Oberleutnant zur See (Crew 38)
|Born||12 Aug 1919||Hamburg|
|Died||18 Aug 1977||(58)|
|U-6||20 Oct 1942||Jun, 1943||No war patrols|
|U-476||28 Jul 1943||25 May 1944||1 patrol (6 days)|
|U-3507||19 Oct 1944||19 Mar 1945||No war patrols|
Otto Niethmann joined the Kriegsmarine in 1938. He underwent U-boat training Oct 1940 - May 1941 and then served as a Watch Officer (WO) on U-30 May 1941 - March 1942 (Busch & Röll, 1999).
From March to Aug 1942 Niethmann served as a Watch Officer on U-373 (Kptlt. Paul-Karl Loeser) (Busch & Röll, 1999). He went on one patrol from 18 May to 8 July, during which one small ship of 396 tons was sunk.
Niethmann commanded the small 'duck' training boat U-6 from 20 Oct 1942 to July 1943, when he began U-boat construction familiarization (Baubelehrung) of his next command, a new type VIIC U-boat. He commissioned U-476 at Kiel on 28 July 1943 (Busch & Röll, 1999). After some months working up in the Baltic, U-476 arrived in Norway for active service in April 1944, and left for her first and only combat patrol on 20 May 1944 (Busch & Röll, 1997).
Surviving two U-boat losses in two days
Oblt. Niethmann was forced to scuttle U-476 on 24 May 1944 due to crippling damage caused by a British Catalina flying boat (Sqdn 210/V) (Niestlé, 1998). Kplt. Hubert Nordheimer's U-990 rescued 21 men from U-476, but 34 of her crew went down with the boat (Blair, 1998).
The survivors from U-476's luck didn't improve on U-990: she was sunk by a British aircraft the day after, this time a B-24 Liberator (Sqdn 59/S).
The German picket boat V 5901 rescued 51 men from the sinking U-990, including 18 of the original 21 from U-476. 33 from U-990's crew were rescued, but 20 perished. (Niestlé, 1998) Oblt. Niethmann and Kplt. Nordheimer survived, and both eventually returned to Germany to take command of new type XXI Elektro U-boat Elektro boats (Blair, 1998).
Oblt. Niethmann served with 11th Flotilla from May to July 1944 before returning to Germany to commence type XXI U-boat familiarization (Baubelehrung). He finished his training and commissioned U-3507 at the Schichau yard in Danzig on 19 Oct 1944. (Busch & Röll, 1999) He spent the winter training in the Baltic, only to scuttle U-3507 at Travemünde on 3 May 1945 (Niestlé, 1998). For the last few days of the war he served in the 5th (Training) Flotilla at Kiel.
Blair, C. (1998). Hitler’s U-boat War. The Hunted, 1942-1945.
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 Otto Niethmann
|1.||U-476||25 Apr 1944||Kiel||29 Apr 1944||Egersund||5 days|
|2.||U-476||16 May 1944||Egersund||17 May 1944||Bergen||2 days|
|3.||U-476||20 May 1944||Bergen||25 May 1944||Sunk||Patrol 1,||6 days|
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.
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