HANS-RUDOLF RÖSING (313-1987)
Born 28 September 1905 in the seafaring city of Wilhelmshaven, RÖSING was in the Naval Academy Class 1924. He began riding the boats in 1936 aboard U-11 and at the outbreak of the war, was Flotillenchef (Commander) of the 5th U-Bootflottille based in Kiel. This was a holding flotilla, a place to assign submarines until they were posted to a Frontflottille for combat duty.
When HERBERT SCHULTZE (191-1986) became ill and had to relinquish command of U-48, RÖSING was posted to command that boat. He was an experienced Skipper, although not in combat. This boat was perfect for him, as it had already an experienced and battle-hardened crew and the I. W. O. was ‘Teddy‘ Suhren, who did much of the actual shooting.
RÖSING commanded U-48 from 22 April through 29 August 1940 and had good success with this boat and this crew. There are some who feel that command of this boat was to ‘fast track‘ RÖSING for his Knights Cross and also for a higher command position.
That higher command came as soon as U-48 tied up in Lorient. RÖSING was posted to Bordeaux and the 12th U-Bootflottille where he was the Kriegsmarine Liaison Officer to the Italian submarines based there under Admiral Perona to foster better cooperation between the two submarine forces.
He later was promoted to FdU Öst (Commander of the submarine flotillas West) which were those along the French Atlantic coast – Brest, Lorient, La Rochelle, St. Nazaire and Bordeaux.
RÖSING was not well liked by many and he was referred to as ‘His Master’s Voice‘, a note from the RCA Victor company where a little dog hears his master’s voice on a recording. He was disliked by far more than those who he could count as friends and he had a reputation for being overly tough to the level of dictatorship. When Karl Dönitz was FdU Öst, he always met the boats as they returned; knew every man’s name and history…..when RÖSING had that command, according to PETER HANSEN (251-1987), the only place to find him was on the tennis courts with one of his beautiful secretaries.
OTTO KRETSCHMER (122-1985) had an extreme dislike for him, stemming from RÖSING’s order for all the U-Boats to depart the French bases. When the Allies were overrunning the French coast and the Flotillas were about to fall into Allied hands, RÖSING ordered all the U-Boats to depart for the bases in Norway – in single file on the surface! They made easy targets for the RAF Coastal Command bombers.