Heinrich Bleichrodt

Korvettenkapitän (Crew 31)

24 ships sunk, total tonnage 151,260 GRT
1 warship sunk, total tonnage 1,060 tons
2 ships damaged, total tonnage 11,684 GRT

Born  21 Oct 1909 Berga, Kyffhäuser
Died  9 Jan 1977(67)München, Germany

Kptlt. Heinrich Bleichrodt wearing his Knights Cross with Oak Leaves


26 Jan 1933 Offiziersanwärter
1 Apr 1933 Fähnrich zur See
1 Jan 1935 Oberfähnrich zur See
1 Apr 1935 Leutnant zur See
1 Jan 1937 Oberleutnant zur See
1 Oct 1939 Kapitänleutnant
1 Nov 1943 Korvettenkapitän


25 Jul 1940 Iron Cross 2nd Class
24 Sep 1940 U-boat War Badge 1939
25 Sep 1940 Iron Cross 1st Class
24 Oct 1940 Knights Cross
1 Nov 1941 Italieniches Kriegskreuz mit Schwertern "Croce di Guerra Italiana al Valore Militare"
23 Sep 1942 Knights Cross with Oak Leaves
Oct, 1942 U-boat War Badge with Diamonds
1 Jan 1945 War Merit Cross 2nd Class with Swords

U-boat Commands

U-48 4 Sep 1940 16 Dec 1940   2 patrols (41 days) 
U-67 22 Jan 1941 4 Jun 1941   No war patrols 
U-109 5 Jun 1941 31 Jan 1943   6 patrols (364 days) 

After first serving on the training ship Gorch Fock and the heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper, Kapitänleutnant 'Ajax' Bleichrodt began his U-boat career in October 1939. Following standard training, his first posting was the small type IIB U-boat coastal boat U-8. During June/July 1940 he completed one patrol as IWO on U-34, serving under the future Knights Cross holder Kapitänleutnant Wilhelm Rollmann. They sank eight ships with a total of 22,434 tons.

In August 1940 he took command of U-48, and on 8 September 1940 he began his first patrol as a commander. Aboard as his IWO was Teddy Suhren, who was to later win the Knights Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords. Together they sank eight ships with a total of 36,189 tons.

On 21 September, 1940 the daily Wehrmachtsbericht announced:

Das unter Führung von Kapitänleutnant Bleichrodt stehende Unterseeboot hat neun Dampfer mit insgesamt 51.862 BRT versenkt.

The U-boat under the command of Kapitänleutnant Bleichrodt sank nine merchant ships with a total of 51,862 tons.

[Note that this is a case of a wartime claim differing from a postwar-verified figure.]

'Ajax' Bleichrodt's second patrol on U-48 in October 1940 was also a great success, with eight ships sunk totalling 43,106 tons.

On 18 October 1940 the daily Wehrmachtsbericht announced:

Ein Unterseeboot unter Führung vom Kapitänleutnant Bleichrodt ..., hat auf seiner letzten Unternehmung insgesamt 42.000 BRT feindlichen Handelsschiffraum versenkt.

A U-boat under the command of Kapitänleutnant Bleichrodt sank a total of 42,000 tons of enemy shipping on his most recent patrol.

Three days before the end of that patrol U-48 received a radio transmission regarding the award of a Knights Cross. When Bleichrodt learned that it was for him, he refused to wear his new medal until his IWO, Oberleutnant z. S. Teddy Suhren, had also been awarded one, since Suhren had overseen all surface action on previous missions. On 3 November 1940 Suhren became the first IWO to receive the Knights Cross for his "outstanding part in the sinking of more than 200,000 tons".

In Autumn 1940 Bleichrodt left U-48 and in January 1941 commissioned U-67. In June 1941 he took over command of U-109. During six patrols he sank 13 ships with a total of some 80,000 tons, and was awarded the Oak Leaves to his Knights Cross. After five months in the 27th (Training) Flotilla Bleichrodt served one year in the 2nd ULD (U-boat training division) as a tactical instructor, starting in July 1943. From July 1944 to the end of the war he was Chief of the 22nd Flotilla .


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).

Patrol info for Heinrich Bleichrodt

 U-boat Departure Arrival  
1. U-48 8 Sep 1940  Lorient  25 Sep 1940  Lorient  Patrol 1,18 days
2. U-48 5 Oct 1940  Lorient  27 Oct 1940  Kiel  Patrol 2,23 days
3. U-109 28 Jun 1941  Lorient  17 Aug 1941  Lorient  Patrol 3,51 days
4. U-109 21 Sep 1941  Lorient  22 Sep 1941  Lorient   2 days
5. U-109 5 Oct 1941  Lorient  18 Nov 1941  Lorient  Patrol 4,45 days
6. U-109 27 Dec 1941  Lorient  23 Feb 1942  Lorient  Patrol 5,59 days
7. U-109 25 Mar 1942  Lorient  3 Jun 1942  Lorient  Patrol 6,71 days
8. U-109 18 Jul 1942  Lorient  6 Oct 1942  Lorient  Patrol 7,81 days
9. U-109 28 Nov 1942  Lorient  23 Jan 1943  St. Nazaire  Patrol 8,57 days
8 patrols, 405 days at sea

Ships hit by Heinrich Bleichrodt

Date U-boat Commander Name of ship Tons Nat. Convoy
15 Sep 1940U-48Heinrich Bleichrodt HMS Dundee (L 84)1,060brSC-3
15 Sep 1940U-48Heinrich Bleichrodt Alexandros4,343grSC-3
15 Sep 1940U-48Heinrich Bleichrodt Empire Volunteer5,319brSC-3
18 Sep 1940U-48Heinrich Bleichrodt City of Benares11,081brOB-213
18 Sep 1940U-48Heinrich Bleichrodt Marina5,088brOB-213
18 Sep 1940U-48Heinrich Bleichrodt Magdalena3,118brSC-3
21 Sep 1940U-48Heinrich Bleichrodt Blairangus4,409brHX-72
21 Sep 1940U-48Heinrich Bleichrodt Broompark (d.)5,136brHX-72
11 Oct 1940U-48Heinrich Bleichrodt Brandanger4,624nwHX-77
11 Oct 1940U-48Heinrich Bleichrodt Port Gisborne8,390brHX-77
12 Oct 1940U-48Heinrich Bleichrodt Davanger7,102nwHX-77
17 Oct 1940U-48Heinrich Bleichrodt Languedoc9,512brSC-7
17 Oct 1940U-48Heinrich Bleichrodt Scoresby3,843brSC-7
18 Oct 1940U-48Heinrich Bleichrodt Sandsend3,612brOB-228
20 Oct 1940U-48Heinrich Bleichrodt Shirak6,023brHX-79
23 Jan 1942U-109Heinrich Bleichrodt Thirlby4,887brSC-66
1 Feb 1942U-109Heinrich Bleichrodt Tacoma Star7,924br
5 Feb 1942U-109Heinrich Bleichrodt Montrolite11,309ca
6 Feb 1942U-109Heinrich Bleichrodt Halcyon3,531pa
20 Apr 1942U-109Heinrich Bleichrodt Harpagon5,719br
1 May 1942U-109Heinrich Bleichrodt La Paz (d.)6,548br
3 May 1942U-109Heinrich Bleichrodt Laertes5,825nl
7 Aug 1942U-109Heinrich Bleichrodt Arthur W. Sewall6,030nw
11 Aug 1942U-109Heinrich Bleichrodt Vimeira5,728brE-6
3 Sep 1942U-109Heinrich Bleichrodt Ocean Might7,173brOS-37
6 Sep 1942U-109Heinrich Bleichrodt Tuscan Star11,449br
17 Sep 1942U-109Heinrich Bleichrodt Peterton5,221brOG-80

25 ships sunk (152,320 tons) and 2 ships damaged (11,684 tons).

We have a picture of this vessel.
(d.) means the ship was damaged.

About ranks and decorations
Special thanks to Fernando Almeida for data on ranks and decorations.

Media links


Franz Kurowski

($ 35.36)

U-Boat Attack Logs

Daniel Morgan and Bruce Taylor

(£ 38.25)

Sinking of the Montrolite

Constant, Alan R.

German U-boat Commanders of World War II

Busch, Rainer and Röll, Hans-Joachim


Brooks, Geoffrey told by Wolfgang Hirschfeld

Listing of all U-boat commanders

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