Heinz Franke

Kapitänleutnant (Crew 36)

3 ships sunk, total tonnage 13,010 GRT
1 warship sunk, total tonnage 925 tons

Born  30 Nov 1915 Berlin-Steglitz
Died  5 Apr 2003(87)

Kapitänleutnant Heinz Franke


3 Apr 1936 Offiziersanwärter
10 Sep 1936 Seekadett
1 May 1937 Fähnrich zur See
1 Jul 1938 Oberfähnrich zur See
1 Oct 1938 Leutnant zur See
1 Oct 1940 Oberleutnant zur See
1 Apr 1943 Kapitänleutnant


23 Feb 1940 Iron Cross 2nd Class
21 Nov 1941 U-boat War Badge 1939
12 Dec 1941 Iron Cross 1st Class
30 Nov 1943 Knights Cross
24 Jan 1945 U-boat Front Clasp

U-boat Commands

U-148 16 Jan 1942 19 Oct 1942   No war patrols 
U-262 26 Oct 1942 25 Jan 1944   5 patrols (222 days) 
U-3509 15 Mar 1945 9 Apr 1945   No war patrols 
U-2502 12 Apr 1945 9 May 1945   No war patrols 

Kapitänleutnant Heinz Franke

Heinz Franke joined the Kriegsmarine in April 1936 and was a member of the so called Olympia-Crew. He served for more than two years on the battle cruiser Gneisenau and was on board during her two patrols in 1939 (Busch & Röll, 1999).

In October 1940 he transferred to the U-boat force and after the usual training he became first watch officer (IWO) on U-84. After three patrols he left the boat in December 1941 and took over the school boat U-148 which he commanded for 10 months in the Baltic Sea (Busch & Röll, 1999).

In October 1942 he became commander of the front boat U-262 and just one month later on his first patrol he sank the Norwegian corvette Montbretia (Rohwer, 1998). In May 1943 Franke was to pick up some captured U-boat men who planned to escape in the Gulf of St. Lorenz, but the breakout failed and he returned home without them.

Heinz Franke

In January 1944 Heinz Franke left U-262 and was attached to the BdU org staff. After serving in several other staff positions and in a midget U-boat unit, he took command of U-3509 in March 1945. When the U-boat was damaged on 4 April, 1945 he transferred to U-2502, which he commanded to the end of the war (Busch & Röll, 1999).

After the war he spent six months in captivity, then served in a minesweeper unit (Busch & Röll, 1999).

In 1957 he joined the Bundesmarine, where he worked in the Amt für Militärkunde (department for military subjects). He retired in March 1972 as Fregattenkapitän.

Heinz Franke passed away on 5 April, 2003 suffering from advanced Alzheimers disease.


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).
Rohwer, J. (1998). Axis Submarine Successes of World War Two.

Patrol info for Heinz Franke

 U-boat Departure Arrival  
1. U-262 5 Nov 1942  Narvik  9 Dec 1942  La Pallice  Patrol 1,35 days
2. U-262 16 Jan 1943  La Pallice  15 Feb 1943  La Pallice  Patrol 2,31 days
3. U-262 27 Mar 1943  La Pallice  25 May 1943  La Pallice  Patrol 3,60 days
4. U-262 24 Jul 1943  La Pallice  2 Sep 1943  La Pallice  Patrol 4,41 days
5. U-262 14 Oct 1943  La Pallice  7 Dec 1943  La Pallice  Patrol 5,55 days
5 patrols, 222 days at sea

Ships hit by Heinz Franke

Date U-boat Commander Name of ship Tons Nat. Convoy
18 Nov 1942U-262Heinz Franke HNoMS Montbretia (K 208)925nwONS-144
26 Nov 1942U-262Heinz Franke Ocean Crusader7,178brHX-216
6 Feb 1943U-262Heinz Franke Zagloba2,864poSC-118
31 Oct 1943U-262Heinz Franke Hallfried2,968nwSL-138

4 ships sunk (13,935 tons).

We have a picture of this vessel.

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.

Media links

U-Boat Attack Logs

Daniel Morgan and Bruce Taylor

German U-boat Commanders of World War II

Busch, Rainer and Röll, Hans-Joachim

Listing of all U-boat commanders