Oberleutnant zur See (Crew 38)
2 ships sunk, total tonnage 7,559 GRT
1 ship damaged, total tonnage 7,176 GRT
1 ship a total loss, total tonnage 9,551 GRT
|Born||25 Dec 1919||Gumbinnen, East Prussia|
|Died||22 Feb 1945||(25)||west of Cadiz|
|U-300||29 Dec 1943||22 Feb 1945 (+)||3 patrols (124 days)|
Fritz Hein joined the Kriegsmarine in 1938. He went through Officer training from from Nov 1938 to April 1940 when he was assigned to the battleships Scharnhorst. In Oct 1940 Hein was sent to Scharnhors's sister, Gneisenau on which he served until June 1942 (Busch & Röll, 1999).
In June 1942 Lnt. Fritz Hein joined the U-boat force and started his U-boat training. He completed his coursed in Oct 1942 and was then sent to the U-333 as its Second Watch Officer (2WO). He served on this role until Feb 1943 when he became its First Watch Officer (1WO) until Sept 1943 (Busch & Röll, 1999). He spent 182 days at sea on this boat during 3 patrols (Busch & Röll, 1997). U-333 sank one ship during Hein's service, the Greek Carras on 19 March 1943 (Rohwer, 1998).
Oblt. Fritz Hein took U-boat Commander course in Sept 1943 with the 2. UAA and then began his U-boat familiarization (Baubelehrung) in preparation for his own boat (Busch & Röll, 1999).
First U-boat Command
On 29 Dec 1943 Oblt. Fritz Hein commissioned the new U-300 at Bremen-Vegesack (Busch & Röll, 1999). He spent the next 6 months training in the Baltic. On 18 July 1944 he left for his war patrol from Horten, Norway. Aircraft attack on the boat on 4 Aug forced the boat to abort patrol and head for Trondheim, Norway (Blair, 1998).
On the second patrol from 4 Oct to 2 Dec 1944 Hein took the U-300 to Icelandic waters and hunted off Reykjavik, the capital. On 10 Nov he managed to sink two ships; the British tanker Shirvan and the neutral Icelandic merchant Goðafoss that had stopped against orders to pick up survivors from the burning Shirvan (Rohwer, 1998). The boat returned to Stavenger, Norway on 2 Dec after 60 days at sea (Busch & Röll, 1997).
Oblt. Fritz Hein left base for his third patrol as Commander on 21 Jan 1945 and headed west of British Isles for for Gibraltar. On 17 Feb 1945 he managed to sink two ships from convoy UGS-72; the American steam merchant Michael J. Stone and the British motor tanker Regent Lion (Rohwer, 1998).
Five days after sinking its last two ships U-300 was sunk on 22 Feb 1945 in the North Atlantic west of Cadiz, in position 36.29N, 08.20W, by gunfire from the British minesweepers HMS Recuit and HMS Pincher and the yacht Evadne. 9 dead and 41 survivors (Niestlé, 1998). Oblt. Fritz Hein was not among the survivors (Busch & Röll, 1999).
Discounted story: An US Army officer intending to kill Fritz Hein postwar
On 10 Nov 1944 U-300 sank the neutral Icelandic passenger ship Goðafoss. According to an interview in a documentary, Árásin á Goðafoss (The attack on Godafoss), shown on Icelandic National TV (RUV) on 1 Jan 2010, the son of an US Army officer, who lost a wife and child on the ship, claims to have tracked down Fritz Hein's address in Bayern after the war with the intention of murdering him. He claims to have met his sister who informed him that Hein has been lost in the war.
The only living relative of Fritz Hein strongly objects to this story as she never lived in Bayern before 1952 and thus could not have met the officer and spoken to him. This account, hard to believe to begin with, thus has to be false.
Blair, C. (1998). Hitler’s U-boat War. The Hunted, 1942-1945.
Busch, R. and Röll, H-J. (1999). German U-boat commanders of World War II.
Busch, R. and Röll, H-J. (1997). Der U-Bootkrieg 1939-1945 (Band 2).
Eckhardt, H. (13 Jan 2011). Letter from Dr. Herta Eckhardt
Icelandic National Radio (1 Jan 2010). Árásin á Goðafoss. Reykjavík.
Niestlé, A. (1998). German U-boat losses during World War II.
Rohwer, J. (1998). Axis Submarine Successes of World War Two.
Patrol info for Fritz Hein
|1.||U-300||13 Jul 1944||Kiel||15 Jul 1944||Horten||3 days|
|2.||U-300||18 Jul 1944||Horten||17 Aug 1944||Trondheim||Patrol 1,||31 days|
|3.||U-300||4 Oct 1944||Trondheim||2 Dec 1944||Stavanger||Patrol 2,||60 days|
|4.||U-300||21 Jan 1945||Stavanger||22 Feb 1945||Sunk||Patrol 3,||33 days|
|3 patrols, 124 days at sea|
Ships hit by Fritz Hein
|Date||U-boat||Name of ship||Tons||Nat.||Convoy|
|10 Nov 1944||U-300||Shirvan||6,017||br||UR-142|
|10 Nov 1944||U-300||Godafoss||1,542||is||UR-142|
|17 Feb 1945||U-300||Michael J. Stone (d.)||7,176||am||UGS-72|
|17 Feb 1945||U-300||Regent Lion (t.)||9,551||br||UGS-72|
3 ships sunk (17,110 tons) and 1 ship damaged (7,176 tons).
About ranks and decorations
Ranks shown in italics are our database inserts based on the rank dates of his crew comrades. The officers of each crew would normally have progressed through the lower ranks at the same rate.