SHARKHUNTERS Salutes Veterans
ERNST SCHMIDT (10-1983)
ERNST was I.W.O. aboard U-345 and later U-821, both under command of Ulrich Knackfuß. ERNST designed the conning tower emblem of “Crashfoot” (Knackfuß) used on both boats. He was transferred off before the boat went out on patrol from which they did not return. All but one man of U-821 were lost. The one survivor later told ERNST of the end of U-821. They were returning to their base at Brest (1st U-Bootflottille) when attacked by the Royal Air Force. Somehow this man was knocked over the side before he could even get his life jacket on and so he was in his blue coveralls in the blue water and could not be seen. He said that the boat continued on for perhaps half a mile before sinking and the crew made it into the water, wearing their bright yellow life vests. They made easy targets for the three MOSQUITO fighters that returned, again and again, to strafe the men in the water until they were all dead.
ERNST had been transferred off the boat to attend Commander’s training to take over his own boat and his roommate there in Commander’s School was our friend HANS-GEORG HESS (125-1985). ERNST was slated to be co-commander of another boat but the war ended before he reported to that boat.