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Vet 328

SHARKHUNTERS Salutes Veterans

KLAUS  BARGSTEN  (328-1987)

Kriegsmarine, U-Bootwaffe



Born 31 October 1911 in Bad Oldesloe, he was in Naval Academy Class 1936.  He was serving at the U-Boat School at Neustadt when the war broke out and soon was posted as I.W.O. aboard U-99 under OTTO KRETSCHMER (122-1985) and participated in many attacks.  KRETSCHMER told us that this was a fine officer and so, recommended him for command of his own boat.

He commissioned U-563 on 27 March 1941 and commanded on successful patrols. His rank at the time was Oberleutnant zur See.

On 3 June 1942, he commissioned U-521 and again, commanded for successful patrols. He had been promoted to the rank of Kapitänleutnant and he received the Knights Cross. There were only 145 U-Bootfahrer so decorated.

When U-521 was sunk by PC.565 on 2 June 1943, BARGSTEN was the only survivor.  Running submerged when hit, a massive air bubble propelled him to the surface and when he popped up in the air bubble, U.S. Navy gunner RAY LANKHEIM (321-1987) swung his twin 20mm mount at BARGSTEN because, as RAY told us, they were under orders to “kill them all” meaning U-Bootfahrer. RAY then told us, “I just couldn’t shoot this helpless bastard in the water.” and so BARGSTEN lived out the war.

U-521EmblemHis Turmabzeichen (tower emblem) for U-521 is unique.