Bismarck's XO, Hans Oels

Anything about the crew, families, origins, etc.
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RF
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Bismarck's XO, Hans Oels

Postby RF » Wed Oct 25, 2006 1:03 pm

I notice that one personality that seems to have received little attention so far is Lindemann's second in command, Commander Hans Oels.

Has anybody investigated his background and naval career?
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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Karl Heidenreich
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Postby Karl Heidenreich » Wed Oct 25, 2006 5:35 pm

I read the baron´s book and there are almost no mention to Oels. I believe that in a mission that was ended at the very beggining there wasn´t much a second in command could do.
But there is something interesting here. Was the Second in Command in the WWII KM an equivalent to the XO of RN and USN ships? I mean, their responsabilities were more or less the same?
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
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Dave Saxton
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Postby Dave Saxton » Thu Oct 26, 2006 4:22 am

Actually, the Baron does tell us some about Oels:

It appears that Oels was the primary disciplinarian, and drill master during the work up period. Oels comes across as kind of a hard core, but that may have just been his job.

His battle station was the CIC deep below decks. Oels conducted operations from there throughout most of the final battle, and it was Oels that issued the command to scuttle.

Oels was apparently killed on the battery deck, late, during the last few British salvos, while trying to help many crew members find their ways to safty.

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RF
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Postby RF » Thu Oct 26, 2006 7:55 am

Karl Heidenreich wrote:I read the baron´s book and there are almost no mention to Oels. I believe that in a mission that was ended at the very beggining there wasn´t much a second in command could do.
But there is something interesting here. Was the Second in Command in the WWII KM an equivalent to the XO of RN and USN ships? I mean, their responsabilities were more or less the same?


Yes, they are responsible to the captain for the efficient running of the ship, but perhaps more significantly, take over command if the captain is killed or incapacitated. I am not aware of any instance in the Kriegsmarine of that happening, the closest was in the River Plate battle when Kay took over from Langsdorf for a few minutes.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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CDR Hans Oels

Postby WGarzke » Tue Jan 16, 2007 6:02 pm

To All:

Not much is known of CDR Oels previsous service in the German Navy before his assignment to Bismarck. He was second in command and was stationed in Damage Control Central. One of his primary assignments was damage control. I learned some things about CDR Oels from my correspondence with Seaman Statz who was also stationed in Damage Control Central. Bismarck did not have the equivalent of a CIC.

CDR Oels gave the order to scuttle the ship and in doing so left Damage Control Central around 0930 when Captain Lindemann no longer was replying to Oels calls. He proceeded aft giving the order for Measure V (V=Versunken) - the scuttling command. When he reached Compartment VIII in the vicinity of the Aft Canteen he encountered a number of men trying to escape from the Batteriedeck to the Upper or Main Deck. He was killed around 1010 when a 356-mm shell from King George V penetrated the upper citadel belt (145 mm) in Compertment VII and went through the main transverse bulkhead between those two compartments and exploded in the vicinity of where Oels was trying to open a hatch. That hatch was evidently covered by wreckage and unable to be opened.

From all reports Oels was quiet man of few words but a strict disciplinarian. It is my opinion that he knew what the fate of Bismarck would be after the torpedo attack by the Ark Royal aircraft. Facing what he thought was certain death, he had little to say. Statz did give me some indications what it was like in Damage Control Central during the night. It was like a morgue. One can contrast this behavior to Admiral Lutjens, who predicted his fate before he boarded Bismarck. Everyone faces certain death in different ways and Oels chose to be quiet and reserved.

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Postby RF » Tue Jan 23, 2007 12:06 pm

It appears that he therefore shared the same sense of fatalism and inferiority complex that rendered the Kriegsmarine far less effective than it would have been if it had had the same 'gung-ho' atitude of a Waffen SS Panzer Division....
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.


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