What Did They Ask German U-Boat POWs at Ft. Hunt?

When first taken to Ft. Hunt, each German U-Boat officer was asked a standard set of questions. I have a copy of that now declassified information for U-128 Kommandant, Oblt. Hermann Steinert. I received this from the US National Archives in 1981.

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This is what we learn:

He was twenty-six when he was captured, single, had dark hair and blue eyes, weighed 163 lbs and stood 5’10” tall – slightly tall for a U-Boat man. Anyone above 6′ could not stand upright. His parents were his next of kin.

There are two unusual things on this form: Oblt. Steinert is from Bavaria which would have made him stand out. The officer corps of the German Navy was largely drawn from Northern Germany, particularly the port cities. Second, Oblt. Steinert is a Roman Catholic. An informal rule in the German Navy limited Catholics to less than one in seven members of the officer corps.

Oblt. Steinert had graduated from gymnasium, passed his exams, and received his arbiter, one of the many requirements to be an officer in the Kriegsmarine. He was a member of the Crew of IV/1936 (that he is entered the naval academy in 1936) and spoke some English – which would have been required of an officer in the Kriegsmarine.

U-128
Ordered: 7 August 1939
Builder: AG Weser in Bremen
Laid down: 10 July 1940
Launched: 20 February 1941
Commissioned: 12 May 1941 by Ulrich Heyse
Fate: Sunk, 17 May 1943

Training, Flotillas and Duties
05.41 – 05.43 2.U-Flottille, Wilhelmshaven & Lorient
Ausbildungsboot (under training)
Frontboot (operational)
Commanders
05.41 – 02.43 KL Ulrich Heyse
03.43 – 05.43 OL Hermann Steinert

06.04.1943 – 17.05.1943
Seventh Sailing
U-128 left Lorient under the command of Hermann Steinert on 6th Apr 1943 and arrived at return on 17th May 1943 after nearly six weeks.
On 16th May 1943 U-128 came under attack from an aircraft of USN VP-74 Squadron.
On 17th May 1943 in square FJ 67, U-128 came under attack from an aircraft of USN VP-74 Squadron. U-128 was heavily damaged in the attack.
On 17th May 1943 in square FJ 67, U-128 came under attack from an aircraft of USN VP-74 Squadron. U-128 was heavily damaged in the attack.

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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: http://charlesmccain.com/

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