Richard Zapp started his naval career in May 1923. Before joining the U-boat fleet in 1939, he served aboard a minesweeper and later on took command of 251 Marineflak (Naval anti-aircraf gunnery). After the usual training, he served in U-46 for a short while under Oberleutnant zur See Engelbert Endrass with whom he participated in the battle against HX 79 in October 1940. HX 79 was a convoy consisting of 49 vessels of which 12, totaling 75.069 tonnes, were sunk by a Wolfpack, including U-46.
January 1941, Zapp was posted aboard U-66. After three patrols in the Atlantic Ocean, his was one of the boats that participated in the first wave of attacks in Operation Paukenschlag (Drumbeat). On the first patrol of this operation, he sank five vessels, totaling 33.456 tonnes. On his second patrol off the eastern seaboard of the United States, he was victorious again, sinking six vessels totaling 43.946 tonnes. April 23rd, 1942, he was awarded the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes (Knight's Cross to the Iron Cross). In June 1942, he was posted ashore to become commander of 3rd Flotilla, based at La Rochelle in France. January 1st, 1945, he was promoted to Fregattenkapitän (Captain of Frigates). In the last three months of the war, he became commander of the Naval Regiment 'Zapp' and defended the U-boat base at La Rochelle until the very end of the war in May 1945. He spent over two years in a French prison and was released July 7th, 1947.
Richard Zapp died July 17th, 1964.
His personal record stands at 16 vessels sunk, totaling 106.200 tonnes and one 12.502 ton vessel damaged, placing him in 27th position in the ranking of highest-scoring U-boat aces.
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