Otto Westphalen

Oberleutnant zur See (Crew 38)


Successes
2 ships sunk, total tonnage 14,386 GRT
1 warship sunk, total tonnage 1,350 tons
1 ship damaged, total tonnage 8,129 GRT
1 ship a total loss, total tonnage 7,200 GRT
1 warship a total loss, total tonnage 1,350 tons

Born  12 Mar 1920 Hamburg
Died  9 Jan 2008(87)Hamburg


Otto Westphalen

Ranks

1 Oct 1938Offiziersanwärter
1 Jul 1939Seekadett
1 Dec 1939Fähnrich zur See
1 Aug 1940Oberfähnrich zur See
1 Apr 1941Leutnant zur See
1 Apr 1943Oberleutnant zur See

Decorations

8 Oct 1941U-boat War Badge 1939
3 Apr 1944Iron Cross 1st Class
18 Feb 1945German Cross in Gold
23 Mar 1945Knights Cross

U-boat Commands

U-boatFromTo
U-121 16 May 1942 8 Feb 1943   No war patrols 
U-968 18 Mar 1943 9 May 1945   7 patrols (129 days) 

Otto Westphalen began his naval career in October 1938. A year later he took part in the Poland campaign on the school ship Schlesien. Later he served six months on the torpedo boat Kondor before joining the U-boat force in October 1940.

In 1941 he made four patrols as watch officer on U-566, two in the Arctic Ocean and two in the North Atlantic - the last one to Canadian Waters during Jan - March 1942. In May 1942 he took command of the school boat U-121.

In March 1943 he commissioned the Type VIIC U-boat U-968, which was then detached to the 13th (Arctic Ocean) flotilla, where Westphalen became one of the most successful commanders.

He sank two British warships: the sloops HMS Lark and Lapwing. He surrendered in May 1945 in Narvik.

The Oscar Kusch case
During Jan 1944 Otto Westphalen served on the military court, along with fellow officer Wolfgang Dittmers, in the case against the Commander of U-154, Oscar-Heinz Kusch accused of defeatism and other politically motivated charges by his 1WO, Dr. Ulrich Abel. The prosecutor asked for 10 years but the court sentenced him to death. After the war Dittmers and Westphalen tried to defend their actions by stating that Kusch's political views had somehow made his U-boat less effective to the war effort - a faulty view at best. Kusch's fellow officers did nothing to save his life (neither did Dönitz who probably could have stopped the whole thing). Kusch was executed by a firing squad in Kiel on 12 May 1944 (Rust, 2001).

Sources

Busch, R & Röll, H-J. (1998). German U-boat commanders of World War II.

Rust, E. (2001). The Case of Oskar Kusch and the Limits of U-boat Camaraderie in World War II: Reflections on a German Tragedy

Patrol info for Otto Westphalen


 U-boat Departure Arrival  
1. U-968 7 Mar 1944  Kiel  2 Apr 1944  Narvik  Patrol 1,27 days
2. U-968 4 Apr 1944  Narvik  6 Apr 1944  Trondheim   3 days
3. U-968 11 Jul 1944  Trondheim  14 Jul 1944  Narvik   4 days
4. U-968 17 Jul 1944  Narvik  21 Jul 1944  Bogenbucht   5 days
5. U-968 20 Aug 1944  Bogenbucht  22 Aug 1944  Hammerfest   3 days
6. U-968 29 Aug 1944  Hammerfest  10 Sep 1944  Bogenbucht  Patrol 2,13 days
7. U-968 24 Sep 1944  Bogenbucht  3 Oct 1944  Narvik  Patrol 3,10 days
8. U-968 14 Oct 1944  Narvik  11 Nov 1944  Ramsund  Patrol 4,29 days
9. U-968 13 Nov 1944  Ramsund  16 Nov 1944  Rörvik   4 days
10. U-968 23 Jan 1945  Rörvik  25 Jan 1945  Narvik   3 days
11. U-968 1 Feb 1945  Narvik  1 Feb 1945  Harstad   1 days
12. U-968 7 Feb 1945  Harstad  20 Feb 1945  Kilbotn  Patrol 5,14 days
13. U-968 12 Mar 1945  Kilbotn  30 Mar 1945  Kilbotn  Patrol 6,19 days
14. U-968 21 Apr 1945  Kilbotn  6 May 1945  Harstad  Patrol 7,16 days
15. U-968 7 May 1945  Harstad  7 May 1945  Skjomenfjord  Patrol 7,1 days
16. U-968 15 May 1945  Skjomenfjord  19 May 1945  Loch Eriboll, UK   5 days
7 patrols, 129 days at sea

Ships hit by Otto Westphalen

Date U-boat Commander Name of ship Tons Nat. Convoy
14 Feb 1945U-968Otto Westphalen Norfjell (d.)8,129nwBK-3
14 Feb 1945U-968Otto Westphalen Horace Gray (t.)7,200amBK-3
17 Feb 1945U-968Otto Westphalen HMS Lark (U 11) (t.)1,350brRA-64
17 Feb 1945U-968Otto Westphalen Thomas Scott7,176amRA-64
20 Mar 1945U-968Otto Westphalen Thomas Donaldson7,210amJW-65
20 Mar 1945U-968Otto Westphalen HMS Lapwing (U 62)1,350brJW-65
 32,415

5 ships sunk (24,286 tons) and 1 ship damaged (8,129 tons).

Legend
We have a picture of this vessel.
(d.) means the ship was damaged.
(t.) means the ship was a total loss (included in ships & tonnage lost).


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


Aces of the Reich

Williamson, Gordon

Listing of all U-boat commanders