Special Sections

Glossary of Terms

AalNickname for torpedo (eel).
Agru-Front(Ausbildungsgruppe für Front-U-Boote). Active service training unit for U-boat crew
AKÄusserste Kraft (voraus).
Command for "full speed".
AlarmEmergency dive order on a U-boat.
AlberichRubber coating to protect U-boats from ASDIC. First used on U-67 in 1941.
Aphrodite(FuMT 30) Radar decoy device.
AsFamous U-boat commander (Ace).
Asto(Admiralstabsoffizier). Staff officer at BdU. From Nov 1941 to May 1945 the 1. Asto/BdU was Fregkpt. Hessler (former Com. U-107).
Athos(FuMB 35) An advanced radar detection device.
AtlantiksenderKM nickname for Deutsche Kurzwellensender Atlantik, a bogus Wehrmacht radio station targetted at U-boat crews and used by British Naval Intelligence to disseminate 'black' (active) propaganda from 1943.
AtoAtmosphärisch getriebener Torpedo (also A-Torpedo)
A compressed-air-driven torpedo.
AussteigenEvacuation of the U-boat in an emergency.
B-Dienst(Beobachtungsdienst). Radio transmission monitoring service.

A man-carrying autogyro kite used on Type IXD U-boats to increase visual range.

Bachstelze is the German name for a river bird, Motacilla alba alba, "White Wagtail" in English.

Bali ISchnorkel-mounted FuMB 29 radar detector antenna.
BaubelehrungU-boat construction familiarisation. The crew were posted to a new U-boat during construction for this purpose.
BdUBefehlshaber der Unterseeboote
Commander-in-Chief of U-boats, Karl Dönitz from 19 September, 1939.
Berlin(FuMO 84) An advanced radar detection device.
BetasomItalian submarine command based at Bordeaux.
BiberOne man midget submarine. (beaver).
BieneNickname for aircraft (bee).
Biskaya-Kreuz(FuMB 1) Nickname for the first radar detection device (Biscay Cross), see also Metox.
BlechkollerA form of nervous tension that could be caused by depth charge attacks which resulted in violence or hysteria. ("tin fright").
BoldAn Asdic/Sonar deception device consisting of a canister which produced a mass of bubbles of the same size as a U-boat. (from "kobold" a mythical troll that helps seamen),
Borkum(FuMB 10) A radar detection device. (East Frisian island).
Gross register ton (also as GRT).
BugraumCompartment in the bows of the U-boat used for ratings accommodation (Bow room).
BundesmarineThe German Navy from 1848 - 1852 and again after 1956.
Cypern(FuMB 9) A radar detection device. See also "Wanze" W-ANZ G 2 (Cyprus).
DelphinMidget submarine (dolphin)
Dreisternemeldung(Verlustmeldung) Casualty report.
DruckkörperPressure hull.
E-MixerNickname for electrical engineering rating.
EinbaumNickname for the type II U-boat.(dugout canoe)
Eisernes KreuzIron Cross.
ElektrobootType XXI and XXIII U-boat.
EnigmaThe Wehrmacht cipher machine.
Recognition signal given by flags, signal lamp or signal pistol (the latter was usual for U-boats).
EtmalThe distance a U-boat travelled in 24 hours (from noon to noon).
EtoElektrischer Torpedo
Electrically propelled torpedo.
FächerThe simultaneous launch of two or more torpedoes. (Fan shot)
Fähnrich z. SeeOfficer Cadet
FalkeAcoustic homing torpedo T 4. (Falcon).
FangschußFinal torpedo which sinks the vessel. ("final shot" coup de grâce).
FATFlächenabsuchender Torpedo
A torpedo that was capable of running in pre-programmed patterns and loops.
FdUFührer der Unterseeboote
Commander of U-boats.
FegerNickname for destroyer. (sweeper).
FeindfahrtActive service patrol. (enemy patrol)
Flak(From FLieger-Abwehr-Kanone) Anti-Aircraft gun, anti-aircraft fire.
Fliebo(From Fliegerbombe) Aircraft bomb.
Fliege(FuMB 24) A radar detector. (fly).
FrontbootU-boat which had finished all training courses and was part of an active service flotilla.
Radio message.
Radar detection.
Radar. (RadioDetection).
FunkerRadio operator.
FunkraumRadio room.
FunkspruchRadio message.
G 7aGeradlaufapparat 7 (meters length) a (atmosphärisch)
A compressed air propelled torpedo.
G 7eGeradlaufapparat 7(meters length) e (elektrisch)
Electrically propelled torpedo.
GeheimSecret (used for documents etc).
GeKDos(Geheime Kommandosache) Top Secret.
Geleitzug(also Geleit) Convoy.
Hydrophone underwater sound detector.
Goldbutt(also Goldfisch) Codename for the torpedo G 5ut. Intended for the Walther U-boats.
GoliathCodename for the Kriegsmarine long wave radio station at Kalbe near Magdeburg. Used by BdU to maintain contact with long range U-boats. (17 pylons between 170 and 200m high). This station's signals could be received at a depth of 25m (82ft)
Hagenuk(FuMB 9) A radar dedector (see also Wanze) (Acronym for Hanseatic apparatus company Neufeldt and Kuhnke
Halsschmerzen"Knights Cross fever". (sore or "itching" throat).
HartmutCodename for German U-boat operations during the invasion of Norway.
HechtMidget submarine (pike).
HeizerStoker (engine room rating).
Hohentwiel(FuMo 61 and 65). A radar device.
HorchraumSound detection room.
I WOErster Wachoffizier
First Watch Officer.
II LIZweiter Ingenieur
Second Engineering Officer.
II WOZweiter Wachoffizier
Second Watch Officer.
III WODritter Wach-Offizier
Third Watch Officer (as a rule the "Obersteuermann").
Kaiserliche MarineThe German Navy between 1871 - 1919.
Kaleu(also Kaleun or Kaleunt). Abbreviation for "Kapitänleutnant"
(also Kaleun or Kaleunt).
Kaptlt.Kapitänleutnant (also Kl, KL, Kptlt.)
Lieutenant Commander.
KimmThe visual horizon.
KlappbuchseNickname for signal lamp (Aldis), also "Varta-Lampe".
KolcherNickname for small ship.
KolibriThe U-boat crews favourite cologne.
Kommandanten-schiesslehrgangU-boat commanding officer course, equivalent to RN "Perisher" (Periscope School) or USN PCO (Prospective Commanding Officers) Course.
KommissbrotHard black Kriegsmarine issue bread.
KonfirmantNickname for prospective U-boat commander on instructional patrol. (confirmand).
KoralleThe Codename for Admiral Doenitz HQ located near Berlin December 1943 - August 1945.
Commander (also KK).
KriegsmarineThe German Navy between 1935 - 1945.
Kriegstagebuch(KTB) Log Book (War diary).
Log Book. (war diary).
KurzsignalA very short radio signal.
LILeitender Ingenieur
Chief Engineering Officer.
Ltnt. z. S.Leutnant zur See
Lieutenant (also L, Ltn. or Lt.).
LuftwaffeGerman Air Force 1935 - 1945.
LUTLagenunabhängiger Torpedo
A torpedo that could be preset to steer itself on a particular bearing.
Mücke(FuMB 25) A radar detector. (Gnat)
MülltonnenNickname for (depth charges) often used by seamen. (garbage cans).
MündungsklappenTorpedo tube bow caps.
MaatPetty officer.
MahallaNickname for convoys.
MalingsU-boat conning tower emblems. (pictures, as in cartoons or "funny pictures"
MarderOne man midget submarine based on torpedo (see Midget U-boats).
MetoxA radar detection device (FuMB 1). (French manufacturer).
MilchkuhA nickname for the type XIV supply U-boat. (milch cow).
MineA mine.
MixerNickname for the torpedo-mechanics.
German naval radio intelligence service.
MonsunbooteU-boats that operated in the Far East and the Indian Ocean.
Naxos(FuMB 28). An advanced radar detection device.
NegerOne man semi-submersible craft based on a torpedo. (See Midget U-boats).
NibelungAn advanced sonar device on Type XXI U-boats (also called S-Anlage).
ObdMOberbefehlshaber der Marine
Commander-in-Chief of the Navy.
Oblt. z. S.Oberleutnant zur See
Lieutenant (also OL, Oblnt. z. S.).
OKMOberkommando der Marine
Naval High Command, equivalent of British Admiralty.
OKWOberkommando der Wehrmacht
High Command of the Armed Forces.
PapenbergDepth meter for fine trimming, named after its inventor (a WWI U-boat engineer).
PastoriusCodename for an espionage mission in which U-202 and U-548 put ashore eight agents on the US east coast in June 1942.
PaukenschlagOperation Drumbeat against allied shipping in US and Caribbean waters during the first half of 1942.
PeterCodename for a mine-laying operation by U-589 in the Arctic Sea in August 1942.
PillenwerferEjector system for launching Bold anti-sonar device. (pill thrower).
ReichsmarineThe German Navy between 1919 - 1935.
RitterkreuzKnight's Cross (of the Iron Cross).
Rohr(also Torpedorohr) Torpedo tube.
RosengartenNickname for the Allied minefield west of Norway between Iceland and Scotland. (The suggestion being that it's prickly to get through, and the roses can bloom (explode) at any time).
Samos(FuMB 4). An early radar detection device. (Greek island)
Schlüssel MGerman Navy cypher code.
SchleichfahrtSilent running.
SchlicktownNickname for Wilhelmshaven. (sludge town).
SeehundMidget submarine with two-man crew.
SeekuhNickname for large Type IX U-boats (Sea Cow).
SeerohrPeriscope. (sea pipe)
Seetakt(FuMO 29). An early radar device.
German Supreme Naval Command.
Soldatensender CalaisBritish radio station used for passive (accurate news) propaganda targetted at the U-boat force.
SonderführerSpecial officer. Specialists or technical experts given officer status without officer training. Lothar-Günther Buchheim, author of "Das Boot", was made a Sonderführer-Leutnant as a war correspondent.
SpargelNickname for the periscope (asparagus).
SpiegeleiNickname for the Deutsches Kreuz in Gold (fried egg).
T 5Codename for the acoustic torpedo (homing weapon).
TauchretterEscape apparatus (life jacket with respirator), equivalent of British DESA or US Momsen Lung.
TauchtanksU-boat saddle tanks, used when submerging.
Torpedo proving section.
Tunis(FuMB 26). An advanced radar detection device. (North African city)
Experimental torpedo section
U-Boot PäckchenNickname for two-piece leather work clothing .
U-Boot-FrontspangeU-boat decoration awarded from 1944.
U-BootkriegsabzeichenU-boat decoration usually awarded after two patrols.
UAU-boat built for Turkey between 1938-1939 as Batiray, but taken into German service as UA 21 Sept, 1939.
Section responsible for training U-boat crew.
Unit which took over and commissioned newly constructed U-boats from the shipyards.
UBThe former British submarine HMS Seal. Commissioned into the Kriegsmarine as UB.
UCFormer Norwegian submarines.
UDFormer Dutch submarines.
UFFormer French submarines.
UITFormer Italian submarines.
German submarine chasers, often converted trawlers.
U-boats training division.
Device for communicating with U-boats or surface vessels while submerged.(underwater telephone).
U-boat target optic (aiming binoculars).
ValentinU-boat bunker near Bremen, Germany.
Administrative officer.
VorhalterechnerElectro-mechanical deflection calculator; generated attack coordinates for the torpedoes.
WabosAbbreviation of Wasserbomben (depth charges).
Wanze(FuMB 9 - more correctly W-Anz [Wellenanzeiger] A radar detection device. (bedbug).
WerftgrandiNickname for shipyard-workers.
WintergartenNickname for U-boat's anti-aircraft platform. See U-boat Flak.
ZaunkönigNickname for acoustic torpedo T 5. (Wren).
ZentraleU-boat control room.

180 entries located


Commander nicknames

Special thanks to Bob Connolly for language editing and additions.