Ottokar Arnold Paulssen
Korvettenkapitän (Crew 34)
6 ships sunk, total tonnage 31,729 GRT
1 warship sunk, total tonnage 5,220 tons
|Born||11 Oct 1915||Berlin-Charlottenburg|
|Died||16 Dec 1941||(26)||Mediterranean|
|U-20||8 Jun 1940||5 Jan 1941||No war patrols|
|U-557||13 Feb 1941||16 Dec 1941 (+)||4 patrols (120 days)|
Ottokar Arnold Paulssen joined the German Navy (Reichsmarine) in 1934. He served as the First Watch officer (1WO) on the U-26 (Klaus Ewerth) from April 1939 to Jan 1940. During this time he went out on 2 patrols with the boat during which the boat sank 4 ships.
From Jan to June 1940 he served as Watch officer and did his Commander sea training on the "duck" U-18 (Ernst Mengersen). The boat sank one small ship on the first of two patrols Paulssen went out on.
On 8 June 1940 Paulssen was given command of the "duck" U-20 then serving as a school boat. He would command this boat until 5 Jan 1941 when he began his U-boat familiarization (Baubelehrung) for the larger attack boats at Hamburg.
For his third patrol with the U-557 Paulssen was sent to the Mediterranean. He successfully passed through the heavily guarded Straits of Gibraltar on 26 Nov 1941 having left Lorient, France 7 days earlier (Busch and Röll, 1997). He made his new base at Messina with the 29th flotilla.
Paulssen was rather successful with his boat, having sunk 6 merchant ships for almost 32,000 GRT and sinking the British light cruiser HMS Galatea on 15 Dec 1941. He would be lost the day after his last success.
Kptlt. Paulssen was lost with his entire crew, 43 men, when the boat was sunk at 2144hrs on 16 Dec, 1941 in the Mediterranean west of Crete, in position 35.31N, 23.19E, after accidental ramming by the Italian torpedo boat Orione (Niestle, 1998). The Germans sent out patrols to search for survivors the next day after correctly guessing the Orione, herself barely surviving the ramming, had rammed the friendly U-557 but no survivors were found (Blair, 1996).
Blair, C. (1996). Hitler’s U-boat War. The Hunters, 1939-1942.
Busch, R. and Röll, H-J. (1998). German U-boat commanders of World War II.
Busch, R. and Röll, H-J. (1997). Der U-Bootkrieg 1939-1945 (Band 2).
Niestle, A. (1998). German U-boat losses during World War II.
Patrol info for Ottokar Arnold Paulssen
|1.||U-557||13 May 1941||Kiel||10 Jul 1941||Lorient||Patrol 1,||59 days|
|2.||U-557||13 Aug 1941||Lorient||15 Aug 1941||Lorient||Patrol 2,||3 days|
|3.||U-557||20 Aug 1941||Lorient||19 Sep 1941||Lorient||Patrol 2,||31 days|
|4.||U-557||19 Nov 1941||Lorient||7 Dec 1941||Messina||Patrol 3,||19 days|
|5.||U-557||9 Dec 1941||Messina||16 Dec 1941||Sunk||Patrol 4,||8 days|
|4 patrols, 120 days at sea|
Ships hit by Ottokar Arnold Paulssen
|Date||U-boat||Name of ship||Tons||Nat.||Convoy|
|29 May 1941||U-557||Empire Storm||7,290||br||HX-128|
|27 Aug 1941||U-557||Segundo||4,414||nw||OS-4|
|27 Aug 1941||U-557||Saugor||6,303||br||OS-4|
|27 Aug 1941||U-557||Tremoda||4,736||br||OS-4|
|27 Aug 1941||U-557||Embassage||4,954||br||OS-4|
|2 Dec 1941||U-557||Fjord||4,032||nw|
|15 Dec 1941||U-557||HMS Galatea (71)||5,220||br|
7 ships sunk (36,949 tons).
About ranks and decorations
Ranks shown in italics are our database inserts based on the rank dates of his crew comrades. The officers of each crew would normally have progressed through the lower ranks at the same rate.