Werner Hartenstein - Korvettenkapitän

(Crew 28) Sank 20 ships for a total of 97.205 tons

4 ships damaged for a total of 20.001 tons

Born 27 Feb, 1908 Plauen, Vogtland

Died 8 Mar, 1943 Atlantic, east of Barbados

Werner Hartenstein Ranks:

1 Jan, 1930 Fähnrich zur See

1 Apr, 1932 Oberfähnrich zur See

1 Oct, 1932 Leutnant zur See

1 Sep, 1934 Oberleutnant zur See

1 Jun, 1937 Kapitänleutnant

1 Jun, 1942 Korvettenkapitän


6 Jun, 1939 Spanish Cross

16 Nov, 1939 Iron Cross 2nd Class

27 Apr, 1940 Iron Cross 1st Class

2 Feb, 1942 German Cross in Gold

17 Mar, 1942 U-boat War Badge

17 Sep, 1942 Knights Cross

Ships Sunk or Damaged by KK Hartenstein:

Date Commander Name of ship Tons Nat. Convoy

16 Feb 1942 Werner Hartenstein Arkansas (d.) 6,452 AM

16 Feb 1942 Werner Hartenstein Oranjestad 2,396 BR

16 Feb 1942 Werner Hartenstein Pedernales (d.) 4,317 BR

20 Feb 1942 Werner Hartenstein Delplata 5,127 AM

25 Feb 1942 Werner Hartenstein La Carriere 5,685 BR

27 Feb 1942 Werner Hartenstein Macgregor 2,498 BR ON-60

28 Feb 1942 Werner Hartenstein Oregon 7,017 AM

13 May 1942 Werner Hartenstein City of Melbourne 6,630 BR

13 May 1942 Werner Hartenstein Koenjit 4,551 NL

13 May 1942 Werner Hartenstein Letitia Porter NL

15 May 1942 Werner Hartenstein Kupa 4,382 YU

15 May 1942 Werner Hartenstein Siljestad 4,301 NW

17 May 1942 Werner Hartenstein Barrdale 5,072 BR

18 May 1942 Werner Hartenstein Quaker City 4,961 AM

18 May 1942 Werner Hartenstein San Eliseo (d.) 8,042 BR

21 May 1942 Werner Hartenstein Presidente Trujillo 1,668 DO

25 May 1942 Werner Hartenstein USS Blakeley (d.) 1,190 AM

29 May 1942 Werner Hartenstein Norman Prince 1,913 BR

1 Jun 1942 Werner Hartenstein Alegrete 5,970 BZ

3 Jun 1942 Werner Hartenstein Lillian BR

24 Jun 1942 Werner Hartenstein Willimantic 4,857 BR

27 Aug 1942 Werner Hartenstein Clan Macwhirter 5,941 BR

12 Sep 1942 Werner Hartenstein Laconia 19,695 BR

19 Sep 1942 Werner Hartenstein Quebec City 4,745 BR

Total 117,505

U-boat Commands:

U-156 4 Sep, 1941 - 8 Mar, 1943 - [5 patrols - 289 days]

Werner Hartenstein, the son of a wealthy industrialist, began his naval career in April 1928. He served a few years on the light cruiser Karlsruhe and on several torpedo boats,on which he completed 65 patrols in the first years of the war. In March 1941 he transferred to the U-boat force. On 4 September, 1941 he commissioned U-156. On her second patrol the boat attacked the refinery on Aruba with gunfire. On her fourth patrol U-156 was involved in the Laconia Incident. The boat was sunk on her fifth patrol with all hands by a US Navy aircraft.

Overview and history of the Knights Cross:


The Knights Cross - 7318 of these were awarded during the war and 144 went to the U-boat service.

The Knights Cross with Oak Leaves - 853 recipients in all services and 29 of them in the U-boats.

The Knights Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords - 150 awarded and 5 of them went to the U-boat men.

The Knights Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds - 27 of those were awarded and 2 of them to U-boat Men.


Werner Hartenstein was born on 27th February 1908 in Plauen, Saxony near the German border with the present-day Czech Republic. Hartenstein's U-boat, U-156, was named after Plauen and bore the town's coat of arms on its conning tower. November 23rd 2002 witnessed the establishment in Plauen of a memorial society honouring Hartenstein and his crew. Donatello Bellomo, author of the Italian-language book Prisoners of the Ocean - the Tragedy of the Laconia is also a member. It is fitting therefore that the International Submarine Connection U-156 Plauen (Internationaler U-boot Freundeskreis U-156 Plauen) was officially welcomed into existence by the Mayor of Plauen, Ralf Oberdorfer. Founding members include Captain David Jones of Swansea, Wales, who is the new organisation's President, and Efraim Tsouk of Haifa, Israel. Both men were torpedoed and subsequently rescued by Hartenstein's U-156. The fledgling society has a newsletter, Periskop, edited by Wolfgang Strobel, Press Officer of the Plauen Naval Association. The inaugural issue, published in German with an English translation, contained the text of Captain Jones' speech (delivered in his absence by Herr Strobel) plus letters of encouragement the Mayor of Plauen, Efraim Tsouk and Hartenstein's nephew, Werner Shuppan. It is envisioned that a major event to commemorate Werner Hartenstein and his crew will be held in Plauen in April 2003, shortly after the 60th anniversary of the 1943 sinking of U-156 with all hands off Barbados.


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Contact Information


James Carson, Director

Site Origination Date: 10 May 2005.

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