Ralf Thomsen

Fregattenkapitän (Crew 31)
Sank 75 ships for 490.674 BRT

Oberleutnant Ralf Thomsen
Ralf Thomsen after his decoration with the Knights Cross


14/06/1940 Knights Cross
15/07/1940 Oak leaves to the Knights Cross
17/08/1940 Swords with Oak leaves to the Knight Cross
04/02/1940 Diamonds to Swords and Oak leaves to the Knight Cross


01/09/1931 Seekadett
15/07/1932 Fähnrich zur See
01/03/1934 Obefähnrich zur See
21/03/1935 Leutnant zur See
12/02/1938 Oberleutnant zur See
16/09/1940 Kapitänleutnant
25/10/1940 Korvettenkapitän
15/10/1942 Fregattenkapitän
Commandet U-Boats:
U-113 Typ IIC 4 patrols  01/05/1939 - 04/02/1940
U-54 Typ VIIB 4 patrols  08/05/1940 - 16/09/1940
U-104 Typ IXB 3 patrols  24/12/1940 - 06/05/1941

The career of Kapitänleutnant Ralf Thomsen is one of the outstandingst in the whole Kriegsmarine.
Born 26/01/1912 in Heuchelheim, a little village in the heart of Germany, no one expected that this man would spread terror and fear amongst the allied ships.
After finishing school he joined to every ones surprise the Kriegsmarine instead of beginning an academic career.

He served on several training ships and was taken to the light cruiser "Emden". With re-newing the U-boat weapon as a new sword of the Kriegsmarine he joined as one of the first and got after a long training period his first command: U-113 in 1938 belonging to the 1st. flotilla in Kiel.

By the outbreak of the war his first 4 patrols and their results were on a normal level. The torpedo crisis hampered his succees.
His very open and harrish critic about that problem and the commentaries from his brother (a tank commander) about the failure at Dunkirk led final to suspection for the whole family through the SD.

Taking over the command of a VIIB boat and joining the 7th. flotilla in St.Nazaire he climbed after his sixt patrol to place one of the tonnage-list.

Nearly after each patrol he received an award or a promotion. The british navy set out head money for the one who would sink that crew.

The climax was reached as Thomsen  was given command on a IXB boat. With the load of tor-
pedos, his tactics and the deck gun he wiped out nearly a Gibraltar-convoy by attacking the two escorts first.

The result record of 115.969 BRT for one patrol was never reached.

The 11th was the succesfullst but also the last patrol of Kptnltn. Thomsen. During a night raid of the british bomber command against St.Nazaire in June 1941, the bunker where he was hiding received a direct hit.
The noise of the explosion led to partial numbness and so he was taken out of active service.

He became CO of the 9th Flotilla in Brest, where he is building a complete new flotilla under his old boat insignia, the laughing sawfish.
The career extended by receiving the rank of Korvettenkapitän in respect of the fast and efficient building of his flotilla.
For his ongoing efforts in the struggle for the fatherland he was promoted to Fregattenkapitän
after two years beeing CO of the 9th Flottilla.

Oberltn. Thomsen with his crew after arming for active
service on U-54

Patrol reports

Report #1   Report #2   Report #3   Report #4  Report #5  Report #6  Report #7  Report #8  Report #9  Report #10  Report #11

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