Hans-Joachim Rahmlow

Kapitänleutnant (Crew 28)

No ships sunk or damaged.

Born  18 Oct 1909 Striegau, Silesia
Died  13 Jun 1967(57)

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1 Jun 1937 Kapitänleutnant


U-boat Commands

U-58 25 Nov 1940 6 Apr 1941   No war patrols 
U-570 15 May 1941 27 Aug 1941   1 patrol (7 days, * did not finish patrol) 

Hans-Joachim Rahmlow joined the Reichsmarine in 1928. After commanding coastal artillery batteries in the North Sea from the beginning of the war, he commissioned U-570 in May 1941 following six months training on the school boat U-58.

His lack of seatime in general, and in U-boats in particular, before being given the responsibility of commanding a boat on active service may have played a part in the disastrous events that followed. Seven days into U-570's first patrol, U-boat Command received a desperate message from Kptlt. Rahmlow in the Atlantic south of Iceland:

"Am not able to dive, and am being attacked by aircraft".

The boat had been depth charged by an RAF Hudson as she surfaced, and subsequently surrendered to the aircraft. Then, instead of being scuttled when the first ship called to the scene arrived (which would have retrieved the crew from the water), U-570 was boarded and captured.

The boat's Enigma machine and codebooks were jettisoned, but an officer from HMS Burwell retrieved documents with plain language and enciphered messages which helped the British to read Enigma messages. U-570 was towed to Iceland and put into service as HMS Graph.

After the crew were interned Rahmlow and his first officer were found guilty of cowardice by a POW Council of Honour which included Otto Kretschmer. The I WO, Bernhardt Berndt, escaped from the camp with the intention of redeeming himself by sabotaging his former boat, but he was shot by the Home Guard. Dönitz noted in his War Diary that since Rahmlow was incapacitated by gas (produced by damaged batteries) "the decision to surrender was taken by the 1st Watch Officer...Berndt."

Patrol info for Hans-Joachim Rahmlow

 U-boat Departure Arrival  
1. U-570 23 Aug 1941  Trondheim  29 Aug 1941    Patrol 1,7 days

Ships hit by Hans-Joachim Rahmlow

No entries found.

Media links

German U-boat Commanders of World War II

Busch, Rainer and Röll, Hans-Joachim

Listing of all U-boat commanders