Joachim Schepke

Kapitänleutnant (Crew 30)

36 ships sunk, total tonnage 153,677 GRT
4 ships damaged, total tonnage 17,229 GRT
1 ship a total loss, total tonnage 2,205 GRT

Born  8 Mar 1912 Flensburg
Died  17 Mar 1941(29)North Atlantic

Kapitänleutnant Joachim Schepke


1 Apr 1930 Offiziersanwärter
10 Oct 1930 Seekadett
1 Jan 1932 Fähnrich zur See
1 Apr 1934 Oberfähnrich zur See
1 Oct 1934 Leutnant zur See
1 Jun 1936 Oberleutnant zur See
1 Jun 1939 Kapitänleutnant


27 Feb 1940 Iron Cross 1st Class
24 Sep 1940 Knights Cross
1 Dec 1940 Knights Cross with Oak Leaves

U-boat Commands

U-3 29 Oct 1938 2 Jan 1940   3 patrols (24 days) 
U-19 3 Jan 1940 30 Apr 1940   5 patrols (66 days) 
U-100 30 May 1940 17 Mar 1941  (+)  6 patrols (112 days) 

Kptlt. Schepke returning from a voyage

Joachim Schepke began his naval career in April 1930. He spent two years on the 'pocket battleship' Deutschland before, as Günther Prien also had, transferring to the U-boat force in October 1935. Later he spent 18 months as an instructor at the Torpedo School at Flensburg, but in 1938 he became commander of the training U-boat U-3. His time commanding U-3 saw him achieve his first successes, leaving her in January 1940.

He then took over command of U-19 (Müller-Arnecke) and sank nine ships with a total of 15,715 tons.

In May 1940 he commissioned the larger type VIIB U-boat U-100. On his first patrol from Kiel to Lorient in August 1940, he sank six ships with a total of 25,812 tons and damaged one more.

But it wasn't until her second patrol during September 1940 that Kapitänleutnant Schepke became famous as commander of U-100. In only two days he sank seven ships with a total of 50,340 tons. Two days later he received the Knights Cross.

Kptlt. Schepke meeting the public

Kptlt. Schepke in Berlin 6 weeks before his death

23 November 1940 was another memorable day, on which Schepke sank seven ships totaling 24,601 tons. One week later he was awarded the Oak Leaves to his Knights Cross.

In 1940 he published a book, U-Boot Fahrer von heute (U-boat men of today), describing life on a U-boat in simple terms. This book is illustrated with his own paintings.

Schepke was nicknamed Ihrer Majestät bestaussehender Offizier (Her Majesty's best-looking officer. The expression Ihrer Majestät is used to indicate the country's leader, and is not referring to royalty in this case!).

At the Berlin Sportpalast in February 1941 he spoke to an audience of thousands of young Germans about the U-boat war.

Joachim Schepke died when U-100 was sunk at 0318hrs on 17 March 1941 SE of Iceland in approximate position 61N, 12W, after being rammed and depth charged by the British destroyers HMS Walker and HMS Vanoc (Niestlé, 1998). Vanoc located U-100 with her early radar in heavy fog and chased the contact. Schepke is said to have been caught on the bridge when the boat was rammed. Six men survived and 38 were lost.


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 Joachim Schepke

 U-boat Departure Arrival  
1. U-3 4 Sep 1939  Wilhelmshaven  8 Sep 1939  Wilhelmshaven  Patrol 1,5 days
2. U-3 13 Sep 1939  Wilhelmshaven  24 Sep 1939  Wilhelmshaven  Patrol 2,12 days
3. U-3 27 Sep 1939  Wilhelmshaven  3 Oct 1939  Kiel  Patrol 3,7 days
4. U-19 4 Jan 1940  Kiel  12 Jan 1940  Kiel  Patrol 4,9 days
5. U-19 18 Jan 1940  Kiel  28 Jan 1940  Wilhelmshaven  Patrol 5,11 days
6. U-19 12 Feb 1940  Wilhelmshaven  26 Feb 1940  Wilhelmshaven  Patrol 6,15 days
7. U-19 14 Mar 1940  Wilhelmshaven  23 Mar 1940  Wilhelmshaven  Patrol 7,10 days
8. U-19 3 Apr 1940  Wilhelmshaven  23 Apr 1940  Kiel  Patrol 8,21 days
9. U-100 9 Aug 1940  Kiel  1 Sep 1940  Lorient  Patrol 9,24 days
10. U-100 11 Sep 1940  Lorient  25 Sep 1940  Lorient  Patrol 10,15 days
11. U-100 12 Oct 1940  Lorient  23 Oct 1940  Lorient  Patrol 11,12 days
12. U-100 7 Nov 1940  Lorient  27 Nov 1940  Lorient  Patrol 12,21 days
13. U-100 2 Dec 1940  Lorient  1 Jan 1941  Kiel  Patrol 13,31 days
14. U-100 9 Mar 1941  Kiel  17 Mar 1941  Sunk  Patrol 14,9 days
14 patrols, 202 days at sea

Ships hit by Joachim Schepke

Date U-boat Commander Name of ship Tons Nat. Convoy
30 Sep 1939U-3Joachim Schepke Vendia1,150da
30 Sep 1939U-3Joachim Schepke Gun1,198sw
9 Jan 1940U-19Joachim Schepke Manx1,343nw
23 Jan 1940U-19Joachim Schepke Pluto1,598nw
23 Jan 1940U-19Joachim Schepke Baltanglia1,523br
25 Jan 1940U-19Joachim Schepke Everene4,434le
25 Jan 1940U-19Joachim Schepke Gudveig1,300nw
19 Mar 1940U-19Joachim Schepke Minsk1,229da
19 Mar 1940U-19Joachim Schepke Charkow1,026da
20 Mar 1940U-19Joachim Schepke Viking1,153da
20 Mar 1940U-19Joachim Schepke Bothal2,109da
16 Aug 1940U-100Joachim Schepke Empire Merchant4,864br
25 Aug 1940U-100Joachim Schepke Jamaica Pioneer5,471br
29 Aug 1940U-100Joachim Schepke Dalblair4,608brOA-204
29 Aug 1940U-100Joachim Schepke Hartismere (d.)5,498brOA-204
29 Aug 1940U-100Joachim Schepke Astra II2,393brOA-204
29 Aug 1940U-100Joachim Schepke Alida Gorthon2,373swOA-204
29 Aug 1940U-100Joachim Schepke Empire Moose6,103brOA-204
21 Sep 1940U-100Joachim Schepke Canonesa8,286brHX-72
21 Sep 1940U-100Joachim Schepke Torinia10,364brHX-72
21 Sep 1940U-100Joachim Schepke Dalcairn4,608brHX-72
22 Sep 1940U-100Joachim Schepke Empire Airman6,586brHX-72
22 Sep 1940U-100Joachim Schepke Scholar3,940brHX-72
22 Sep 1940U-100Joachim Schepke Frederick S. Fales10,525brHX-72
22 Sep 1940U-100Joachim Schepke Simla6,031nwHX-72
18 Oct 1940U-100Joachim Schepke Shekatika (d.)5,458brSC-7
18 Oct 1940U-100Joachim Schepke Boekelo (d.)2,118nlSC-7
19 Oct 1940U-100Joachim Schepke Blairspey (d.)4,155brSC-7
20 Oct 1940U-100Joachim Schepke Caprella8,230brHX-79
20 Oct 1940U-100Joachim Schepke Sitala6,218brHX-79
20 Oct 1940U-100Joachim Schepke Loch Lomond5,452brHX-79
23 Nov 1940U-100Joachim Schepke Justitia4,562brSC-11
23 Nov 1940U-100Joachim Schepke Bradfyne4,740brSC-11
23 Nov 1940U-100Joachim Schepke Ootmarsum3,628nlSC-11
23 Nov 1940U-100Joachim Schepke Bruse (t.)2,205nwSC-11
23 Nov 1940U-100Joachim Schepke Salonica2,694nwSC-11
23 Nov 1940U-100Joachim Schepke Leise Mærsk3,136brSC-11
23 Nov 1940U-100Joachim Schepke Bussum3,636nlSC-11
14 Dec 1940U-100Joachim Schepke Kyleglen3,670brOB-256
14 Dec 1940U-100Joachim Schepke Euphorbia3,380brOB-256
18 Dec 1940U-100Joachim Schepke Napier Star10,116br

37 ships sunk (155,882 tons) and 4 ships damaged (17,229 tons).

We have a picture of this vessel.
(d.) means the ship was damaged.
(t.) means the ship was a total loss (included in ships & tonnage lost).

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


Vause, Jordan

Listing of all U-boat commanders

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