Kapitänleutnant (Crew 34)
2 ships sunk, total tonnage 21,999 GRT
1 ship damaged, total tonnage 8,773 GRT
|Born||14 Jul 1909||Küllstadt/Thür (Küllstedt)|
|Died||19 May 1945||(35)||Charlestown (Charles Street Prison), USA|
|U-511||8 Dec 1941||17 Dec 1942||2 patrols (112 days)|
|U-873||1 Mar 1944||16 May 1945||1 patrol (48 days)|
Friedrich Steinhoff was a merchant navy officer before joining the Kriegsmarine in 1934 (Rust, 2009). After serving on minesweepers, he transferred to the U-boat force in March 1941. With his first command, U-511, he undertook submerged rocket trials (his brother was a researcher at Peenemünde). After a year's duty on the staff of the 7th Flotilla, he commissioned U-873 in March 1944.
During her first patrol the war ended, and Steinhoff surrendered his boat and her crew on 16 May 1945 near Portsmouth, USA. Steinhoff and his men were taken, not to POW camp, but to Charles Street Jail, a Boston city jail where they were locked up with common criminals while awaiting disposition to a POW camp. There are many accounts of mistreatment of the U-boat men while they were held there.
After suffering harsh interrogation, Friedrich Steinhoff committed suicide on the morning of 19 May 1945, opening his arteries using broken glass from his sunglasses. U-873's doctor, Dr. Karl Steinke, attempted to give first aid, but was too late. Documents concerning the surrender of U-873 and the interrogation of her crew can be found at uboatarchive.net.
Busch, R. and Röll, H-J. (1999). German U-boat commanders of World War II.
Niestlé, A. (1998). German U-boat losses during World War II.
Rust, E. (2009) E-mail correspondence. Author of Naval Officers under Hitler.
Patrol info for Friedrich Steinhoff
|1.||U-511||16 Jul 1942||Kiel||29 Sep 1942||Lorient||Patrol 1,||76 days|
|2.||U-511||24 Oct 1942||Lorient||28 Nov 1942||Lorient||Patrol 2,||36 days|
|3.||U-873||17 Feb 1945||Kiel||22 Feb 1945||Horten||6 days|
|4.||U-873||21 Mar 1945||Horten||22 Mar 1945||Kristiansand||2 days|
|5.||U-873||30 Mar 1945||Kristiansand||16 May 1945||Portsmouth, USA||Patrol 3,||48 days|
|3 patrols, 160 days at sea|
Ships hit by Friedrich Steinhoff
|Date||U-boat||Name of ship||Tons||Nat.||Convoy|
|27 Aug 1942||U-511||Esso Aruba (d.)||8,773||am||TAW-15|
|27 Aug 1942||U-511||Rotterdam||8,968||nl||TAW-15|
|27 Aug 1942||U-511||San Fabian||13,031||br||TAW-15|
2 ships sunk (21,999 tons) and 1 ship damaged (8,773 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.