Wolfpack Seewolf 1
Active2–15 September 1941
Country Nazi Germany
BranchKriegsmarine
Size17 submarines
EngagementsConvoy ON 14
Wolfpack Seewolf 2
Active21–30 March 1943
Country Nazi Germany
BranchKriegsmarine
Size19 submarines
Wolfpack Seewolf 3
Active12–23 April 1945
Country Nazi Germany
BranchKriegsmarine
Size7 submarines
EngagementsOperation Teardrop
Actions of 5/6 May 1945

Seewolf was the name of three separate wolfpacks of German U-boats that operated during the Battle of the Atlantic in World War II.

1941

The first U-boat group code-named Seewolf operated in the North Atlantic, to intercept Allied convoys to and from Gibraltar, and to and from Sierra Leone in west Africa. The group comprised 17 U-boats, from the dissolved groups Bosemuller and Kurfurst, that had operated in the same area. Due to bad weather, and evasive routing by the British, it had no success against the target convoys, though five independently routed ships were found and sunk; on 6 September U-95 sank Trinidad, a neutral vessel en route from Dublin to Lisbon, and on 15 September U-94 sank three ships that had dispersed from ON 14 the previous day. On 14 September U-95 and U-561 were bombed by aircraft from Coastal Command and forced to return to base.[1]

Seewolf was formed on 2 September, and dissolved two weeks later, on 15 September 1941.[2] It comprised the following boats:-

U-boat Commander Date Joined Date Left Comments
U-69 Wilhelm Zahn 4 September 1941 15 September 1941
U-71 Walter Flachsenberg 2 September 1941 3 September 1941
U-77 Heinrich Schonder 2 September 1941 7 September 1941
U-83 Hans-Werner Kraus 2 September 1941 7 September 1941
U-94 Otto Ites 5 September 1941 15 September 1941 Empire Eland
Newbury
Pegasus
U-95 Gerd Schreiber 2 September 1941 14 September 1941 Trinidad
U-96 Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock 2 September 1941 10 September 1941
U-98 Robert Gysae 3 September 1941 15 September 1941
U-206 Herbert Opitz 2 September 1941 7 September 1941
U-553 Karl Thurmann 2 September 1941 13 September 1941
U-557 Ottokar Arnold Paulssen 2 September 1941 15 September 1941
U-558 Günther Krech 2 September 1941 12 September 1941
U-561 Robert Bartels 2 September 1941 15 September 1941
U-563 Klaus Bargsten 2 September 1941 7 September 1941
U-567 Theodor Fahr 2 September 1941 9 September 1941 Fort Richepanse
U-568 Joachim Preuss 2 September 1941 8 September 1941
U-751 Gerhard Bigalk 2 September 1941 5 September 1941

Five merchant ships were sunk for a total of 20,396 GRT.

1943

The second Seewolf group operated in the North Atlantic in March 1943 against convoys to and from North America. It comprised 19 U-boats, mostly from groups Sturmer and Dranger, which had attacked convoys HX 229 and SC 122. The group was positioned to intercept the fast HX and slow SC convoys from North America, and was co-incident with group Seeteufel, 16 U-boats positioned to attack outbound ON and ONS convoys. Convoys SC 123 and ONS 1 evaded both groups; several Seewolf boats found HX 230, but all attacks failed in foul weather. With no success to report, the group was dissolved and most boats returned to base, though four remained as a cadre for group Adler.[3]

This Seewolf was formed on 21 March, and dissolved a week later on 30 March.[4] It comprised the following boats:-

U-boat Commander Date Joined Date Left Comments
U-84 Horst Uphoff 24 March 1943 30 March 1943
U-86 Walter Schug 21 March 1943 30 March 1943
U-257 Heinz Rahe 25 March 1943 30 March 1943
U-305 Rudolf Bahr 21 March 1943 30 March 1943
U-333 Werner Schwaff 21 March 1943 30 March 1943
U-336 Hans Hunger 21 March 1943 30 March 1943
U-373 Paul-Karl Loeser 21 March 1943 28 March 1943
U-440 Hans Geissler 21 March 1943 29 March 1943
U-441 Klaus Hartmann 21 March 1943 28 March 1943
U-527 Herbert Uhlig 21 March 1943 30 March 1943
U-530 Kurt Lange 21 March 1943 30 March 1943
U-590 Heinrich Müller-Edzards 21 March 1943 30 March 1943
U-591 Hans-Jürgen Zetzsche 21 March 1943 30 March 1943
U-615 Ralph Kapitzky 21 March 1943 30 March 1943
U-618 Kurt Baberg 21 March 1943 30 March 1943
U-631 Jürgen Krüger 21 March 1943 30 March 1943
U-641 Horst Rendtel 21 March 1943 30 March 1943
U-642 Herbert Brünning 21 March 1943 30 March 1943
U-666 Herbert Engel 21 March 1943 30 March 1943

No ships were sunk or damaged

1945

Seewolf was formed in March 1945[5] in an effort to re-establish the U-boat offensive in American waters; it was the last wolfpack of the Atlantic campaign. Seven of the nine boats that sailed to the Americas were in Seewolf; a further two sailed independently.

Coincidentally, Allied Intelligence formed the view that the Germans were planning to mount a missile attack on the United States, using V-1 or V-2 missiles adapted for launch at sea by submarines. This led to a vigorous response by the United States Navy, code-named Operation Teardrop, to find and destroy the Seewolf boats. This was successful; Of the five boats in American waters by April (two boats had returned to base for repairs, and were still in transit at the end of April) Four boats were sunk during the month:

Seewolf boats had one success; U-546 sank USS Frederick C. Davis, shortly before she herself was sunk.

The fifth boat U-881 was detected and destroyed on 6 May 1945, the last boat in American waters to be destroyed. The two boats in transit when Germany surrendered were given up to the USN on 8 May 1945.

U-boat[6] Commander Date Joined Date Left Comments
U-518 Hans-Werner Offermann 14 April 1945 22 April 1945
U-546 Paul Just 14 April 1945 24 April 1945 USS Frederick C. Davis sunk 24 Apr 1945
U-805 Richard Bernardelli 14 April 1945 1 May 1945
U-858 Thilo Bode 14 April 1945 1 May 1945
U-880 Gerhard Schtözau 14 April 1945 16 April 1945
U-1235 Franz Barsch 14 April 1945 15 April 1945

One US warship was sunk by this wolfpack.

References

  1. ^ Blair (1996) p.389
  2. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Wolf Pack Seewolf 1941". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 21 June 2014.
  3. ^ Blair (1998) p.268-270
  4. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Wolf Pack Seewolf 1943". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 21 June 2014.
  5. ^ Blair p686-688
  6. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Wolfpack Seewolf 1945". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 21 June 2014.

Bibliography