U-108 under Klaus Scholtz Bermuda patrol February 1942

U-108          Scholtz        15-Feb-1942        

The patrol of U-108 through north of Bermuda was short but very busy, with a ship sunk every other day. The submarine was commanded by Korvettenkapitän (later Fregattenkapitän) Klaus Scholtz, aged 33, from Magdeburg, Germany, who had earned the Knights Cross just over a month before. U-108 was part of the second wave sent to maintain Operation Drumbeat, along with U-103, U-106 and U-107.

U-108 entered the area northwest of Bermuda and heading east on the 15th of February 1942. The following day it sank the Ramapo, Panamanian flag, of 2,968 tons. After a dog-leg to the southeast, on the 17thScholtz resumed course for Lorient and the next day sank the Somme, a British ship of 5,265 tons northeast of Bermuda. It left the region the same day – the 18th of February.

This patrol for the 2ndU-boat Flotilla began in Lorient on the 8th of January and ened there on the fourth of March 1942. While off the Hatteras area Scholtz and his men sank the Ocean Venture, Tolosa and Blink, the latter ship just west of the Bermuda region.

A member of the 1927 Naval Academy Crew, Scholtz entered the U-boat arm in 1939. His Knights Cross was suppliements with the Oak Leaves in December 1941. Overall Scholtz underwent eight patrols, all in U-108, between February 1941 and July 1942, for a total of 361 patrol days. Over his career he sank 25 ships worth 128,190 tons. One of them, in April 1941 was the British Armed Merchant Cruiser (AMC) Rajputana, in the Straits of Denmark.

In September 1944 Scholtz was captured whilst commander of the 12th Flotilla in Bordeaux and held until April 1946. After the war he joined the Bundesmarine and was base commander in several locations, including Kiel and Wilhelmshaven. By 1966 he was Kapitän zur See and he passed away at age 79 in 1987.

SOURCES: Gudmundur Helgason, Rainer Kolbicz, www.uboat.net, 2013, Kenneth Wynn, U-boat Operations of the Second World War, Volume 1 and Volume 2, 1997, R. Busch, and H.-J. Röll, German U-boat Commanders of World War II, 1988, Franz Kurowski, Knights Cross Holders of the U-boat Service