U-521 under Klaus Bargsten Bermuda patrol May 1943

U-521          Bargsten      27-May-1943        2 days

Kapitänleutnant Klaus Bargsten nipped the area northwest of Bermuda between May 27 and May 29th 1943 en route to being caught and sunk on the second of June. U-521 sailed from Lorient for the 2nd U-boat Flotilla on the fifth of May. After transiting off Bermuda having not sunk any ships, it was detected on May 31stoff Hatteras by a US Navy aircraft based in Norfolk Virginia.

On June first Bargsten trailed a convoy bound from New York to Guantanamo, Cuba. The next day an escort patrol craft, PC 565, managed to attack the submarine undetected until it was too late. The sub was badly damaged by five depth charges. The only survivor was Bargsten when he ordered abandon ship and raced up the conning tower. The boat sank too quickly for the rest of the 51 men, and was further pounded into submission by other depth charges.

Klaus Bargsten was born in 1911 and began his nautical career in the German merchant marine. A member of the Crew of 1936, he joined U-boats in April 1939 and initially served on both U-6 and then U-99 under Otto Kretschmer. He commissioned U-563 in March of 1941 until February 1942. Then he joined U-521 in October 1942, accruing 262 patrol days over seven missions.

Bargsten’s total tally was five ships sunk for 22,171 tons, including HMS Cossack in October 1941 and HMS Bredon in February 1943. He received the Knights Cross in April 1943 less than a week before the commencement of his final patrol. He was held captive by the Allies until the end of November, 1946 and went on to live until August 2000 and the age of 88.

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