Korvettenkapitän (Crew 34)
7 ships sunk, total tonnage 38,374 GRT
2 ships damaged, total tonnage 11,224 GRT
1 ship a total loss, total tonnage 5,062 GRT
|Born||28 Apr 1911||Kiel-Pries|
|Died||20 Aug 1943||(32)||Indian Ocean off Madagascar|
|U-139||24 Jul 1940||20 Dec 1940||No war patrols|
|U-561||13 Mar 1941||5 Sep 1942||8 patrols (243 days)|
|U-197||10 Oct 1942||20 Aug 1943 (+)||1 patrol (140 days)|
Robert Bartels joined the German Navy (Reichsmarine) in 1934. From 1937 to June 1940 he served as a Watch Officer on the U-21. He went through U-boat familiarization (Baubelehrung) in July 1940 in preparation for his own command.
On 24 July 1940 Oblt. Robert Bartels commissioned the new type IID "duck" U-139. he left the boat on 20 Dec 1940. From there he went to the 1st Flotilla and another U-boat familiarization, this time in order to prepare for his command of the larger type VIIC boat, the U-561 on 13 march 1941.
With his U-561 Oblt. Bartels went out on his first war patrol on 25 May 1941, a 69-day long patrol where he sank one small ship. When he left the boat on 5 Sept 1942 after 8 patrols he had sunk or destroyed 5 ships for over 21,000 tons and damaged another - the last 3 ships fell to mines laid by U-561.
Kptlt. Bartels went through his third Baubelehrung from Sept to Oct 1942 in order to prepare for the much, much larger type IXD2 boats. These boats were very long range and later convert for transport use. Bartels commissioned the new U-197 on 10 Oct 1942.
Loss of U-197
KrvKpt. Robert Bartels was killed when the U-197 was sunk on 20 Aug, 1943 south of Madagascar, in position 28.40S, 42.36E, by depth charges from 2 British Catalina aircraft (Sqdn. 259/C & 265/N). 67 men died, no survivors (Niestlé, 1998). During his 140 days at sea the boat has sunk 3 ships for over 21,000 GRT and damaged a large merchant.
The day before its loss U-197 had met with Lüth's U-181 where Bartels told Lüth he intended to stay in this area and hunt the traffic Lüth had told him about. Their radio chatter had allowed the Allies to pinpoint the location finding Bartel's boat the next day (Blair, 1998).
Patrol info for Robert Bartels
|1.||U-561||25 May 1941||Kiel||1 Aug 1941||Sunk||Patrol 1,||69 days|
|2.||U-561||20 Aug 1941||Brest||20 Sep 1941||Sunk||Patrol 2,||32 days|
|3.||U-561||1 Nov 1941||Lorient||26 Nov 1941||Sunk||Patrol 3,||26 days|
|4.||U-561||3 Jan 1942||Brest||22 Jan 1942||Sunk||Patrol 4,||20 days|
|5.||U-561||26 Jan 1942||Messina||20 Feb 1942||Sunk||Patrol 5,||26 days|
|6.||U-561||4 Apr 1942||Pola||5 May 1942||Sunk||Patrol 6,||32 days|
|7.||U-561||11 Jun 1942||Pola||25 Jun 1942||Sunk||Patrol 7,||15 days|
|8.||U-561||2 Jul 1942||Messina||24 Jul 1942||Sunk||Patrol 8,||23 days|
|9.||U-197||3 Apr 1943||Kiel||20 Aug 1943||Sunk||Patrol 9,||140 days|
|9 patrols, 383 days at sea|
Ships hit by Robert Bartels
|Date||U-boat||Name of ship||Tons||Nat.||Convoy|
|28 Jul 1941||U-561||Wrotham||1,884||br||OG-69|
|11 Nov 1941||U-561||Meridian||5,592||pa||SC-53|
|14 Nov 1941||U-561||Crusader||2,939||pa||SC-53|
|14 May 1942||U-561||Fred (d.) [Mine]||4,043||gr|
|14 May 1942||U-561||Hav (t.) [Mine]||5,062||nw|
|14 May 1942||U-561||Mount Olympus [Mine]||6,692||gr|
|20 May 1943||U-197||Benakat||4,763||nl|
|24 Jul 1943||U-197||Pegasus||9,583||sw|
|30 Jul 1943||U-197||William Ellery (d.)||7,181||am|
|17 Aug 1943||U-197||Empire Stanley||6,921||br|
8 ships sunk (43,436 tons) and 2 ships damaged (11,224 tons).
About ranks and decorations
Special thanks to Fernando Almeida for data on ranks and decorations.