SOME OF THE PRISONERS
Vizeadmiral Helmuth Brinkmann
CAPTURED: Northern Germany
DATE OF BIRTH: 12 March 1895
PLACE OF BIRTH: Lübeck
DATE OF DEATH: 26 September 1983
PLACE OF DEATH: Dießen / Bayern
OCCUPATION: Naval Officer
NEXT OF KIN:
Else Brinkmann, Esslingen
/ Neckar (American Zone)
1 April 1913
zur See: 3 April 1914
zur See: 18 September 1915
zur See: 7 January 1920 (Patenting reserved)
zur See: 14 May 1921 (Patent 7 January 1920)
1 May 1925
1 January 1933
1 January 1937
zur See: 1 October 1938
1 September 1942
1 February 1944
April 1913: Entered the Imperial German Navy as a Sea Cadet.
April 1913-2 August 1914: Initial training and training
aboard the protected
April 1914-2 August 1914: Naval School Mürwick.
August 1914-6 January 1915: Assigned to the pre-dreadnought battleship Kaiser
January 1915-5 March 1915: Assigned to the pre-dreadnought battleship Kaiser
Karl der Große.
March 1915-28 October 1915: Radio Officer aboard the light cruiser Regensburg.
October 1915-31 July 1918: Assigned to various torpedo boats in the 2nd
Torpedo Boat Half Flotilla (see below).
October 1915-3 June 1917: Watch Officer aboard the torpedo boat G 196.
August 1917-29 September 1917: Watch Officer aboard the torpedo boat G
September 1917-12 November 1917: Watch Officer aboard the torpedo boat V
June 1918-31 July 1918: Watch Officer aboard the torpedo boat S 133.
August 1918-20 September 1918: Attended the Navigation Course.
September 1918-30 November 1918: Watch Officer aboard the torpedo boat G
86 in the 1st Torpedo Boat Half Flotilla.
December 1918-16 May 1920: Watch Officer and Adjutant of the torpedo boat
V 130 in the 2nd Torpedo Boat Half Flotilla and then the 2nd Iron
July 1920-29 September 1922: Commander of the tender T 144.
September 1922-10 February 1925: Commander of the torpedo boats G 7,
G 10 and S 18 in the I. Torpedo Boat Flotilla.
February 1925-17 September 1926: Company Leader in the Baltic Sea Ship Cadre
September 1926-2 October 1928: Consultant in the Baltic Sea Ship Cadre Division.
October 1928-5 November 1930: Second Adjutant on the staff of the Command
of the Baltic Sea Naval Station.
November 1930-21 December 1932: Navigation Officer of the light cruiser
January 1933-31 March 1935: Consultant in the Reich Defense Ministry.
May 1935-6 May 1938: Commander of the state yacht and fleet tender Grille
[this ship served as Adolf Hitler’s state yacht].
yacht and fleet tender: Grille
May 1938-26 October 1938: Consultant in the Marinewehrabteilung in the Kriegsmarine High Command.
October 1938-24 July 1940: Chief of the Marinewehrabteilung in the Kriegsmarine High Command.
August 1940-4 August 1942: Commander of the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen. [See details below.]
August 1942-21 November 1943: Chief of Staff of Navy Group Command South.
November 1943-9 November 1944: Commanding Admiral Black Sea.
October 1944-21 December 1944: Naval Liaison Officer to the 20th Mountain
Army in Norway.
January 1945 1945-31 May 1945: Deputy Commanding Admiral Baltic Sea.
April 1945-31 May 1945: At the same time, Deputy Commanding Admiral North
May 1945-29 November 1947: Prisoner of war in British captivity.
- 9th January 1946 transferred to Island Farm Special Camp 11 from
- 9th May 1946 transferred to Camp 99 from Island Farm Special Camp
- 2nd November 1946 transferred to Island Farm Special Camp 11 from
- 25th November 1947 Repatriated
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross: 17 May 1944, Vizeadmiral, Commanding
Admiral Black Sea.
- German Cross in Gold: 12 March 1942, Kapitän zur See, Commander
of the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen.
Iron Cross, 1st Class (1914): 24 July 1920.
- Prussian Iron Cross, 2nd Class (1914): 10 October 1915.
- 1939 Bar to the Prussian Iron Cross, 1st Class: 9 June 1941.
- 1939 Bar to the Prussian Iron Cross, 2nd Class: 3 June 1941.
- Cross of Honor for Combatants 1914-1918: 15 October 1934.
- Armed Forces Long Service Award, 1st Class (25-year Service Cross)
- Armed Forces Long Service Award, 3rd Class (12-year Service Medal)
- Commemorative Medal of 1 October 1938
- Commemorative Medal for the Return of the Memel District
- Spanish Order of Naval Merit, 2nd Class: 8 November 1934.
- Order of the Crown of Italy, Commander: 8 October 1937.
- Bulgarian Military Merit Order, Grand Officer's Cross with War
Decoration: 16 March 1943.
- Hungarian Merit Order, Commander's Cross on the War Ribbon with
Swords: 2 January 1943.
- Hungarian Merit Order, Commander's Cross with Star and War Decoration
on the War Ribbon with Swords: 18 February 1943.
- Romanian Order
of Michael the Brave, 3rd Class: 30 May 1944 (Royal Decree No. 1072).
- High Seas Fleet War Badge: 5 April 1942.
As the first commander of the
heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, Hellmuth Brinkmann took part in two of the
most notable surface actions fought by the German Navy during World War II.
On 18 May 1941, Brinkmann’s Prinz Eugen sortied from Gotenhafen with
the new battleship Bismarck on “Rheinübung” (Rhine Exercise),
a breakout into the Atlantic to conduct commerce raiding. On 24 May 1941,
the German ships were intercepted in the Denmark Straight off Greenland by
the British battlecruiser HMS Hood and battleship HMS Prince of
Wales. In the action that followed, the Bismarck destroyed the
Hood (1,338 killed, 3 survivors) and damaged the Prince of Wales.
Shortly after the battle, Admiral Günther Lütjens, the Fleet Chief aboard
the Bismarck, ordered the Prinz Eugen
to break away from the battleship and operate independently. On 27 May 1941,
the Royal Navy finally caught and sank the Bismarck by battleship gunfire
and cruiser-launched torpedoes. The Prinz Eugen arrived safely at Brest,
France on 1 June 1941.
By early 1942, the powerful German
naval squadron based at Brest found itself increasingly vulnerable in the
face of escalating British air attacks. To preserve the fleet for further
operations in Norwegian waters, the German High Command ordered the squadron
to return to Germany via the closest route: straight through the English Channel.
On the night of 11 February 1942, Vizeadmiral Otto Ciliax, Commander
of Battleships, led the German battlecruisers Scharnhorst (Kapitän
zur See Kurt Caesar Hoffmann – with
Ciliax aboard) and Gneisenau (Kapitän
zur See Otto Fein), the heavy
cruiser Prinz Eugen (Kapitän zur See Helmuth Brinkmann), six destroyers,
14 torpedo boats and numerous smaller craft from Brest to begin their daring
daylight dash— codenamed Operation “Cerebus”—through
the English Channel. Protected by a heavy Luftwaffe fighter umbrella directed
by Oberst Adolf Galland, the German ships successfully warded off determined
British air and destroyer attacks. Although both the Scharnhorst and
Gneisenau were mined along the way, the
squadron arrived in German waters on 13 February 1942.
This is a painting
by Randall Wilson titled "Breakout." It depicts the battleship "Bismarck"
(in foreground) and the heavy cruiser "Prinz Eugen" departing Bergen,
Norway at the start of their Atlantic breakout, May 1941.
However, as it turned
out, only the “Scharnhorst” ever made it to Norway; the British quickly got
their “revenge” on the other two major warships that made the Channel Dash!
The “Gneisenau” was bombed by air attack while in dry dock at Kiel on the
night of 26-27 February 1942. A bomb hit detonated and burned out the forward
magazines, an explosion that wrecked the entire forecastle. Although she went
to Gotenhafen for repair, it was never carried out. Her stripped down hulk
was scuttled in Gotenhafen as a block ship in March 1945.
Painting titled “Channel Dash” by Robert Taylor.
Here we see the battlecruisers “Scharnhorst” and Gneisenau” in the
van followed by “Prinz Eugen” while overhead the Me 109s of the
Luftwaffe provide air cover
On 21 February 1942, the heavy cruisers Prinz Eugen (with Vizeadmiral Ciliax aboard) and Admiral Scheer (Kapitän zur See Wilhelm
Meendsen-Bohlken) and five destroyers departed Germany for Operation “Sportpalast” (Sport Palace), a transfer
of naval surface forces to Norway. On 23 February 1942, the British submarine
HMS Trident torpedoed the Prinz Eugen off Norway nearly severing
her stern. Brinkmann managed to get his badly damaged ship to Trondheim where
she remained under temporary repair until May 1942. The Prinz Eugen then returned to Kiel where she remained under further
repair until October 1942.
Prinz Eugen (heavy cruiser)
Painting (artist/title unknown) showing British
Swordfish torpedo aircraft
attacking the German fleet in the Straits of Dover during the "Channel
To find out more about
the Prinz Eugen, as well as other information on the German ships,weapons
and men of the Kriegsmarine, visit www.prinzeugen.com