Organization in the U-Boat Bases


Some weeks ago I bought two books regarding the U-Bunkers:

Jack P. Mallmann Showell, Hitler’s U-Boat Bunkers, The History Press, 2002 (1st edition), 2010 (for this publication), pp. 204.


Gordon Williamson, Ian Palmer, U-Boat Bases and Bunkers 1941-45, Osprey Publishing, 2003 (1st publication), 2008 (5th impression), pp.63.

I didn’t finished to read the books, but if you feel interested in knowing more about I can wrote that:

  • the 1st one is a real historical research and synthesis on the different Baltic’s or Atlantic’s Bases.
  • the second book, also based on an historical research, is thiner than the first one and could be used as a tourist guide book in the aim to visit the Bases in Europe.
  • the first one is illustrated by pictures in black and white whereas the second one included also a kind of 3D illustrations.

I won’t be going further into a detail presentation on these two books, as they are well known to the one who is interested in that subject (according to the plenty of website that are proposing to order these).

Here is a summary/presentation of a chapter extract from: G. Williamson, “Life in a U-Boat base, Resident flotillas and commanders in Europe”, in U-Boat Bases op. cit.:

First of all, the German’s U-Bunkers were dedicated to park boats and submarines, called “U-Boote”, and if it was necessary doing some reparations. We learn from this chapter that life in the elevens U-Bunkers, (which were located in: Hamburg, Helgoland, Kiel, Bremen, Bergen, Trondheim, Brest, Lorient, Saint-Nazaire, La Pallice and Bordeaux) [yes, the author doesn’t talk about the one of Marseille which were still under construction at the end of war] was almost the same.

The U-Boat army was commanded by the “Konteradmiral” (September 1940) then “Grossadmiral” and Commander-in-Chief navy Karl Dönitz. As he had “a passionate interest” in his U-Boats, then he was very often going to the U-Bunkers. Thanks to these travels, the historians could nowadays discover the pictures taken by the German press-office. Under Dönitz, at the “head of Operations” there was: “Kapitän Zur See Eberhardt Godt”, while the post of ‘head of Organization” was held by “Kapitän Zur See Hans-Georg Von Friedeburg”.

The individual operational areas were each commanded by a “Flag Officer”. Also, the post of “Führer der u-Boote West” covered the areas of operations in which most of the boats from the French U-Boat Bunkers complexes operated. The U-Boats operating from the Norvegian bunkers came under the control of the “Führer der U-Boote Norvegen”.

Of course, “efforts were made to rotate U-Boat crews”. Thus a train was often laid on by order of Dönitz to the crew which was returning to his U-Boat Base, in the aim to transport the submarine soldier’s home to Germany quickly. The train used for that mission was known as the « B.d.u-Zug » or « C-in-C’s train », in reference to the functions of Karl Dönitz. And last but not least, the author concludes by the details of each flotilla which were staying in the different Baltic and Atlantic’s U-Bunkers.