U-135 under Friedrich-Hermann Praetorius Bermuda patrol June 1942

U-135          Praetorius    6-Jun-1942

Kapitänleutnant Friedrich-Hermann Praetorius brought U-135 to the region west-northwest of Bermuda on the 6thof June, 1942. Motoring east he managed to sink the Norwegian motor ship Pleasantville of 4,549 tons northwest of Bermuda. From there he proceeded northeast and patrolled in zig-zag pattern for roughly a week north-northwest of Bermuda between the 11th and 17thof June. After that he headed due east, exiting the region on the 18thof June for France.

U-135 sailed from Brest on the 26thof April 1942 for the 7th U-boat Flotilla. The U-boat was part of the sixth wave of boats to attack the US coast in Operation Drumbeat. There were thirteen boats in that particular wave. After sinking the British steam ship Fort Qu’Appelle east of New York U-135 contributed to forming the line of seven boats in the Padfinder Group east of New York, looking for offshore prey.

U-135 then proceeded to the area off Cape Hatteras, where it sank no victims until finding Pleaseantville en route home. She was refueled by U-459 west of the Azores on the 16th of June according to Wynn, however in reality it must have been several days later, as U-135 was still north of Bermuda on the 16th. On the 5th of July U-135 arrived back in Saint Nazaire, a different base from that which she had departed (Brest).

Friedrich-Hermann Praetorius was born in Kolberg in 1904, making him one of the older skippers to patrol the Bermuda region. He was a member of the Crew of 1934 and joined U-boats in April 1940. After serving as First Watch Officer on U-98 until May of 1941 he began commissioning U-135, in which he led four patrols of 208 days up until November, 1942. He then became a training officer in the 27th U-boat Flotilla and then the 25th U-boat Flotilla until the surrender.

According to Rust (Naval Officers Under Hitler, 2009), he was a master in the merchant marine following the war. He lived until 1956 and the age of 52. Aside from the Iron Cross First Class and the 1940 Destroyer War Badge (suggesting that he served in destroyers before joining U-boats), Praetorius was awarded the U-boat War Badge of 1939. His total tally was three ships of 21,302 tons, most of them sunk during this patrol.

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