Heinrich Timm

Korvettenkapitän (Crew 32)

9 ships sunk, total tonnage 53,782 GRT

Born  30 Apr 1910 Bremen
Died  12 Apr 1974(63)Axstedt near Bremen, Germany

Korvettenkapitän Heinrich Timm


1 Apr 1933 Offiziersanwärter
1 Jan 1934 Fähnrich zur See
1 Sep 1935 Oberfähnrich zur See
1 Jan 1936 Leutnant zur See
1 Oct 1937 Oberleutnant zur See
1 Feb 1940 Kapitänleutnant
1 Jul 1944 Korvettenkapitän


10 Jan 1940 Iron Cross 2nd Class
16 May 1940 Iron Cross 1st Class
12 Feb 1942 German Cross in Gold
17 Sep 1944 Knights Cross
29 Sep 1944 U-boat Front Clasp

U-boat Commands

U-251 20 Sep 1941 1 Sep 1943   9 patrols (190 days) 
U-862 7 Oct 1943 5 May 1945   2 patrols (189 days) 

Heinrich Timm began his naval career in October 1933. He spent a few years on minesweepers M-132 and M-110 before he took command of M-7 in July 1939. He won his first great success at Heligoland, when he located and attacked the British submarine HMS Starfish on 9 January 1940, causing so much damage after hours of steady attacks on the bottomed submarine that the British commander was forced to surface and scuttle. Timm then rescued all her crew.

Timm won the Iron Cross 1st Class for action in the Norwegian invasion the following May, but then opted to transfer to the U-boat force and follow his former colleagues from the now famous Crew 33, Lüth, Prien and Hardegen. Timm underwent commander training at Pillau, qualifying in August 1941, and the following month commissioned the brand new type VIIC U-251.

Timm had a habit of playing classical music over the boat's loudspeakers. This grew wearisome for some of the men, but rise to a nickname for Timm, Tüte, which refers to the cone-shaped paper bag used for sweets and which also resembled an old fashioned gramophone horn. This was used for U-251's emblem, which was a Tüte with a torpedo in it.

After six months of training and trials in the Baltic he arrived in Norway in April 1942 and during the next year U-251 made nine patrols in the Arctic as part of the 11th Flotilla. On 3 May 1942 while stalking convoy PQ 15, Timm sank his first ship when he torpedoed the SS Jutland. In July 1942 Timm fought against the ill-fated convoy PQ 17, of which he sank one ship. During operations in the Arctic the crew learned to respect their commander as they found that he did not intend to pointlessly sacrifice the boat or his men for personal glory; while never avoiding combat, he always brought his boat back undamaged.

U-251 was temporarily decommissioned when she returned to Germany in June 1943 for an extended refit. Since her experienced crew could not be left standing idle, they were ordered to proceed to Bremen, where after a short vacation they were to commission the much larger long range U-862. She was to become a Monsun boat, attack Allied shipping in the Indian Ocean and the Far East. U-862 left Kiel in late May 1944 and after a brief stop in Norway headed southwards. On the way, on 5 July, Timm got word of his promotion to Korvettenkapitän. When the boat reached Penang on 9 September 1944 she had already sunk five ships and shot down a Catalina. Shortly after arriving Kvtkpt. Timm was awarded the Knights Cross.

Timm sank seven ships in the Far East, the most distant being the Liberty ship SS Robert J. Walker, just off Sydney, Australia.

After the formal surrender in Europe on 5 May, the Germans remaining in the Far East were interned by the Japanese at Singapore, and U-862 was taken over and renamed I-502 (U-181 became I-501). Timm and his crew were in Singapore when the British forces arrived on 12 September 1945. They were taken to England, arriving in July 1946, where they were sent to POW camps. Timm was one of the very last to be released, in April 1948.

After the war Heinrich Timm served some years in the Bundesmarine (Federal German Navy), reaching the rank of Kapitän zur See (Captain). Among other posts held, he was the first commander of the frigate Scharnhorst before he retired in 1966.


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).
Rohwer, J. (1998). Axis Submarine Successes of World War Two.

Patrol info for Heinrich Timm

 U-boat Departure Arrival  
1. U-251 18 Apr 1942  Kiel  19 Apr 1942  Kristiansand   2 days
2. U-251 20 Apr 1942  Kristiansand  25 Apr 1942  Kirkenes  Patrol 1,6 days
3. U-251 29 Apr 1942  Kirkenes  7 May 1942  Kirkenes  Patrol 1,9 days
4. U-251 9 May 1942  Kirkenes  13 May 1942  Skjomenfjord   5 days
5. U-251 15 May 1942  Skjomenfjord  17 May 1942  Trondheim   3 days
6. U-251 22 May 1942  Trondheim  24 May 1942  Skjomenfjord   3 days
7. U-251 26 May 1942  Skjomenfjord  29 May 1942  Skjomenfjord  Patrol 2,4 days
8. U-251 7 Jun 1942  Skjomenfjord  5 Jul 1942  Harstad  Patrol 3,29 days
9. U-251 6 Jul 1942  Harstad  15 Jul 1942  Narvik  Patrol 3,10 days
10. U-251 14 Aug 1942  Narvik  14 Aug 1942  Harstad  Patrol 4,1 days
11. U-251 15 Aug 1942  Harstad  13 Sep 1942  Neidenfjord  Patrol 4,30 days
12. U-251 14 Sep 1942  Neidenfjord  3 Oct 1942  Trondheim  Patrol 5,20 days
13. U-251 14 Feb 1943  Trondheim  1 Mar 1943  Narvik  Patrol 6,16 days
14. U-251 18 Mar 1943  Narvik  21 Apr 1943  Narvik  Patrol 7,35 days
15. U-251 8 May 1943  Narvik  10 May 1943  Hammerfest   3 days
16. U-251 12 May 1943  Hammerfest  29 May 1943  Trondheim  Patrol 8,18 days
17. U-251 13 Jun 1943  Trondheim  24 Jun 1943  Kiel  Patrol 9,12 days
18. U-862 20 May 1944  Kiel  26 May 1944  Bergen   7 days
19. U-862 27 May 1944  Bergen  30 May 1944  Narvik   4 days
20. U-862 3 Jun 1944  Narvik  9 Sep 1944  Penang  Patrol 10,99 days
21. U-862 5 Nov 1944  Penang  7 Nov 1944  Batavia   3 days
22. U-862 18 Nov 1944  Batavia  15 Feb 1945  Batavia  Patrol 11,90 days
23. U-862 18 Feb 1945  Batavia  20 Feb 1945  Singapur   3 days
11 patrols, 379 days at sea

Ships hit by Heinrich Timm

Date U-boat Commander Name of ship Tons Nat. Convoy
3 May 1942U-251Heinrich Timm Jutland6,153brPQ-15
10 Jul 1942U-251Heinrich Timm El Capitan5,255paPQ-17
25 Jul 1944U-862Heinrich Timm Robin Goodfellow6,885am
13 Aug 1944U-862Heinrich Timm Radbury3,614br
16 Aug 1944U-862Heinrich Timm Empire Lancer7,037br
18 Aug 1944U-862Heinrich Timm Nairung5,414br
19 Aug 1944U-862Heinrich Timm Wayfarer5,068br
24 Dec 1944U-862Heinrich Timm Robert J. Walker7,180am
6 Feb 1945U-862Heinrich Timm Peter Silvester7,176am

9 ships sunk (53,782 tons).

We have a picture of this vessel.

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.

Men who sank over 50,000 tons

Media links

German U-boat Commanders of World War II

Busch, Rainer and Röll, Hans-Joachim

U-Boat Far from Home

Stevens, David

(£ 9.56)

Battle Surface!

Jenkins, David

Listing of all U-boat commanders

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