Ottokar Arnold Paulssen
Korvettenkapitän (Crew 34)
6 ships sunk, total tonnage 31,729 GRT
1 warship sunk, total tonnage 5,220 tons
|Born||11 Oct 1915||Berlin-Charlottenburg|
|Died||16 Dec 1941||(26)||Mediterranean|
|U-20||8 Jun 1940||5 Jan 1941||No war patrols|
|U-557||13 Feb 1941||16 Dec 1941 (+)||4 patrols (120 days)|
Ottokar Arnold Paulssen joined the German Navy (Reichsmarine) in 1934. He served as 1st Watch Officer (I WO) on U-26 (Klaus Ewerth) April 1939 - Jan 1940. During this time he went on two patrols, during which four ships were sunk.
From Jan - June 1940 he served as Watch Officer and did his commander sea training on the small 'duck' boat U-18 (Ernst Mengersen). The boat sank one small ship on the first of two patrols Paulssen went on.
On 8 June 1940 Paulssen was given command of the 'duck' U-20, then serving as a school boat. He would command this boat until 5 Jan 1941, when he began U-boat construction familiarization (Baubelehrung) for a larger attack boat at Hamburg.
On 13 Feb 1941 Oblt. Ottokar Paulssen commissioned the type VIIC U-boat U-557. He then took the boat on two patrols in the Atlantic, sinking five ships during 93 days at sea.
Herbert Werner, author of the famous book Iron Coffins, served as a Watch Officer under Paulssen on U-557 for the first two patrols, but then left to serve as I WO on U-230.
For his third patrol in U-557 Paulssen was sent to the Mediterranean. He successfully passed through the heavily guarded Straits of Gibraltar on 26 Nov 1941, having left Lorient, France seven days earlier (Busch and Röll, 1997). U-557's new base was Messina with the 29th Flotilla.
Paulssen enjoyed some success with U-557, having sunk six merchant ships totalling almost 32,000 GRT, and the British light cruiser HMS Galatea on 15 Dec 1941. He would be lost the day after his last victim.
Kptlt. Paulssen was lost with his entire crew (43) when the boat was sunk at 21.44hrs on 16 Dec 1941 in the Mediterranean west of Crete in position 35.31N, 23.19E, after being accidentally rammed by the Italian torpedo boat Orione (Niestle, 1998). The Germans sent out patrols to search for survivors the next day after correctly guessing that the Orione, which barely survived the accident, had rammed U-557, but no survivors were found (Blair, 1996).
Blair, C. (1996). Hitler’s U-boat War. The Hunters, 1939-1942.
Busch, R. and Röll, H-J. (1998). German U-boat commanders of World War II.
Busch, R. and Röll, H-J. (1997). Der U-Bootkrieg 1939-1945 (Band 2).
Niestle, A. (1998). German U-boat losses during World War II.
Patrol info for Ottokar Arnold Paulssen
|1.||U-557||13 May 1941||Kiel||10 Jul 1941||Lorient||Patrol 1,||59 days|
|2.||U-557||13 Aug 1941||Lorient||15 Aug 1941||Lorient||Patrol 2,||3 days|
|3.||U-557||20 Aug 1941||Lorient||19 Sep 1941||Lorient||Patrol 2,||31 days|
|4.||U-557||19 Nov 1941||Lorient||7 Dec 1941||Messina||Patrol 3,||19 days|
|5.||U-557||9 Dec 1941||Messina||16 Dec 1941||Sunk||Patrol 4,||8 days|
|4 patrols, 120 days at sea|
Ships hit by Ottokar Arnold Paulssen
|Date||U-boat||Name of ship||Tons||Nat.||Convoy|
|29 May 1941||U-557||Empire Storm||7,290||br||HX-128|
|27 Aug 1941||U-557||Segundo||4,414||nw||OS-4|
|27 Aug 1941||U-557||Saugor||6,303||br||OS-4|
|27 Aug 1941||U-557||Tremoda||4,736||br||OS-4|
|27 Aug 1941||U-557||Embassage||4,954||br||OS-4|
|2 Dec 1941||U-557||Fjord||4,032||nw|
|15 Dec 1941||U-557||HMS Galatea (71)||5,220||br|
7 ships sunk (36,949 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.
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