Wilhelm Kleinschmidt

Kapitänleutnant (Crew 32)

4 ships sunk, total tonnage 24,176 GRT
1 ship damaged, total tonnage 13,037 GRT

Born  27 Jan 1907 Oldenburg
Died  4 Oct 1941(34)south-west of Tenerife


1 Sep 1935 Oberfähnrich zur See
1 Jan 1936 Leutnant zur See
1 Oct 1937 Oberleutnant zur See
1 Apr 1939 Kapitänleutnant


U-boat Commands

U-111 19 Dec 1940 4 Oct 1941  (+)  2 patrols (116 days) 

Wilhelm Kleinschmidt joined the Reichsmarine in 1932. He was a torpedo officer on the light cruiser Nürnberg until April 1940. Kleinschmidt then went through U-boat training until Aug 1940 (Busch & Röll, 1999).

In Aug he was sent to the new boat U-124 (Kptlt. Georg-Wilhelm Schulz) for his Commander sea training (Busch & Röll, 1999). He went out on one patrol with one of the best U-boat commanders from 19 Aug to 16 Sept 1940. They went out into the North Atlantic and sank 2 ships (10,563 GRT) and damaged one (3,900 GRT) before arriving at the boat's new base at Lorient, France.

Kleinschmidt went through U-boat Commander training with the 24th (Training) Flotilla from Sept to Oct 1940 when he began his U-boat familiarization (Baubelehrung) to prepare for his own command (Busch & Röll, 1999).

On 19 Dec 1940 Kptlt. Wilhelm Kleinschmidt commissioned the new U-111 at Bremen (Busch & Röll, 1999). He then went into the Baltic for extensive training. After almost 5 months in training U-111 left Wilhelmshaven for its first war patrol on 5 May 1941. The patrol was into the North Atlantic and was successful, 2 ships sunk (9,983 GRT) and a large one damaged (13,037) (Rohwer, 1998). Kleinschmidt brought the U-111 to its new base at Lorient, France on 7 July 1941 (Busch & Röll, 1997).

For his second patrol the U-111 sailed to the South Atlantic and patrolled off Brazil and western Africa. The boat sank 2 ships (14,193 GRT) on the patrol (Rohwer, 1998). U-111 was sunk on the return leg south-west of Tenerife by depth charges from the British anti-submarine trawler HMS Lady Shirley. 8 dead and 44 survivors (Niestlé, 1998). Kptlt. Wilhelm Kleinschmidt was not among the survivors (Busch & Röll, 1999).


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 Wilhelm Kleinschmidt

 U-boat Departure Arrival  
1. U-111 5 May 1941  Wilhelmshaven  7 Jul 1941  Lorient  Patrol 1,64 days
2. U-111 14 Aug 1941  Lorient  4 Oct 1941  Sunk  Patrol 2,52 days
2 patrols, 116 days at sea

Ships hit by Wilhelm Kleinschmidt

Date U-boat Name of ship Tons Nat. Convoy
13 May 1941U-111 Somersby5,170brSC-30
20 May 1941U-111 San Felix (d.)13,037brOB-322
22 May 1941U-111 Barnby4,813brHX-126
10 Sep 1941U-111 Marken5,719nl
20 Sep 1941U-111 Cingalese Prince8,474br

4 ships sunk (24,176 tons) and 1 ship damaged (13,037 tons).

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

Media links

German U-boat Commanders of World War II

Busch, Rainer and Röll, Hans-Joachim

Listing of all U-boat commanders

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