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SHARKHUNTERS International
Kapitšnleutnant ROLF  THOMSEN  #6327-2001
Kriegsmarine, U-Bootwaffe     Commander U-1202

 

ROLF THOMSEN was born 6 May 1915 in Berlin and was in Naval Class 1936.  Like so many others who became U-Boat Skippers, ROLF began as a flier and flew many quite dangerous missions for which he was highly decorated.

On 1 January 1944 he transferred to the U-Bootwaffe and put U-1202 into commission at the Schichau Shipyard in Danzig.  His first Feindfahrt (war patrol) was in the North Atlantic and it began with quite a success on 10 December as he fired all four at steamers in a convoy.  He heard four detonations at the proper time, heard sinking noises and claimed sinking two steamers of 6,000 tons each and also two steamers of 7,000 tons each.  Only the 7,176 ton American Liberty Ship SS DAN BEARD was confirmed sunk but at this point in the war, it was no small accomplishment.  After this patrol, he was decorated with the Knights Cross on 4 January 1945.

THOMSEN was back to sea quickly in March 1945 against the North Atlantic convoys and on 21 March 1945 he fired at warships, sinking one destroyer and damaging an escort carrier.  On 31 March he fired at two steamers estimated at 7,000 tons each and claimed both sunk.  There was no confirmation.  On the next day, 1 April, he fired at a steamer estimated at 7,000 tons and two corvettes, claiming damage to the steamer and both corvettes sunk.  There was no confirmation.  On 29 April 1945 he was decorated with the Oak Leaf to the Knights Cross but the despair can be seen on the faces of all concerned - this award was made one week before the surrender order and it was obvious that defeat was imminent.

 

 

ROLF THOMSEN went back into the German Navy after the war and retired at the rank of Flotillenadmiral (one Star).  I met him on 25 July 2001 at the home of ERICH TOPP, Member #118 as these two great warriors hand-signed our print "Yesterdays Enemies - Today's Friends".  These prints were all hand-signed by ERICH TOPP, Member #118 with the Knights Cross, Oak Leaf and Crossed Swords; ROLF THOMSEN, Member #6327 with the Knights Cross and Oak Leaf; HANS-GEORG HESS, Member #125 with the Knights Cross; GENE FLUCKEY, Member #2169 with the Medal of Honor and four Navy Crosses; SLADE CUTTER, Member #3174 with four Navy Crosses; and NED BEACH, Member #1163 with the Navy Cross.

At the home of TOPP, I was placing the prints to be signed in front of THOMSEN where he would sign and pass to TOPP for his signature.  TOPP was signed at fantastic speed - ROLF and I had a tough time keeping pace with him.  Why?  TOPP, at age 82, was rushing to the airport to pick up his 22 year old girlfriend!  Old sailors never change.....  They were great guys!

 

 

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