Kapitänleutnant (Crew 34)
2 ships sunk, total tonnage 9,972 GRT
|Born||27 Mar 1916||Hamburg|
|Died||30 Nov 1945||(29)||Hamburg|
|U-852||15 Jun 1943||3 May 1944||1 patrol (107 days)|
Heinz-Wilhelm Eck was born in Hamburg on March 27, 1916, and was raised in Berlin. He joined the Kriegsmarine in April 1943 as part of Crew 34. He went through the usual training programs and then specialty schools and from 1937 he spent five years on minesweepers – commanding one from 1939.
In 1942 he volunteered for the U-boat force was accepted for training at Pillau on 8 June 1942. He took his commander-in-training patrol on the famous U-124 commanded by his class mate Johann Mohr from 28 October 1942 to 21 February 1943.
On June 15 Eck took command of the new type IXD boat U-852 and put the boat through months of training before heading out from Kiel, Germany heading for the Indian Ocean. Before departure he got a final briefing from men like Schnee and Moehle warning him that his boat was among the slowest, heaviest and easiest to hit in the German fleet. He was told to be very careful in the South Atlantic and that wreckage from sunken ships could be spotted by the strong air cover there for several days. He apparently took these warning very seriously as can be seen from his actions in the on 13 March 1944 where he ordered the machine-gunning of the wreckage of the sunken Greek ship Peleus. These actions killed some of the Greek crew and were unsuccessful and the boat continued on its patrol.
After the boat was destroyed in the Arabian Sea (having been beached on the shores of Somalia) on 3 May 1944 the crew was captured by a British landing party the next day. The British found the war diary of the boat, that Eck failed to destroy, and from it they learned of the Peleus affair and later tried Eck and his officers as war criminals. Sentencing three to death but two were later released.
On 30 Nov 1945 Heinz-Wilhelm Eck was executed along with two of his officers, August Hoffmann and Walter Weispfennig, in Hamburg following a war-crime court by the Allies for his part in the Peleus affair.
Messimer, D. R. (1998) Heinz-Wilhelm Eck: Siegerjustiz and the Peleus Affair
Patrol info for Heinz-Wilhelm Eck
|1.||U-852||18 Jan 1944||Kiel||3 May 1944||Sunk||Patrol 1,||107 days|
Ships hit by Heinz-Wilhelm Eck
|Date||U-boat||Name of ship||Tons||Nat.||Convoy|
|13 Mar 1944||U-852||Peleus||4,695||gr|
|1 Apr 1944||U-852||Dahomian||5,277||br|
2 ships sunk (9,972 tons).
About ranks and decorations
Special thanks to Fernando Almeida for data on ranks and decorations.