Klaus Hänert

Kapitänleutnant (Crew 36)

1 ship sunk, total tonnage 11,017 GRT

Born  1 Feb 1918 Hirschberg, Silesia
Died  Jan 2003(84)

Klaus Hänert. Kriegsmarine Crew photo from 1938.


3 Apr 1936 Offiziersanwärter
10 Sep 1936 Seekadett
1 May 1937 Fähnrich zur See
1 Jul 1938 Oberfähnrich zur See
1 Oct 1938 Leutnant zur See
1 Oct 1940 Oberleutnant zur See
1 Feb 1943 Kapitänleutnant


U-boat Commands

U-550 28 Jul 1943 16 Apr 1944   1 patrol (71 days) 

Klaus Hänert joined the Kriegsmarine in 1936, joining the famous Olympia Crew. After the usual training he served on destroyer Z 6 Theodor Riedel until June 1940. He served in a staff position from July to Jan 1941 and then as Watch Officer on destroyer Z 15 Erich Steinbrinck from Feb to Dec 1941 (Busch & Röll, 1999).

U-boat service

Hänert joined the veteran boat U-68, commanded by the ace Karl Friedrich Merten, and served as its Second Watch officer (2WO) from May to July 1942. Oblt. Hänert served on the boat during a successful 58-day patrol into the Caribbean where they sank 7 ships for over 50,000 tons. Reaching port in early July 1942 Hänert became its First Watch Officer (1WO) and went out on another patrol, this time into the South Atlantic and to Cape town area, where they sank 9 ships for over 56,000 tons (Rohwer, 1998).

Hänert joined the 2nd ULD as instructor from Jan to April 1943 when he began his U-boat Commander training with the 24th (Training) Flotilla, finishing his courses in May 1943. While going through his commander training he was promoted to Kapitänleutnant on 1 Feb 1943. He then began his U-boat familiarization (Baubelehrung) to prepare him for his new boat and spent 2 months learning all there was to learn about the new IXC/40 boat being built in Hamburg (Busch & Röll, 1999).

Kptlt. Klaus Hänert commissioned the new U-550 on 28 Jul 1943 and took the boat into the Baltic where he and his crew would spend the next months training and applying the costly lessons of war (Busch & Röll, 1999).

First war patrol as Commander

On 6 Feb 1944 Kptlt. Klaus Hänert sailed from Kiel, Germany with his U-550 on his first war patrol as commander (Busch & Röll, 1997).

The boat was ordered to patrol off the US east coast. En route on 22 Feb the boat was attacked by a Canadian Catalina aircraft when the they were south of Iceland - two men were killed but the boat managed to continue on its patrol (Blair, 1998). Finally on 16 April 1944, after 71 days at sea, their luck ran out. They torpedoed the large tanker Pan Pennsylvania and thus brought attention to themselves. Shortly afterwards the boat was hunted down by American destroyer escorts and sunk after a battle where U-550 tried to fight back with its guns on the surface (Niestlé, 1998).

The American tanker Pan Pennsylvania, sunk by Hänert's U-550 on 16 April 1944.

Kptlt. Klaus Hänert was captured, along with 11 of his men (44 died) when the boat was sunk. He spent 3 and a half years in Allied captivity, being released on 31 Dec 1947 (Busch & Röll, 1999).


Blair, C. (1998). Hitler’s U-boat War. The Hunted, 1942-1945.
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 Klaus Hänert

 U-boat Departure Arrival  
1. U-550 6 Feb 1944  Kiel  16 Apr 1944  Sunk  Patrol 1,71 days

Ships hit by Klaus Hänert

Date U-boat Name of ship Tons Nat. Convoy
16 Apr 1944U-550 Pan Pennsylvania11,017amCU-21

1 ship sunk (11,017 tons).

We have a picture of this vessel.

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.

Media links

Where Divers Dare

Randall Peffer

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German U-boat Commanders of World War II

Busch, Rainer and Röll, Hans-Joachim

Listing of all U-boat commanders

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