Kapitänleutnant (Crew 30)
36 ships sunk, total tonnage 153,677 GRT
4 ships damaged, total tonnage 17,229 GRT
1 ship a total loss, total tonnage 2,205 GRT
|Born||8 Mar 1912||Flensburg|
|Died||17 Mar 1941||(29)||North Atlantic|
|U-3||29 Oct 1938||2 Jan 1940||3 patrols (24 days)|
|U-19||3 Jan 1940||30 Apr 1940||5 patrols (64 days)|
|U-100||30 May 1940||17 Mar 1941 (+)||6 patrols (112 days)|
Kptlt. Schepke on board during the return
Joachim Schepke began his naval career in April 1930. He spent two years on the cruiser Deutschland before, like Günther Prien, he transferred to the U-boat force in October 1935. Later he spent 18 months as an instructor in the torpedo-school at Flensburg, but in 1938 he became commander of the training U-boat U-3. With U-3 he achieved his first successes, before leaving the U-boat in January 1940.
He then took command of U-19 and sank nine ships with a total of 15,715 tons.
But Kapitänleutnant Schepke became well known as commander of U-100 in September 1940. On his second patrol with this boat, in two days he sank seven ships with a total of 50,340 tons. Two days later he received the Knights Cross.
Kptlt. Schepke in Berlin 6 weeks before his death
Also outstanding was the day of 23 November, 1940, when Schepke sank seven ships totaling 24,601 tons. One week later he was awarded the Oak Leaves to his Knights Cross.
In 1940 he published a book, U-Boot Fahrer von heute (U-boat men of today), describing life on a U-boat in simple terms. This book is illustrated with his own paintings.
Schepke, a handsome young man, was nicknamed Ihrer Majestät bestaussehender Offizier (Her Majesty's best-looking officer. The expression Ihrer Majestät is used to indicate the country's leader, and is not referring to royalty in this case!).
In February 1941 he spoke in the Berlin Sportpalast to thousands of young Germans about the U-boat war.
Joachim Schepke was killed when U-100 was sunk at 0318hrs on 17 March, 1941 southeast of Iceland in approximate position 61N, 12W after being rammed and depth charged by the British destroyers HMS Walker and HMS Vanoc (Niestlé, 1998). Vanoc spotted U-100 with her early radar in heavy fog and chased the contact. 38 men were killed, including Schepke, who is said to have been caught on the bridge when the boat was rammed. Six crew members survived.
Busch, R. and Röll, H-J. (1999). German U-boat commanders of World War II.
Busch, R. and Röll, H-J. (1997). Der U-Bootkrieg 1939-1945 (Band 2).
Niestlé, A. (1998). German U-boat losses during World War II.
Rohwer, J. (1998). Axis Submarine Successes of World War Two.
Patrol info for Joachim Schepke
|1.||U-3||4 Sep 1939||Wilhelmshaven||8 Sep 1939||Wilhelmshaven||Patrol 1,||5 days|
|2.||U-3||13 Sep 1939||Wilhelmshaven||24 Sep 1939||Wilhelmshaven||Patrol 2,||12 days|
|3.||U-3||27 Sep 1939||Wilhelmshaven||3 Oct 1939||Kiel||Patrol 3,||7 days|
|4.||U-19||4 Jan 1940||Kiel||12 Jan 1940||Kiel||Patrol 4,||9 days|
|5.||U-19||18 Jan 1940||Kiel||28 Jan 1940||Wilhelmshaven||Patrol 5,||11 days|
|6.||U-19||14 Feb 1940||Wilhelmshaven||26 Feb 1940||Wilhelmshaven||Patrol 6,||13 days|
|7.||U-19||14 Mar 1940||Wilhelmshaven||23 Mar 1940||Wilhelmshaven||Patrol 7,||10 days|
|8.||U-19||3 Apr 1940||Wilhelmshaven||23 Apr 1940||Kiel||Patrol 8,||21 days|
|9.||U-100||9 Aug 1940||Kiel||1 Sep 1940||Lorient||Patrol 9,||24 days|
|10.||U-100||11 Sep 1940||Lorient||25 Sep 1940||Lorient||Patrol 10,||15 days|
|11.||U-100||12 Oct 1940||Lorient||23 Oct 1940||Lorient||Patrol 11,||12 days|
|12.||U-100||7 Nov 1940||Lorient||27 Nov 1940||Lorient||Patrol 12,||21 days|
|13.||U-100||2 Dec 1940||Lorient||1 Jan 1941||Kiel||Patrol 13,||31 days|
|14.||U-100||9 Mar 1941||Kiel||17 Mar 1941||Sunk||Patrol 14,||9 days|
|14 patrols, 200 days at sea|
Ships hit by Joachim Schepke
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.