The Homepage for U-35, a Type VII U-Boat
... 1936 - 1939 ...

Deutsche Version.




War Patrols





Five pre-war photos of U-35. The large, white numerals were removed upon outbreak of the war. [1,8,26]


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U-35 at commissioning on 3 November 1936. Recognizable: Karlgeorg Schuster, Hans Fechter, Erwin de Terra, Otto Kretschmer, Kurt Schmidt, Anton Thimm, Walter Arnaschus, Willi Ensuleit and Klaus Ewerth. [78]

Reminiscences of Otto Kretschmer about his time on U-35, 1936-1937:
"I was a lieutenant on U-35, in the second submarine flotilla, and together with U-28, we were the first to go into the Atlantic, to Ponta Delgada in the Azores. As was customary, the boat went out for practice maneuvers in the Bay of Lübeck before departure." After continuous ups and downs on that cold December day, Kretschmer and the captain went up on the conning tower, where Otto lit up a cigar to indicate that the crew needed a rest. "I thought maybe he would let me smoke it to the end, but I looked at his eyes and thought, 'No, he will not.'" To delay any more dives, Otto announced he was going down onto the deck to get the water out of the gun and promptly descended the ladder, with cigar still clamped between his teeth.
"I was on the foredeck, adjusting the gun, when PSSSSSSH he was diving. Then up came the green sea, and I ran to the conning tower and tried to climb the periscope, hoping that I could be seen in the optics. But of course it was too oily, and I couldn't get up." Still clinging to the periscope, Otto surged downward with U-35. "When the water was dark green I let loose and popped up again."
In the impending darkness, without a life vest, Otto began to think he could not long survive in the frigid water. "It was December, and I had on heavy clothing - my leather suit with rubber at wrists and ankles - so it kept in some air to help me float. Also I had seaboots, and they held au; but in the end I had to paddle like a dog because the air was disappearing."
As Kretschmer wondered whether he could hold out, U-35 came from nowhere and threw Otto a life ring, but he was so numb with cold he could not climb aboard. "They pulled me out, pushed me up onto the conning tower, and then I said to the captain, 'Reporting back on board, sir.' He said, 'Thank you, thank you very much. Please go down.' No apology."
"When I got down I took off all my wet things and drank a good deal of rum - you see, there was no heating in the boat. I lay down on the bunk and vigorously exercised my arms and legs, and then I asked for hot water bottles to put on myself so I could get warm again. Otherwise I would have died there on the bunk."
Were it not for the captain looking through the periscope as U-35 dived, noting as he did that something was "funny" - that perhaps someone was out there - Otto Kretschmer soon would have disappeared. When the boat arrived in port, someone told a reporter about the incident, and an article appeared in a local paper that Kretschmer had survived a near-fatal accident in the Baltic with a cigar in his mouth. "Obviously the cigar part was not true," smiled Otto. (He has given up smoking.)
Before U-35 set out for southern waters, the captain informed Otto, who was in charge of provisions: "Rule number one is to feed the crew. If the crew is well fed, everything will work." Otto followed instructions to allow everyone access to the food stores for twentyfour hours a day, letting each sailor take what he liked. Unfortunately, at the end of the trip the consumption had gone way over the budget, and Otto was held accountable.
"I was going to have to pay for all that myself, so I told the authorities that I had only followed the commander's instructions. But the commander denied knowing anything about it, and even though I said I would swear to it and that others had witnessed, I still had to make it good." The naval staff explained that he could cut back somewhere and credit would be applied to his debt, so Kretschmer told the crew that from then on, since they had eaten so much, they could have their usual late meal of bread and butter, but with nothing on top except tinned fish. "The fish cost ten pfennigs only, but this saved us a lot of money. It was the only way." And it worked.
Otto continued his duties on U-35, with a mission to Spain as part of an international force involved in the Spanish Civil War. Four U-boats were assigned to guard the borders of Spain against Soviet and other reinforcements, and "we had two lines to protect - one at the French border in the Bay of Biscay. We were at El Ferrol, then at Cádiz and then Tangier, Morocco. The intention was to keep the civil war inside Spain." [59]

schiffsglocke.jpg (114983 bytes)The crew of U-35 on about 06 December 1936. [78]


ensuleitspanien.jpg (84048 bytes)U-35 in Ponta Delgada, Azores, January 1937. 

From left: Gruber?, unknown, Wilhelm Seifert?, Richard Lüneburg, unknown, Erwin Sparfeldt, Alfred Hornickel?, Wilhelm Fischer, Wilhelm Ebeling, Max Geißler?, Karl Reinecke, Willi Ensuleit (leaning on railing beside conning tower). [78]


Urbahns01b.jpg (62631 bytes)The crew of U-35 in September 1937 in Kiel. [90]


U-35 in Cuxhaven, Germany, after being rammed by the freighter "Duisburg" on 18 October 1937. [47]


U-35 underway during the Spanish Civil War.
The national colors of black, white and red are painted the full height of the front of the conning tower for easier identification; the superimposed national badge is presumably gold or yellow picked out with black. The seamen seem to wear the four-button single-breasted jacket of the pre-war brown working denims, with leather trowsers and dark blue fall-collar sweaters; and note that the flat seaman's cap is still worn by all ratings.
In front:
Walter Arnaschus, Erich Bartold May, and Ernst Wensorra [33]


Walter Roloff, Paul Fichte, Siegfried Bruse, Peter Schwarz, and Johann van der Pütten underway on U-35. [56]


U-35 in the Spanish port city of Cadiz during the Spanish Civil War. Johann van der Pütten, Karl Schnute, Peter Schwarz, Paul Fichte, Karl Sommerer, Siegfried Bruse. [47]


U-35 on New Year's Day, 1939, in Spain (probably El Ferrol) during the Spanish Civil War. On the dock: Wilhelm Fischer, Georg Hengen, Walter Arnaschus, Johannes Martin. On board U-35: Theodor Schütt, unknown, Ernst Wensorra, Peter Schwarz, Johann van der Pütten, Paul Fichte, Helmut Parthum, Erich Herrmann. [47]


U-35 crewmembers cleaning their provisions of bread, which had gotten mouldy. Johann van der Pütten, Walter Kalabuch, Karl Schnute, Gerhard Marx, Wilhelm Janssen, Peter Schwarz, Gerhard Freier.  [47]


Karl Schnute, Karl Sommerer, Johannes Weigand, Paul Fichte and Willi Jacob in Spain. [47]


The crew of U-35 in Spain, 1939. Siegfried Bruse, Paul Fichte, Peter von der Helm, Gustav Horstkötter, Willi Jacob, Martin Müller, Johann van der Pütten, Rockenfeller, Walter Roloff, Hans-Joachim Roters, Karl-Heinz Schmidt, Karl Schnute, Albert Schrader, Peter Schwarz, Theodor Schütt, Karl Sommerer, Johannes Weigand, Ernst Wensorra [44]


Crewmembers of U-35 on the shore in Spain: Siegfried Bruse, Willi Jacob, and Theodor Schütt [44]


The U-35 crew in Spain. [64]


U-35 crewmembers manning the deck gun. From left: Rudi Schmidt, Erich Herrmann, Willi Jacob, [unknown], Wilhelm Fischer (front), [unknown], [unknown], Johann van der Pütten. [47]


U-35 crewmembers Stefan Döbele, Richard Menzel, Wilhelm Strauss, Lindemann, Martin Müller, Otto Wagner, Karl Fehr. [47,72]


U-35 taking on fuel from the Westerwald. The other U-Boat is not identified. Identifiable are Peter Schwarz and Karl Sommerer. [47]


Crewmembers of U-35 gathered around the conning tower hatch. From upper left: Rudi Schmidt, 2X unknown, Heinz Sandmüller, Karl Schnute, Willi Jacob, unknown, Hans-Bernhard Michalowski, Peter Schwarz. [47]


The Saltzwedel Flotilla in the port of Bremen. Left to right: U-25, U-27, U-28, U-29, U-30, U-33 and U-35. [47]


U-32 and U-35 on 05 February 1938, preparing for another patrol to Spain. [47]


Kptlt. Werner Lott on U-35, and Kptlt. Paul Büchel on U-32. [60]


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U-35 with ADMIRAL SCHEER in the background.


On the conning tower of U-35 in August 1939:

unknown, unknown, Willi Dietrich, unknown, Gerhard Stamer. [56]


Erich May, Ernst Wensorra and Rudi Schmidt. [47]


Crash of a Klemm 35 training aircraft in Warnemünde in early summer 1939.
The aircraft's approach to the Warnemünde airport was far too low, and its right wing made contact with the conning tower of U-35. The wing broke, and the plane plunged into the Warnow river. Martin Müller cut the pilot out of his straps with his knife, thereby saving him from drowning. As a reward, the entire crew of U-35 was promised a free flight, which never materialized due to the onset of war. U-35 crewmembers later saw the pilot in Canada as a fellow POW. [44,47]

On 17 June 1938 at 10:07 a.m., while on practice maneuvers, U-35 was overrun by the pocket battleship ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE resulting in extensive damage to U-35 and a damaged screw on the ADMIRAL GRAF SPEE. [31]

U-35 returning to port after the parade. Flotilla commander Hans Ibbeken in the foreground. [72]




[73] [13]


During a peacetime drill in 1938, U-30 was involved with a near-fatal collision with a sister ship. The commander of U-30, Fritz-Julius Lemp, demonstrated remarkable coolness and control in the crisis, earning the praise of Karl Dönitz and Saltzwedel Flotilla commander Hans Ibbeken, as well as his own crew (three officers and forty enlisted men). According to [6] the sister ship was U-35, but crew members of U-35 do not recall this incident; it was therefore likely a different U-Boat.




War Patrols



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