The U-182: the Commander and Crew
Through fortunate circumstances, I have been able to gather information on the U-182, Korvettenkapitän Nikolai (or Nicolai) Clausen, and the crew.
I am now in contact with Nikolai Clausen's daughter directly.
She was born after Clausen's death and currently lives in Germany.
Through this contact I have been provided a small glimpse into Clausen's personal life.
I have also been provided unpublished and rare images of the U-182.
I have looked for images of this boat for years but have always been unsuccessful.
There are no combat images as this boat was sunk while returning from its first war patrol.
Note: All personal photographs of Clausen on this page are courtesy of Nikolai's daughter (except as noted) and copyrighted accordingly.
IX-D2: High speed and heavy armament
Typical Type IX-D2 Specifications
||1,616 to 1,804 (submerged) tons|
x 24.5 x 17.75 feet
knots (surface) 1,000
hp 7 knots (submerged)
12 knots (surface) or
57 miles at 4 knots (submerged)
x 4.1 inch
gun , 1 x 37mm and 1 x 20mm
AA gun , 6 x 21 inch torpedo tubes (4 x bow , 2 x stern) , with 24
or six torpedoes and 32 mines
The U-182 was a Type IX D2 U-boat. It was laid down on 7 April 1941 by AG Weser, Bremen. It was commissioned on 30 June 1942 by Kapitänleutnant Nikolai Clausen, a Knight's Cross holder.
The officers and crew of the U-182. Taken on 30 June 1942 at Deschimag wharf in Bremen, when U-182 was commissioned. The first of only two known photos of this boat. Clausen is on the left.
the battle standard on the U-182. Taken on 30 June 1942 at Deschimag
wharf in Bremen, when the U-182 was commissioned.
originally posting this web page I have been contacted by various
relatives connected to the U-boat. One of them is the great
nephew of Obermaschinist Fritz Reichle, Dr. Reichle.
This third photo of the commissionning was
provided by Dr. Reichle. I have included his image of the
the photo as verification of its authenticity.
Since originally posting this web page I have been contacted by various relatives connected to the U-boat. One of them is the great nephew of Obermaschinist Fritz Reichle, Dr. Reichle. This third photo of the commissionning was provided by Dr. Reichle. I have included his image of the back of the photo as verification of its authenticity.
Obermaschinist Fritz Reichle is also present in this photo. Here he is in a cropped image. Read more about him below.
From June to November 1942 the U-182 served as a training submarine with the 4th Flotilla. After this session the U-182 joined the 12th Flotilla (Bordeaux).
On 19 December 1942 the U-182 departed Horten, Norway for its operational area, the South Atlantic / Indian Ocean with Kapitänleutnant Nikolai Clausen as its commander.
During this patrol the U-182 sank 5 ships for a total of 30,071 tons. These ships were:
The U-182 was sunk 16 May 1943 off the island of Madeira by depth charges from the destroyer USS MacKenzie. The entire crew of 61 perished.
Westward - Ho!
Westward-ho! From the conning tower of U-129.
The ship's combat emblem was "Westward ho!" written in old German script on the front of the conning tower.
There were in total 4 U-boats with this old Viking slogan, which was also used by the pilgrim fathers and westward settlers in America.
The first one was U-37. After its first patrol, when U-37 entered Wilhelmshaven on 8 November 1939, the commander Werner Hartmann met Niko Clausen on the quay.
Clausen at this time was commander of the minesweeper M-134. They had dinner together. Hartmann promised to request Clausen as watch officer on his U-boat.
Upon their return to U-37, the crew had painted this slogan in black letters on the tower.
Eventually Clausen became commander of U-37.
When Hartmann commissioned U-198 on 3 November 1942, he also chose his old slogan from U-37.
Asmus Nikolai "Niko" Clausen
Korvettenkapitän Nikolai Clausen was a distinguished naval commander. In his career he sank 24 ships for a total of 74,807 tons, including the French U-Boat Sfax.
He was born 2 June 1911 in Flensburg, and died 16 May 1943 in the Atlantic.
4 year old "Niko" Clausen. Taken on 20 August 1915. Note that he is already wearing a navy uniform.
This photo was taken in autumn 1941.
Clausen, at the time commander of U-129 was on holidays with his crew in the Austrian Alps town of Pörtschach, the god-parent town of U-129.
He was then 30 years old.
His wedding photo from 1942. (© Sharkhunters International, Inc)
This photo as provided by Dr. Reichle was presumably taken at the U-182 commissioning. Obermaschinist Fritz Reichle is second from the left. Ubermachinisten Franz Dietl is believed to be second from right. Clausen is in the center.
Clausen's daughter also provided a photo of the officers with the following the following information:
photo is from the estate of Anna Dietl widow, mother of the chief
mechanic Franz Dietl. It should (be) at the Baubelehrung or on the day
of entry in June 1942.
Franz Dietl can be seen in the photo as a second person to the right of the captain Niko Clausen.
other officers were first identified in 2008 by happy coincidence with
the help of the only living eyewitness of U-182, then Maschinenmaats
Franz Fischer and are referred to by name."
From left to right:
1. Obermaschinenmaat Erwin Fenzel, born 22 April 1915
Obermaschinist Kurt Röhricht, born 8 December 1914
2. (CORRECTION: This person, second from left is actually Obermaschinist Fritz Reichle, born 23 August 1914.
He has been identified by his great nephew, Dr. F Reichle.) (click here to read more about Obermaschinist Fritz Reichle)
3. Obermaschinenmaat Wilhelm Brunner, born 8 August 1914
4. Kapitänleutnant und Kommandant Asmus Nikolai Clausen, born 2 June 1911
5. Funkmaat Kurt Behrendts, born 8 July 1915
6. Obermaschinist Franz Dietl, born 9 September 1916
7. Obersteuermann Ernst Hillebrand, born 11 January 1911 (click here to see Ernst Hillebrand's Death Card)
Missing from the photo of the chief mechanic Helmut Schendel, born 25 March 1919. The only possible explanation for this is that he might have been sick, or that he took the photo.
Clausen's U-boat Career
Nikolai Clausen joined the Kriegsmarine in October 1929 as seaman. He sailed the next several years on torpedo boats (T-185 and G-10) and on the sailing school ship Gorch Fock.
In September 1935 he transferred to the expanding U-boat force. In April 1936, after some months training, he served on U-26 under Kapitänleutnant Werner Hartmann. In March 1937 he entered the naval officer training school at Mürwik. During the next two years he served on the cruiser Admiral Graf Spee and on the mine sweeper M-134.
The U-37 (Note the "Westward Ho!" on the conning tower)
When the war broke out in autumn 1939 his old commander Werner Hartmann asked for him, so Niko Clausen became the first watch officer (I WO) on U-37.
He rode 3 patrols on U-37 mostly in the Atlantic and received his Iron Cross second class personally from Karl Dönitz after the first patrol.
Clausen and the commander of the U-boat fleet, Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz
(Note: This photo was used in the film "U-571" It can be seen on the wall in the Officer's Mess)
He left the U-boat in summer 1940 and commissioned in August 1940 the type IID U-boat the U-142.
Only two months later he went back to U-37 and replaced the commander, Victor Oehrn.
During the next three patrols Clausen sunk 12 mostly smaller ships.
U-37 and the Estrellano
One of the ships sunk by Clausen and the U-37 was the British steam merchant ship "Estrellano" travelling at the time in Convoy HG-53.
Click here to read a survivor's account of the sinking.
The first three patrols with U-129 mostly in the Atlantic ended without success but on the fourth patrol in Caribbean waters Niko Clausen sank 7 ships for a total of 25,613 tons.
During this patrol he was awarded the Knight's Cross. In May 1942 after the patrol he handed over the U-boat to Hans-Ludwig Witt.
On the deck of the U-182. Taken on 30 June 1942 at Deschimag wharf in Bremen, when U-182 was commissioned.
Kapitänleutnant "Niko" Clausen commissioned the U-182 in June 1942.
On the U-182's first and only patrol he sank 5 ships for a total of 30,071 tons.
During the return U-182 was lost with all hands on 16th May 1943, depth charged by the American destroyer USS MacKenzie.
The U-182 had been homeward bound on the surface when it was picked up by the MacKenzie's radar. The U-182 quickly submerged; however it could not successfully avoid the MacKenzie's sonar.
The MacKenzie attacked twice and left the area after about 90 minutes, unsure as to her success. Review of German records after the war confirmed the sinking.
Nikolai Clausen's Naval Promotions
Clausen joined the Kriegsmarine in 1929 and advanced as follows:
Clausen's decorations included:
the Iron Cross 2nd class: awarded 28 February 1940;
the U-boat War Badge (Ubootskriegsabzeichen): awarded 18 April 1940;
the Iron Cross 1st class: awarded 10 June 1940;
and the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross: awarded 13 March 1942.
The following two photos were taken on 13 March 1942 on board the U-129 in the mid Atlantic.
At the time the boat was returning from the Guyana coast.
The Knight's Cross has been manufactured on board after receiving confirmation of the award.
The on-board manufacture of a Knight's Cross was a common practice during the war.
It showed the crew's respect for their captain and allowed the officer to enjoy the award prior to arrival at port.
was the 103rd member of the Kriegsmarine and the 46th member of the
U-Boat forces to receive the Knight's Cross.
Click here to see Nikolai Clausen's Wehrpass
here to see Nikolai
Clausen's U-boat War Badge and Award Certificate
These two photos were taken in June 1942, when the U-182 was commissioned. Notables of the town of Bremen gave a reception to the crew as they did for each boat taken over at Deschimag wharf.
Clausen is sitting in the center row. The young lady from the first row would three months later become Frau Clausen.
Clausen is sitting in the middle.
The Deceased Crewman and Prisoners
All 61 crewmen perished on the U-182. They are:
Rank, Name, Date of birth
In addition to the crewmen, prisoners were on board the U-182 at the time it was lost: at least 2 captains.
There was a directive to reduce the number of qualified enemy captains by retaining the officers and especially the commanders of ships sunk.
Captain Angus MacLennan from the British steamer "Aloe" (sunk on 5 April 1943) and the captain from the Greek steamer "Adelfotis" (sunk on 1 May 1943) were on board.
The Capture and Subsequent Death of Captain Angus MacLennan
Conflicts such as the one between the USS MacKenzie and the U-182 occurred many, many times during the war.
The purpose of this web page is not to glorify the men of the U-182, nor to vilify them.
The men of the MacKenzie and the men of the U-182 were performing their duty to the best of their ability.
Fortunately the MacKenzie prevailed, unfortunately with the loss of good fighting men on the U-182.
But then that's the nature of war.
I hope you have enjoyed viewing this information.
"And when at length her course is run,
Her work for home and country done,
Of all the souls that in her sailed
Let not one life in Thee have failed;
But hear from heaven our sailor’s cry,
And grant eternal life on high!"
(Author and date unknown)
Letters from Kriegsmarine Flotilla Command to a U-Boat Crewman's Family
Nikolai Clausen's Wehrpass
Nikolai Clausen's U-Boat War Badge and Award Certificate
Ernst Hillebrand's Death Card
to the USS MacKenzie Page
Return to Collecting History