Korvettenkapitän (Crew 33)
9 ships sunk, total tonnage 53,782 GRT
|Born||30 Apr 1910||Bremen|
|Died||12 Apr 1974||(63)||Axstedt near Bremen|
|U-251||20 Sep 1941||1 Sep 1943||9 patrols (190 days)|
|U-862||7 Oct 1943||5 May 1945||2 patrols (189 days)|
Heinrich Timm began his naval career in October 1933. He spent a few years on minesweepers (M-132 and M-110) before he became commander of M-7 in July 1939. With this vessel he won his first great success at Heligoland, when he located and attacked the British submarine HMS Starfish on 9 January, 1940 and caused so much damage after hours of steady attacks on the bottomed submarine that the British commander was forced to surface and scuttle. Timm rescued all the British sailors.
Timm won the Iron Cross for his actions in the Norwegian invasion the following May, but then opted to transfer to the U-boat force and follow his former colleagues from the now famous Crew 33, Lüth, Prien and Hardegen. Timm underwent commander training at Pillau, qualifying in August 1941, and the following month commissioned the brand new Type VIIC boat U-251.
Timm had a habit of playing classical music over the boat's loudspeakers. This grew wearisome for some of the men, but also resulted in a nickname, Tüte, which refers to the cone-shaped paper bag used for sweets which also resembled the old style gramophone horn. This was also used in the U-251 emblem, which had a Tüte with a torpedo in it.
After six months of training and trials in the Baltic he arrived in Norway in April 1942 and during the next year made nine patrols in the Arctic as part of the 11th flotilla. On 3 May, 1942 while stalking convoy PQ-15, he sank his first ship as U-boat commander when he torpedoed the SS Jutland of 6135 tons. In July 1942 Timm fought against the ill-fated convoy PQ-17, where he sank one ship. During operations in the Arctic the crew learned to respect their commander as they found out he did not intend to pointlessly sacrifice the boat or his men for personal glory, always bringing his boat back undamaged while never avoiding combat.
U-251 and her crew were decommissioned temporarily when the boat returned to Germany in June 1943 for an extended refit. Since this experienced crew could not be left standing idle, they were ordered to proceed to Bremen after a short vacation where they were to commission the larger Type IXD2 boat U-862. This much larger boat then underwent training from October 1943 to May 1944 in the Baltic. She was to become one of the Monsun boats and attack Allied shipping in the Indian Ocean and the Far East. They finally left Kiel in late May 1944 and after a brief stop in Norway headed southwards. On the way south, on 5 July, Timm got word of his promotion to Korvettenkapitän. On 25 July, U-862 sank her first ship, the SS Robin Goodfellow.
On 20 August Timm managed to shoot down a Catalina aircraft H of 265 RAF squadron during its attack on the boat. When the boat reached Penang on 9 September, 1944 she had already sunk five ships.
Timm sank a total of seven ships in the Far East, the farthest distant being the Liberty ship SS Robert J. Walker, which he sank just off Sydney, Australia.
After the formal surrender in Europe on 4-5 May, the Germans remaining in the Far East were interned by the Japanese at Singapore, and U-862 was renamed I-502 (U-181 became I-501). Timm and his crew were in Singapore when the British forces arrived there on 12 September, 1945. The men returned to England in July 1946, where they were put into prisoner of war camps. Timm was one of the very last to be released, in April 1948.
After the war Fregattenkapitän Heinrich Timm served some years in the Bundesmarine, retiring as Kapitän zur See. He was among other positions the first commander of the frigate Scharnhorst before he retired in 1966.
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).
Rohwer, J. (1998). Axis Submarine Successes of World War Two.
Patrol info for Heinrich Timm
|1.||U-251||18 Apr 1942||Kiel||19 Apr 1942||Kristiansand||2 days|
|2.||U-251||20 Apr 1942||Kristiansand||25 Apr 1942||Kirkenes||Patrol 1,||6 days|
|3.||U-251||29 Apr 1942||Kirkenes||7 May 1942||Kirkenes||Patrol 1,||9 days|
|4.||U-251||9 May 1942||Kirkenes||13 May 1942||Skjomenfjord||5 days|
|5.||U-251||15 May 1942||Skjomenfjord||17 May 1942||Trondheim||3 days|
|6.||U-251||22 May 1942||Trondheim||24 May 1942||Skjomenfjord||3 days|
|7.||U-251||26 May 1942||Skjomenfjord||29 May 1942||Skjomenfjord||Patrol 2,||4 days|
|8.||U-251||7 Jun 1942||Skjomenfjord||5 Jul 1942||Harstad||Patrol 3,||29 days|
|9.||U-251||6 Jul 1942||Harstad||15 Jul 1942||Narvik||Patrol 3,||10 days|
|10.||U-251||14 Aug 1942||Narvik||14 Aug 1942||Harstad||Patrol 4,||1 days|
|11.||U-251||15 Aug 1942||Harstad||13 Sep 1942||Neidenfjord||Patrol 4,||30 days|
|12.||U-251||14 Sep 1942||Neidenfjord||3 Oct 1942||Trondheim||Patrol 5,||20 days|
|13.||U-251||14 Feb 1943||Trondheim||1 Mar 1943||Narvik||Patrol 6,||16 days|
|14.||U-251||18 Mar 1943||Narvik||21 Apr 1943||Narvik||Patrol 7,||35 days|
|15.||U-251||8 May 1943||Narvik||10 May 1943||Hammerfest||3 days|
|16.||U-251||12 May 1943||Hammerfest||29 May 1943||Trondheim||Patrol 8,||18 days|
|17.||U-251||13 Jun 1943||Trondheim||24 Jun 1943||Kiel||Patrol 9,||12 days|
|18.||U-862||20 May 1944||Kiel||26 May 1944||Bergen||7 days|
|19.||U-862||27 May 1944||Bergen||30 May 1944||Narvik||4 days|
|20.||U-862||3 Jun 1944||Narvik||9 Sep 1944||Penang||Patrol 10,||99 days|
|21.||U-862||5 Nov 1944||Penang||7 Nov 1944||Batavia||3 days|
|22.||U-862||18 Nov 1944||Batavia||15 Feb 1945||Batavia||Patrol 11,||90 days|
|23.||U-862||18 Feb 1945||Batavia||20 Feb 1945||Singapur||3 days|
|11 patrols, 379 days at sea|
Ships hit by Heinrich Timm
|Date||U-boat||Commander||Name of ship||Tons||Nat.||Convoy|
|3 May 1942||U-251||Heinrich Timm||Jutland||6,153||br||PQ-15|
|10 Jul 1942||U-251||Heinrich Timm||El Capitan||5,255||pa||PQ-17|
|25 Jul 1944||U-862||Heinrich Timm||Robin Goodfellow||6,885||am|
|13 Aug 1944||U-862||Heinrich Timm||Radbury||3,614||br|
|16 Aug 1944||U-862||Heinrich Timm||Empire Lancer||7,037||br|
|18 Aug 1944||U-862||Heinrich Timm||Nairung||5,414||br|
|19 Aug 1944||U-862||Heinrich Timm||Wayfarer||5,068||br|
|24 Dec 1944||U-862||Heinrich Timm||Robert J. Walker||7,180||am|
|6 Feb 1945||U-862||Heinrich Timm||Peter Silvester||7,176||am|
9 ships sunk (53,782 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.