U-873 surrendered to U.S. forces on May 11, 1945

        The purpose of this site is to make primary sources of information available to those who want to learn more about the U-boat War. Generally, records are presented without comment and the reader is left to form his or her own conclusions.

         In the case of U-873, the administrator is compelled to note that the looting of this and other surrendered boats at the Navy Yard at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the theft of property from prisoners of war and the mistreatment of Kapitänleutnant Fritz Steinhoff are shameful incidents. On a positive note, there are few other examples of such misconduct on the part of U.S. naval personnel, the irregularities were investigated thoroughly, the report raised to the highest level of naval leadership and disciplinary actions taken.

        The story of U-873 is linked to the story of U-604. When the U-604 was scuttled on August 11, 1943, the survivors were transferred to U-185 and later split between U-185 and U-172. The U-185 was sunk by U.S. forces on 24 August 1943. The 23 U-604 crew members transferred to U-172 returned safely to France. 12 U-604 survivors, including Engineering Officer, Oberleutnant Helmut Jürgens, and Quartermaster, Obersteurmann Albert Finister, were transferred to form the the nucleus crew of U-873. Bootsmaat Peter Binnefeld and Funkmaat Georg Seitz, whose photographs are featured on the U-604 pages of this website, were among the U-604 crew members assigned to U-873.

        The administrator had the privilege of meeting Mr. Georg Seitz who now lives in his family farm house in Seckenheim, Germany. Mr. Seitz observed Kapitänleutnant Steinhoff returning to his cell after his questioning by Mr. Alberti. He reports his face was swollen and bleeding, indicating his treatment was more brutal than described in the report by the Naval Inspector General. Mr Seitz reports he was well treated in captivity.




POW ID Card of Kapitänleutnant Fritz Steinhoff



U-873 in drydock at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, June 30, 1945



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Message from Commander Escort Division 45 aboard USS Vance reporting surrender of U-873 and reply from Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet
Notes from Mr. Alberti's Interrogation of Kapitänleutnant Steinhoff at Portsmouth Naval Prison

Message from Op-16-Z Interrogator CDR Hatton, to CNO 10th Fleet Commander Knowles reporting results of Preliminary Interrogation of U-873 crew members
Preliminary Interrogation Report
Photograph of the commissioning crew of U-873
Medical Examiner's Certificate of Death for Kapitänleutnant Fritz Steinhoff
Report from the Chief, Provost Marshal Branch to the Provost Marshal General: Transfer of German Navy Prisoners of War, U-873

Conclusions of the Naval Inspector General Regarding Irregularities Connected with the Handling of Surrendered German Submarines

Memorandum for Captain John L. Riheldaffer, Op-16-Z, from Mr. Jack H. Alberti on the Events at Portsmouth Navy Yard in Connection with the Surrender of German Submarines U-234, U-805, U-873 and U-1228
Follow Up Regarding Irregularities Connected with the Handling of Surrendered German Submarines
Mr. Jack Alberti's Reply to Admiral King's Letter of 29 June 1945