Jürgen Oesten

Korvettenkapitän (Crew 33)

18 ships sunk, total tonnage 100,007 GRT
1 auxiliary warship sunk, total tonnage 1,737 GRT
3 ships damaged, total tonnage 20,568 GRT
1 warship damaged, total tonnage 31,100 tons

Born  24 Oct 1913 Berlin-Grunewald
Died  5 Aug 2010(96)Hamburg, Germany

Kptlt. Jürgen Oesten


1 Apr 1933 Offiziersanwärter
1 Jul 1934 Fähnrich zur See
1 Apr 1936 Oberfähnrich zur See
1 Oct 1936 Leutnant zur See
1 Jun 1938 Oberleutnant zur See
1 Mar 1941 Kapitänleutnant
1 Dec 1944 Korvettenkapitän


6 Jun 1939 Spanish Cross in Bronze without Swords
3 Dec 1939 Iron Cross 2nd Class
27 Feb 1940 Iron Cross 1st Class
26 Mar 1941 Knights Cross

U-boat Commands

U-61 12 Aug 1939 28 Jul 1940   8 patrols (145 days) 
U-106 24 Sep 1940 19 Oct 1941   3 patrols (182 days) 
U-861 2 Sep 1943 9 May 1945   2 patrols (252 days) 

Oesten 2
Jürgen Oesten on patrol. The uniform is slightly contrary to regulations.

Jürgen Oesten joined the Reichsmarine in April 1933. Following standard training he spent more than a year on the battleships Admiral Graf Spee and Karlsruhe. In May 1937 he transferred to the U-boat arm, receiving a thorough pre-war training. In October 1937 he became a Watch Officer on U-20.

On 12 August 1939 he commissioned the small type IIC U-boat U-61. The first patrol, after two months of training, was during the last days of October 1939. One ship was sunk by a mine laid by U-61 in 1939, and over the next seven patrols Oesten torpedoed five more, to bring the total tonnage up to 20,754 GRT.

After his eighth patrol he left U-61, and one month later commissioned the much larger type IXB U-106.

Jürgen Oesten

On her maiden patrol from Germany to her new base at Lorient, U-106 sank two ships with a total of 13,640 tons. Kptlt.Oesten received his Knights Cross on her second patrol in African waters, where he sank eight ships totalling 44,820 tons. His attack on one vessel during the battle against convoy SL 68 was unintended but effective: he aimed at the shadow of a 'merchant ship' in bad light conditions and did not realise that the torpedo had hit and damaged the the British battleship HMS Malaya.

Kptlt. Oesten left U-106 in October 1941 to become commander of the 9th Flotilla at Brest in France.

In March 1942 Jürgen Oesten became U-Boot-Admiralstabsoffizier with FdU Nordmeer (Commander of U-boats Northern Waters). In July 1943 he left Norway and on 2 September, 1943 commissioned the type IXD2 U-861.

Korvkpt. Jürgen Oesten in Trondheim in
April 1945 with the commander of the 13th Flotilla Fregkpt. Rolf Rüggeberg

U-861 left Kiel on 20 April 1944 for the Far East as a Monsun boat, but she first operated in Brazilian waters, sinking two ships. The boat found her next victim south of Madagascar, and before she reached Penang on 23 September, 1944 she sank another ship off Somalia. The voyage took five months.

U-861 left Surabaya, Indonesia on 15 January 1945 with a load of vital goods and only two torpedoes for self-defence. On the return journey the boat struck an iceberg south of Greenland, but Oesten, through good luck and seamanship, reached Trondheim, Norway on 19 April, 1945 with only five barrels of fuel remaining in the tanks.

According to his family he died peacefully on 5 Aug 2010. He was apparently buried at sea after a service at a chapel in Hamburg-Ohlsdorf.


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).

Patrol info for Jürgen Oesten

 U-boat Departure Arrival  
1. U-61 24 Oct 1939  Kiel  14 Nov 1939  Kiel  Patrol 1,22 days
2. U-61 28 Nov 1939  Kiel  3 Dec 1939  Wilhelmshaven  Patrol 2,6 days
3. U-61 7 Dec 1939  Wilhelmshaven  18 Dec 1939  Kiel  Patrol 3,12 days
4. U-61 15 Jan 1940  Kiel  30 Jan 1940  Wilhelmshaven  Patrol 4,16 days
5. U-61 12 Feb 1940  Wilhelmshaven  27 Feb 1940  Wilhelmshaven  Patrol 5,16 days
6. U-61 29 Feb 1940  Wilhelmshaven  1 Mar 1940  Kiel   2 days
7. U-61 11 Apr 1940  Kiel  7 May 1940  Kiel  Patrol 6,27 days
8. U-61 6 Jun 1940  Kiel  1 Jul 1940  Bergen  Patrol 7,26 days
9. U-61 6 Jul 1940  Bergen  25 Jul 1940  Kiel  Patrol 8,20 days
10. U-106 4 Jan 1941  Kiel  10 Feb 1941  Lorient  Patrol 9,38 days
11. U-106 26 Feb 1941  Lorient  17 Jun 1941  Lorient  Patrol 10,112 days
12. U-106 11 Aug 1941  Lorient  11 Sep 1941  Lorient  Patrol 11,32 days
13. U-861 20 Apr 1944  Kiel  23 Sep 1944  Penang  Patrol 12,157 days
14. U-861 1 Nov 1944  Penang  2 Nov 1944  Singapur   2 days
15. U-861 3 Nov 1944  Singapur  5 Nov 1944  Soerabaja   3 days
16. U-861 15 Jan 1945  Soerabaja  19 Apr 1945  Trondheim  Patrol 13,95 days
13 patrols, 579 days at sea

Ships hit by Jürgen Oesten

Date U-boat Commander Name of ship Tons Nat. Convoy
22 Dec 1939U-61Jürgen Oesten Gryfevale (d.) [Mine]4,434br
22 Jan 1940U-61Jürgen Oesten Sydfold2,434nw
18 Feb 1940U-61Jürgen Oesten El Sonador1,406pa
18 Feb 1940U-61Jürgen Oesten Sangstad4,297nw
10 Jul 1940U-61Jürgen Oesten Alwaki4,533nlOA-180
16 Jul 1940U-61Jürgen Oesten Scottish Minstrel6,998brHX-55
17 Jan 1941U-106Jürgen Oesten Zealandic10,578br
29 Jan 1941U-106Jürgen Oesten Sesostris2,962agSC-19
11 Mar 1941U-106Jürgen Oesten Memnon7,506br
16 Mar 1941U-106Jürgen Oesten Almkerk6,810nl
17 Mar 1941U-106Jürgen Oesten Tapanoeli7,034nlSL-68
17 Mar 1941U-106Jürgen Oesten Andalusian3,082brSL-68
20 Mar 1941U-106Jürgen Oesten HMS Malaya (01) (d.)31,100brSL-68
20 Mar 1941U-106Jürgen Oesten Meerkerk (d.)7,995nlSL-68
24 Mar 1941U-106Jürgen Oesten Eastlea4,267br
30 May 1941U-106Jürgen Oesten Silveryew6,373br
31 May 1941U-106Jürgen Oesten Clan Macdougall6,843br
6 Jun 1941U-106Jürgen Oesten Sacramento Valley4,573brOB-324
20 Jul 1944U-861Jürgen Oesten Vital de Oliveira1,737bz
24 Jul 1944U-861Jürgen Oesten William Gaston7,177am
20 Aug 1944U-861Jürgen Oesten Berwickshire7,464brDN-68
20 Aug 1944U-861Jürgen Oesten Daronia (d.)8,139brDN-68
5 Sep 1944U-861Jürgen Oesten Ioannis Fafalios5,670gr

19 ships sunk (101,744 tons) and 4 ships damaged (51,668 tons).

We have a picture of this vessel.
(d.) means the ship was damaged.
[Mine] indicates the vessel was hit by a mine laid by said U-boat.

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

U-Boat Attack Logs

Daniel Morgan and Bruce Taylor

(£ 38.25)

German U-boat Commanders of World War II

Busch, Rainer and Röll, Hans-Joachim


Vause, Jordan

Two Years Behind the Mast

McCormick, Lt. Comm. Harold J.

Listing of all U-boat commanders

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