Wilhelm Franken

Korvettenkapitän (Crew 35)


Successes
3 ships sunk, total tonnage 11,347 GRT
1 warship sunk, total tonnage 1,540 tons
2 ships damaged, total tonnage 17,565 GRT

Born  11 Sep 1914 Schildesche, Bielefeld
Died  13 Jan 1945(30)Kiel (fire on barracks ship Daressalam)


Kptlt. Wilhelm Franken

Ranks

5 Apr 1935 Offiziersanwärter
1 Jul 1936 Fähnrich zur See
1 Jan 1938 Oberfähnrich zur See
1 Apr 1938 Leutnant zur See
1 Oct 1939 Oberleutnant zur See
1 Apr 1942 Kapitänleutnant
1 Jan 1945 Korvettenkapitän

Decorations

14 Apr 1940 Iron Cross 2nd Class
15 Oct 1941 U-boat War Badge 1939
28 Jan 1942 Iron Cross 1st Class
30 Apr 1943 Knights Cross

U-boat Commands

U-boatFromTo
U-565 17 Mar 1942 7 Oct 1943   11 patrols (274 days) 

Wilhelm Franken began his naval career in April 1935. After the outbreak of war he served as a gunnery officer in the Danube flotilla and then for a year on the battleship Scharnhorst. In October 1940 he transferred to the U-boat force (Busch & Röll, 1999). Following Baubelehrung (U-boat construction familiarization) of U-331 he served as her IWO (1st Watch Officer) under Kptlt. Tiesenhausen for three patrols, on the last participating in the sinking of the British battleship HMS Barham on 25 Nov 1941 (Rohwer, 1998).

He left the boat in January 1942 and after a Kommandantenschüler (Commander-in-training) course at 24. U-Flotille in Memel, in March took over command of the Type VIIC U-565. On his sixth patrol, operating in the Mediterranean, he sank the British destroyer HMS Partridge (1,540 tons) on 18 Dec 1942 (Rohwer, 1998).

Kptlt. Wilhelm Franken left the boat in October 1943 to become a staff officer at BdU org (U-boat Command) under Admiral Friedeburg.

Fire aboard the barracks ship Daressalam
On 13 Jan. 1945 a fire broke out on the naval Wohnschiffes (accommodation ship) Daressalam in Kiel harbour. Three U-boat commanders died In the fire: Oblt. Georg von Bitter and the Knights Cross winners KrvKpt. Wilhelm Franken and Kptlt. Siegfried Lüdden (Busch & Röll, 1999).

Sources

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 Wilhelm Franken


 U-boat Departure Arrival  
1. U-565 11 Apr 1942  La Spezia  30 Apr 1942  Salamis  Patrol 1,20 days
2. U-565 7 May 1942  Salamis  10 Jun 1942  La Spezia  Patrol 2,35 days
3. U-565 9 Jul 1942  La Spezia  4 Aug 1942  Salamis  Patrol 3,27 days
4. U-565 16 Aug 1942  Salamis  25 Aug 1942  La Spezia  Patrol 4,10 days
5. U-565 31 Aug 1942  La Spezia  4 Sep 1942  La Spezia  Patrol 5,5 days
6. U-565 25 Oct 1942  La Spezia  13 Nov 1942  La Spezia  Patrol 6,20 days
7. U-565 23 Nov 1942  La Spezia  1 Jan 1943  La Spezia  Patrol 7,40 days
8. U-565 14 Feb 1943  La Spezia  5 Mar 1943  La Spezia  Patrol 8,20 days
9. U-565 8 Apr 1943  La Spezia  12 May 1943  La Spezia  Patrol 9,35 days
10. U-565 17 Jun 1943  La Spezia  23 Jul 1943  Toulon  Patrol 10,37 days
11. U-565 7 Sep 1943  Toulon  1 Oct 1943  Toulon  Patrol 11,25 days
11 patrols, 274 days at sea

Ships hit by Wilhelm Franken

Date U-boat Commander Name of ship Tons Nat. Convoy
23 Apr 1942U-565Wilhelm Franken Kirkland1,361brTA-36
18 Dec 1942U-565Wilhelm Franken HMS Partridge (G 30)1,540br
 
24 Feb 1943U-565Wilhelm Franken Nathanael Greene (d.)7,176amMKS-8
27 Feb 1943U-565Wilhelm Franken Seminole (d.)10,389brTE-16
20 Apr 1943U-565Wilhelm Franken Michigan5,594amUGS-7
20 Apr 1943U-565Wilhelm Franken Sidi-Bel-Abbès4,392frUGS-7
 30,452

4 ships sunk (12,887 tons) and 2 ships damaged (17,565 tons).

Legend
We have a picture of this vessel.
(d.) means the ship was damaged.


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