Kapitänleutnant Wilhelm Rollmann hat mit einem Unterseeboot ein feindliches Unterseeboot versenkt. Damit hat dieses Boot in zwei Unternehmungen innerhalb kurzer Zeit zwölf bewaffnete feindliche Handelsschiffe mit insgesamt 74 338 BRT, den britischen Zerstörer "WHIRLWIND" und ein Unterseeboot vernichtet.[6] Captain Lieutenant Wilhelm Rollmann has sunk an enemy submarine with his submarine. So far this boat has destroyed twelve armed enemy merchant ships totaling 74 338 GRT, the British destroyer "WHIRLWIND" and a submarine on two undertakings within a short time.


  • 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 (in German). 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.
  • Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939-1945 Band 1, 1. September 1939 bis 31. Dezember 1941 (in German). München: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, 1985. ISBN 3-423-05944-3.

External links

  • Lexikon der Wehrmacht
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