Heinrich Liebe

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Heinrich Liebe
File:Heinrich Liebe.jpg
Born (1908-01-29)29 January 1908
Gotha
Died 27 July 1997(1997-07-27) (aged 89)
Eisenach, Germany
Allegiance  Weimar Republic (to 1933)
Nazi Germany Nazy Germany
Service/branch  Reichsmarine
 Kriegsmarine
Years of service 1927–45
Rank Fregattenkapitän
Unit SSS Niobe

Meteor
Schleswig-Holstein
U-Bootschulflottille
6th U-boat Flotilla
Commands held U-2,1 October 1936 – 31 January 1938
U-38, 24 October 1938 – 22 July 1941
Battles/wars Battle of the Atlantic
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves

Heinrich Liebe (29 January 1908 – 27 July 1997) was a highly decorated German Fregattenkapitän (commander) who served as a U-boat commander during World War II until transferred to Oberkommando der Marine (Naval High Command). He sank 34 ships for a total of 187,267 gross register tons (GRT), placing him fourth among top scoring U-boat commanders. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub). The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. It was Nazi Germany's highest military decoration at the time of its presentation to Heinrich Liebe.[Note 1]

Biography

Born in Gotha, Liebe began his Reichsmarine career in 1927. Promoted to Oberfähnrich zur See on 1 June 1931, Liebe served on the World War I battleship Schleswig-Holstein for four years. In September 1935, Liebe transferred to the U-boat arm.

On 1 October 1936, Liebe was promoted to Kapitänleutnant (lieutenant) and assigned commander of U-2, a Type II U-boat attached to the U-Bootschulflottille. On 24 October 1938, Liebe commissioned U-38, a Type IX U-boat assigned to 6th U-boat Flotilla.

World War II

U-38 embarked on her first war time patrol on 19 August 1939 from Wilhelmshaven. Operating off Lisbon, Portugal on the outbreak of war, Liebe managed to sink two British freighters before returning to port on 18 September. On 2 November, Liebe set sail for Norwegian water on his second patrol.

Liebes fourth patrol, on 8 April 1940 was also set in Norwegian waters, to support Operation Weserübung, the invasion of Norway. During this patrol, Liebe shared the same negative experience of failed torpedoes as many other u-boat captains operating in the area. In mid April 1940, Liebe fired on the British heavy cruiser Effingham, but all the torpedoes fired failed to detonate.

U-38 left on her fifth patrol on 6 June 1940, tasked with patrolling the Western Approaches off southern Ireland. Liebe managed to sink six ships during this patrol, and also succeeded in landing a German agent in Ireland on 12 June. During his sixth patrol, Liebe sank three ships, and were ordered to the new 6th U-boat Flotilla base in Lorient, France. During this patrol, on 14 August, Liebe received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.

On 9 April 1941, Liebe set sail for operations off Freetown, Africa. This was Liebe's ninth and last patrol with U-38, during which he sank 8 ships for a total of 47,279 GRT. For these successes, Liebe was awarded the Oak Leaves to his Knight's Cross on 10 June 1941. On 29 June, U-38 returned to Lorient. The presentation was made on 30 June 1941 by Hitler at the Führer Headquarter Wolfsschanze (Wolf's Lair) in Rastenburg (now Kętrzyn in Poland).[Note 2] On 22 July, Liebe transferred off the U-38, which was put under the command of Heinrich Schuch.

Following his departure from U-38, Liebe was assigned to the staff of Oberkommando der Marine. In August 1944, he was transferred to the staff of the Commander-in-Chief of Submarines (Befehlshaber der Unterseeboote or BdU), Hans-Georg von Friedeburg, during which tenure he was promoted to Fregattenkapitän (frigate captain) on 1 October 1944.

After the war

After the war Liebe returned to his hometown in the Soviet sector to live with his parents. Since he refused to train Soviet submariners, he felt that was to blame for his being held to menial occupations. He died in July 1997 and is buried in Eisenach, Germany.

Achievements

  • 34 ships sunk for a total of 187.267 GRT
  • 1 ship damaged for a total of 3.670 GRT

Summary of career

Ships attacked

As a u-boat commander of U-38 Liebe was credited with the sinking of 34 commercial ships for 187,267 gross register tons (GRT), and damaged another of 3,670 GRT.

Date[2] Ship[2] Nationality[2] Tonnage[2] Fate and location[2]
6 September 1939 Manaar  United Kingdom 7,242 sunk at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
11 September 1939 Inverliffey Republic of Ireland[Note 3]  United Kingdom 9,456 sunk at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
7 December 1939 Thomas Walton  United Kingdom 4,460 sunk at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
11 December 1939 Garoufalia  Greece 4,708 sunk at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
13 December 1939 Deptford  United Kingdom 4,101 sunk at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
9 March 1940 Leukos  Ireland 216 sunk at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
17 March 1940 Argentina  Denmark 5,375 sunk at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
21 March 1940 Algier  Denmark 1,654 sunk at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
21 March 1940 Christiansborg  Denmark 3,270 sunk at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
26 March 1940 Cometa  Norway 3,794 sunk at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
2 April 1940 Signe  Finland 1,540 sunk at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
14 June 1940 Mount Myrto  Greece 5,403 sunk at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
15 June 1940 Erik Boye  Canada 2,238 sunk at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
15 June 1940 Italia  Norway 9,973 sunk at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
20 June 1940 Tilia Gorthon  Sweden 1,776 sunk at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
21 June 1940 Luxembourg  Belgium 5,809 sunk at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
22 June 1940 Neion  Greece 5,154 sunk at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
7 August 1940 Mohamed Ali El-Kebir  United Kingdom 7,529 sunk at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
11 August 1940 Llanfair  United Kingdom 4,966 sunk at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
31 August 1940 Har Zion  United Kingdom 2,508 sunk at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
1 October 1940 Highland Patriot  United Kingdom 14,172 sunk at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
17 October 1940 Aenos  Greece 3,554 sunk at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
18 October 1940 Carsbreck  United Kingdom 3,670 damaged at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
19 October 1940 Bilderdijk  Netherlands 6,856 sunk at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
19 October 1940 Matheran  United Kingdom 7,653 sunk at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
27 December 1940 Waiotira  United Kingdom 12,823 sunk at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
31 December 1940 Valparaiso  Sweden 3,760 sunk at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
4 May 1941 Japan  Sweden 5,230 sunk at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
5 May 1940 Queen Maud  United Kingdom 4,976 sunk at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
23 May 1940 Berhala  Netherlands 6,622 sunk at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
24 May 1941 Vulcain  United Kingdom 4,362 sunk at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
29 May 1941 Tabaristan  United Kingdom 6,251 sunk at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
30 May 1941 Empire Protector  United Kingdom 6,181 sunk at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
31 May 1941 Rinda  Norway 6,029 sunk at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
8 June 1941 Kingston Hill  United Kingdom 7,628 sunk at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.

Awards

Wehrmachtbericht references

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
Friday, 5 July 1940 Die deutsche Unterseebootwaffe hat in der letzten Zeit wieder eine Reihe namhafter Erfolge im Kampf gegen England erzielt. So versenkte ein von Kapitänleutnant Liebe geführtes Unterseeboot neuerdings 34 400 BRT. Damit hat dieses Unterseeboot bisher insgesamt 85 000 BRT feindlichen Handelsschiffsraums versenkt.[8] The German submarine force has recently again achieved a number of notable successes in the fight against England. A submarine under the command of Captain Lieutenant Liebe has recently sunk seven 34 400 tons. This submarine has now totaled 85 000 tons of enemy merchant shipping sunk.
Saturday, 31 May 1941 Ein Unterseeboot unter Führung von Kapitänleutnant Heinrich Liebe versenkte feindliche Handelsschiffe mit 44 000 BRT.[9] A submarine under the command of Captain Lieutenant Heinrich Liebe has sunk enemy merchant shipping totalling 44 000 tons.
Monday, 9 June 1941 Kapitänleutnant Heinrich Liebe und Oberleutnant zur See Endraß haben als vierter und fünfter Unterseebootkommandant eine Versenkungsziffer von 200 000 BRT überschritten.[10] Captain Lieutenant Heinrich Liebe and First Lieutenant at Sea Endraß have as fourth and fifth submarine captain exceeded the 200 000 tons sunk.

Promotions

11 October 1927: Seekadett (Midshipman)[11]
1 April 1929: Fähnrich zur See (Officer Cadet)[11]
1 June 1931: Oberfähnrich zur See (Senior Ensign)[11]
1 October 1930: Leutnant zur See (Second Lieutenant)[11]
1 October 1933: Oberleutnant zur See (First Lieutenant)[11]
1 October 1936: Kapitänleutnant (Captain Lieutenant)[3]
1 December 1941: Korvettenkapitän (Corvette Captain)[3]
17 September 1944: Fregattenkapitän (Frigatte Captain)[3]

Notes

  1. Until late September 1941, the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves was second only to the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross (Großkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes), which was awarded only to senior commanders for winning a major battle or campaign, in the military order of the Third Reich. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves as highest military order was officially surpassed on 28 September 1941 by the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern), however the first presentation of the Swords to Adolf Galland was made prior to this date on 21 June 1941.[1]
  2. Also present at the award ceremony were the U-boat commanders Kapitänleutnant Engelbert Endraß and Kapitänleutnant Herbert Schultze who were also awarded the Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross.
  3. While the Inverliffey was a British vessel, she was flying the flag of Ireland the day that she was sunk.

References

Citations

  1. Williamson & Bujeiro 2004, pp. 3, 7.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Helgason, Guðmundur. "WWII U-boat successes: Ships hit by U-38". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 1 April 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 Busch & Röll 2003, p. 48.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Thomas 1998, p. 26.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Scherzer 2007, p. 504.
  6. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 290.
  7. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 54.
  8. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Volume 1, pp. 251–252.
  9. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Volume 1, p. 547.
  10. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Volume 1, p. 555.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 Busch & Röll 2003, p. 47.

Bibliography

  • 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 978-3-8132-0515-2. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) [1986]. Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Kurowski, Franz (1995). Knight's Cross Holders of the U-Boat Service. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing. ISBN 978-0-88740-748-2.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Range, Clemens (1974). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Kriegsmarine. Stuttgart, Germany: Motorbuch Verlag. ISBN 978-3-87943-355-1. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • 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. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Thomas, Franz (1998). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 2: L–Z (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2300-9. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Williamson, Gordon; Bujeiro, Ramiro (2004). Knight's Cross and Oak Leaves Recipients 1939–40. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84176-641-6.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, 1. September 1939 bis 31. Dezember 1941 (in German). München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985. ISBN 978-3-423-05944-2. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

  • Helgason, Guðmundur. "Heinrich Liebe". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 14 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>