Hans Werner Kraus was a famous U-Boat commander of the Second World War
. He was highly popularized and used in German propaganda
due to him being a recipient of the Knight's Cross
to the Iron Cross. There were even postcards with his picture on them at the time.
, Hans Werner Kraus
was born on the 1st of July, 1915. In April of 1934, right at the age of 18, Hans joined the German Navy
, or the Kriegsmarine
. Early on in his career, he was serving as a Fähnrich zur See
on the light cruiser Königsberg
In October 1939, Kraus transferred to the Unterseebootwaffe
(or the U-Boat
Service) as a fairly new Oberleutnant zur See. Being a junior officer grade, he was placed as the First Watch Officer
under Kapitänleutnant Günther Prien
(who became a very famous U-Boat commander
). Kraus was IWO for a year over the course of 5 patrols, while he learned about submarine
life and operations
He left U-47 for training
in November 1940, and three months later, in February, was given the honor of his own boat. Kraus commissioned U-83
, a type VIIB boat laid down by Flender Werke
AG in Lübeck-Siems - the first VIIB class U-boat this shipyard
was contracted to construct.
U-47 finished it's "training" patrol
, and left for an actual war patrol on Jun 1, 1941 in the Mediterranean
. It was on October 12th, during this patrol, Kraus and his crew met their first success, coming across convoy
HG 12 west of Portugal
. They torpedo
ed three boats; the Ariguani
as well as two other unidentified vessels. On the third war patrol with the crew of U-83, in December of 1941, Kraus broke through the Straits of Gibraltar
without much incident..
U-83 progressed to the Mediterranean where they torpedoed and hit a steamer
on February 14, 1942. The crew continued their patrols, and made further hits on steamers and warship
s, but nothing notable. Kraus torpedoed the 2,590 ton motor ship Crista
, some sailing ship
s were also destroyed but rather by gunfire
. Kraus received the Knights Cross to the Iron Cross
for his various sucesses, on June 19th, 1942.
Later that August, Kraus and his crew sunk all 5,875 tons of the Candian
Pacfic RR passenger
steamer Princess Marguerite
. After his sixth patrol, all in the Mediterranean, Kraus left U-83.
On November 28th, 1942, Kraus commissioned the IXD class boat, U-199
, built by the AG Weser
shipyards in Bremen
. On the following June, in Kraus' first patrol with U-199, near Rio de Janeiro, fired upon the American steamer Charles Wilson Peale
, but both of his two torpedoes missed. The third of July, U-199 attacked American Mariner aircraft successfully. The next day, on the Fourth of July, the U-199 crew sank a freighting ship by gunfire. On the 24th of the same month, Kraus attacked and sunk the 4,161 ton Henzada
One week later U-199 was sighted by American
and Brazilian aircraft
and attacked with depth charges, in the South Atlantic
, east of Rio de Janeiro
. 49 of her crew died and sank with the ship
, 12 survived including her loyal commander, Kapitänleutnant Hans Werner Kraus
, who were all taken prisoner into Brazil
, and later to the United States
. Kraus was in American captivity as a Prisoner of War
for about three years, before he was allowed to return to Germany
in May of 1946.
Hans died in his German home at the age of 75 on August 25, 1990.