Oberleutnant zur See (Crew 38)
2 ships sunk, total tonnage 14,386 GRT
1 warship sunk, total tonnage 1,350 tons
1 ship damaged, total tonnage 8,129 GRT
1 ship a total loss, total tonnage 7,200 GRT
1 warship a total loss, total tonnage 1,350 tons
|Born||12 Mar 1920||Hamburg|
|Died||9 Jan 2008||(87)||Hamburg, Germany|
|U-121||16 May 1942||8 Feb 1943||No war patrols|
|U-968||18 Mar 1943||9 May 1945||7 patrols (129 days)|
Otto Westphalen began his naval career in October 1938. A year later he took part in the Poland campaign on the school ship Schlesien, and afterwards served six months on the torpedo boat Kondor before joining the U-boat force in October 1940.
In 1941 he made four patrols as Watch Officer on U-566, two in the Arctic and two in the North Atlantic - the last in Canadian waters during Jan - March 1942. In May 1942 he took command of the school boat U-121.
He sank two British warships: the sloops HMS Lark and Lapwing. He surrendered U-968 at Narvik in May 1945.
The Oskar Kusch Case
In Jan 1944 Otto Westphalen was empanelled, along with fellow U-boat officer Wolfgang Dittmers, to serve on the court martial of the commander of U-154, Oscar-Heinz Kusch, accused of defeatism and other politically motivated charges by his 1WO, Dr. Ulrich Abel. The prosecutor asked for Kusch to be given ten years imprisonment, but the court imposed the death sentence.
After the war Westphalen and Dittmers tried to defend their actions by stating that Kusch's political views had somehow made his U-boat less effective in the war effort - a questionable view at best. Kusch's fellow officers did nothing to save his life (and neither did Dönitz, who could probably have chosen to prevent the matter going this far, as he did in the case of other U-boat officers who fell foul of the Gestapo). Kusch was executed by firing squad in Kiel on 12 May 1944 (Rust, 2001).
SourcesBusch, R & Röll, H-J. (1998). German U-boat commanders of World War II.
Patrol info for Otto Westphalen
|1.||U-968||7 Mar 1944||Kiel||2 Apr 1944||Narvik||Patrol 1,||27 days|
|2.||U-968||4 Apr 1944||Narvik||6 Apr 1944||Trondheim||3 days|
|3.||U-968||11 Jul 1944||Trondheim||14 Jul 1944||Narvik||4 days|
|4.||U-968||17 Jul 1944||Narvik||21 Jul 1944||Bogenbucht||5 days|
|5.||U-968||20 Aug 1944||Bogenbucht||22 Aug 1944||Hammerfest||3 days|
|6.||U-968||29 Aug 1944||Hammerfest||10 Sep 1944||Bogenbucht||Patrol 2,||13 days|
|7.||U-968||24 Sep 1944||Bogenbucht||3 Oct 1944||Narvik||Patrol 3,||10 days|
|8.||U-968||14 Oct 1944||Narvik||11 Nov 1944||Ramsund||Patrol 4,||29 days|
|9.||U-968||13 Nov 1944||Ramsund||16 Nov 1944||Rörvik||4 days|
|10.||U-968||23 Jan 1945||Rörvik||25 Jan 1945||Narvik||3 days|
|11.||U-968||1 Feb 1945||Narvik||1 Feb 1945||Harstad||1 days|
|12.||U-968||7 Feb 1945||Harstad||20 Feb 1945||Kilbotn||Patrol 5,||14 days|
|13.||U-968||12 Mar 1945||Kilbotn||30 Mar 1945||Kilbotn||Patrol 6,||19 days|
|14.||U-968||21 Apr 1945||Kilbotn||6 May 1945||Harstad||Patrol 7,||16 days|
|15.||U-968||7 May 1945||Harstad||7 May 1945||Skjomenfjord||Patrol 7,||1 days|
|16.||U-968||15 May 1945||Skjomenfjord||19 May 1945||Loch Eriboll, UK||5 days|
|7 patrols, 129 days at sea|
Ships hit by Otto Westphalen
|Date||U-boat||Commander||Name of ship||Tons||Nat.||Convoy|
|14 Feb 1945||U-968||Otto Westphalen||Norfjell (d.)||8,129||nw||BK-3|
|14 Feb 1945||U-968||Otto Westphalen||Horace Gray (t.)||7,200||am||BK-3|
|17 Feb 1945||U-968||Otto Westphalen||HMS Lark (U 11) (t.)||1,350||br||RA-64|
|17 Feb 1945||U-968||Otto Westphalen||Thomas Scott||7,176||am||RA-64|
|20 Mar 1945||U-968||Otto Westphalen||Thomas Donaldson||7,210||am||JW-65|
|20 Mar 1945||U-968||Otto Westphalen||HMS Lapwing (U 62)||1,350||br||JW-65|
5 ships sunk (24,286 tons) and 1 ship damaged (8,129 tons).
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.