Heino von Heimburg

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Heino von Heimburg
Oberleutnant z. See v. Heimburg with Pour le Mérite, 1917
Born(1889-10-24)24 October 1889
Died1945 (aged 55–56)
Russian SFSR
Allegiance German Empire
 Nazi Germany
Service/branch Imperial German Navy
RankVizeadmiral (vice admiral)
Commands heldUB-14, 25 March 1915 – 4 December 1915
UB-15, 4 June 1915 – 17 June 1915
UB-14, 6 February 1916 – 31 May 1916
UC-22, 1 July 1916 – 13 July 1917
UB-68, 5 October 1917 – 1 July 1918
U-35, 14 October 1918 – 11 November 1918
Battles/warsU-boat Campaign (World War I)
AwardsKnight's Cross with Swords of the Royal House Order of Hohenzollern
Pour le Mérite

Heino von Heimburg (24 October 1889 – October 1945) was a German U-boat commander in the Kaiserliche Marine during World War I and served also as Vizeadmiral (vice admiral) in the Kriegsmarine during World War II.

World War I[edit]

On 10 June 1915, Heimburg, in command of UB-15 sank the Italian submarine Medusa off Porto di Piave Vecchia in the northern Adriatic.[1] On 6 July 1915, Heimburg, in command of UB-14 with a crew of 14, torpedoed and sank the Italian armoured cruiser Amalfi while operating under the Austrian flag off Venice.

On 16 July, Heimburg sailed for the Dardanelles. This was at a time when the range of submarines was very limited. To reach Bodrum, UB-14 had to be towed a considerable part of the distance by an Austrian destroyer. Even so, her engine broke down off Crete and her compass became defective. Despite these problems, she arrived at Bodrum on 24 July. On arrival, she recharged the batteries of UC-14, which had arrived four days earlier with engine problems. A maintenance team then had to travel from Constantinople to carry out necessary repairs to both submarines. At the time, this journey was not easy, being made partly by train and partly by camel.

On 12 August, Heimburg sailed from Bodrum for the known steamer route between Alexandria and the Dardanelles. His first sighting was of a fully lit hospital ship seen that evening which was not attacked. On 13 August, he first sighted the liner Soudan, in service as a hospital ship.

He then sighted the RMS Royal Edward, sailing unescorted for Madras. He fired one torpedo from under a mile away which hit her stern. Royal Edward sank quickly in position 36°13′N 25°51′E / 36.217°N 25.850°E / 36.217; 25.850 six miles west of Kandeliusa in the Aegean Sea. The after deck was awash in three minutes, and the ship sank by the stern in six minutes. The death toll included 132 crewmembers and perhaps 1000 soldiers, though figures vary. The survivors were picked up by Soudan, two French destroyers and some trawlers. UB-14 did not harass the rescue effort, but headed back to Bodrum with some technical problems, arriving on the morning of the 15 August.

In August, Heimburg sank the Australian troopship Southland, bound for Gallipoli. Approximately thirty men were killed, while the remaining troops and crew were rescued by nearby ships. A skeleton crew of volunteers managed to keep the ship afloat and beach it in Moudros harbour.

On 4 September, the British submarine E7 became entangled in enemy torpedo nets off Nagara Point in the Dardanelles. All attempts to free the submarine failed. However, they had caught the attention of Heimburg, currently in harbour with UB-14, which was undergoing repairs at nearby Çanakkale. He visited the spot in a small skiff, from which he lowered a small explosive charge. E7 was forced to the surface. Her crew scuttled her before they were taken as prisoners of war.

On 5 November, Heimburg torpedoed and sank the British submarine E20. After taking command of UC-22, he also torpedoed and sank the French submarine Ariane on 19 June 1917. On 11 August, Heino von Heimburg was awarded the Pour le Mérite.

Interwar period[edit]

While interviewing German veterans of the U-boats, American journalist Lowell Thomas was introduced to Heimburg by Lothar von Arnauld de la Perière. Heimburg's interview about his wartime service appeared in Thomas' 1928 book Raiders of the Deep.[2]

World War II[edit]

At the beginning of World War II, Heimburg was a judge at the Reichskriegsgericht. Until 1943, when he was retired, Heimburg served in Bremen. In 1944 he was selected to sit on the People's court, a Nazi special court. In March 1945 Heimburg was apprehended by the Soviets and died in a POW camp near Stalingrad in 1945.




  1. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit during WWI: Medusa". German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Uboat.net. Retrieved 4 November 2008.
  2. ^ Lowell Thomas (1928), Raiders of the Deep, pages 131-144.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Rangliste der Deutschen Reichsmarine, Hrsg.: Reichswehrministerium, Mittler & Sohn, Berlin 1929, S.43


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