Korvettenkapitän (Crew 35)
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 aboard accommodation ship Daressalem)|
|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 accommodation ship Daressalem
On 13 Jan 1945 a fire broke out on the accommodation ship Daressalem 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).
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
|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 1942||U-565||Wilhelm Franken||Kirkland||1,361||br||TA-36|
|18 Dec 1942||U-565||Wilhelm Franken||HMS Partridge (G 30)||1,540||br|
|24 Feb 1943||U-565||Wilhelm Franken||Nathanael Greene (d.)||7,176||am||MKS-8|
|27 Feb 1943||U-565||Wilhelm Franken||Seminole (d.)||10,389||br||TE-16|
|20 Apr 1943||U-565||Wilhelm Franken||Michigan||5,594||am||UGS-7|
|20 Apr 1943||U-565||Wilhelm Franken||Sidi-Bel-Abbès||4,392||fr||UGS-7|
4 ships sunk (12,887 tons) and 2 ships damaged (17,565 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.