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Schacht, Harro

Date of birth:
December 15th, 1907 (Cuxhaven, Germany)
Date of death:
January 13th, 1943 (South Atlantic Ocean, N.W. of Natal Brazil)
Nationality:
German

Biography

Harro Schacht was born in Cuxhaven on December 15th 1907. He started his naval career in April 1926. During his years of training with the Kriegsmarine, he served on the Light Cruisers Emden and Nürnberg. Between October 1937 and April 1941 he held a Staff position in the O.K.M. (Supreme Command of the Navy) In April 1941 Schacht joined the U boat force as Korvettenkapitän. After the usually trainings period Harro made as Commander-in-Training an 8 day long patrol under the command of Kapitänleutnant Erich Topp. In October from that same year he commissioned the U 507 (Type IX C) and he also became the commander of this ship. Between October 1941 and February 1942 the U 507 served as a trainings vessel and from March 1942 onwards as a frontline unit.

Harro Schacht’s first official patrol in U 507 lasted just one day. He set sail from Hamburg on March 7th, 1942, arriving in Helgoland the next day.

His 2nd patrol began on March 12th, 1942. He set sail from Helgoland on March 12th and arrived in Lorient, France on March 25th, having spent 14 days at sea. No enemy vessels were sunk on this patrol.

He started his 3rd patrol on April 14th, 1942. It lasted 62 days and was succesful. Schacht left the port of Lorient on April 4th and sailed to the West Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Schacht sank his first enemy ship on April 30th. This was the American tanker Federal (2,881 BRT). Between May 4th and May 16th he sank a further 5 American vessels, 2 Honduras and 1 Norwegian and also damaged another American vessel. June 4th he arrived in Lorient and two days later was awarded the Eisernes Kreuz 1 (Iron Cross 1st Class) and the U-Boot Kriegsabzeichen. (U-Boat badge).

His 4th patrol began on July 4th, 1942. It lasted 101 days and was again a succesful one. Schacht left Lorient July 4th and set sail for the Ascension Island in the South Atlantic. Between August 16th and August 19th, he sank 6 Brazilian vessels. Following this event and under pressure from the civilian population, the Brazilian government declared war on Germany. Schacht sank another ship on August 22nd, the Swedish merchantman Hammaren. This vessel was part of the convoy OS-36.
October 12th, Schacht arrived in Lorient.

His 5th patrol lasted only two days. Schacht left on November 24th, 1942 from Lorient and returned due to technical problems on the November 26th.

Harro Schacht’s 6th and last patrol began November 28th, 1942 and lasted 47 days. Schacht left the base at Lorient in U 507 for the last time and set sail for the South Atlantic. Between December 27th and January 8th, he sank 3 British vessels. During this patrol, Schacht was awarded the Ritterkreuz (Knight’s Cross) on January 9th. January 13th, 1943 his luck ran out. That day, a Catalina (P-10) of the American VP-83 squadron attacked U 507 with depth charges. The U 507 was mortally hit and was lost with all hands (54) North West of Natal off the Brazilian coast.

Korvettenkapitän Harro Schacht spent a total of 224 days at sea, he sank 19 ships, totaling 77,144 BRT and damaged 1. (6,561 BRT) March 21st, 1944 he was promoted posthumously to Fregattenkapitän.

Promotions;

01-04-1928 Fähnrich zur See
01-06-1930 Oberfähnrich zur See
01-10-1930 Leutnant zur See
01-08-1932 Oberleutnant zur See
01-04-1936 Kapitänleutnant
01-10-1940 Korvettenkapitän
21-03-1944 Fregattenkapitän (posthumous)

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Periode:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Kapitänleutnant (Commander)
Unit:
Funkreferent des B.d.A. - O.K.M. / Reichkriegsministerium
Awarded on:
April 1st, 1938
Dienstauszeichnung der Wehrmacht 4.Klasse, 4 Jahre
Periode:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Kapitänleutnant (Commander)
Unit:
Funkreferent des B.d.A. - O.K.M. / Reichkriegsministerium
Awarded on:
March 29th, 1940
Spanienkreuz, Silber
Periode:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Kapitänleutnant (Commander)
Unit:
Funkreferent des B.d.A. - O.K.M. / Reichkriegsministerium
Awarded on:
April 19th, 1940
Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse
Periode:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Korvettenkapitän (Lieutenant Commander)
Unit:
Kommandant "U 507" / 2.Unterseebootsflottille "Saltzwedel"
Awarded on:
May 18th, 1942
Wehrmachtbericht
Periode:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Korvettenkapitän (Lieutenant Commander)
Unit:
Kommandant "U 507" / 2.Unterseebootsflottille "Saltzwedel"
Awarded on:
June 6th, 1942
Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse
Periode:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Korvettenkapitän (Lieutenant Commander)
Unit:
Kommandant "U 507" / 2.Unterseebootsflottille "Saltzwedel"
Awarded on:
June 6th, 1942
U-boot Kriegsabzeichen
Periode:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Korvettenkapitän (Lieutenant Commander)
Unit:
Kommandant "U 507" / 2.Unterseebootsflottille "Saltzwedel"
Awarded on:
January 9th, 1943
Details:
Harro Schacht was the 143th Kriegmarine person and the 75th of the Uboat Service that was awarded with the Knight's Cross.
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes

Sources

  • Photo 1: Wilco Vermeer
  • Photo: Wilco Vermeer collection
  • - Fellgiebel W.P., Elite of the Third Reich, The recipients of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939-1945: A Reference, Helion & Company Limited, Solihull, 2003, ISBN 1-874622-46-9
    - R. Busch/H-J Röll, Die Ritterkreuzträger der U-Boot-Waffe von September 1939 bis Mai 1945, Verlag E. S. Mittler & Sohn GmbH, Hamburg, Berlin, Bonn, 2003.
    - www.das-ritterkreuz.de
    - uboat.net
    - ubootwaffe.net

Photo