Gerhard Bigalk was born on November 26th, 1908 in Berlin-Niederschönhausen and he started his naval career in April 1934. In October 1935 he wend to a Navy Air Reconnaissance unit and flew in 1937 with the Condor Legion in the Spanish Civil War, 21 combat missions with the Aufklärungskette 88. For this he was awarded the Spanienkreuz, Silber mit Schwertern (Spain Cross in Silver with Swords) and the Medalla de la Campaña de España 1936-1939 (Medal for the Spanish Campaign 1936-1939) on June 1st, 1939. In November he switched to the U-boat fleet with the rank Kapitänleutnant. After the usually trainings period he was for a short time the commander of trainings vessel U 14. On January 31st, 1941 Bigalk commissioned de U 751 (Type VII C) and became also the commander of this vessel. Between February and June the U 751 served as a trainings ship for its crew and on June 1st, 1941 it became operational as a frontline ship.
Gerhard Bigalk’s first patrol with the U 751 lasted 33 days. He set sail on June 3rd, 1941 from the port of Kiel and sailed towards the North Atlantic Ocean. Here he sank southwest of Island his first enemy ship on June 14th. This was the British cargo ship St. Lindsay. (5.370 BRT) This vessel was part to the OG-64 convoy. On July 5th, 1941 he arrived in St. Nazaire (France) and two days after his arrival Bigalk was awarded the U-Boot Kriegsabzeichen. (U-Boat Badge)
His 2nd patrol started on August 2nd, 1941. He set sail from the port of St. Nazaire on August 2nd and returned after being at sea for 38 days on September 8th in St. Nazaire. On this patrol were no enemy vessel sunk.
Bigalk’s 3rd patrol started on October 11th, 1941. He set sail from St. Nazaire on October 11th and arrived after 29 days on November 8th in St. Nazaire. Also on this patrol he didn’t sank any enemy ships.
His 4th patrol started on December 16th, 1941, lasted only 11 days but became a very successful one. Bigalk set sail from the port of St. Nazaire on December 16th and sailed towards the Spanish coast after the Wolf pack Seerauber had made contact with the HG-76 convoy, that was on route from Gibraltar towards Great Britain. Bigalk made contact with the convoy on December 21st and sank after two attack runs with three torpedo’s the British escort carrier HMS Audacity (D10). On December 26th Bigalk arrived in St. Nazaire and was awarded on the same day with the Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse (Iron Cross 1st Class) and with the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes (Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross) for the sinking of this 11.000 BRT measuring vessel.
His 5th patrol started on January 14th, 1942, lasted 41 days and it became another successful patrol. He set sail from the port of St. Nazaire on January 14th and sailed towards Nova Scotia in the North Atlantic Ocean. In this area he damaged on February 2nd the Dutch tanker Corilla. (8.096BRT) This ship was a strucualor of the HX-173 convoy. On February 4th Bigalk spotted the 4.575 BRT measuring British cargo ship Silveray and he sank it with two torpedo’s. This British vessel was part of the scattered ON-55 convoy. On February 7th he spotted another lonesome ship. This was the 6.952 BRT measuring British CAM (Catapult Armed Merchant) cargo ship Empire Sun and he sank this ship also with multiple torpedo’s. On February 23rd Bigalk arrived in St. Nazaire.
His 6th patrol started on April 15th, 1942, lasted 62 days and was also successful ended. He set sail from the port of St. Nazaire on April 15th and sailed towards the Caribbean in the West Atlantic Ocean. Over there he sank on May 16th northwest of San Salvador the American cargo ship Nicararo. (1.445 BRT) On May 19th he spotted another lonesome cargo ship. This was the 3.110 BRT measuring American cargo ship Isabela. A single torpedo hit the Isabela and after it lay dead in the water, the U 751 surfaced and sank it with his deck gun. Bigalk arrived on June 15th in St. Nazaire.
Gerhard Bigalk his 7th and last patrol started on July 14th, 1942 and lasted just 4 days. On July 17th Bigalk sailed northwest of Kap Ortegal (northwest of Spain) when he was spotted by a British Whitley and a British Lancaster bomber and these 2 aircrafts launched an assault with depth charges. The U 751 was hit and wend down with its entire crew (48).
Kapitänleutnant Gerhard Bigalk spent in total 218 days at sea, sank 6 enemy ships totalling 32.411 BRT and he damaged 1 ship. (8.096 BRT) In April 1945 he was promoted posthumously to Korvettenkapitän.
01-07-1934 Fähnrich zur See
01-04-1936 Oberfähnrich zur See
01-10-1936 Leutnant zur See
01-06-1938 Oberleutnant zur See
05-04-1945 Korvettenkapitän (posthumous)
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