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Gerhart Beilharz
Fictional Character
The War That Came Early
POD: July 20, 1936;
Relevant POD: September 29, 1938
Appearance(s): Hitler's War
through
?
Type of Appearance: Direct
Nationality: Germany
Occupation: Sailor, Engineer
Affiliations: Kriegsmarine


Gerhart Beilharz was the German Kriegsmarine expert on snorkels. He was assigned duty as a second engineer onboard U-30 when that boat was selected to test the first snorkel. Lt. Julius Lemp was not initially impressed by either, privately viewing the need for a second engineer as the same as a fighter plane needing a second propeller on its tail. However, Beilharz was enthusiastic about his new toy and it proved useful on its first cruise, allowing Lemp to sneak up on a British cruiser and sink it.[1]

Beilharz was uncommonly tall, at about 2 meters (6'6") which was especially a problem in the cramped spaces of a U-boat. He had acquired a Stahlhelm helmet from a cousin in the infantry prior to joining the U-30 crew and wore it constantly onboard to prevent himself from accidentally braining himself on a low-hanging pipe or valve if he forgot to duck.[2]

Over time, Lt. Lemp appreciated the snorkel more and more, with it giving his U-boat an underwater approach faster that that on batteries. He began logging it in action reports along with Beilharz's name[3] and was quite willing to do the same when asked by Admiral Dönitz during a face to face debrief.[4]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Hitler's War, pgs. 423-427, HC.
  2. Ibid, pg. 423.
  3. West and East, pgs. 329-330, HC.
  4. Ibid, pg. 371.

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