Erich Würdemann began his naval career on 1st April 1933. Later he served on the destroyer Z5 Paul Jacobi, where he made 11 patrols in the first year of the war. On 1st November 1940 he transferred to the U-boat force. After the usual training he served from 28th April 1941 for one patrol on U-43 under Kptlt. Wolfgang Lüth.
On 15th September 1941 he commissioned the ocean-going U-boat U-506 and operated on his first patrol in the North Atlantic but produced no successful attacks. On 6th April 1942 U-506 sailed from Lorient on her second war patrol and arrived back at Lorient on 15th June 1942, after ten weeks on Patrol. This patrol in the Gulf of Mexico proved to be an astonishing success, with eight ships destroyed (seven sunk and one written off as a complete loss), and three more damaged, for a total of 63,260 tons sunk or damaged.
On the third patrol U-506 was involved in the famous Laconia incident. U-506 (along with U-156 and U-507 and Italian submarine Cappellini) took part in the rescue operations after the sinking of British ocean liner Laconia in September 1942 off Africa. After the sinking it was discovered that the ship had been carrying nearly 2,000 Italian prisoners captured in the North African campaign. About 1500 men were saved by these boats and French ships from Dakar (which arrived on 16th Sept, 4 days after the sinking).
Later the boat operated as a Monsun boat (special "wolfpack") in the Indian Ocean.
Six days after leaving base on her fifth patrol, U-506 was bombed in the Atlantic west of Vigo, Spain by a American Liberator aircraft from Antisubmarine Squadron 1. USAAF aircraft. Kptlt. Erich Würdemann and most of his crew perished (6 survived).
Würdemann was officially credited with sinking fifteen Allied ships for a total of 76,714 tons and three ships damaged for a total of 23,354 tons.
23rd September 1933: Seekadett
1st April 1934: Gefreiter
1st October 1934: Obermaat
1st July 1934: Fähnrich zur See
1st April 1936: Oberfähnrich zur See
1st October 1936: Leutnant zur See
1st June 1938: Oberleutnant zur See
1st November 1940: 1940 Kapitänleutnant
2nd March 1942 (Hamburg) until 3rd March1942 (Helgoland): 2 days
9th March 1942 (Helgoland) until 25th March 1942 (Lorient): 17 days
6th April 1942 (Lorient) until 15th June 1942 (Lorient): 71 days
28th July 1942 (Lorient) until 7th November 1942(Lorient): 103 days
14th December 1942 (Lorient) until 8th May 1943 (Lorient): 146 days
6th July 1943 (Lorient) until 12th July 1943: sunk after 7 days
Sunk and damaged:
3rd May 1942: Sama (Dutch): 567BRT
10 May 1942: Aurora (American): 7.050BRT (damaged)
13th May 1942: Gulfpenn (American): 8.862BRT
14th May 1942: David McKelvy (American) :6.821BRT (heavy damaged)
16th May 1942: Sun (American): 9.002BRT (damaged)
16th May 1942: William C. McTarnahan (American): 7.306 (damaged)
17th May 1942: Gulfoil (American): 5.189BRT
19th May 1942: Heredia (American): 4.732BRT
20th May 1942: Halo (American): 6.986BRT
28th May 1942: Yorkmoor (British): 4.457BRT
31st May 1942: Fred W. Green (British): 2.292BRT
21st August 1942: City of Wellington (British): 5.733BRT
23rd August 1942: Hamla (British): 4.416BRT
5th September 1942: Myrmidon (British): 6.278BRT
13th September 1942: Lima (Swedish): 3.764BRT
30th September 1942: Siam II (British): 6.637BRT
7th March 1943: Sabor (British): 5.212BRT
9th March 1943: Tabor (Norwegian) 4.768BRT
Total damaged and sunken: 100.072 BRT
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