Friedrich-Wilhelm Wissmann

Kapitänleutnant (Crew 35)

8 ships sunk, total tonnage 52,346 GRT
2 ships damaged, total tonnage 15,440 GRT

Born  16 Dec 1915 Kiel
Died  9 Sep 1963(47)

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


U-boat Commands

U-18 1 Jun 1942 18 Aug 1942   No war patrols 
U-518 19 Aug 1942 13 Jan 1944   4 patrols (304 days) 

Friedrich-Wilhelm Wissmann joined the Kriegsmarine in 1935. After training he served with several minesweeping flotillas from August 1938 to April 1941. In April he began his U-boat training, completing his courses in Sept 1941.

An officer on the U-109
In Sept 1941 Wissmann was assigned as IWO (First Watch Officer) on the type IX boat U-109 (Kptlt. Heinrich Bleichrodt) stationed at Lorient, France. He served on the boat until Februrary 1942 and went on 2 patrols with the boat. The first patrol was an uneventful 45-day patrol. Wissmann's second patrol with the boat began on Dec 27, 1941 and in late Jan, early Feb 1942 the boat sank 4 ships for over 27.000 tons before returning to Lorient on Feb 23.

U-boat commander training and his first command
Wissmann left the U-109 and took his commander courses between March – May 1942. He then took command of the small school boat U-18 on 1 June, 1942 commanding it until 18 August when Wissmann was sent to the U-518.

Wissmann relieved Hans-Günther Brachmann on the new type IXC boat U-518 on 19 August 1942. He was very successful with his boat, sinking 8 ships and damaging 2 more on 4 patrols (300 days).

On his first patrol he was sent on a special mission, landing an agent in North America. He left Kiel, Germany on 26 Sept 1942 and reached North America at the end of October. On 2 Nov he entered Conception Bay and sank 2 vessels (Rose Castle and P.L.M. 27). On 9 Nov he successfully landed the agent at Baie des Chaleurs (e. Chaleur Bay) in Canada. Wissmann then headed for open waters and 12 days later hit convoy ON-145, sinking 1 ship and damaging 2 more. On 23 Nov he sank his last ship on that patrol before heading to France, reaching base on 15 Dec, completing a very successful mission.

The landing of the agent (red) and ships hit on Wissmann's first patrol.

While outbound on his third patrol on June 27 1943 the boat was attacked by a British Sunderland aircraft and the boat was damaged badly enough to aborts its 3 day patrol and return to base few days later but not before being attacked again on the 30th by another Sunderland.

He re-sailed after repairs six weeks later on August 18 although that 106 day patrol was without success for the boat. During 1943 he spent 223 days at sea on 3 patrols and managed to bring the boat safely back to base, during that year over 240 U-boats were lost to enemy action.

After leaving the boat he served as training officer with the 2nd Flotilla, 10th Flotilla and 26th (Training) Flotillas from Jan 1944 until the end of the war in May 1945.

Blair, Clay (1998). Hitler's U-boat War, vol II.
Busch, R. & Röll, H. (1999). German U-boat Commanders of World War II.
Busch, R. & Röll, H. (1997). Der U-Bootkrieg 1939-1945. (Band 2). databases

Patrol info for Friedrich-Wilhelm Wissmann

 U-boat Departure Arrival  
1. U-518 26 Sep 1942  Kiel  15 Dec 1942  Lorient  Patrol 1,81 days
2. U-518 11 Jan 1943  Lorient  27 Apr 1943  Lorient  Patrol 2,107 days
3. U-518 24 Jun 1943  Lorient  3 Jul 1943  Bordeaux  Patrol 3,10 days
4. U-518 18 Aug 1943  Bordeaux  1 Dec 1943  Lorient  Patrol 4,106 days
4 patrols, 304 days at sea

Ships hit by Friedrich-Wilhelm Wissmann

Date U-boat Name of ship Tons Nat. Convoy
2 Nov 1942U-518 Rose Castle7,803ca
2 Nov 1942U-518 P.L.M. 275,633br
21 Nov 1942U-518 British Promise (d.)8,443brON-145
21 Nov 1942U-518 British Renown (d.)6,997brON-145
21 Nov 1942U-518 Empire Sailor6,140brON-145
23 Nov 1942U-518 Caddo10,172am
18 Feb 1943U-518 Brasiloide6,075bz
1 Mar 1943U-518 Fitz-John Porter7,176amBT-6
20 Mar 1943U-518 Mariso7,659nl
25 Mar 1943U-518 Industria1,688sw

8 ships sunk (52,346 tons) and 2 ships damaged (15,440 tons).

We have a picture of this vessel.
(d.) means the ship was damaged.

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.

Men who sank over 50,000 tons

Media links

German U-boat Commanders of World War II

Busch, Rainer and Röll, Hans-Joachim

The Enemy On Our Doorstep

Neary, Steve

Listing of all U-boat commanders

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