Schepke, Joachim, born 08-03-1912, in Flensburg the son of a naval officer, and he joined the Reichsmarine in 1930. In 1934, he was assigned to the newly created U-boat arm, and in 1938 he commanded U-3. succeeding Korvettenkapitain Ernst-Günter Heinicke .After Germany’s surrender, Heinicke was a POW until 6 October 1945. He died 09-08-19971, age 62.
At the outbreak of World War II Schepke took U3 to war against Allied shipping. After a short stint commanding U-19 succeeding Korvettenkapitan Wilhelm Müller-Arnecke who died age 89 on 29-09- 2000, in Flakeby (Schleswig-Holstein) and serving in a staff position Schepke received the command of the new U-100 , a Type VIIb boat, part of the 7th U-boat Flotilla.
Death and burial ground of Schepke, Joachim.
After 5 patrols in U-100 she was heavily damaged on 17-03-1 by depth charges from HMS Walker and HMS Vanoc while executing an attack on Convoy HX-112. U-100 was forced to surface and was detected on radar and consequently rammed by HMS Vanoc. Schepke and 37 crew members perished in the ocean; six crew members were rescued. Schepke was last reported on the bridge of U-100. When the HMS Vanoc rammed his boat, he was crushed into his own periscope standards and he went down with his boat.
Schepke claimed to have sunk 37 ships, for a total of 213,310 gross register tons (GRT) and damaged 4 more. If true, this would have made him the third skipper to have sunk over 200,000 tons. While he did positively sink 34 ships, he was known to Admiral Karl Dönitz and throughout the fleet to exaggerate his tonnage claims; fellow U-boat men came to use the expression “Schepke tonnage” to reference them. Nonetheless, with 34 ships Schepke ranked first in number of ships sunk, and was recommended by Dönitz for Knight’s cross with Oak Leaves for this achievement.
Schepke, Günther Prien and Otto “Silent Otto” Kretschmer were friendly rivals in the U-boat service, and were the most famous U-boat commanders in the early years of the war, where all except Kretschmer eventually met their ends. Schepke was the favorite of these three, because in contrast to Kretschmer he was a convinced Nazi. He wrote and illustrated the book “U-Boot-Fahrer von heute” (U-Boat Men of today) in 1940. In February 1941 he made a speech in the Berlin Sportpalast for thousands of Berlin schoolchildren about the U-boat war. Before and after his death the German propaganda ministry held him as an example for German youth to follow. As commander of U-3, U-19 and U-100, Schepke is credited with the sinking of 36 ships for a total of 153,677 gross register tons (GRT), further damaging four ships of 17,229 GRT and additionally damaging one more ship so heavily that it was a total loss of 2,205 GRT.