Hans-Wilhelm von Dresky
Kapitänleutnant (Crew 29)
10 ships sunk, total tonnage 19,261 GRT
1 ship a total loss, total tonnage 3,670 GRT
|Born||27 Jan 1908||Halle an der Saale|
|Died||12 Feb 1940||(32)||Firth of Clyde|
|U-4||30 Sep 1937||28 Oct 1938||No war patrols|
|U-33||29 Oct 1938||12 Feb 1940 (+)||3 patrols (78 days)|
Von Dresky left U-4 on 28 Oct 1938, and the following day took command of the larger type VIIA U-boat U-33. On his first two patrols he sank ten small ships (19,261 tons) and destroyed another of 3,670 tons.
For his third patrol he was sent to the Firth of Clyde lay eight TMC mines close to the British naval base there - a highly dangerous task. When he nosed his boat into the Firth she was detected by the British minesweeper HMS Gleaner, but von Dresky mistook her for a cruiser and thought she would pass him and head for open waters. He thus dived, and after Gleaner dropped six depth charges on the boat, surprising the Germans, and causing severe damage and several leaks, the boat bottomed at only 36m (119 ft). Over the next hour, two more batches of depth charges followed, which caused further damage. Von Dresky ordered the boat to surface and then scuttle, distributing the Enigma cipher machine wheels to three of his men to throw into the sea away from the boat.
The freezing cold water temperatures meant only 17 men survived the sinking, and 25 died from the shock of immersion and hypothermia, including Kptlt. von Dresky (Blair, 1996, Sebag-Montefiore, 2001). One of the survivors had failed to dispose of his cipher wheels, and they were discovered by the British. They played a crucial part in the British breaking of the German navy Enigma codes (Sebag-Montefiore, 2001).
Patrol info for Hans-Wilhelm von Dresky
|1.||U-33||19 Aug 1939||Wilhelmshaven||28 Sep 1939||Wilhelmshaven||Patrol 1,||41 days|
|2.||U-33||29 Oct 1939||Wilhelmshaven||26 Nov 1939||Wilhelmshaven||Patrol 2,||29 days|
|3.||U-33||5 Feb 1940||Wilhelmshaven||12 Feb 1940||Patrol 3,||8 days|
|3 patrols, 78 days at sea|
Ships hit by Hans-Wilhelm von Dresky
|Date||U-boat||Name of ship||Tons||Nat.||Convoy|
|7 Sep 1939||U-33||Olivegrove||4,060||br|
|16 Sep 1939||U-33||Arkleside||1,567||br|
|24 Sep 1939||U-33||Caldew||287||br|
|20 Nov 1939||U-33||Thomas Hankins||276||br|
|20 Nov 1939||U-33||Delphine||250||br|
|20 Nov 1939||U-33||Sea Sweeper||329||br|
|21 Nov 1939||U-33||Sulby||287||br|
|21 Nov 1939||U-33||William Humphries||276||br|
|23 Nov 1939||U-33||Borkum (t.)||3,670||dt|
|25 Dec 1939||U-33||Stanholme [Mine]||2,473||br|
|16 Jan 1940||U-33||Inverdargle [Mine]||9,456||br|
11 ships sunk (22,931 tons).
About ranks and decorations
Special thanks to Fernando Almeida for data on ranks and decorations.