Daily Event for April 13, 2008

Commissioned on Dec. 16, 1939 and still on its working up cruise, the Type IXB U-64, under the command of Kapitänleutnant Georg-Wilhelm Schulz was ordered by Dönitz to Narvik to help repel the British counter-attack against Hitler's invasion force. After arriving at Narvik, U-64 was sent deeper into the fjord to the town of Bjerkvik where it was at anchor on April 13, 1940, the day of the Second Battle of Narvik.

HMS Warspite's commanding officer, Capt. Victor Alexander Charles Crutchley V.C., D.S.C., R.N., launched a Swordfish (C8B) of 700 Squadron FAA from his battleship to scout for the German forces. After sending back valuable reports of the location of several German destroyers, the crew reported a U-boat at anchor and began an attack. The old stringbag was not exactly the best piece of equipment to use, but this did not stop the pilot, Petty Officer Airman Frederick Charles Rice, R.N. from his duty. They closed the boat and apparently caught them completely by surprise when one of the bombs hit U-64 in the bows and opened her to the sea. Raking the boat with the machine-gun fire, U-64 sank very quickly to a depth of over 100 feet.

Schulz and several others were on the casing when the attack came, and got off the boat into the freezing water, but thirty men or so were trapped in the sunken hull. Of the forty-six man crew all but eight managed to escape and were picked up in small boats by some of the German troops who had been landed earlier. The men in U-64 were green to combat, but very well trained in escaping from a sunken U-boat.

Schulz and his surviving crew all returned to Germany and back to the U-boat service. Schulz went on to command U-124 and sink over 89,000 tons. He later commanded the 6th U-boat Flotilla and survived the war.

PO Airman Rice was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, his observer Lt. Commander Walter Leslie Mortimer Brown, R.N. was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. Leading Airman M. G. Pacey, R.N. apparently was not decorated.

No attempt was made by the Germans to recover the boat during the war. The wreck was raised in Aug. of 1957 and scrapped in Norway.
© 2008 Michael W. Pocock

In Erinnerung an die gefallenen Besatzungsmitglieder der U-64

Albertini, Ludwig
Buhl, Willi
Keuler, Herbert
König, Ernst
Neese, Paul
Öhring, Kurt
Reichenthaler, Karl
Wagner, Erich

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