Helmut Witte

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Helmut Witte
File:Helmut Witte.jpg
Born (1915-04-06)6 April 1915
Bojendorf on Fehmarn
Died 3 October 2005(2005-10-03) (aged 90)
Duisburg
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch  Kriegsmarine
Years of service 1934–45
Rank Korvettenkapitän
Commands held U-159
Battles/wars Spanish Civil War
World War II
Awards Spanish Cross
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
Other work Personnel manager

Helmut Witte (6 April 1915 – 3 October 2005) was a Korvettenkapitän (corvette captain) with the Kriegsmarine during World War II. As commander of the Type IXC U-boat U-159, he sank twenty-three ships on four patrols, for a total of 119,554 tons of Allied shipping, to become the 20th highest scoring U-Boat ace of World War II.[1] 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.

Career

Witte joined the Reichsmarine in April 1934, serving on the light cruiser Köln, the destroyer Z22 "Anton Schmitt", and on several torpedo boats before transferring to the U-boat arm in July 1940.[1] Witte was 1.WO (second-in-command) on U-107 under Günther Hessler, and took part in the most successful patrol of the war in early 1941, during which 14 ships totalling 86,699 tons were sunk.[2]

Witte commissioned U-159 in October 1941,[1] and in late 1942 accomplished World War II's fourth most successful patrol, sinking 63,730 tons of shipping.[3] In his four patrols in U-159 Witte sank 23 ships in all totalling 119,554 GRT. From June 1943 he served in several staff positions.[1]

Post-war

At the end of the war Witte spent two months as a prisoner of the British. After spells as a farm hand and a factory worker, Witte had a successful business career, and in the 1960s became personnel manager of a large German industrial group. He died in 2005 aged 90.[1]

Awards

References in the Wehrmachtbericht

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
Thursday, 18 June 1942 Die Unterseeboote unter Führung der Kapitänleutnante Mohr, Topp, Witte und von Rosenstiel und des Oberleutnants zur See Ites haben sich bei der Bekämpfung der feindlichen Versorgungsschiffahrt besonders ausgezeichnet.[6] The submarines under the leadership of Captain Lieutenant Mohr, Topp, Witte and von Rosenstiel and Lieutenant at Sea Ites have in the fight against the enemy supply shipping particularly distinguished themselves.

References

Notes
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Helgason, Guðmundur. "Korvettenkapitän Helmut Witte". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 18 April 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol of U-boat U-107 from 29 Mar 1941 to 2 Jul 1941". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 28 April 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Helgason, Guðmundur. "Most successful U-boat patrols". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 28 April 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Busch & Röll 2003, p. 267.
  5. Scherzer 2007, p. 792.
  6. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939-1945 Band 2, p. 166.
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)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). 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)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Huß, Jürgen; Viohl, Armin (2003). Die Ritterkreuzträger des Eisernen Kreuzes der preußischen Provinz Schleswig-Holstein und der Freien und Hansestadt Lübeck 1939–1945 (in German). Zweibrücken, Germany: VDM Heinz Nickel. ISBN 978-3-925480-79-9. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<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)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 3, 1. Januar 1944 bis 9. Mai 1945 (in German). München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985. ISBN 978-3-423-05944-2. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>