Werner Hartmann (11 December 1902 – 26 April 1963) was a German U-boat commander in World War II. He was credited with sinking 26 ships, amounting to over 115,000 gross register tons (GRT) sunk, purportedly making him the 25th most successful U-boat commander of the war. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves of Nazi Germany.

Werner Hartmann
Born(1902-12-11)11 December 1902
Silstedt, Harz
Died26 April 1963(1963-04-26) (aged 60)
Usseln, Waldeck
Allegiance Weimar Republic
 Nazi Germany
 West Germany
Service/branch Reichsmarine
 German Navy
Years of service1921–45, 1956–62
RankKapitän zur See
UnitSSS Niobe
cruiser Emden
cruiser Karlsruhe
2nd U-boat Flotilla
6th U-boat Flotilla
12th U-boat Flotilla
27th U-boat Flotilla
Commands heldSeeadler, Albatros
U-26, U-37, U-198
Battles/warsSpanish Civil War

World War II

AwardsKnight's Cross with Oak Leaves

Early life and careerEdit

Hartmann was born on 11 December 1902 in Silstedt near Wernigerode in the Province of Saxony, a province of the Kingdom of Prussia in the German Empire. He was the third child of Albert Hartmann, an evangelic pastor in Wernigerode, and Helene Hartmann, née Wernicke. Hartmann had one older brother, Rudolf, and an older sister, Edith. From 1909 to 1914, he attended the Volksschule, a primary school, in Silstedt and later the Gymnasium, a secondary school, in the district of Magdeburg.[1]

On 1 April 1914, Hartmann joined the Königlich Preußischen Kadettenkorps (Royal Prussian Cadet Corps) in Oranienstein near Diez. He initially served in the Vorkorps (pre corps) before he transferred to the Hauptkadettenanstalt (Main Military Academy) in Berlin-Lichterfelde on 1 April 1917. There he graduated with his Abitur (diploma) in 1921. Following his graduation he began his naval career with the Reichsmarine of the Weimar Republic on 1 April 1921 as a member of "Crew 21" (the incoming class of 1921).[1]

Until 30 September 1925, he underwent a number of military and naval training courses.[2] It began with basic military training (1 April – 30 September 1921) in Stralsund at the Baltic Sea and weapons courses at the Naval Academy at Mürwik. Hartmann was then transferred to the Hannover (1 October 1921 – April 1922) for onboard training and then to the training ship Niobe (April – 30 June 1922).[3] During this timeframe, he advanced in rank to Fähnrich zur See (officer cadet) on 1 April 1923 and to Oberfähnrich zur See (Senior Ensign) on 4 April 1925.[2]

He went on to serve as commander of the torpedo boats Seeadler and Albatros, before transferring to the U-boat arm in 1935. During the Spanish civil war, he commanded U-26 that patrolled Spanish waters during the Civil War in 1937–38 with Günther Prien as his first watch officer.

World War IIEdit

From January–May 1940 Hartmann was commander of both U-37 and 2nd U-boat Flotilla, but directing U-boats while at sea proved inefficient, and the Befehlshaber der U-Boote ("U-boat High Command") decided henceforth to direct the U-boats from land. After three patrols, and sinking 19 ships totalling 78,559 GRT, Hartmann received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.[4] His senior officers on his four patrols on U-37 were future Knight's Cross winners, first watch officer Oberleutnant zur See Ernst Bauer (two patrols) and later Oberleutnant zur See Nicolai Clausen (two patrols), second watch officer Leutnant zur See Gustav Poel and chief engineer Oberleutnant (Ing.) Gerd Suhren.[5]

First patrolEdit

Hartmann's first patrol (19 August 1939 – 15 September 1939) on U-37 left Wilhelmshaven almost two weeks before the outbreak of World War II on Friday 1 September 1939 when German forces invaded Poland.[2] Commander of U-37 on this patrol was Kapitänleutnant Heinrich Schuch.


Hartmann then moved to the BdU as a staff officer, and in November 1940 became commander of the 2nd ULD (U-boat Training Division). A year later he took command of the 27th U-boat Flotilla in Gotenhafen. In November 1942 he took command of the large Type IXD U-198 for a patrol to the Indian Ocean lasting 200 days, the third longest patrol ever undertaken, and sank 7 ships totalling 36,778 GRT. Chief engineer was Johann-Friedrich Wessels who received the Knight's Cross for his services on this patrol. In 1944 Hartmann became Führer der Unterseeboote Mittelmeer ("Commander of U-boats in the Mediterranean") and in this post received the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves.[4]

Bundesmarine and later lifeEdit

After the war he joined the Bundesmarine on 1 July 1956, commanding the 1. Schiffsstammregiment (1st Naval training regiment) in Glückstadt, retiring on 1 April 1962.[6] He died on 26 April 1963 in Usseln/Waldeck of pulmonary embolism. He was buried in a family grave in Glückstadt.[7]

Summary of careerEdit

Ships attackedEdit

As commander of U-37 and U-198 Werner Hartmann is credited with the sinking of 26 ships for a total of 115,337 gross register tons (GRT).[4]



1 April 1924: Fähnrich zur See (Officer Cadet)[2]
4 April 1925: Oberfähnrich zur See (Senior Ensign)[2]
1 October 1925: Leutnant zur See (Second Lieutenant)[2]
1 July 1927: Oberleutnant zur See (First Lieutenant)[2]
1 October 1933: Kapitänleutnant (Captain Lieutenant)[6]
1 July 1937: Korvettenkapitän (Corvette Captain)[6]
1 April 1941: Fregattenkapitän (Frigatte Captain)[6]
1 April 1943: Kapitän zur See (Captain at Sea)[6]



  1. ^ a b Röll 2010, p. 11.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Busch & Röll 2003, p. 29.
  3. ^ Röll 2010, p. 150.
  4. ^ a b c Kapitän zur See Werner Hartmann.
  5. ^ Busch & Röll 2003, p. 31.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i Busch & Röll 2003, p. 30.
  7. ^ Röll 2010, p. 149.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Ships hit by U-37.
  9. ^ a b Röll 2010, pp. 154–155.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Ships hit by U-198.
  11. ^ Röll 2010, p. 152.
  12. ^ a b Thomas 1997, p. 251.
  13. ^ a b Busch & Röll 2003, p. 535.
  14. ^ a b Scherzer 2007, p. 369.
  15. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 215.
  16. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 92.


  • Busch, Rainer; Röll, Hans-Joachim (2003). Der U-Boot-Krieg 1939–1945 — Die Ritterkreuzträger der U-Boot-Waffe von September 1939 bis Mai 1945 [The U-Boat War 1939–1945 — The Knight's Cross Bearers of the U-Boat Force from September 1939 to May 1945] (in German). Hamburg, Berlin, Bonn Germany: Verlag E.S. Mittler & Sohn. ISBN 978-3-8132-0515-2.
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) [1986]. Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile [The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches] (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6.
  • Helgason, Guðmundur. "Kapitän zur See Werner Hartmann". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 19 April 2010.
  • Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U-37". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  • Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U-198". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  • Rohwer, Jürgen (2005). Chronology of the War at Sea, 1939–1945: The Naval History of World War Two. Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-59114-119-2.
  • Röll, Hans-Joachim (2010). Kapitän zur See Werner Hartmann—Vom Lehrmeister Priens zum Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub [Captain at Sea Werner Hartmann—From Prien's Teacher to the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves] (in German). Würzburg Germany: Flechsig. ISBN 978-3-8035-0013-7.
  • 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 [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives] (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Militaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.
  • Thomas, Franz (1997). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 1: A–K [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 1: A–K] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2299-6.
  • Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, 1. September 1939 bis 31. Dezember 1941 [The Wehrmacht Reports 1939–1945 Volume 1, 1 September 1939 to 31 December 1941] (in German). München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985. ISBN 978-3-423-05944-2.
Military offices
Preceded by
Commander of 6th U-boat Flotilla
October, 1938 – December, 1939
Succeeded by
Korvettenkapitän Georg-Wilhelm Schulz
Preceded by
Korvettenkapitän Hans Ibbeken
Commander of 2nd U-boat Flotilla
January 1940 – May 1940
Succeeded by
Korvettenkapitän Heinz Fischer
Preceded by
Korvettenkapitän Ernst Sobe
Commander of 27th U-boat Flotilla
December 1941 – November 1942
Succeeded by
Korvettenkapitän Erich Topp