U-136 under Heinrich Zimmerrmann Bermuda patrol April 1942

U-136          Zimmermann         21-Apr-1942        

Kapitänleutnant Heinrich Zimmermann in command of U-136 entered the area only briefly from off the US coast near Cape Hatteras on the 21st of April, 1942. On the 22nd the boat penetrated to within a few hundred miles of Bermuda to the northwest, then returned west and then north, exiting the area the following day. The submarine sailed for the 6th U-boat Flotilla and left Saint Nazaire on the 24thof March 1942.

U-136’s patrol began off Newfoundland before continuing on the Hatteras, where the sub sank the US tanker Axtell J. Byles of 8,955 tons on the 19th of April off Hatteras. Zimmermann had actually been aiming for the USCG cutter Dione but hit the tanker instead. Both the Dione and US Navy aircraft counterattacked to no effect. While northwest of Bermuda U-136 sank the British motor ship Empire Drum of 7,244 tons on the 24thof April.

Closer to shore on the 28thshe sank the Dutch steamer Arundo of 5,163 tons south of New York. On the way home, also via Canada, U-136 dispatched the 300-ton Canadian schooner Mildred Pauline off Nova Scotia. Zimmermann and his men returned to Saint Nazaire on the 20th of May, 1942.

Zimmermann was born in 1907 and was a member of the Crew of 1933. His early responsibilities included command of the 7th Minesweeping Flotilla in 1939-40. He joined u-boats in 1941 and took command of U-136 in August of that year. On the 11th of June 1942 the sub was caught by the Free French destroyer Leopard and HMS Sprey and HMS Pelican and sunk with all 45 hands off Madeira Islands. Over three patrols Zimmermann accrued 108 sea days and accounted for eight ships sunk or damaged of 34,454 tons. He received no decorations.

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