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Robert Gysae

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Title: Robert Gysae  
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Robert Gysae

Robert Gysae
Born (1911-01-14)14 January 1911
Berlin-Charlottenburg, German Empire
Died 26 April 1989(1989-04-26) (aged 78)
Wilhelmshaven, Germany
Allegiance Weimar Republic (to 1933)
Nazi Germany (to 1945)
West Germany
Service/branch  Reichsmarine
 German Navy
Years of service 1931–45, 1956–70
Rank Korvettenkapitän (Kriegsmarine), Flottillenadmiral (Bundesmarine)
Commands held U-98
Marinepanzerjagd-Regiment 1
Marinedivision Nordsee
Battles/wars Battle of the Atlantic (1939-1945)
Awards Iron Cross 1st Class
Iron Cross 2nd Class
U-boat War Badge
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
U-boat Front Clasp

Robert Gysae (January 14, 1911 – April 26, 1989) was a Korvettenkapitän with the Kriegsmarine during World War II. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (German: 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. Gysae commanded U-98 and U-177, sinking twenty-five ships on eight patrols, for a total of 146,815 gross register tons (GRT) tons of Allied shipping, to become the fifteenth highest scoring U-Boat ace of World War II.


  • Career 1
  • Summary of career 2
    • Ships attacked 2.1
    • Awards 2.2
    • Wehrmachtbericht references 2.3
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Gysae joined the Reichsmarine in 1931 and served on torpedo boats before transferring to the U-bootwaffe ("U-boat force") in April 1940. In October 1940 he was appointed commander of the Type VIIC U-boat U-98, unusually without serving any time as either 1.WO (1. Wachoffizier, "1st Watch Officer") or Kommandantenschüler ("Commander-in-Training") on any other U-boats. After six patrols in the north Atlantic in command of U-98, in March 1942 he transferred to the Type IXD2 U-boat U-177 for another two patrols, this time operating off South Africa and Portuguese East Africa. He sank a total of 25 ships, including the armed merchant cruiser HMS Salopian.

On 28 November 1942 off the coast of Natal Province, Gysae sank the 6,796 ton British troop ship RMS Nova Scotia with three torpedoes. She was carrying 780 Italians; a mixture of prisoners of war and civilian internees. Gysae rescued two survivors to identify the ship, who turned out to be Italian merchant sailors. Mindful of the Laconia Order issued two months previously, Gysae radioed the BdU, who ordered him to continue his patrol. The BdU notified the Portuguese authorities, who sent the frigate NRP Afonso de Albuquerque from Lourenço Marques to help. Of 1,052 people from the Nova Scotia only 194 survived: 192 rescued by the frigate and two others in subsequent days. 858 were killed, including 650 Italians.[1]

In January 1944 he became commander of 25th U-boat Flotilla, a training flotilla based at Gotenhafen. In April 1945, during the last month of the war, Gysae commanded the Marinepanzerjagd-Regiment 1, a naval anti-tank regiment. After the war he served in the Deutscher Minenräumdienst ("German Mine Sweeping Administration") for more than two years. In 1956 he joined the Bundesmarine, serving for four years as Navy attaché in the United States, and then three years as commander of Marinedivision Nordsee with the rank of Flottillenadmiral before retiring in 1970. He died in 1989 aged 78.[2]

Summary of career

Ships attacked

During his career Gysae sunk 24 commercial ships for 136,266 GRT, one auxiliary warship of 10,549 GRT, and damaged one ship for 2,588 GRT.[2]

Date Name of Ship Nationality Tonnage Fate
27 March 1941 Koranton  United Kingdom 6,695 Sunk at
4 April 1941 Helle  Norway 2,467 Sunk at
Welcombe  United Kingdom 5,122 Sunk at
9 April 1941 Prins Willem II  Netherlands 1,304 Sunk at
13 May 1941 HMS Salopian  United Kingdom 10,549 Sunk at
20 May 1941 Rothermere  United Kingdom 5,356 Sunk at
21 May 1941 Marconi  United Kingdom 7,402 Sunk at
9 July 1941 Designer  United Kingdom 5,945 Sunk at
Inverness  United Kingdom 4,897 Sunk at
16 September 1941 Jedmoor  United Kingdom 4,392 Sunk at
15 February 1942 Biela  United Kingdom 5,298 Sunk at
2 November 1942 Aegeus  Greece 4,538 Sunk at
9 November 1942 Cerion  United Kingdom 2,588 Damaged at
19 November 1942 Scottish Chief  United Kingdom 7,006 Sunk at
20 November 1942 Pierce Butler  United States 7,191 Sunk at
28 November 1942 RMS Nova Scotia  United Kingdom 6,796 Sunk at
30 November 1942 Llandaff Castle  United Kingdom 10,799 Sunk at
7 December 1942 Saronikos  Greece 3,548 Sunk at
12 December 1942 Empire Gull  United Kingdom 6,408 Sunk at
14 December 1942 Sawahloento  Netherlands 3,085 Sunk at
28 May 1943 Agwimonte  United States 6,679 Sunk at
Storaas  Norway 7,886 Sunk at
6 July 1943 Jasper Park  Canada 7,129 Sunk at
10 July 1943 Alice F. Palmer  United States 7,176 Sunk at
29 July 1943 Cornish City  United Kingdom 4,952 Sunk at
5 August 1943 Efthalia Mari  Greece 4,195 Sunk at


Wehrmachtbericht references

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
Friday, 23 May 1941 Bei Angriffen gegen den erwähnten feindlichen Geleitzug zeichneten sich die von Kapitänleutnant Wohlfahrt und Kapitänleutnant Gysae geführten Unterseeboote besonders aus.[7] In attacks against the already mentioned enemy convoy distinguished themselves from the rest the submarines under the leadership of Captain Lieutenant Wohlfahrt (sic) and Captain Lieutenant Gysae.


  1. ^ "Nova Scotia (Troop transport) - Ships hit by U-boats -". Retrieved 5 March 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Robert Gysae"Korvettenkapitän". Retrieved 18 April 2010. 
  3. ^ Busch & Röll 2003, p. 182.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Busch & Röll 2003, p. 183.
  5. ^ a b c d Busch & Röll 2003, p. 184.
  6. ^ a b Scherzer 2007, p. 356.
  7. ^ Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 1, p. 537.
  • 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.  
  • Kurowski, Franz (1995). Knight's Cross Holders of the U-Boat Service. Atglen, PA:  
  • Range, Clemens (1974). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Kriegsmarine [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the Navy]. Stuttgart, Germany: Motorbuch Verlag.  
  • Schaulen, Fritjof (2003). Eichenlaubträger 1940 – 1945 Zeitgeschichte in Farbe I Abraham – Huppertz [Oak Leaves Bearers 1940 – 1945 Contemporary History in Color I Abraham – Huppertz] (in German). Selent, Germany: Pour le Mérite.  
  • 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 Miltaer-Verlag.  
  • Thomas, Franz (1997). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 1: A–K [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 1: A–K] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag.  
  • 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.  

External links

  • Deutsche Marinesoldaten
  • Wehrmacht Lexikon
  • Ritterkreuzträger 1939–45
Military offices
Preceded by
Fregattenkapitän Karl Neitzel
Commander of the 25th U-boat Flotilla
5 January 1944 – 21 April 1945
Succeeded by
Korvettenkapitän Georg-Wilhelm Schulz
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