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Old 30th December 2015, 00:08
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Axis airmen rescued by German U-boats

Over the years I collected some information about the rescue of Axis airmen by German U-boats and I would like to share my research in this thread because my main historical interest is clearly focused on naval warfare and I hope the visitors of this forum with their vast knowledge about the Luftwaffe/Regia Aeronautica can help me to correct or add some details.

I found 26 such incidents so far and will post the details in chronological order in separate posts.
  1. 1939-09-12: U-13 rescued crew of a Dornier Do 18
  2. 1940-03-29: U-30 rescued crew of a Dornier Do 18
  3. 1940-04-26: U-17 rescued crew of a Dornier Do 18
  4. 1940-06-06: U-47 rescued 3 airmen of a Dornier Do 18
  5. 1941-05-22: U-564 rescued crew of a Junkers Ju 88
  6. 1942-02-05: U-105 rescued crew of a Dornier Do 24
  7. 1942-02-14: U-86 rescued 3 airmen of a Heinkel He 111
  8. 1942-02-15: U-587 rescued 5 airmen of a Focke-Wulf Fw 200
  9. 1942-02-15: U-331 rescued 5 airmen of a Savoia-Marchetti SM.79
  10. 1942-06-15: U-431 rescued crew of a Do 24 and 3 airmen of a Ju 88
  11. 1942-06-15: U-83 rescued crew of a Do 24 and pilot of a Bf 109
  12. 1942-08-14: U-255 rescued crew of a Blohm & Voss BV 138

After two rescues of German airmen in February 1942 the BdU (Admiral Karl Dönitz) made the following entry in his war diary:
Quote:
However satisfactory the rescue of the crews of 2 planes by submarines in the last few days may be, and however natural such help at first appears, it is nevertheless always difficult to decide whether submarines on their outward voyage should be used to search for the crews of planes that have been forced down. Under present conditions every drop of fuel is vital for the boats, if they are to maintain sufficient operational freedom in distant operational areas. It may well happen that a request for help will have to be refused for the sake of operational duties.
However, his superiors were not of the same opinion:
Quote:
So much depends on the rescue of the experienced crew of a plane that has been used for naval warfare, that a very serious reason would have to be given if such a request were refused.
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Last edited by Rainer; 31st December 2015 at 16:44. Reason: Update Links
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Old 30th December 2015, 00:10
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12 Sep 1939: U-13 rescued crew of a Dornier Do 18

U-13 (ObltzS Karl Daublebsky von Eichhain) rescued all four crewmen of a drifting Dornier Do 18 in M.Qu. AN 6481 (approx. 54°51'N, 04°05'E, about 100 nautical miles north-north-west of Terschelling) at 2025hrs on 12 September 1939. Several towing attempts failed and the next morning the flying boat was taken in tow by the German seaplane tender GUNTHER PLÜSCHOW, but subsequently flooded and was scuttled at 1230hrs on 13 September.

1939-09-12, 2./KüFlGr 106, Do 18 D-2, 717, M2+EK
Emergency landing at sea (cause?), loss 100%
Flugzeugführer Lt Ihnken, survived
Uffz ?, survived
Uffz ?, survived
Uffz ?, survived
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Old 30th December 2015, 00:10
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29 Mar 1940: U-30 rescued crew of a Dornier Do 18

U-30 (Kptlt Fritz-Julius Lemp) rescued all four crewmen of a drifting Dornier Do 18 in M.Qu. AN 3425 (approx. 58°03'N, 05°00'E, about 40 nautical miles south-west of Egersund, Norway) at 0400hrs on 29 March 1940. Unable to take it in tow the U-boat scuttled the flying boat with gunfire.

1940-03-28, 2./KüFlGr 906, Do 18 G, V 862, 8L+GK
Emergency landing at sea due to engine trouble, loss 100% (on rescue mission to locate Oblt Rudolf Quadt, Staffelkapitän of 6./KG 30 and his crew)
Oblt Blanke, Elmer, survived
LtzS Ipach, Hans-Harald, survived
Rusch, survived
Biegel, survived (possibly Bordmechaniker Fw Biegel, Hans 73563/45)
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Last edited by Rainer; 31st December 2015 at 16:10. Reason: Added names & details (thanks to Adam & Martin)
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Old 30th December 2015, 00:11
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26 Apr 1940: U-17 rescued crew of a Dornier Do 18

U-17 (Kptlt Udo Behrens) rescued all four crewmen of a drifting Dornier Do 18 in M.Qu. AN 2755 (approx. 59°33'N, 01°24'E, about 100 nautical miles south-east of Shetland Islands) at 0533hrs on 26 April 1940. Unable to take it in tow the U-boat scuttled the flying boat with gunfire at 0615hrs.

1940-04-25, 2./KüFlGr 406, Do 18 G, V 856, K6+DK
Emergency landing at sea (cause?), loss 100% (possibly shot down by a Blenheim of 110 Sqn RAF)
ObltzS Lorentz, survived
Oblt Grunwald, survived
Fw Brummer, survived
Uffz Alde, survived
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Old 30th December 2015, 00:12
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6 Jun 1940: U-47 rescued 3 German airmen of a Dornier Do 18

U-47 (Kptlt Günther Prien) rescued three airmen from a rubber dinghy in M.Qu. AN 2757 (approx. 59°27'N, 01°12'E, about 100 nautical miles south-east of Shetland Islands) at 0800hrs on 6 June 1940. Survivors stated that their Dornier flying boat was shot down in aerial combat on 4 June, the Beobachter being killed by a head shot and the Bordfunker wounded.

1940-06-04, 2./KüFlGr 906, Do 18 D-3, 790, 8L+LK
Shot down in aerial combat, loss 100% (shot down by Blenheim R3629 of 254 Sqn RAF, FltLt Mitchell, at 1620hrs)
Beobachter LtdR Weinling, Hans, +
Flugzeugführer Ofw Lippert, Bernhard, survived
Bordmechaniker Fw Klare, survived
Bordfunker Uffz Stöckinger, Karl, wounded (flesh wound to the shoulder and a bullet through the calf)
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Last edited by Rainer; 30th December 2015 at 19:42. Reason: Added Vbkz & Attacker (Thanks to Adam & Rémi)
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Old 30th December 2015, 01:00
robert robert is offline
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Re: Axis airmen rescued by German U-boats

Hi Rainer,

thanks for these information`s.

Regards

Robert
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Old 30th December 2015, 01:13
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Re: Axis airmen rescued by German U-boats

28 March 1940:
I have the surnames Rusch and Biegel also as part of the crew along with Ipach and Blanke. The crew had been sent out to look for Oblt Rudolf Quadt, Staffelkapitän of 6./KG 30 and his crew.

4 June 1940
Forced down by Flt Lt Mitchell in Blenheim R3629, 254 Sqn at 1620hrs. Distress call was not heard by home base. Stöckinger had a flesh wound to the shoulder and a bullet through the calf.
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Old 30th December 2015, 03:34
Larry Hickey Larry Hickey is offline
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Re: Axis airmen rescued by German U-boats

Ranier,

All of these fit into either the Phoney War or Scandinavian Campaign period, which is of high interest for the EoE Project. Do any photos exist of any of these rescues or actions to help illustrate these incidents?
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Old 30th December 2015, 15:43
John Beaman John Beaman is offline
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Re: Axis airmen rescued by German U-boats

Good information in a little known aspect of the war. Thanks Rainer!
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Old 30th December 2015, 16:10
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Re: Axis airmen rescued by German U-boats

Excellent material, Rainer!

Keep it coming, please.

Cheers
Brian
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