On 27 August 1915 in Zwickau/Sa.
07.04.35-15.06.35 4. Kompanie II. Schiffsstammabteilung der Ostsee, Strassund
16.06.35-13.03.36 S.M. Linienschiff “Schlesien”, Wilhemshaven, praktische Bordausbildung
14.03.36-18.04.36 Marine Torpedoschule Flensburg-Murwik, Fahnrichtorpedolehrgang
19.04.36-19.05.36 Schiffsartillerieschule Kiel – Wik, Fahnrichs – Artillerie lehrgang
20.05-36-19.06.36 Marinenachrichtenschule Flensburg-Muwik, Fahnrichs-Nachrichtenlehrgang
20.06.36-13.09.36 4. Fahnrichskompanie der Marinschule Flensburg-Murwik, Fahnrichslehrgang
14.09.36-19.09.36 Dampfer “Hecht” Navigationsbelehrungsfahrt
20.09.36-31.03.37 4. Fahnrichskompanie der Marinschule Flensburg-Murwik, Fahnrichslehrgang
01.04.37-02.10.37 Kreuzer Nurnberg, Kiel
03.10.37-31.10.37 Fliegerschule Parow
01.10.38-31.10.39 Fliegerwaffenschule (See) Bug auf Rugen
01.11.39-19.02.41 Kustenfliegerstaffel 2/806
20.02.41-00.00.00 6. Staffel II. Gruppe Kampfgeschwader 26 “Lowen”
26.04.41-00.00.00 Grosse Kampffliegerschule 5
00.00.00-01.03.42 6. Staffel II. Gruppe Kampfgeschwader 26 “Lowen”
02.03.42-04.07.42 zur Verfugung Befehlshaber der U-Boote
05.07.42-29.08.42 Marine Torpedoschule Flensburg-Murwik
30.08.42-15.10.42 1. Unterseebootsflottille, U-597
25.09.35 Seekadett (Ernennung)
01.04.36 Fahnrich z. S.
01.01.38 Oberfahnrich z. S.
01.04.38 Leutnant z. S.
01.10.39 Oberleutnant z. S.
05.04.39 Dienstauszeichnung IV. Klasse (Long Service Award 4th Class)
19.05.40 Eiserne Kreuz 2. Klasse (Iron Cross 2nd Class)
21.09.40 Eiserne Kreuz 1. Klasse (Iron Cross 1st Class
00.00.00 Beobachterabzeichen (Observer's Badge)
20.08.42 Frontflug-Spange für Kampfflieger in Bronze (Operational flying clasp in Bronze for bombers)
12.10.42 U-boat War Badge (U-Boot-Kriegsabzeichen)*
* Posthumous awarding
7 April 35
To begin his Kriegsmarine naval career Offiziersanwärter Gerhard Landgraf joins the 4. Kompanie II. Schiffsstammabteilung der Ostsee Strassund.
16 June 35
Offiziersanwärter Landgraf is posted to his first sea duty aboard the SMS Schlesien, a pre-World War 1 dreadnaught which had been converted into a training ship for cadets between 18 February and 8 April 1935, when she was formally removed from the fleet organization on 30 September. Among the modifications to Schlesien to assist in cadet training were the installation of additional anti-aircraft guns and replacement of the ship's boilers. The newer boilers were more efficient, which allowed fewer of them to be used; the additional space this created was used as crew compartments for the cadets and an instruction room. The crew was also altered; the standard crew had been 35 officers and 708 enlisted men; after the conversion, this was reduced to 29 officers and 559 sailors, supplemented by 214 cadets. Over the course of the following three years, Schlesien embarked on several overseas training cruises, including while Landgraf was aboard, as part of the Training Inspectorate. The first lasted from 1 December 1935 to 29 February 1936, and went to Cape Verde.
Pre-war image of SMS Schlesien ca. 1930's
25 September 35
During the course of his cadet training while serving aboard the training ship Schlesien, Landgraf is promoted to the rank of Seekadett.
14 March 36
Seekadett Landgraf is posted to Marine Torpedoschule Flensburg-Murwik, Fahnrichtorpedolehrgang, a navy training school for instruction on Torpedo tactics and instruction.
1 April 36
While serving with Marine Torpedoschule Flensburg-Murwik Landgraf is promoted to the rank of Fahnrich zur See.
19 April 36
Fahnrich Landgraf is transferred to Schiffsartillerieschule Kiel – Wik, Fahnrichs – Artillerie lehrgang for training on shipboard gunnery and tactics.
20 May 36
Landgraf next transfers to Marinenachrichtenschule Flensburg-Muwik, Fahnrichs-Nachrichtenlehrgang a signals school, formerly paired with the Torpedoschule, to receive advanced signals training.
20 June 36
Fahnrich Landgrafs final naval training is with the 4. Fahnrichskompanie der Marinschule Flensburg-Murwik, Fahnrichslehrgang.
14 -20 September 36
Landgraf attends a brief navigational training course abroad the Dampfer “Hecht” Navigationsbelehrungsfahrt a former WW1 era minesweeper (formerly M60) rebuilt, it received new armament in 1933 and was subsequently used by the Kriegsmarine as a navigational training vessel. On the 20th of the same month Fahnrich Landgraf returns to 4. Fahnrichskompanie der Marinschule Flensburg-Murwik, Fahnrichslehrgang.
Image of the Dampfer “Hecht” likely taken around or just following WW1.
1 April 37
Fahnrich Landgraf is posted to the Light Cruiser Nürnberg. It was during this period that the Nurnberg participated in the non-intervention patrols during the Spanish Civil War of 1936–39. On her initial deployment in 1936, she flew the flag of Konteradmiral Hermann Boehm. While Landgraf served aboard, Nürnberg she conducted four patrols off Spain, but did not encounter any belligerent forces, with the exception of a claimed attack by an unidentified submarine south of the Balearic Islands on 16 July 1937.
In September 1937, Nürnberg took part in fleet maneuvers with the heavy cruisers Admiral Graf Spee and Deutschland, the light cruisers Leipzig and Karlsruhe, and several destroyers.
Image of the Light Cruiser Nürnberg photgraphed in the late1930's.
3 October 37
As part of the need for the Luftwaffe to supplement its personnel (in particular as it related to naval and anti-shipping operations) the fledging German Air Force directs the Kriegsmarine to surrender officers and officer candidates to build up the Luftwaffe. By March 1935, about 40 officers had been transferred from lieutenant to Rear Admiral to the Air Force. The navy personnel were drawn from the navy air sea observers as well as their respective aircraft. The observers and most other Kriegsmarine personnel transferred still retained their respective Kriegsmarine rank (Marineangehoriger) and began their training in Parow. It was in this transfer of personnel that Fahnrich Landgraf began his training in Parow likely in large part to his specific knowledge of Torpedo operations. Since Landgraf also had training with gunnery and signals he most likely was trained and received the LW Beobachterabzeichen although no specific information confirms this award.
1 January 38
Landgraf is promoted to the rank of Oberfahnrich zur See.
1 April 38
Landgraf is promoted to the rank of Leutnant zur See.
1 October 38
Landgraf transfers to Fliegerwaffenschule (See) Bug auf Rugen a Luftwaffe weapons training unit for flying personnel. During this period Landgraf is receives training to apply his skills gained in the Kriegsmarine to how it would be applied to airborne tactics.
1 October 39
Following closely on the outbreak of hostilities Landgraf is promoted to the rank of Oberleutnant zur See.
1 November 39
Oberleutnant zur See Landgraf is transferred to his first operational air unit Kustenfliegerstaffel 2/806 then based in Bruesterort and flying a combination of He 60, He 114 and He 111J.
Kustenfliegerstaffel 2/806 relocates to bases in Uetersen He 111J.
21 March 40
Varelbusch He 111J
5 April 40
Kustenfliegerstaffel 2/806 returns to Uetersen and during their time at this base begins the conversion from He 111J to the newly introduced Ju 88A.
In anticipation of the impending air war over the British Isles Kustenfliegerstaffel 2/806 moves up to forward bases in Nantes flying Ju 88A.
11 September 40
Continuing its operations against the English shipping Kustenfliegerstaffel 2/806 moves to Caen-Caripiquet flying Ju 88A.
20 February 41
Oberleutnant zur See is transferred to the 6. Staffel of II. Gruppe Kampfgeschwader 26 “Lowen” an anti-shipping unit participating in the Battle of the Mediterranean, Battle of the Atlantic and operations on the Eastern Front, against the Arctic Convoys and the Soviet Navy over the Black Sea. At the time of Landgrafs joining the unit they were based in Comiso, Italy flying He 111H.
Landgraf was likely transferred to this unit to supplement the losses sustained by the unit in the preceding month and to utilize his knowledge in torpedo tactics.
The II./KG 26 had relocated to Sicily in January 1941 as part of Fliegerkorps X. After arriving, it lost six He 111s to an enemy air raid on 8 January 1941. On the night of 17/18 January 1941 twelve (12) He 111s were sent to bomb the Suez Canal. The range proved too great and I. Gruppe lost seven machines to fuel starvation. In the following weeks unsuccessful attacks were made on British warships in the Mediterranean. On 24 January it sank the freighter Sollum and minesweeper Huntley. The unit also took part in missions over Malta, losing its first aircraft on 8 February 1941.
26 April 41
Oberleutnant zur See Gerhard Landgraf is temporarily attached, for an indeterminant period (dates appears to overlap with 6.II./KG 26), to Grosse Kampffliegerschule (See) 5, a heavy bomber training school then based in Parow and flying a mixture of aircraft ( Ar 196, Bv 138,Do 17, Do 18, Fw 58, He60, He 111, He 114 and He 115). Likely he received additional training on anti-shipping tactics as his parent unit II. KG 26 became more engaged in anti-shipping campaign in the Mediterranean.
Early summer 41?
Landgraf returns to 6. Staffel of II. Gruppe Kampfgeschwader 26 (exact timeframe not available based on existing documentation).
A Heinkel He 111 of 6./KG 26 ca. 1941-42. (artist H. Ringstetter)
The 6./KG 26 moves to Buzeau (Romania) and to Saki in December 41.
During the Balkans Campaign the II./KG 26 moved to Foggia in northern Italy and conducted raids against Yugoslavia as part of VIII. Fliegerkorps, 6. Staffel, II.Gruppe, KG 26 (6.II./KG 26) was rebased at Saki, in the Crimea and began operations over the Black Sea against the Soviet Navy. The unit claimed 20,000 BRT sunk in October–December 1941.
Landgraf receives payment by 2.U-Boot Lehrdivision (Gotenhafen).
2 March 42
With Landgraf’s transfer back to the Kriegsmarine he will begin brief but intensive training for the U Boat service. His initial postings is to the Unterseebootslehrdivision the submarine training division of the U boat arm.
30 March 42
Oberleutnant zur see Landgraf receives additional signals training with Marinenachrichtenscule the Kriegsmarine signals school.
Landgraf receives payment by Marinenachrichtenschule Mürwik (Flensburg).
27 April 42
Landgraf enters the Unterseebootslehrdivision the U Boat learning division to receive training for U Boat warfare and operational tactics.
1 June 42
As Landgrafs U-Boote training winds down to his receiving a sea duty posting and anticipating his eventual command of a U Boat, Landgraf is promoted to Kapitanleutnant.
5 July 42
Kapitanleutnant Landgraf once again returns to where much of his earlier training began and is posted to Marine Torpedoschule Flensburg-Murwik to receive additional torpedo tactics training as it related to U Boat operations.
30 August 42
Landgraf’s U-Boote training complete he is ready for sea duty and is transferred to the 1. Unterseebootsflottille also known as the Weddigen flotilla. Originally based in Kiel from September 1935-May 1941, the 1. Unterseebootsflottille was moved to Brest, France in June 1941. Shortly after his transfer to the U boat flotilla he receives his assignment to serve aboard the U-597 where he will serve as U-597’s ??? officer.
16 September 42
U-597 departed Brest and was on her second war-patrol, Landgraf was onboard as a Kommandanten Schüler, serving on an active Uboat to become a Uboat commander himself.
Profile of a Type VIIC U-boat the same model as the U-597.
22-26 September 42
The U-597 operates with Wolfpack Blitz.
26-23 September 42
The U-597 operates with Wolfpack Tiger.
1-6 October 42
The U-597 operates with Wolfpack Luchs.
6-12 October 42
The U-597 operates with Wolfpack Panther.
U-597's insignia (see image below).
Two images (above) of the U-597 with crew and officers in submarine conning tower.
Likely one of the saluting officers on deck would be Landgraf. ca. 16 August 1942
12 October 42
The U-597 is operating in the North Atlantic south-east of Cape Farewell, in position 56.50N, 28.05W with Wolfpack Leopard.
At mid-day Squadron Leader Terence M. Bulloch DFC and crew flying in Liberator 'H' of No.120 Squadron operating out of Iceland were flying close escort for convoy ONS136 as it passed to the south-west of their base. One of the crew sighted the wake of an unidentified craft some eight miles away to the starboard. Bulloch curved round after it and closed the vessel out of the sun; as he straightened out the Liberator he saw that the cause of the wake was a submarine.
The aircraft lined up on the stern of the U-boat and attacked almost along its length. As the submarine disappeared under the nose of his aircraft Bulloch let go of his depth-charges in a very closely spaced stick with only twenty-five feet between them. Two of them failed to leave the bomb-bay but the remaining six splashed into the water with remarkable precision.
The U-597 under attack as seen from Bulloch's Liberator.
Note depth charge expolding on the stern.
One of the depth-charges exploded near the stern, two went off on each side of the hull and the sixth exploded next to the bow. Pieces of metal from the boat flew high into the air and a large oval chunk just missed the rear of the Liberator. Her pressure hull ruptured in several places, the submarine broke and it was last seen tipping vertically before disappearing and sinking below the surface. This brought the end of the career of U 597 (Bopst) and the lives of her entire crew to an end as well as Kapitänleutnant Gerhard Landgraf. This also acheived Bulloch and No. 120 Squadron's first confirmed "kill".
Photo taken by Bulloch's crew showing the doomed U-597 sinking bow end
down just prior to its slipping below the surface.
At 1540 hrs during this sortie S/L. Bulloch attempted to attack a second U-boat but his two remaining depth-charges failed to leave the aircraft.
Squadron Leader Terence M. Bulloch DFC
At the time of the U-597 sinking S/L Bulloch was flying Liberator AM929 of 120 Squadron out of Reykjavik airfield in Iceland where he had been posted in command of a detachment of 120 Squadron from RAF Ballykelly, to which base the squadron had recently been transferred from Nutts Corner.
Liberator AM929 of 120 Squadron Squadron LeaderS/L Terence M. Bulloch's crew. F/O. M. Layton Navigator, Sgt. R. McColl Engineer, Sgt. G. Turner WOp/AG,
Sgt. J. Secular WOp/AG and Sgt. G. Clayton WOp/'AG.
As a member of a fallen Marine, Landgraf's name is recorded in either the U-boat memorial Möltenort near Kiel on the wall panels or in the Naval memorial in Laboe in the memorial book there.
Lost crew of U-597:
Adomeit, Siegfried . Becker, August-Friedrich . Boczeck, Kurt . Bopst, Eberhard . Braun, Karl . Bücken, Johann . Burmeister, Hans-Heinrich-August . Eckhardt, Herbert . Finck, Walter-Julius . Giebel, Erich . Grebenkämper, Karl-Heinz . Grosser, Gerhard . Gruss, Erich . Hentschel, Richard-Paul . Herbst, Rudolf . Höhnel, Werner-Otto . Hoenke, Eduard . Joswig, Karl . Kaplan, Werner-Ernst . Kath, Wilhelm . Kindt, Erich . Königsecker, Alfred . Kott, Werner . Krause, Kurt . Lampert, Fritz . Landgraf, Gerhard . Lenz, Ernst . Meilwes, Franz . Nehrig, Otto . Nilius, Heinz . Otter, Johann . Plempe, Wilhelm . Polcinik, Franz . Radzio, Horst-Johannes . Rellensmann, Ullrich . Röschmann, Heinz . Rulfs, Helmut . Salmen, Walter . Schulz, Erich . Schütte, August . Stahlhut, Ernst . Staiger, Johannes . Stellmach, Alois . Studt, Johannes . Wieck, Bruno . Wittig, Eduard . Wittkowski, Heinz . Woltersdorf, Karl . Zünskes, Albert
U-597 sinking report obtained from the Frendeskreis Traditionsarchiv
Unterseeboote e.V. in Cuxhaven-Altenbruch, Germany