Hans-Joachim Brans

Kapitänleutnant (Crew 35)

No ships sunk or damaged.

Born  21 Aug 1915 Heidelberg
Died  17 Mar 1944(28)Cape Verde Islands


5 Apr 1935 Offiziersanwärter
25 Sep 1935 Seekadett
1 Apr 1936 Fähnrich zur See
1 Jan 1938 Oberfähnrich zur See
1 Apr 1938 Leutnant zur See
1 Oct 1939 Oberleutnant zur See
1 Nov 1942 Kapitänleutnant


1940 Iron Cross 2nd Class
1940 Iron Cross 1st Class
1941 Luftwaffe Combat clasp in Gold
1941 Ehrenpokal für besondere Leistung im Luftkrieg
9 Jan 1944 U-boat War Badge 1939

U-boat Commands

U-801 24 Mar 1943 17 Mar 1944  (+)  2 patrols (78 days) 

Hans-Joachim Brans entered the newly-created Kriegsmarine on April 5 1935 and became a member of Crew 35. After initial training at Stralsund on the Baltic and at the Naval tactics and torpedo school at Flensburg-Mürwik he served on the 1st world war battleship Schlesien off Spain and Portugal and the pocket battleship Deutschland, again in Spain.

Additional training as a naval pilot followed. During 1939, as a naval 1st Lieutenant (Oberleutnant) he became an observer pilot attached to 1/506 Küstenaufklärungsstaffel, the North Sea coastal unit, based on the island of Norderney and later operating from Amsterdam. In 1940-1941 he was involved in air operations (Luftmineneinsatz) against the Netherlands, Belgium and France, as well as bomber attacks against Great Britain, a total of 95 missions. He was awarded the Luftwaffe Combat Clasp in Gold (Goldene Frontflugspange) and the Luftwaffe Honour Goblet (Flieger-Ehrenpokal).

In spring 1942, at his own request, he was transferred back to the Kriegsmarine and received submarine training at Gotenhafen (now Gdynia, Poland). Brans was promoted to Kapitänleutnant on 1 Nov 1942 and his first posting was as Watch Officer on U-84 under the command of KL Horst Uphoff (also of Crew 35) with the 1st Flotilla, stationed at Brest, France.

From January to the end of February 1943 he was Watch Officer on U-169, then assigned to the 27th (Training) Flotilla at Gotenhafen while undergoing tactical training. After U-boat familiarization (Baubelehrung) in Bremen, he commissioned the type IXC/40 U-801 on 24 March 1943, assigned to the 4th (Training) Flotilla at Stettin and transferred to the 2nd Flotilla stationed at Lorient, France in November 1943.

On 17 March 1944 Brans died with nine of his crew when U-801 was sunk. The day before, the boat had been attacked by American Avenger aircraft while on the surface, and was left with a major oil leak. On March 17 the boat was sunk in further attacks by Avengers from the escort carrier USS Block Island and gunfire from USS Corry in the vicinity of the Cape Verde Islands in mid Atlantic. 47 men survived to spend the duration of the war in US POW camps, being returned to Germany a couple of years later.

Patrol info for Hans-Joachim Brans

 U-boat Departure Arrival  
1. U-801 6 Nov 1943  Kiel  9 Nov 1943  Bergen   4 days
2. U-801 13 Nov 1943  Bergen  8 Jan 1944  Lorient  Patrol 1,57 days
3. U-801 26 Feb 1944  Lorient  17 Mar 1944  Sunk  Patrol 2,21 days
2 patrols, 78 days at sea

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

German U-boat Commanders of World War II

Busch, Rainer and Röll, Hans-Joachim

Listing of all U-boat commanders

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