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Helmut Möhlmann

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Helmut Möhlmann

Helmut Möhlmann
File:Helmut Möhlmann.jpg
Born (1913-06-25)25 June 1913
Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein
Died 12 April 1977(1977-04-12) (aged 63)
Prien am Chiemsee, Bavaria
Allegiance  Nazi Germany (to 1945)
 West Germany
Service/branch  Kriegsmarine
 German Navy
Years of service 1933–1945, 1960–1970
Rank Korvettenkapitän (Kriegsmarine)
Fregattenkapitän (German Navy)
Unit SSS Gorch Fock
cruiser Karlsruhe
tender Nordsee
tender Saar
cruiser Nürnberg
torpedo boat Luchs
Commands held U-143
(9 December 1940–19 March 1941)
(20 March–15 April 1941)
(22 May 1941–31 May 1943)
14th U-boat Flotilla
(15 December 1944–8 May 1945)

Spanish Civil War
World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Helmut Möhlmann (25 June 1913 – 12 April 1977) was a German U-boat commander in World War II and 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.


Möhlmann joined the Kriegsmarine on 1 April 1933 as an Offiziersanwärter ("Officer Candidate") as a member of "Crew 1933" (the incoming class of 1933). He served aboard the light cruiser Nürnberg, rising steadily through the junior officer ranks, and during the first months of the war sailed on patrols on the torpedo boat Luchs as Oberleutnant zur See. In April 1940 he transferred to the U-boat force.[1]

He commanded the training U-boats U-143 and U-52, and was promoted to Kapitänleutnant on 1 April 1941, before commissioning the Type VIIC U-boat U-571 in May.[1]

Möhlmann made eight war patrols in U-571, in the Atlantic and the Arctic Sea, sinking seven ships totalling 47,169 tons and damaging one of 11,394 tons. Especially successful was his fourth patrol in March–May 1942, in which during a single week he sank two ships of more than 10,000 tons. He left the U-boat in May 1943, and after a course at the Naval Academy at Berlin he served as a staff officer on the BdU[1] in the Waffenabteilung ("Armaments Department").[2]

In December 1944 Möhlmann was appointed commander of 14th U-boat Flotilla at Narvik, Norway, remaining there until the end of the war. He was promoted to Korvettenkapitän on 1 April 1945. After the surrender he spent more than four months in captivity.[1]

Möhlmann rejoined the military service of the post World War II Bundeswehr of the Federal Republic of Germany. He entered the Bundesmarine on 1 July 1960 holding the rank of Fregattenkapitän (frigate captain). He served as military attaché at the German Embassy in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil from 24 August 1965 to 24 November 1969. His last service position was Wehrbereichskommandant VI in Munich before retiring on 31 March 1970.[3]

Summary of career

Ships attacked[1]
Date Ship Tons Nationality Fate
26 August 1941 Marija Uljanova 3,870  Soviet Union Total loss
29 March 1942 Hertford 10,923  United Kingdom Sunk
6 April 1942 Koll 10,044  Norway Sunk
14 April 1942 Margaret 3,352  United States Sunk
7 July 1942 Umtata 8,141  United Kingdom Sunk
8 July 1942 J.A. Moffett, Jr. 9,788  United States Total loss
9 July 1942 Nicholas Cuneo 1,051  Honduras Sunk
15 July 1942 Pennsylvania Sun 11,394  United States Damaged



  • 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). 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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