Chapter 10 - Konrad Gansser
The commander of U-33, the U-boat that Fryatt encountered en route to Rotterdam on 28th March 1915, was Kapitänleutnant Konrad Gansser. Born in Stuttgart, Wuerttemberg, on 13th March 1882 to Wilhelm Friedrich Rudolf Gansser and Josephine Leipprand, Gansser had quite a distinguished naval career, becoming the tenth highest U-boat 'ace' in the Imperial German Navy, sinking a total of 57 ships with a total of 143,667 gross tons and gaining the Royal House Order of Hohenzollern and the Military Merit Order. It was reported after Fryatt's encounter with U-33 that Fryatt knew that, if he didn't attempt to ram the U-boat, he and his crew and passengers would die, and it is certainly true that some U-boat commanders were utterly ruthless, but not all of the were, the age of chivalry having not quite died.
The exhibition takes a look at Gansser and consider whether Fryatt's fears were well founded or whether the U-boat commander would've respected the 'prize' law protecting the crews and passengers of merchant vessels.
Kapitänleutnant Konrad Gansser - image courtesy of the German U-Boat Museum.