Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Günther Prien short Profile

Do you know Günther Prien?? NO??. He is the most brave German's (NA) U-boat commander. Just like what i post before about U-boat. U-boat is a German sub, back to Prien.

  Lieutenant Commander Günther Prien (16 January 1908 – presumed 7 March 1941) was a German U-boat ace of the first part of theSecond World War, and the first U-boat commander to win the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) and the first member of the Kriegsmarine to receive the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub). The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. It was Germany's highest military decoration at the time of its presentation to Günther Prien.[Note 1]

Under Prien's command, the submarine U-47 sank over 30 Allied ships totaling about 200,000 gross register tons (GRT). His most famous exploit was the sinking of the British battleship HMS Royal Oak at anchor in the Home Fleet's anchorage in Scapa Flow.

First patrol

World War II commenced during Prien's first patrol in U-47. He departed Kiel on 19 August 1939 for a patrol lasting 28 days. On 5 September, he sank the British ship Bosnia, the second U-boat kill of the war. Two more British vessels fell victim to Prien over the next two days. U-47 returned to Kiel on 15 September.
Second patrol — Scapa Flow
On 14 October 1939, Prien risked shallow water, unknown shoals, tricky currents and detection by defenders to penetrate the Royal Navy's primary base, Scapa Flow. Although most of the Home Fleet was at sea, Prien sank the battleship Royal Oak and returned home to instant fame. He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, personally by Adolf Hitler, and was the first sailor of the U-boat service and the second member of the Kriegsmarine to receive this award. The mission into Scapa Flow called for volunteers only; Prien had no hesitation in accepting the mission. In a token to the voluntary nature of the mission, Prien spoke to his crew while U-47 was lying off Scapa Flow, and having briefed them, he announced that anyone not wishing to volunteer could leave the boat immediately. Unsurprisingly, no one accepted the offer to disembark in the middle of the North Sea. Prien received the nickname Der Stier von Scapa Flow ("The Bull of Scapa Flow"); the emblem of a snorting bull was painted on the conning tower of U-47 and soon became the emblem of the entire 7th U-boat Flotilla. Two members of the Scapa Flow crew earned the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross during World War II: the chief engineer (Leitender Ingenieur) Johann-Friedrich Wessels and 1st watch officer (I. Wachoffizier) Engelbert Endrass.
Kept secret by the German naval command was the fact that Prien had fired a total of seven torpedoes at his target, of which five failed because of long-standing problems with their depth steering and their magnetic detonator systems. These problems continued to bedevil the German submariners for a long time and particularly during the German invasion of Norway, when the U-boats were unable to keep the Royal Navy at bay.
Prien narrated the attack in the book Mein Weg nach Scapa Flow (1940, Deutscher Verlag Berlin).
Third patrol
U-47 under the command of Prien with 1st watch officer (I. WO) Oberleutnant zur See Engelbert Endrass and chief engineer Oberleutnant (Ing.) Johann-Friedrich Wessels left Kiel on 16 November 1939. U-47 attacked a British cruiser on 28 November 1939. Prien had identified the ship to be a London-class cruiser. Prien fired a spread of three torpedoes, and believed he had hit the cruiser at least once. He had observed through the periscope how one torpedo struck the stern of the cruiser, causing the deck side mounted aircraft to go overboard. Prien surfaced and tried to pursue the cruiser but was driven off by depth charges dropped from the escort. It turned out the cruiser was HMS Norfolk which was slightly damaged by the torpedo detonating close by.The attack was reported in the daily Wehrmachtbericht on 29 November 1939, claiming the destruction of the cruiser. The war diary of the Befehlshaber der U-Boote (BdU) on 17 December 1939 stated that even though a hit was observed the cruiser was not sunk.
On 5 December 1939 U-47 spotted 12 merchant vessels escorted by 3 destroyers. Prien fired three torpedoes sinking the British steamer Navasota from Convoy OB 46 on its way to Buenos Aires, killing 37 sailors. The next day at 20:29 the Norwegian tanker Britta was sunk killing 6 of her crew followed by the Dutch Tajandoen on 7 December 1939. Trimming the boat on 8 December 1939, Wessels reported that the boat only had sufficient fuel to make the return trip. The BdU ordered U-47 to return to port. U-47 returned to Kiel on 18 December 1939. The claims made by Prien are noted in the war diary of the BdU on 17 December 1939:
  1. steamer of unknown origin 12,000 GRT
  2. Norwegian tanker 10,000 GRT
  3. Dutch tanker 9,000 GRT
for a total of 31,000 GRT plus one British warship damaged, while the actual tonnage was only 23,168 GRT.

Later career
Following later patrols and raids on Allied merchant shipping, Prien was awarded the Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross in 1940.
Heinz Rühmann, Hans Brausewetter and Josef Sieber sang a persiflage of the 1939 song Das kann doch einen Seemann nicht erschütternThat cannot shake a sailor, written by Michael Jaryfrom the film Paradies der JunggesellenBachelor's Paradise, on account of the Oak Leaves presentation to Prien. The reworded lyrics are Das muss den ersten Seelord doch erschütternThat must shake the First Sea Lord, alluding to Winston Churchill.
Not long after Prien was promoted to the rank of Korvettenkapitän (lieutenant commander), the U-47 went missing on 7 March 1941 while attacking Convoy OB-293. She has generally been thought to have been sunk by the British destroyer HMS Wolverine west of Ireland; the submarine was attacked by Wolverine and HMS Verity, which took turns covering each other's ASDIC blind spots and dropping patterns of depth charges until U-47 rose almost to the surface before sinking and then exploded with an orange flash visible from the surface.
To date, there is no official record of what happened to the U-47 or her 45 crewmen, though a variety of possibilities exists, including mines, a mechanical failure, falling victim to her own torpedoes, and possibly a later attack that did not confirm any kills by the corvette team of HMS Camellia and HMS Arbutus.
Prien's death was kept secret until 23 May. Churchill had personally announced it to the House of Commons, and propaganda broadcasts to Germany had harped on the question of "Where is Prien?" until Germany was forced to acknowledge his loss.
Although Prien was at sea for less than two years, his record stands high among the U-boat aces during the Second World War. He spent 238 days at sea and sank 30 enemy vessels for a total tonnage of 193,808 GRT.

Ships attacked
During his career Prien sank 30 commercial ships for 162,769 GRT, one warship of 29,150 GRT, and damaged eight commercial ships for 62,751 GRT and one warship of 10,035 GRT.