Wolfgang Leimkühler

Oberleutnant zur See (Crew 37a)

1 ship sunk, total tonnage 5,273 GRT
4 ships damaged, total tonnage 24,672 GRT

Born  10 Aug 1918 Wesermünde
Died  22 Feb 1943(24)Central North Atlantic


3 Apr 1937 Offiziersanwärter
21 Sep 1937 Seekadett
1 May 1938 Fähnrich zur See
1 Jul 1939 Oberfähnrich zur See
1 Aug 1939 Leutnant zur See
1 Sep 1941 Oberleutnant zur See


U-boat Commands

U-4 9 Dec 1941 15 Jun 1942   No war patrols 
U-225 11 Jul 1942 22 Feb 1943  (+)  2 patrols (56 days) 

Wolfgang Leimkühler joined the Kriegsmarine in 1937. He went through U-boat training April - August 1940. From Aug to Oct he went through Watch Officer (WO) sea training on U-60 (Schnee), going out on two patrols on which one small freighter was sunk and the large Dutch passenger ship Volendam (15,434 GRT) was damaged.

Leimkühler served with the 1st Flotilla Oct - Dec 1940, after which he was assigned to U-boat construction familiarization (Baubelehrung) until Jan 1941, when he became 2nd Watch Officer (II WO) on the new type VIIC U-boat U-201, again with Schnee in command. He went on four patrols in U-201, almost 100 days at sea, sinking 13 ships.

Having gained this valuable experience, Oblt. Wolfgang Leimkühler was sent for U-boat Commander training with the 24th (Training) Flotilla in Nov 1941. On 9 Dec 1941 he was given command of the small 'duck' boat U-4. He commanded her until 15 June 1942.

In June 1942 he was again assigned to Baubelehrung, this time in preparation for his own command. He commissioned U-225 on 11 July 1942.

After working up in the Baltic for five months she left for her first patrol on 5 Dec 1942. It was very successful, with one ship sunk and four left damaged, in total 30,000GRT (three of the damaged ships were sunk by other U-boats shortly afterwards).

Oblt. Wolfgang Leimkühler was killed along with his entire crew (46) 14 days into his second patrol in U-225 when the boat was sunk by a British corvette on 22 Feb 1943.

Reassessment of U-225's fate

In 2009 Dr. Axel Niestlé reassessed the fate of U-225, long believed to have been sunk on 15 Feb 1943 by depth charges from a British Liberator aircraft (Sqdn 120/S). His conclusion was that the attack in question instead sank U-529 (Fraatz).

U-225 is now believed to have been sunk by depth charges from the British corvette HMS Dianthus on 22 Feb 1943.

Read the full article on the loss of U 225 and U 529.


Busch, R. and Röll, H-J. (1998). German U-boat commanders of World War II.

Patrol info for Wolfgang Leimkühler

 U-boat Departure Arrival  
1. U-225 5 Dec 1942  Kiel  8 Jan 1943  Brest  Patrol 1,35 days
2. U-225 2 Feb 1943  Brest  22 Feb 1943  Sunk  Patrol 2,21 days
2 patrols, 56 days at sea

Ships hit by Wolfgang Leimkühler

Date U-boat Name of ship Tons Nat. Convoy
27 Dec 1942U-225 Scottish Heather (d.)7,087brONS-154
28 Dec 1942U-225 Melmore Head5,273brONS-154
28 Dec 1942U-225 Ville de Rouen (d.)5,598brONS-154
28 Dec 1942U-225 President Francqui (d.)4,919beONS-154
28 Dec 1942U-225 Empire Shackleton (d.)7,068brONS-154

1 ship sunk (5,273 tons) and 4 ships damaged (24,672 tons).

We have a picture of this vessel.
(d.) means the ship was damaged.

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

German U-boat Commanders of World War II

Busch, Rainer and Röll, Hans-Joachim

Listing of all U-boat commanders

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