Fritz Poske

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Fritz Poske
Fritz Poske I.jpg
U-Boot ace and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross Captain at Sea Friedrich "Fritz" Poske
Birth name Hans-Georg Friedrich Poske
Nickname Fritz
Birth date 23 October 1904(1904-10-23)
Place of birth Berlin-Schöneberg, Province of Brandenburg, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire
Death date 1 October 1984 (aged 79)
Place of death Wachtberg-Niederbachem near Bonn, North Rhine-Westphalia, West Germany
Allegiance  Weimar Republic
 National Socialist Germany
 West Germany
Service/branch  Reichsmarine
Flag of Germany (state).png Seegrenzschutz (BGS)
Deutsche Marine der Bundeswehr.png German Navy (Bundeswehr)
Years of service 1923–1935
Rank Kapitänleutnant
Kapitän zur See
Kapitän im BGS
Kapitän zur See
Commands held Tender "Nordsee"
Torpedo Boat "T-155"
Aviso "Grille"
U-Boat "U-504"
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Iron Cross
War Merit Cross
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
Relations ∞ Paula Böning (1909–1983)

Hans-Georg Friedrich "Fritz" Poske (23 October 1904 – 1 October 1984) was a German naval officer, finally Captain at Sea of the German Navy (Deutsche Marine) of the Bundeswehr until 1963.

Military career

Fritz Poske IIb.jpg
Fritz Poske IV.jpg
Der Seegrenzschutz 1951-1956, Poske.jpg

Fritz Poske joined the Reichsmarine in April 1923. He served on the torpedo boat Albatros and on the light cruisers Königsberg and Nürnberg, and in October 1940 transferred to the U-boat force. After standard training, he commissioned the type IXC U-boat U 504 in July 1941. He was one of the few commandants to take a boat on active service without any previous experience as a U-boat Watch Officer or Commandant-in-Training (Kommandantenschüler).

His second patrol was successful: four ships sunk with a total of 26,561 tons. He also scored on his next two patrols, sinking 11 more ships, and was awarded the Knights Cross in November 1942. Korvettenkapitän Poske left U 504 in January 1943 to command the 1st ULD (Unterseeboots-Lehrdivision, U-boat Training Division). For the last months of the war, he was Chief of the Special Staff for Marine Infantry (Chef des Sonderstabes Marineinfanterie) at OKM (Naval High Command). After the war, he spent 11 months in British captivity.


  • 3.4.1923 Joined the Reichsmarine
  • 1.4.1923 to 30.9.1923 Basic Training with the I. Abteilung/Schiffsstammdivision der Nordsee in Wilhelmshaven
  • 1.10.1923 to 31.3.1924 Onboard training, pre-dreadnought battleship BRAUNSCHWEIG
  • 1.4.1924 Naval officer candidate; placed in the Crew 23.
  • 14.11.1923 to 17.11.1923 Onboard training, torpedo boat T 151 of the 2. Torpedobootsflottille
  • 18.11.1923 to 29.11.1923 Onboard training, light cruiser HAMBURG
  • 1.4.1924 to 28.6.1924 Onboard training, sailing training ship NIOBE
  • 29.6.1924 to 28.3.1925 Onboard training, small cruiser BERLIN
  • 28.3.1925 to 21.3.1926 Main course for officer cadets followed by the main officer examination at the naval school in Flensburg-Mürwik
  • 20.7.1925 to 25.7.1925 Navigation instruction trip, tender NORDSEE
  • 12.10.1925 to 16.10.1925 Navigation instruction trip, survey ship PANTHER
  • 22.3.1926 to 29.5.1926 Torpedo course for Fähnrichs at the Torpedoschule in Flensburg-Mürwik.
  • 30.5.1926 to 3.7.1926 Signals course for Fähnrichs at the Nachrichtenschule in Flensburg-Mürwik
  • 4.7.1926 to 31.7.1926 Blockade course for Fähnrichs at the Sperrversuchskommando in Kiel-Wik
  • 1.8.1926 to 26.9.1926 Infantry course for Fähnrichs at the II. Schiffsstammabteilung der Ostsee in Stralsund
  • 27.9.1926 to 5.1.1927 Artillery course for Fähnrichs at the Schiffsartillerieschule in Kiel-Wik
  • 6.1.1927 to 28.9.1928 Watch officer and platoon commander on the pre-dreadnought battleship SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN
  • 29.9.1928 to 23.9.1930 Platoon officer in the II. Schiffsstammabteilung der Nordsee in Wilhelmshaven
  • 7.12.1928 to 14.12.1928 Fisheries protection trip, tender M 134
  • 14.1.1929 to 26.1.1929 Navigation instruction trip, tender M 134
  • 25.9.1929 to 21.12.1929 B course for torpedo officers at the torpedo school in Flensburg-Mürwik
  • 24.9.1930 to 27.9.1932 II. Watch officer and adjutant on the torpedo boat ALBATROS
  • 28.9.1932 to 14.5.1933 Adjutant in the Inspection of Naval Education in Kiel
  • 15.5.1933 to 30.9.1934 Commandant of the tender NORDSEE in the 1. Speedboat Flotilla
  • 1.10.1934 to 26.9.1935 On the torpedo boat T 155 in the barrage test command in Kiel-Wik
  • 27.9.1935 to 15.7.1936 Division, watch and torpedo officer on the pre-dreadnought battleship SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN
  • 16.7.1936 to 4.10.1937 Company leader in the II. Naval Noncommissioned Officer Training Division in Wesermünde
  • 8.2.1937 to 11.2.1937 Air raid protection course in Berlin
  • 5.10.1937 to 11.4.1939 Consultant in the Naval Education Inspectorate in Kiel
  • 28.3.1938 to 2.4.1938 Military psychology training course in Berlin
  • 25.4.1938 to 7.5.1938 Torpedo supplementary course at the torpedo school in Flensburg-Mürwik
  • 9.1.1939 to 28.1.1939 Navigation supplementary course at the naval school in Flensburg-Mürwik
  • 12.4.1939 to 1.12.1939 Navigation officer on the training ship SCHLESIEN
    • Schlesien saw limited combat during World War II, briefly bombarding Polish forces during the Poland Campaign in September 1939.
  • 2.12.1939 to 6.4.1940 Navigation officer on the light cruiser NÜRNBERG
  • 7.4.1940 to 10.4.1940 Navigation officer on the light cruiser KÖNIGSBERG
    • For Operation Weserübung, Königsberg was assigned to Gruppe 3, and was tasked with transporting 600 troops from the Wehrmacht's 69th Infantry Division from Wilhelmshaven to Bergen, Norway. Gruppe 3 also included her sister ship Köln, the artillery training ship Bremse, and the torpedo boats Wolf and Leopard. The Germans left Wilhelmshaven on 8 April, and had reached their target the following day, where Königsberg transferred part of the landing party to several smaller vessels. She then made a high-speed run into the port in an attempt to land the remainder of the infantry in the town directly. A 21 cm (8.3 in) coastal battery at the Kvarven Fort took the ship under fire, and scored three hits, all forward. The hits caused severe flooding and fires in her boiler rooms that cut the ship's power. Adrift, and unable to maneuver, Königsberg had to drop anchor, while she and Köln, Luftwaffe bombers, and the infantry neutralized the Norwegian guns. On the evening of 9 April, she was attacked by British bombers, but to no effect. The following morning, the British launched another air raid on the ship. The raid consisted of sixteen Blackburn Skua dive bombers of the British Fleet Air Arm (seven of 800 Naval Air Squadron and nine of 803 Naval Air Squadron), launched from RNAS Hatston, Orkney. Königsberg's thin deck armor rendered her quite vulnerable to dive bomber attack.
  • 11.4.1940 to 9.6.1940 Admiral staff officer at the Admiral Norwegian West Coast
  • 10.6.1940 to 25.10.1940 Commandant of Aviso GRILLE, state yacht by Adolf Hitler
  • 26.10.1940 to 23.11.1940 Artillerielehrgang für U-Wachoffiziere an der Schiffsartillerieschule, Kiel-Wik.
  • 25.11.1940 to 21.12.1940 Torpedolehrgang für U-Torpedooffiziere an der Torpedoschule, Flensburg-Mürwik.
  • 6.1.1941 to 26.1.1941 Nachrichtenlehrgang für U-Wachoffiziere an der Nachrichtenschule, Flensburg-Mürwik.
  • 27.1.1941 to 29.3.1941 U-watch officer course with the 1. U-Lehrdivision in Pillau
  • 30.3.1941 to 24.4.1941 Commandant shooting course with the 24. U-Flottille in Memel
  • 25.4.1941 to 27.5.1941 At disposal of the 3. U-Flottille in Kiel
  • 28.5.1941 to 29.7.1941 Construction instructions for U 504 at the warship construction training department U-Nordsee in Bremen
  • 30.7.1941 to 5.1.1943 Commandant of U 504; his First Watch Officer (I. WO) during the first three war patrols was Paul Georg von Rabenau.
  • 6.1.1943 to 27.2.1945 Commander of the 1. U-Lehrdivision in Neustadt/Pillau/Hamburg.
  • 28.2.1945 to 8.5.1945 Zur Verfügung des Chefs des Oberkommando der Marine/Sonderstabes der Marineinfanterie.
  • 8.5.1945 to 5.3.1946 Taken prisoner by the British, then POW in Belgium[1]

Ace of the seas

During his four war patrols (Feindfahrten) and 264 days at sea, commandant of U-504 Fritz Poske is credited with the sinking of 15 ships for a total of 78,123 gross register tons (GRT) and further damaging another ship of 7,176 GRT so badly that it had to be considered a total loss (together 85,299 GRT).[2]


After his release from captivity, Poske initially made a living as a craftsman, inland boatman, warehouse worker and commercial employee before he and his wife were able to set up a mail order coffee business in Bremen. To prepare for this task, he trained as a merchant's assistant.

In January 1951, Poske was approached by former Admirals Wilhelm Heye and Gerhard Wagner as to whether he would like to take part in setting up the maritime border guard, which was to be created as part of the Federal Border Guard (BGS). After hesitant acceptance, he began working in the Federal Ministry of the Interior in May 1951. The maritime border protection was managed independently of the rest of the BGS directly from the ministry by the newly established Department VI C 6, whose head Poske officially became on 15 July 1952. Poske remained its head until the Maritime Border Guard was dissolved and transferred to the Federal Navy on 1 July 1956.

When the Maritime Border Guard was disbanded, almost all of its personnel were taken over into the Federal Navy. As a staff officer, Poske had to present himself to the personnel assessment committee, which had to examine soldiers who were intended for recruitment with the rank of colonel upwards for their personal suitability. Poske only received conditional approval because he had insisted on documenting his loyalty to Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz with a picture on his desk, who was still imprisoned as a war criminal at the time. Therefore, when he was taken over, promotion to an admiral rank was ruled out. Poske began his service in the Navy's command staff on 1 July 1956, where he first headed the budget and later the organizational department. On 1 November 1960, he became Chief of Staff at the Naval Base Command and retired from here on 31 March 1963.

After retirement, Poske worked in industry until 1972. He was also involved in local politics and was a member of the local council in Wachtberg-Niederbachem until 1979.


  • 3 April 1923 Matrose FmR (Freiwilliger mit Reifeprüfung = Volunteer with Abitur)
  • 1 April 1924 Seeoffizier-Anwärter (Officer Candidate)[3]
  • 1 April 1925 Fähnrich zur See (Officer Cadet)
  • 1 May 1927 Oberfähnrich zur See (Senior Officer Cadet)
  • 1 Oktober 1927 Leutnant zur See (2nd Lieutenant)
  • 1 July 1929 Oberleutnant zur See (1st Lieutenant)
  • 1 April 1935 Kapitänleutnant (Lieutenant Captain)


  • 16 March 1939 Korvettenkapitän (Corvette Captain / Lieutenant Commander) with effect and Rank Seniority (RDA) from 1 January 1939
  • 1 February 1943 Fregattenkapitän (Frigate Captain / Commander)
  • 1 October 1943 Kapitän zur See (Captain at Sea)

Federal Border Guard (Bundesgrenzschutz See)

  • May 1951 Oberstabskapitän im BGS (Senior Staff Captain; Lieutenant Colonel)
  • 1 October 1953 Kapitän im BGS (Colonel)

German Navy (Bundeswehr)

  • 1 July 1956 Kapitän zur See (Captain at Sea)

Awards and decorations

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