WWI U-boat commanders

Wolf Hans Hertwig

Kapitänleutnant (Crew 4/04)

3 ships sunk with a total of 13,487 GRT
1 warship sunk with a total of 1,181 tons

Born:1 Oct 1885  
Died:9 Dec 1958 Heiningen, Thuringen, East Germany 

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6 Apr 1904 Seekadett
11 Apr 1905 Fähnrich zur See
28 Sep 1907 Leutnant zur See
16 Oct 1909 Oberleutnant zur See
17 Oct 1915 Kapitänleutnant
29 Jan 1920 Out of naval service
1 Apr 1930 Korvettenkapitän (Ergänzungsoffizier)
1 Apr 1941 Fregattenkapitän
1 Oct 1944 Kapitän zur See


   Iron Cross 2nd class
   Friedrich-August Cross (Oldenburg)
 Cross for Merit in War (Saxe-Meiningen)
   War Merit Cross 1st Class

U-boat Commands

UB 9111 Apr 1918 - 11 Nov 1918


Pre-War Naval Service

In 1904 Wolf Hans Hertwig entered the Imperial German Navy as a Seekadett (midshipman) from 1904-1908. From 1908-1910, while serving on board SMS Hessen he was commissioned Leutnant zur See (ensign). From 1910-1912, while serving on board SMS Hannover he was commissioned Oberleutnant zur See (lieutenant junior grade). From 1912-1914 he served on board SMS Victoria Louise as Oberleutnant zur See.

World War I Service

During WWI, 1914-1916, he served on board SMS Westfalen as Oberleutnant zur See and on 17 October 1915 he was commissioned Kapitänleutnant zur See (leutenant). As Watch Officer he participated in the Battle of Jutland.

From 1916-1918 he was selected for submarine school and on 11 April 1918, Kapitänleutnant Hertwig was the commissioning captain of UB 91, a Type III Class UB Coastal Torpedo Attack Boat (3 officers/31 ratings). After completing sea trials on 27 June 1918, the submarine was assigned to U-boot Flotilla II, Helgoland Archipelago.

The War Patrols of UB 91

UB 91's first war patrol - 20 July-15 August 1918 - did not result in any sinkings. However, his war log lists a surface gun duel with the armed British trawler Lacerta (No. 625) while on her return trip to Helgoland, Northwest of Saint Kilda Archipelago at 0645 hrs on Wednesday, 17 August 1918. UB 91 fired the first shots damaging the patrol boat which disengaged from the action at 0708 hrs and returned to Kilda Island for repairs.

Her second, and final, war patrol - 14 September-15 October 1918 - resulted in the sinkings of four vessels: SS Hebburn (British), USS (Coast Guard Cutter) Tampa (United States) Convoy Escort, SS Baldersby (British), and SS Hirano Maru (Japanese).

According to the terms of the Armistice, Captain Hertwig and a small crew deliver and surrender UB 91 to the British Royal Navy at Harwich on Thursday, 21 November 1918. His crew (along with other U-Boot crews) were returned to Germany on board their transport Lucia Woerman. On 29 January 1920, Kptlt. Hertwig resigned from the German Imperial Navy.

Civilian Life

After leaving the service, he met Ruth Jaksch who was living with her family as refugees in Barth, Pomerania Germany. When the Baltic countries had been freed from the Bolsheviks the Jaksch family returned to Riga, capitol of the newly founded state of Latvia, and Wolf Hertwig also moved to Riga where he founded Wolf Hertwig & Company a small commercial business. On 3 September 1921, he and Ruth were wed and to this union were born a daughter, Karin, and a son, Heinz. During the next sixteen years, his business never really flourished due to the commercial and political pressure of the Latvians who constantly tried to suppress and eventually eliminate all German influence in their newly founded nation-state. As he saw no other viable business opportunities, especially in Latvia, Wolf Hertwig decided to rejoin the newly formed Deutsche Kriegsmarine (German War Navy).

The Third Reich Kriegsmarine

In August 1937, aged 52, too old for U-boot service, he was reactivated as a Korvettenkapitän (Navy lieutenant commander) specializing in Naval armor/weapons and took residence in Germany. At this time his marriage to Ruth had become strained and incompatible which resulted in their divorce. On 20 August 1942, Wolf Hertwig, now a Fregattenkapitän (commander), married Ursula Steinbruck, in Stettin, Germany, and of this union one daughter, Sybille, was born on 28 January 1944. In March of 1944 he was transferred to occupied Denmark as Naval Department Manager. On 1 October 1944 he was commissioned Kapitän zur See (captain). German forces in Denmark withdrew following their surrender to the Allies on 5 May 1945. Kapitän zur See Wolf Hertwig was taken prisoner of War by British forces and sent to Korpsgruppe von Stockhausen in Eutin/Holstein, (located east of Hamburg, between Lübeck and Kiel) and was later sent to Prisoner of War camp in Belgium. He was released from captivity at the end of 1946.

After his release he stayed with a cousin in Friedberg, Kessen, until it was possible for him, in 1948, to join his second wife and daughter in Heiningen, Thuringen. Unfortunately, Thuringen was occupied by the Soviet Red Army, and East Germany was ruled by a Communist government. As a former Third Reich Navy captain his mere rank made him a "war criminal" in their eyes and their lives were made extremely miserable and poor. In 1955 Wolf Hertwig was able to gain permission to visit West Germany (alone, of course, without wife or daughter to assure his return to Communist East Germany). His son Heinz met him, for the first time in twelve years, and managed to take him to meet Heinz's wife Katalin and her mother at their home in Krumpendorf at Lake Worthersee, Austria. They would be together for almost two weeks before Wolf Hertwig returned to Heiningen, East Germany. This would be their last meeting.

On 9 December 1958, after a short, but painful time of suffering, Kapitän zur See Wolf Hans Hertwig died of cancer in Heiningen, East Germany.

The above Notes are based on a biography of his father written by Heinz Wolf Hertwig-Jaksch and is summarized by Robert M. Pendleton; it is approved to be reproduced by uboat.net. As of January 14, 2011.

Ships hit by Wolf Hans Hertwig

DateU-boat Name of shipType of shipTonsNat.
25 Sep 1918 UB 91 HebburnSteamer1,938br
26 Sep 1918 UB 91  TampaCoast guard vessel1,181am
28 Sep 1918 UB 91 BaldersbySteamer3,613br
4 Oct 1918 UB 91  Hirano MaruPassenger steamer7,936jp
4 ships sunk (14,668 tons).

We have a picture of this vessel.

Media links

Kaiserliche Marine U-Boote 1914-1918

Dufeil, Yves

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