Fritz Frauenheim

Fritz Frauenheim
Born (1912-03-09)9 March 1912
Died 28 September 1969(1969-09-28) (aged 57)
Allegiance  Weimar Republic (to 1933)
 Nazi Germany
Service/branch  Reichsmarine
Years of service 1930–45
Rank Fregattenkapitän
Unit 2nd U-boat Flotilla
1st U-boat Flotilla
7th U-boat Flotilla
23rd U-boat Flotilla
29th U-boat Flotilla
Commands held U-21, 1 October 1937 - 6 January 1940
U-101, 11 March 1940 - 18 November 1940
Awards Spanish Cross
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
Other work Oil industry

Fritz Frauenheim (9 January 1912 – 28 September 1969) was a German U-boat commander of the Second World War. From September 1939 until retiring from front line service in December 1940, he sank 19 ships for a total of 78,853 gross register tons (GRT), and damaged two others. For this he received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes), among other commendations. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.

Early life

Frauenheim was born in Berlin-Friedenau on 9 March 1912. He entered the navy and spent his initial training on the cadet ship Schleswig-Holstein, followed by a period on the light cruiser Karlsruhe. He was transferred to the U-boat force in January 1936 and rose quickly through the ranks and on 1 April 1939 he was promoted to Kapitänleutnant.[1] He appears to have spent time with the German forces supporting the Spanish Nationalist forces during the Spanish Civil War, as he was awarded the Spanish Cross on 6 June 1939.[1]

Wartime career

Frauenheim had been made watch officer on U-25 in 1938, eventually spending over a year in this role, until October 1939.[1] He was appointed to command U-21 on 1 October 1937, eventually carrying out five patrols, eventually sinking four merchant ships. He also laid mines, one of which damaged HMS Belfast on 21 November, putting her out of action for nearly three years.[1] The Net-class boom defence vessel Bayonet was sunk by one of U-21’s mines on 21 December.[1]

Frauenheim left U-21 on 6 January 1940, taking over command of the newly built U-101 on 11 March 1940. He commissioned the boat and took her on four successful patrols. He sank a total of 12 ships, including three sunk and one damaged from convoy SC-7.[1] He left U-101 on 18 November 1940 and became a teacher in the 2nd ULD. He went on to hold a number of staff positions, before taking command of 23rd U-boat Flotilla in the Mediterranean in September 1941. In 1942 he moved to command 29th U-boat Flotilla. On 1 March 1943 he was promoted to Korvettenkapitän.[1] In February 1944 Frauenheim joined the staff of the Admiral der Kleinkampfverbände (Admiral of Midget Assault Units), where he remained for the rest of the war. He was again promoted, this time to Fregattenkapitän on 1 December 1944.[1]

Post war

After the end of the war Frauenheim spent eight months in Allied captivity before being released.[1] Frauenheim for almost 20 years until his death worked at the Mobil Oil AG in the Federal Republic of Germany. His last position was a member of the board and head of the department of Marine Transportation and Pipelines.[2] He died in Hamburg on 28 September 1969, aged 57.

Summary of career

Ships attacked

As commander of U-21 and U-101 Fritz Frauenheim is credited with the sinking of 18 ships for a total of 78,248 gross register tons (GRT), further damaging one ship of 4,166 GRT, sinking one auxiliary warship of 605 GRT, and damaging one warship of 11,500 long tons (11,700 tonnes).

Date U-boat Name Nationality Tonnage
21 November 1939U-21HMS Belfast Royal Navy11,500Damaged (mine)
1 December 1939U-21Mercator Finland4,620Sunk
21 December 1939U-21Carl Henckel Sweden1,352Sunk
21 December 1939U-21HMS Bayonet Royal Navy605Sunk (mine)
21 December 1939U-21Mars Sweden1,475Sunk
31 January 1940U-21Vidar Denmark1,353Sunk
24 February 1940U-21Royal Archer United Kingdom2,266Sunk (mine)
26 May 1940U-101Stanhall United Kingdom4,831Sunk
31 May 1940U-101Orangemoor United Kingdom5,775Sunk
2 June 1940U-101Polycarp United Kingdom3,577Sunk
11 June 1940U-101Mount Hymettus Greece5,820Sunk
12 June 1940U-101Earlspark United Kingdom5,250Sunk
14 June 1940U-101Antonis Georgandis Greece3,557Sunk
16 June 1940U-101Wellington Star United Kingdom13,212Sunk
19 August 1940U-101Ampleforth United Kingdom4,576Sunk
28 August 1940U-101Elle Finland3,868Sunk
1 September 1940U-101Efploia Greece3,867Sunk
12 October 1940U-101Saint-Malo Canada5,799Sunk
18 October 1940U-101Blairspey United Kingdom4,155Damaged
18 October 1940U-101Creekirk United Kingdom3,917Sunk
19 October 1940U-101Assyrian United Kingdom2,962Sunk
19 October 1940U-101Soesterberg Netherlands1,904Sunk



10 October 1930: Seekadett (Midshipman)[8]
1 January 1932: Fähnrich zur See (Officer Cadet)[8]
1 April 1934: Oberfähnrich zur See (Senior Ensign)[8]
1 October 1934: Leutnant zur See (Second Lieutenant)[8]
1 June 1936: Oberleutnant zur See (First Lieutenant)[8]
1 April 1939: Kapitänleutnant (Captain Lieutenant)[8]
1 March 1943: Korvettenkapitän (Corvette Captain), effective as of 1 March 1943 with rank age dated 1 April 1943[9]
1 December 1944: Fregattenkapitän (Frigate Captain)[9]



  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Helgason, Guðmundur (1995–2013). "Fritz Frauenheim". The Men – U-boat Commanders – Top U-boat Aces. Guðmundur Helgason.
  2. Erdöl & Kohle, Erdgas, Petrochemie. 22. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Mineralölwissenschaft und Kohlechemie (Hrsg.), Industrieverlag von Hernhaussen. 1969. p. 650.
  3. Helgason, Guðmundur (1995–2013). "Ships hit by U-21". WW II U-boat -
  4. 1 2 Busch & Röll 2003, p. 58.
  5. 1 2 3 4 Busch & Röll 2003, p. 59.
  6. Scherzer 2007, p. 317.
  7. Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 121.
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Busch & Röll 2003, p. 58.
  9. 1 2 Busch & Röll 2003, p. 59.


  • Busch, Rainer; Röll, Hans-Joachim (2003). Der U-Boot-Krieg 1939–1945 — Die Ritterkreuzträger der U-Boot-Waffe von September 1939 bis Mai 1945 [The U-Boat War 1939–1945 — The Knight's Cross Bearers of the U-Boat Force from September 1939 to May 1945] (in German). Hamburg, Berlin, Bonn Germany: Verlag E.S. Mittler & Sohn. ISBN 978-3-8132-0515-2. 
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) [1986]. Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile [The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches] (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. 
  • Patzwall, Klaus D.; Scherzer, Veit (2001). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II [The German Cross 1941 – 1945 History and Recipients Volume 2] (in German). Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8. 
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives] (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Militaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. 
  • Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, 1. September 1939 bis 31. Dezember 1941 [The Wehrmacht Reports 1939–1945 Volume 1, 1 September 1939 to 31 December 1941] (in German). München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985. ISBN 978-3-423-05944-2. 

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Kapitänleutnant Werner Jacobsen
Commander of the 4th U-boat Flotilla
July 1942
Succeeded by
Fregattenkapitän Heinz Fischer
Preceded by
Korvettenkapitän Franz Becker
Commander of the 29th U-boat Flotilla
May 1942 – July 1943
Succeeded by
Korvettenkapitän Gunter Jahn
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