HERBERT ZOLLER (366-1987)
HERBERT ZOLLER, by accounts from DETLEV ZIMMERMANN 247-1987, planesman aboard U-315 under command of ZOLLER – but his life was filled with bad luck.
Toward the end f the war, the Kriegsmarine felt they should have a repeat of the HMS ROYAL OAK sinking to bolster morale and the Soviet Navy offered them a tempting target in the old Royal Navy battleship ARCHANGELSK, the former HMS ROYAL SOVEREIGN which was anchored in Kola Fjord.
When Günther Prien (U-47) made their way into Scapa Flow to sink the battleship HMS ROYAL OAK, it was very early in the war and there was little defense. It was not easy, but it was possible. When ZOLLER was given the task of sinking ARCHANGELSK, it was late in the war; anti-submarine tactics and equipment were greatly improved. The entrance to Kola Fjord was well guarded by ASW ships as well as a well-placed anti-submarine net.
U-315 became firmly ensnared in the net and worked tirelessly hour after hour to free herself and all the while, expecting the Soviets to realize there was a U-Boat caught in their net. This would be the end of U-315 and her entire crew.
Finally, after many long and tense hours, U-315 broke free and ZOLLER brought her back to her homeport. Rather than congratulate him for saving his boat and crew, ZOLLER was criticized by his superiors for failing to complete the mission. There was even talk of a court martial, but that did not take place.
After the war, ZOLLER went into various business ventures, all of which failed. This was highly unusual, as almost all the surviving U-Boat men, especially the officers, were extremely successful after the war. He ultimately died in a nursing home, more or less financially ruined.