Otto Niethmann

Oberleutnant zur See (Crew 38)

No ships sunk or damaged.

Born  12 Aug 1919 Hamburg
Died  18 Aug 1977(58)

Oblt. Otto Niethmann


1 Oct 1938 Offiziersanwärter
1 Jul 1939 Seekadett
1 Dec 1939 Fähnrich zur See
1 Aug 1940 Oberfähnrich zur See
1 Apr 1941 Leutnant zur See
1 Jan 1943 Oberleutnant zur See


  Iron Cross 2nd Class
  Fleet War Badge
  Iron Cross 1st Class
  U-boat War Badge 1939

U-boat Commands

U-6 20 Oct 1942 Jun, 1943   No war patrols 
U-476 28 Jul 1943 25 May 1944   1 patrol (6 days) 
U-3507 19 Oct 1944 19 Mar 1945   No war patrols 

Otto Niethmann joined the Kriegsmarine in 1938. He underwent U-boat training Oct 1940 - May 1941 and then served as a Watch Officer (WO) on U-30 May 1941 - March 1942 (Busch & Röll, 1999).

From March to Aug 1942 Niethmann served as a Watch Officer on U-373 (Kptlt. Paul-Karl Loeser) (Busch & Röll, 1999). He went on one patrol from 18 May to 8 July, during which one small ship of 396 tons was sunk.

Niethmann commanded the small 'duck' training boat U-6 from 20 Oct 1942 to July 1943, when he began U-boat construction familiarization (Baubelehrung) of his next command, a new type VIIC U-boat. He commissioned U-476 at Kiel on 28 July 1943 (Busch & Röll, 1999). After some months working up in the Baltic, U-476 arrived in Norway for active service in April 1944, and left for her first and only combat patrol on 20 May 1944 (Busch & Röll, 1997).

Surviving two U-boat losses in two days

Oblt. Niethmann was forced to scuttle U-476 on 24 May 1944 due to crippling damage caused by a British Catalina flying boat (Sqdn 210/V) (Niestlé, 1998). Kplt. Hubert Nordheimer's U-990 rescued 21 men from U-476, but 34 of her crew went down with the boat (Blair, 1998).

The survivors from U-476's luck didn't improve on U-990: she was sunk by a British aircraft the day after, this time a B-24 Liberator (Sqdn 59/S).

The German picket boat V 5901 rescued 51 men from the sinking U-990, including 18 of the original 21 from U-476. 33 from U-990's crew were rescued, but 20 perished. (Niestlé, 1998) Oblt. Niethmann and Kplt. Nordheimer survived, and both eventually returned to Germany to take command of new type XXI Elektro U-boat Elektro boats (Blair, 1998).

Oblt. Niethmann served with 11th Flotilla from May to July 1944 before returning to Germany to commence type XXI U-boat familiarization (Baubelehrung). He finished his training and commissioned U-3507 at the Schichau yard in Danzig on 19 Oct 1944. (Busch & Röll, 1999) He spent the winter training in the Baltic, only to scuttle U-3507 at Travemünde on 3 May 1945 (Niestlé, 1998). For the last few days of the war he served in the 5th (Training) Flotilla at Kiel.


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.

Patrol info for Otto Niethmann

 U-boat Departure Arrival  
1. U-476 25 Apr 1944  Kiel  29 Apr 1944  Egersund   5 days
2. U-476 16 May 1944  Egersund  17 May 1944  Bergen   2 days
3. U-476 20 May 1944  Bergen  25 May 1944  Sunk  Patrol 1,6 days

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

German U-boat Commanders of World War II

Busch, Rainer and Röll, Hans-Joachim

Listing of all U-boat commanders

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