Korvettenkapitän (Crew 32)
9 ships sunk, total tonnage 53,782 GRT
|Born||30 Apr 1910||Bremen|
|Died||12 Apr 1974||(63)||Axstedt near Bremen, Germany|
|U-251||20 Sep 1941||1 Sep 1943||9 patrols (190 days)|
|U-862||7 Oct 1943||5 May 1945||2 patrols (189 days)|
Heinrich Timm began his naval career in October 1933. He spent a few years on minesweepers M-132 and M-110 before he took command of M-7 in July 1939. He won his first great success at Heligoland, when he located and attacked the British submarine HMS Starfish on 9 January 1940, causing so much damage after hours of steady attacks on the bottomed submarine that the British commander was forced to surface and scuttle. Timm then rescued all her crew.
Timm won the Iron Cross 1st Class for action in the Norwegian invasion the following May, but then opted to transfer to the U-boat force and follow his former colleagues from the now famous Crew 33, Lüth, Prien and Hardegen. Timm underwent commander training at Pillau, qualifying in August 1941, and the following month commissioned the brand new Type VIIC U-251.
Timm had a habit of playing classical music over the boat's loudspeakers. This grew wearisome for some of the men, but rise to a nickname for Timm, Tüte, which refers to the cone-shaped paper bag used for sweets and which also resembled an old fashioned gramophone horn. This was used for U-251's emblem, which was a Tüte with a torpedo in it.
After six months of training and trials in the Baltic he arrived in Norway in April 1942 and during the next year U-251 made nine patrols in the Arctic as part of the 11th Flotilla. On 3 May 1942 while stalking convoy PQ 15, Timm sank his first ship when he torpedoed the SS Jutland. In July 1942 Timm fought against the ill-fated convoy PQ 17, of which he sank one ship. During operations in the Arctic the crew learned to respect their commander as they found that he did not intend to pointlessly sacrifice the boat or his men for personal glory; while never avoiding combat, he always brought his boat back undamaged.
U-251 was temporarily decommissioned when she returned to Germany in June 1943 for an extended refit. Since her experienced crew could not be left standing idle, they were ordered to proceed to Bremen, where after a short vacation they were to commission the much larger long range U-862. She was to become a Monsun boat, attack Allied shipping in the Indian Ocean and the Far East. U-862 left Kiel in late May 1944 and after a brief stop in Norway headed southwards. On the way, on 5 July, Timm got word of his promotion to Korvettenkapitän. When the boat reached Penang on 9 September 1944 she had already sunk five ships and shot down a Catalina. Shortly after arriving Kvtkpt. Timm was awarded the Knights Cross.
Timm sank seven ships in the Far East, the most distant being the Liberty ship SS Robert J. Walker, just off Sydney, Australia.
After the formal surrender in Europe on 5 May, the Germans remaining in the Far East were interned by the Japanese at Singapore, and U-862 was taken over and renamed I-502 (U-181 became I-501). Timm and his crew were in Singapore when the British forces arrived on 12 September 1945. They were taken to England, arriving in July 1946, where they were sent to POW camps. Timm was one of the very last to be released, in April 1948.
After the war Heinrich Timm served some years in the Bundesmarine (Federal German Navy), reaching the rank of Kapitän zur See (Captain). Among other posts held, he was the first commander of the frigate Scharnhorst before he retired in 1966.
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).
Rohwer, J. (1998). Axis Submarine Successes of World War Two.
Patrol info for Heinrich Timm
|1.||U-251||18 Apr 1942||Kiel||19 Apr 1942||Kristiansand||2 days|
|2.||U-251||20 Apr 1942||Kristiansand||25 Apr 1942||Kirkenes||Patrol 1,||6 days|
|3.||U-251||29 Apr 1942||Kirkenes||7 May 1942||Kirkenes||Patrol 1,||9 days|
|4.||U-251||9 May 1942||Kirkenes||13 May 1942||Skjomenfjord||5 days|
|5.||U-251||15 May 1942||Skjomenfjord||17 May 1942||Trondheim||3 days|
|6.||U-251||22 May 1942||Trondheim||24 May 1942||Skjomenfjord||3 days|
|7.||U-251||26 May 1942||Skjomenfjord||29 May 1942||Skjomenfjord||Patrol 2,||4 days|
|8.||U-251||7 Jun 1942||Skjomenfjord||5 Jul 1942||Harstad||Patrol 3,||29 days|
|9.||U-251||6 Jul 1942||Harstad||15 Jul 1942||Narvik||Patrol 3,||10 days|
|10.||U-251||14 Aug 1942||Narvik||14 Aug 1942||Harstad||Patrol 4,||1 days|
|11.||U-251||15 Aug 1942||Harstad||13 Sep 1942||Neidenfjord||Patrol 4,||30 days|
|12.||U-251||14 Sep 1942||Neidenfjord||3 Oct 1942||Trondheim||Patrol 5,||20 days|
|13.||U-251||14 Feb 1943||Trondheim||1 Mar 1943||Narvik||Patrol 6,||16 days|
|14.||U-251||18 Mar 1943||Narvik||21 Apr 1943||Narvik||Patrol 7,||35 days|
|15.||U-251||8 May 1943||Narvik||10 May 1943||Hammerfest||3 days|
|16.||U-251||12 May 1943||Hammerfest||29 May 1943||Trondheim||Patrol 8,||18 days|
|17.||U-251||13 Jun 1943||Trondheim||24 Jun 1943||Kiel||Patrol 9,||12 days|
|18.||U-862||20 May 1944||Kiel||26 May 1944||Bergen||7 days|
|19.||U-862||27 May 1944||Bergen||30 May 1944||Narvik||4 days|
|20.||U-862||3 Jun 1944||Narvik||9 Sep 1944||Penang||Patrol 10,||99 days|
|21.||U-862||5 Nov 1944||Penang||7 Nov 1944||Batavia||3 days|
|22.||U-862||18 Nov 1944||Batavia||15 Feb 1945||Batavia||Patrol 11,||90 days|
|23.||U-862||18 Feb 1945||Batavia||20 Feb 1945||Singapur||3 days|
|11 patrols, 379 days at sea|
Ships hit by Heinrich Timm
|Date||U-boat||Name of ship||Tons||Nat.||Convoy|
|3 May 1942||U-251||Jutland||6,153||br||PQ-15|
|10 Jul 1942||U-251||El Capitan||5,255||pa||PQ-17|
|25 Jul 1944||U-862||Robin Goodfellow||6,885||am|
|13 Aug 1944||U-862||Radbury||3,614||br|
|16 Aug 1944||U-862||Empire Lancer||7,037||br|
|18 Aug 1944||U-862||Nairung||5,414||br|
|19 Aug 1944||U-862||Wayfarer||5,068||br|
|24 Dec 1944||U-862||Robert J. Walker||7,180||am|
|6 Feb 1945||U-862||Peter Silvester||7,176||am|
9 ships sunk (53,782 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.