Kriegsmarine Officers – U-Boat Commanders M thru Z / Kriegsmarine Offiziere – U-Boot-Kommandanten M durch Z

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Kapitän zur See Karl-Friedrich Merten

Captain at Sea Karl-Friedrich Merten, 15 August 1905 – 2 May 1993, was a German U-boat commander during World War II. He is credited with the sinking of 27 ships for a total of 170,151 gross register tons (GRT) of allied shipping. For this achievement, he was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub). The Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves was awarded to recognize extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.

Fregattenkapitän Victor Oehrn

Victor Oehrn, 21 October 1907—26 December 1997, was a Fregattenkapitän with the Kriegsmarine during World War II. He commanded the U-boats U-14 and U-37, sinking twenty-four ships on four patrols, for a total of 104,846 tons of Allied shipping, to stand 28th on the list of highest scoring U-Boat aces of World War II.

Lieutenant Commander Günther Prien

Lieutenant Commander Günther Prien, 16 January 1908 – presumed 7 March 1941, was a German U-boat ace of the first part of the Second World War, and the first U-boat commander to win the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) and the first member of the Kriegsmarine to receive the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub). The Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves was awarded to recognize extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. It was Germany’s highest military decoration at the time of its presentation to Günther Prien.

Under Prien’s command, the submarine U-47 sank over 30 Allied ships totaling about 200,000 gross register tons (GRT). His most famous exploit was the sinking of the British battleship HMS Royal Oak at anchor in the Home Fleet’s anchorage in Scapa Flow.

Korvettenkapitän Otto Salman

After a solid prewar U-boat training, Otto Salman commanded U-52 very successfully for more than a year. In June 1941, he became a staff member of the BdU op, before joining the BdU org staff in 1943, where he remained to the end of the war. Otto Salman was with the exception of Admiral Friedeburg the only recipient of the War Merit Cross with Swords within the Kriegsmarine.

Korvettenkapitän Adalbert Schnee

Lieutenant Commander Adalbert Schnee, 31 December 1913 – 4 November 1982, was a Korvettenkapitän with the Kriegsmarine during World War II. He commanded the U-boats U-6, U-60, U-121, U-201, and U-2511, sinking twenty-one merchant ships on twelve patrols, for a total of 90,847 gross register tons (GRT) of Allied shipping, and received the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves. He is thirty-seventh in the list of U-Boat aces of World War II.

Kapitän zur See Klaus Scholtz

Klaus Scholtz, 22 March 1908 – 1 May 1987, was a commander in the Kriegsmarine of Nazi Germany during World War II. He commanded the Type IXB U-boat U-108. Scholtz was a recipient of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves.

Kapitän zur See Herbert Schultze

Kapitän zur See Herbert Schultze, 24 July 1909 – 3 June 1987, was a German U-boat commander of the Kriegsmarine (the German navy in World War II). He commanded U-48 for eight patrols during the early part of the war, sinking 169,709 gross register tons (GRT) of shipping and earning him an eighth place on the Aces of the Deep list.

Due to several incidents of openly broadcasting his sinkings to alert the Allies of the plight of the crews, he became quite a celebrity, even on the Allied side. He was also a recipient of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub). The Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves was awarded to recognize extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. It was Nazi Germany’s highest military decoration at the time of its presentation to Herbert Schultze.

Korvettenkapitän Georg-Wilhelm Schulz

Georg-Wilhelm Schulz, 10 March 1906 – 5 July 1986, was a German U-boat commander of the Second World War. From September 1939 until retiring from front line service in September 1941, he sank 19 ships for a total of 89,885 gross register tons (GRT). For this, he received the Knight’s Cross, among other commendations.

Korvettenkapitän Siegfried Strelow

Siegfried Strelow, 15 April 1911 – 15 July 1943, was a German U-boat commander in World War II and recipient of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross. He and the entire crew of U-435 were killed in action west of Figueira da Foz Municipality, Portugal,  when their boat was sunk by four depth charges from a Royal Air Force (RAF) Vickers Wellington bomber of No. 179 Squadron RAF.

As commander of U-435 Strelow is credited with the sinking of nine merchant ships for a total of 53,712 gross register tons (GRT), further sinking one auxiliary warship of 2,456 GRT and three warships of 855 long tons (869 t).

Commander Reinhard Suhren

Reinhard Johann Heinz Paul Anton Suhren, 16 April 1916 – 25 August 1984, was a German U-boat commander in World War II and younger brother of Korvettenkapitän (Ing.) and Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) recipient Gerd Suhren.

Suhren was born in Langenschwalbach, the second of three children, and grew up in the Weimar Republic and Third Reich. He joined the navy in 1935 and began his U-boat career in March 1938. He spent a year as 1st watch officer on U-48 where he received the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross for his contribution in the sinking of 200,000 gross register tons (GRT) of merchant shipping. In April 1941 he took command of U-564. As a commander, he is credited with the sinking of 18 merchant vessels of 95,544 GRT, 1 warship of 900 metric tons (890 long tons; 990 short tons) and damaged four merchant vessels of 28,907 GRT for which he was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub mit Schwertern).

Suhren left the boat and became an instructor in October 1942. He then served in the 27th U-boat Flotilla along with Korvettenkapitän Erich Topp. During the last year of the war Fregattenkapitän Suhren was the Führer der Unterseeboote Norwegen (Leader of U-boats in Norwegian waters) and from September 1944 the Commander-in-Chief of U-boats of the North Sea. After the war, he worked in the petroleum industry and died of stomach cancer on 25 August 1984.

Korvettenkapitän Erich Topp

Rear Admiral Erich Topp, 2 July 1914 – 26 December 2005, was the third most successful of German U-Boot Experten commanders of World War II. He was also a recipient of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern). The Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves and Swords was awarded to recognize extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. He sank 35 ships for a total of 197,460 gross register tons (GRT).

Korvettenkapitän Werner Winter

Werner Winter, 26 March 1912 in Hamburg – 9 September 1972 in Kiel. In July 1942 Werner Winter took command of the 1st Flotilla in Brest, France. He was captured after the surrender of Brest in August 1944, returning home from Allied captivity in November 1947. After the war, he served for a few years in the Bundesmarine and retired as Kapitän zur See in March 1970. In his Naval carrier of WWII, he sunk a total of 15 ships, 79302 tons.

Korvettenkapitän Helmut Witte

Helmut Witte, 6 April 1915 in Bojendorf  – 3 October 2005 in Duisburg, was a German naval officer of the Imperial Navy and the Kriegsmarine during the Second World War, most recently with the rank of Korvettenkapitän.

Witte began his naval career in April 1934. Later he served on the light cruiser Köln, on the destroyer Z-22, and on several torpedo boats. In July 1940, Witte transferred to the U-boat force. After the usual training, he became IWO on the newly commissioned U-107 under Hessler. Before he left the boat in July 1941, he had taken part in the most successful patrol of the war. He commissioned U-159 in October 1941 and operated in the waters of Panama on his second patrol. On his third patrol, U-159 was a part of the wolfpack Eisbär, which operated in the waters off Capetown in September 1942. He left the boat in June 1943 and served from then until the end of the war in several staff positions. After two months in British captivity, he worked for a time as a farmhand and factory worker. Later he built up a successful civil career and in the 1960s became the personnel manager of a great German industry group. Helmut Witte sunk 23 ships for a total of 119.684 tons and damaged 1 ship for a total of 265 tons.

Other U-Boat Commanders

  • Kapitänleutnant Heinz-Ehlert Clausen
  • Kapitänleutnant Johann-Heinrich Fehler

 

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