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Schmidt, Günter Werner Helmut

    Date of birth:
    September 24th, 1919 (Danzig/Westprussia, Germany)
    Date of death:
    July 21st, 1988 (Antwerp, Belgium)
    Nationality:
    German (1933-1945, German Reich)

    Biography

    Günter Werner Schmidt is the son of Generalleutnant Kurt Schmidt.

    Günter Werner Schmidt was the eldest son of Generalleutnant Kurt Erich Schmidt.
    Günter-Werner Schmidt was born September 24th, 1919 in Danzig. He took his diploma at the department of Latin and Greek at the Kaiser Wilhelm Gymnasium in Trier in March 1938. On April 4th, 1938 he was called up for the Reichsarbeitsdienst and on October 1st the same year was conscripted by the Kriegsmarine which recommended him to Admiral Erich Raeder as cadet-officer of Crew 38 (class of 1938). From October 1st to September 28th, he followed basic training for ordinary seaman in Stralsund and aboard the liner Schlesien (July 1st to October 13th, 1939).
    Aboard the Schlesien, he witnessed the outbreak of World War Two with the German invasion of Poland. Subsequently, he attended the Naval Academy in Flensburg-Mürwick and the Sperrschule in Kiel. On May 1st, 1940, Schmidt was posted to 11.U-Jagdflotte in Frederikshafen, Denmark.
    This flotilla maintained satellite bases in the Netherlands (Den Helder), Germany (Stolpmünde and Memel) Latvia (Libau) and in Norway (Hammerfest). The flotilla was commanded by Korvettenkapitän der Reserve Günther von Selchow. On December 1st, 1941, Günter Schmidt (meanwhile promoted to Leutnant zur See) was given command of UJ-1107. He remained with 11.U-Jagdflotte until April 14th, 1943. From April 16th, 1943 onwards, Günter Schmidt served in 22.U-Jagdflotte in Marseille as Oberleutnant zur See and he was commander of UJ-2207, 2209, 2208 and 2211 successively.
    After Marshall Pietro Badoglio had signed the armisitice agreement between the Kingdom of Italy and the Allies on September 8th, 1943, 22.U-Jagdflotte was ordered to the Italian west coast by Admiral Karl Dönitz. First to Salerno, then to Via Reggio and finally to Genoa. The Kriegsmarine confiscated all Italian war ships in the harbours it had occupied and so Günter Schmidt found himself commander of the former Italian corvettes Strolaga (UJ-2224), Artemide (UJ-2226) and Persefone (UJ-2227) successively. He scuttled this last corvette in Genoa harbour on 07:15 in the morning of April 24th, 1945 and took his crew, beleaguered as they were by partizans, to safety in the citadel of Genoa. During this operation, (which had to be done on foot from the harbour to the citadel) the commander of the flotilla, Korvettenkapitän Dr. Wachhausen lost his life, among others.
    On April 27th, 1945, Günter Schmidt (after the death of his commander the most senior officer of the flotilla), surrendered the remainder of his unit and himself to the American 92nd Infantry Division which had arrived at the citadel in the meantime and took them to American PoW camp 473 in Pisa.
    On May 24th, 1945, Günter Schmidt was handed over to the British and ended up in PoW camp 226 (reserved for officers of the Kriegsmarine) at Altamura near Bari. In November of the same year, he was repatriated to Germany.
    Promotions:
    October 1st, 1938: Matrose;
    February 28th, 1939: Seekadet;
    February 29th, 1940: Fähnrich zur See;
    October 1st, 1940: Oberfähnrich zur See;
    April 1st, 1941: Leutnant zur See;
    April 1st, 1943: Oberleutnant zur See.


    Promotions:
    October 1st, 1938: Matrose;
    February 29th, 1939: Seekadet;
    February 29th, 1940: Fähnrich zur See;
    October 1st, 1940: Oberfähnrich zur See;
    April 1st, 1941: Leutnant zur See;
    April 1st, 1943: Oberleutnant zur See.

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    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Oberfähnrich (Midshipsman)
    Unit:
    II. Wachoffizier, UJ 1106, 11. U-Bootsjagdflottille, Kriegsmarine
    Awarded on:
    December 12th, 1940
    Kriegsabzeichen für Minensuch-, U-Boots-, Jagd- und Sicherungsverbände
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Leutnant zur See (Sub-lieutenant)
    Unit:
    Kommandant, UJ 1107, 11. U-Bootsjagdflottille, Kriegsmarine
    Awarded on:
    January 30th, 1942
    Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Leutnant zur See (Sub-lieutenant)
    Unit:
    Kommandant, UJ 1107, 11. U-Bootsjagdflottille, Kriegsmarine
    Awarded on:
    October 16th, 1942
    Flotten-Kriegsabzeichen
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Leutnant zur See (Sub-lieutenant)
    Unit:
    Kommandant, UJ 1103, 11. U-Bootsjagdflottille, Kriegsmarine
    Awarded on:
    January 30th, 1943
    Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse

    Sources

    • Photo: Hanneke Bocken
    • - Deutsche Kriegsmarine
      - British Naval Headquarters

    Photo