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Bigalk at St. Nazaire, 15 June 1942
|Born||26 November 1908|
|Died||17 July 1942 (aged 33)|
U-751, North Atlantic Ocean, off Cape Ortegal, Spain
|Years of service||1934–42|
Condor Legion A/88
24th U-boat Flotilla
7th U-boat Flotilla
|Battles/wars||Spanish Civil War
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross|
Gerhard Bigalk (26 November 1908 – 17 July 1942) was a captain with the Kriegsmarine during World War II and commander of U-751. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross of Nazi Germany.
Bigalk spent some years in the merchant marine before joining the Kriegsmarine in April 1934. He initially trained as an observer in the naval air force, and saw service during the Spanish Civil War, making 21 combat flights in 1937. He joined the U-boat force in November 1939. He trained into 1940, taking command of the school boat U-14 between June and August 1940. He then took command of the newly built submarine U-751 when it commissioned in January 1941.
Between June 1941 and July 1942 Bigalk commanded U-751 on seven combat patrols, sinking six ships totalling 32,412 tons, and damaged one ship of 8,096 tons. This included the 11,000 ton British escort carrier HMS Audacity from convoy HG 76, sunk on 21 December 1941 during his fourth patrol, for which Bigalk was awarded the Knight's Cross.
Bigalk died on 17 July 1942 when U-751 was sunk with all hands by depth charges dropped by a Whitley bomber from No. 502 Squadron RAF and a Lancaster bomber from No. 61 Squadron RAF in the North Atlantic north-west of Cape Ortegal, Spain.
Summary of career
As commander of U-751 Gerhard Bigalk is credited with the sinking of five ships for a total of 21,412 gross register tons (GRT), further damaging one ship of 8,096 GRT and sinking one warship of 11,000 long tons (11,000 tonnes).
|14 June 1941||St. Lindsay||United Kingdom||5,370||Sunk|
|21 December 1941||HMS Audacity||Royal Navy||11,000||Sunk|
|2 February 1942||Corilla||Netherlands||8,096||Damaged|
|4 February 1942||Silveray||United Kingdom||4,535||Sunk|
|7 February 1942||Empire Sun||United Kingdom||6,952||Sunk|
|16 May 1942||Nicarao||United States||1,445||Sunk|
|19 May 1942||Isabela||United States||3,110||Sunk|
- Luftwaffe Observation Badge (2 November 1936)
- Wehrmacht Long Service Award 4th Class (8 April 1938)
- Cruz roja Medalla de la Campaña (1 June 1939)
- Spanish Cross in Silver with Swords (1 June 1939)
- The Return of Sudetenland Commemorative Medal of 1 October 1938 (1 December 1939)
- Iron Cross (1939)
- U-boat War Badge (1939) (7 July 1941)
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 26 December 1941 as Kapitänleutnant and commander of U-751
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "Korvettenkapitän Gerhard Bigalk". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 24 May 2010.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "War Patrols by German U-boat U-751". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 24 May 2010.
- Busch & Röll 2003, p. 175.
- Busch & Röll 2003, p. 176.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 221.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 133.
- Busch, Rainer; Röll, Hans-Joachim (2003). Der U-Boot-Krieg 1939–1945 — Die Ritterkreuzträger der U-Boot-Waffe von September 1939 bis Mai 1945 [The U-Boat War 1939–1945 — The Knight's Cross Bearers of the U-Boat Force from September 1939 to May 1945] (in German). Hamburg, Berlin, Bonn Germany: Verlag E.S. Mittler & Sohn. ISBN 978-3-8132-0515-2.
- Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) . Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile [The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches] (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6.
- Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives] (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Militaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.