Kapitänleutnant (Crew 33)
Born 31 August 1909 Grünberg, Hessen
Michael Hoffmann went after a carpenter apprenticeship to the new built
Kriegsmarine. After the theoretical phase of his training he was transferred
to the sailing ship "Gorch Fock" where he participated at a journey around
Returning from this tour he was assigned to the first u-boat training flotilla in Pillau. After a long and hard training time he was orderd as I WO to U-38.
On June 1939 he was given command of U-116 and he was assigned to the first flotilla.
On the transfer journey from the 1st. flotilla in Kiel to the 9th. flotilla in Brest the u-boat was attacked by a Sunderland. Due to foggy weather with the enemy too near for a crash dive the u-boat opend fire with the AA-guns and managed to shot the plane down.
This was the inspiration for the insignia of the boat: A sawfish demoliting an airplane.
Arriving in Brest with only little damage he and his crew took by storm the bar of Logonna and celebrated their first victory.
His first patrol was even a lucky one, but his second and third patrol were under a bad star. The U-boat and his crew suffered from torpedo flaws. Oberleutnant Hoffmann participated on a top secret raid on a british research center which resulted in gathering valuable informations about british anti U-boat research.
On his first four patrols he was commanding U-116, a II C type and was facing serious problems with his torpedoes. After his fourth patrol he was orderd to take command on U-302, a VII B type. He took three months on training in Pillau. After that he, returned to his flotilla and is back on active service.
His fifth patrol resulted in 4 more sunk merchants and a heavily damaged battleship of the Malaya class. Again a lot of dud torpedoes hampered Hoffmann to score better. In acknowledgement of his results and his ongoing efforts he was awared with the Knights Cross.
On his sixt patrol the curse was broken. In sinking ten ships in only 7 days on sea and with only one dud torpedo he passed the conditions for receiving the Oak Leaves to the Knights Cross. It was donated to him from BdU Dönitz in the harbour as he was returning from patrol.
After his 7th patrol he was promoted to Kapitänleutnant. On his 8th patrol he earned the swords, but this patrol was known as the "King Lear incident."
KptnLtn. Hoffmann sunk that troop ship not knowing that it was filled with passengers. The ship has openend fire and was sunk during a gun-duell after beeing hit by a torpedo. After notifying the tragic circumstances Hoffmann lead help ships to the sinking place by radioing SOS for over half an hour.
After his 8th patrol he was given command on a new IXB boat U-364.
The 10th patrol was near to be the last patrol. But Hoffmann and his LI were
able to get the severe damaged boat back to Brest. The result of that patrol
was the sinking of the british battleship King George V.
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