Erich Dobberstein

Oberleutnant zur See (Crew 38)

No ships sunk or damaged.

Born  15 Dec 1919 Landsberg, Warthe
Died  22 Jun 1944(24)English Channel


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


1942 Iron Cross 2nd Class
15 Jun 1942 U-boat War Badge 1939
1943 Iron Cross 1st Class

U-boat Commands

U-988 15 Jul 1943 22 Jun 1944  (+)  1 patrol (32 days) 

Erich Dobberstein joined the Kriegsmarine in 1938. He finished his U-boat training in July 1941. He was sent to an U-boat familiarization (Baubelehrung) programme at Bremen where the type IXC U-155 was being built. On 23 Aug 1941 Kptlt. Adolf Cornelius Piening commissioned the boat and Dobberstein became its Second Watch Officer (2WO) (Busch & Röll, 1999).

Dobberstein sailed on the successful U-155 for 6 patrols, spending 313 days at sea (Busch & Röll, 1997). This gave him invaluable experience under one of the finest U-boat Commanders in the fleet, Piening. During these patrols they sank 25 ships (135,056 tons) and damaged another one (Rohwer, 1998).

In June 1943 Dobberstein left the U-155 and began his U-boat Commander training with the 24th (Training) Flotilla. He finished the courses and on 15 July 1943 he took command of his first U-boat, the type VIIC U-988 (Busch & Röll, 1999).

Accident in the Baltic

During training in the Baltic on 8 Sept 1943 Dobberstein's U-988 rammed its sister boat, the U-983 (Oblt. Hans Reimers) which sank with loss of 5 men, 38 survived including Commander Reimers (Niestlé, 1998). Dobberstein and his boat survived the incident.

On 22 May 1944 Dobberstein took his U-988 out from Marviken, Norway for its first patrol. He sailed around the British Isles and then into the English Channel.

His boat was however lost with all hands of 50 men on 22 June 1944 in the English Channel west of Guernsey by depth charges from the British frigates HMS Essington, HMS Duckworth, HMS Domett and HMS Cooke, and a Liberator aircraft (Sqdn 244/L). 50 dead (Niestlé, 1998).


Busch, R. and Röll, H-J. (1999). German U-boat commanders of World War II.
Busch, R. and Röll, H-J. (1997). Der U-Bootkrieg 1939-1945 (Band 2).
Niestlé, A. (1998). German U-boat losses during World War II.
Rohwer, J. (1998). Axis Submarine Successes of World War Two.

Patrol info for Erich Dobberstein

 U-boat Departure Arrival  
1. U-988 11 May 1944  Kiel  13 May 1944  Marviken   3 days
2. U-988 22 May 1944  Marviken  22 Jun 1944  Sunk  Patrol 1,32 days

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
(£ 38.25)

German U-boat Commanders of World War II

Busch, Rainer and Röll, Hans-Joachim

Listing of all U-boat commanders

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