Nemesis: Admiral Sir Max Horton and the Defeat of the U-Bootwaffe, Part One

 

 The Admiral Who Won the Battle of the Atlantic,  Defeated the U-Boat Menace, and Played Golf Every Day.

 

(c) National Maritime Museum; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

 Admiral Sir Max Kennedy Horton, RN (1883–1951)

Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath, Distinguished Service Order & two bars, Legion of Merit from the United States of America, Order of St George,  Board of Trade Medal for Saving Life at Sea, Légion d’honneur, Croix de Guerre; Order of St. Vladimir, Order of St. Anna, Order of St. Stanislaus; Order of Orange-Nassau, Order of St. Olaf.

(the painting is oil on canvass by Arthur Douglas Wales-Smith. Courtesy of the National Maritime Museum.)

 

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How sweet is victory!

 

U 1009, the first U-boat to surrender, arrives at Loch Eriboll, Scotland after a voyage from Bergen. With her black surrender flag flying, U 1009 approaches escort ships of the Royal Navy. In the background is the Captain class frigate HMS BYRON of the 21st Escort Group.

 

 

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The victor and the vanquished

Admiral Sir Max Horton, C in C Western Approaches inspects surrendered U Boat 532; escorted by a German Officer – May 1945. (photo courtesy of the Imperial War Museum)

While not identified in the caption, I believe the German officer is the kommandant of the boat, Frkpt. Ottoheinrich Junker who commanded U-532 from 11 November 1942 until 10 May 1945. Even with a magnifying glass, it is difficult to clearly see the number of “piston rings” on the German officer’s uniform.

I think there are four which would be the number of rings on the uniform of a Frkpt. The abbreviation, Frkpt, is standard in the German navy then and now for Fregattenkapitan, which translates literally as “frigate captain.”

While the kommandant of a U-boat traditionally wore a white cap cover, this was not a regulation, just a tradition. Some kommandants did it and others didn’t. Hence the officer showing the boat to Horton could easily be one of the kommandants who did not wear the white cap cover. Some thought it an affectation.

 

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U 532, a Type IXC/40 submarine. Photographed entering Gladstone Dock, Liverpool after surrender to the Royal Navy.

(photo by Lt. C.H. Parnall, official Royal Navy photographer, courtesy of the Imperial War Museum)

 

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14 May 1945 German U-boat U-2326 surrenders to Naval Officer in Charge (NOIC) at Dundee. 

 

This photograph shows the kommandant of U-2326 and his erste wachoffizier (First Watch Officer who would be the second-in-command) leaving the HQ of NOIC Dundee. The erste wachoffizier has bumped his head and is rubbing the spot.

The officer leading the two men is an interpreter from the Dutch Navy. The sailor to the left is probably Dutch as well since he appears to be wearing a gun belt. Further, his cap with chin strap is unusual and his collar flap is neither German nor British.

 

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U-2326  arriving in Dundee to surrender. U-Boats received a specific order from Donitz to comply with a series of Allied demands including flying a black flag and to surrendering at the nearest Allied port. Several hundred crews scuttled their boats rather than comply with this order.

    (photos courtesy of www.frigatenicorn.org)

 

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Admiral Sir Max Horton (left), Commander-in-Chief Western Approaches, 19th November 1942 to 15th August 1945, and Admiral Sir John Tovey, Commander-in-Chief, Home Fleet, 2nd December 1940 to 8th May 1943, on board H.M.S. King George V.

Each surrender of a U-Boat would have been reported to Western Approaches Command and these messages must have brought immense gratification to Admiral Sir Max Horton and his staff. Victory over the Nazis saved Western Civilization.

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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/