Alexander Gelhaar

Kapitänleutnant (Crew 27)

2 ships sunk, total tonnage 19,313 GRT

Born  24 Nov 1908 Frankfurt
Died  14 Oct 1939(30)North Atlantic


11 Oct 1927 Seekadett
1 Apr 1929 Fähnrich zur See
1 Oct 1931 Leutnant zur See
1 Jul 1933 Oberleutnant zur See
1 Oct 1936 Kapitänleutnant


U-boat Commands

U-1 1 Oct 1936 2 Feb 1938   No war patrols 
U-45 25 Jun 1938 14 Oct 1939  (+)  2 patrols (34 days) 

Alexander Gelhaar joined the Reichsmarine in 1927. He was one of the select few who received a very thorough pre-war U-boat training. He studied U-boat theories and methods from Sept 1935 to Sept 1936 (Busch & Röll, 1999).

Gelhaar commanded the small "duck" school boat U-1 from 1 Oct 1936 to 2 Feb 1938. He then wen through several staff positions until he began his U-boat familiarization (Baubelehrung) in preparation for his next command. On 25 June 1938 he commissioned the brand new type VIIC boat U-45 at Kiel (Busch & Röll, 1999).

When the war seemed imminent Gelhaar was ordered to take his boat out from Kiel on 19 Aug 1939, two weeks prior to the actual outbreak of war. He patrolled around the British Isles and returned on 15 Sept 1939 (Busch & Röll, 1997).

U-45 was lost with all hands of 38 men when it was sunk on 14 Oct 1939 south-west of Ireland, in position 50.58N, 12.57W, by depth charges from the British destroyers HMS Inglefield, HMS Ivanhoe and HMS Intrepid (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.

Patrol info for Alexander Gelhaar

 U-boat Departure Arrival  
1. U-45 19 Aug 1939  Kiel  15 Sep 1939  Kiel  Patrol 1,28 days
2. U-45 9 Oct 1939  Kiel  14 Oct 1939  Sunk  Patrol 2,6 days
2 patrols, 34 days at sea

Ships hit by Alexander Gelhaar

Date U-boat Name of ship Tons Nat. Convoy
14 Oct 1939U-45 Lochavon9,205brKJF-3
14 Oct 1939U-45 Bretagne10,108frKJF-3

2 ships sunk (19,313 tons).

We have a picture of this vessel.

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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