Korvettenkapitän (Crew 29)
2 warships sunk, total tonnage 1,960 tons
1 warship damaged, total tonnage 1,400 tons
2 ships a total loss, total tonnage 11,844 GRT
|Born||21 Nov 1907||Lauterbach, Oberhessen|
|Died||23 Oct 1965||(57)||Alzey, Germany|
|U-870||3 Feb 1944||30 Mar 1945||1 patrol (103 days)|
Ernst Hechler began his naval career in April 1929. After serving more than a year on the light cruiser Königsberg and a year as instructor of officer aspirants at Marineschule Mürwik, he transferred to the newly-formed Luftwaffe in May 1935, where he remained for more than eight years. He reached the rank of Squadron Leader and later held various staff positions. He flew more than 60 combat missions and was decorated with the Iron Cross First and Second Class and the Luftwaffe Combat Clasp in Gold (Frontflugspange für Kampfflieger in Gold).
In July 1943, at the age of 35, he transferred back to the Kriegsmarine and completed U-boat training. In February 1944 he commissioned U-870 and eight months later left the base at Horten, Norway for his first and only patrol.
In the first part of this patrol U-870 transmitted weather reports used for the ongoing offensive in the Ardennes. Hechler then sank three ships and damaged two more, an outstanding total for a maiden patrol at that stage of the war. Hechler claimed three additional sinkings which have not as yet been confirmed. One month before the successful boat returned, her commander received a radio message informing him that he had been awarded the Knights Cross.
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 Ernst Hechler
|1.||U-870||31 Oct 1944||Kiel||3 Nov 1944||Horten||4 days|
|2.||U-870||10 Nov 1944||Horten||20 Feb 1945||Kristiansand||Patrol 1,||103 days|
|3.||U-870||25 Feb 1945||Kristiansand||27 Feb 1945||Flensburg||3 days|
Ships hit by Ernst Hechler
|Date||U-boat||Name of ship||Tons||Nat.||Convoy|
|20 Dec 1944||U-870||USS Fogg (DE 57) (d.)||1,400||am|
|20 Dec 1944||U-870||USS LST-359||1,625||am|
|3 Jan 1945||U-870||Henry Miller (t.)||7,207||am||GUS-63|
|9 Jan 1945||U-870||FFL L´Enjoue (W 44)||335||fr||GC-107|
|10 Jan 1945||U-870||Blackheath (t.)||4,637||br||KMS-76|
4 ships sunk (13,804 tons) and 1 ship damaged (1,400 tons).
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.