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|Born||30 September 1886|
Augsburg, Bavaria, German Empire.
|Died||20 March 1976 89) (aged|
Mölln, West Germany.
|Years of service||1906–45|
|Commands held|| SM UC-74 |
Cruiser Admiral Scheer
|Battles/wars|| World War I |
Spanish Civil War
World War II
|Awards||Pour le Mérite|
Wilhelm Marschall (30 September 1886 – 20 March 1976) was a German admiral during World War II. He was also a recipient of the Pour le Mérite which he received as commander of the German U-boat UB-105 during World War I. The Pour le Mérite was the Kingdom of Prussia 's highest military order for German officers until the end of World War I.
Admiral is one of the highest ranks in some navies, and in many navies is the highest rank. It is usually abbreviated to "Adm" or "ADM". The rank is generally thought to have originated in Sicily from a conflation of Arabic: أمير البحر, amīr al-baḥr, "commander of the sea", with Latin admirabilis ("admirable") or admiratus ("admired"), although alternative etymologies derive the word directly from Latin, or from the Turkish military and naval rank miralay. The French version – amiral without the additional d – tends to add evidence for the Arab origin.
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 70 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
The Pour le Mérite is an order of merit established in 1740 by King Frederick II of Prussia. The Pour le Mérite was awarded as both a military and civil honour and ranked, along with the Order of the Black Eagle, the Order of the Red Eagle and the House Order of Hohenzollern, among the highest orders of merit in the Kingdom of Prussia. After 1871, when the various German kingdoms, grand duchies, duchies, principalities and Hanseatic city states had come together under Prussian leadership to form the federally structured German Empire, the Prussian honours gradually assumed, at least in public perception, the status of honours of Imperial Germany, even though many honours of the various German states continued to be awarded.
Marschall was born in Augsburg, Kingdom of Bavaria, in 1886. In 1906 he entered the Kaiserliche Marine as a Seekadett. During World War I he served as a watch officer on Kronprinz Wilhelm. In 1916 he was trained as a U-boat commander and captained both UC-74 and UB-105 by war's end.
Augsburg is a city in Swabia, Bavaria, Germany. It is a university town and regional seat of the Regierungsbezirk Schwaben. Augsburg is an urban district and home to the institutions of the Landkreis Augsburg. It is the third-largest city in Bavaria with a population of 300,000 inhabitants, with 885,000 in its metropolitan area.
The Kingdom of Bavaria was a German state that succeeded the former Electorate of Bavaria in 1805 and continued to exist until 1918. The Bavarian Elector Maximilian IV Joseph of the House of Wittelsbach became the first King of Bavaria in 1805 as Maximilian I Joseph. The crown would go on being held by the Wittelsbachs until the kingdom came to an end in 1918. Most of Bavaria's present-day borders were established after 1814 with the Treaty of Paris, in which Bavaria ceded Tyrol and Vorarlberg to the Austrian Empire while receiving Aschaffenburg and Würzburg. With the unification of Germany into the German Empire in 1871, the kingdom became a federal state of the new Empire and was second in size, power, and wealth only to the leading state, the Kingdom of Prussia. In 1918, Bavaria became a republic, and the kingdom was thus succeeded by the current Free State of Bavaria.
Seekadett is a military rank of the Bundeswehr and of former German speaking naval forces.
While in the Reichsmarine, Marschall served primarily as a Vermessungsoffizier (surveying officer) and in different staff positions. At the end of 1934 he became commander of the pocket battleship Admiral Scheer. As a Konteradmiral in 1936, he joined the Naval High Command and headed the operations division. During the Spanish Civil War Marschall commanded the German naval forces off of the Spanish coast. He was promoted to Admiral and Flottenchef (fleet commander) in 1939.
The Reichsmarine was the name of the German Navy during the Weimar Republic and first two years of Nazi Germany. It was the naval branch of the Reichswehr, existing from 1919 to 1935. In 1935, it became known as the Kriegsmarine, a branch of the Wehrmacht; a change implemented by Adolf Hitler. Many of the administrative and organizational tenets of the Reichsmarine were then carried over into the organization of the Kriegsmarine.
Konteradmiral, abbreviated KAdm or KADM, is the second lowest naval flag officer rank in the German Navy. It is equivalent to Generalmajor in the Heer and Luftwaffe or to Admiralstabsarzt and Generalstabsarzt in the Zentraler Sanitätsdienst der Bundeswehr.
The Oberkommando der Marine (OKM), translated as High Command of the Navy or Upper Command of the Navy, was the high command and the highest administrative and command authority of the Kriegsmarine. It was officially formed from the Marineleitung of the Reichswehr on 11 January 1936. In 1937 it was combined with the newly formed Seekriegsleitung (SKL). There were two major re-organisations, in November 1939 and May 1944.
Admiral Marschall, flying his flag in battleship Gneisenau, led the German naval force which intercepted and sank the British auxiliary cruiser Rawalpindi on 23 November 1939, while on patrol off Faroe Islands.On 8 June 1940, during the latter part of the Norwegian Campaign, Marschall and part of his force (flagship Gneisenau, and her sister-ship Scharnhorst) fell in with British aircraft carrier Glorious and two destroyers (Acasta and Ardent) about 280 miles west of Harstad, Norway. In a two-hour action, Glorious and her accompanying destroyers were all sunk, in exchange for damage to Scharnhorst (struck by one of Acasta's torpedoes, and one shell from each of the destroyers). Although the battle was a German victory, Marschall had engaged Glorious despite orders to avoid action. Marschall's differences with the High Command on this subject, and the severe damage to Scharnhorst during the engagement, ensured that Marschall was replaced as Flottenchef by Admiral Günther Lütjens. Marschall led the inspection of naval education for two years beginning in the summer 1940.
A battleship is a large armored warship with a main battery consisting of large caliber guns. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries the battleship was the most powerful type of warship, and a fleet of battleships was considered vital for any nation that desired to maintain command of the sea.
Gneisenau was a German capital ship, alternatively described as a battleship and battlecruiser, of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine. She was the second vessel of her class, which included one other ship, Scharnhorst. The ship was built at the Deutsche Werke dockyard in Kiel; she was laid down on 6 May 1935 and launched on 8 December 1936. Completed in May 1938, the ship was armed with a main battery of nine 28 cm (11 in) C/34 guns in three triple turrets, though there were plans to replace these weapons with six 38 cm (15 in) SK C/34 guns in twin turrets.
HMS Rawalpindi was a British armed merchant cruiser, that was sunk in a surface action against the German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau during the first months of the Second World War. Her captain was Edward Coverley Kennedy.
In 1942 Marschall was named commanding admiral of occupied France and replaced Alfred Saalwächter as commander of Marinegruppenkommando West. On 1 February 1943 he was promoted to Generaladmiral, but was replaced as western commander by Theodor Krancke and deactivated later that spring.
Alfred Saalwächter was a high-ranking German U-boat commander during World War I and General Admiral during World War II.
Theodor Krancke was a naval commander (admiral) of Nazi Germany during World War II and a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves.
During the remainder of the war, Marschall was reactivated twice, once as Sonderbevollmächtigter (special agent) for the Danube, and once as commander of the Marineoberkommando West shortly before war's end. From 1945–47 he was held as a prisoner of war.
The Danube is Europe's second longest river, after the Volga. It is located in Central and Eastern Europe.
Marschall died in Mölln, West Germany, in 1976.
The Kriegsmarine was the navy of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It superseded the Imperial German Navy of the German Empire (1871–1918) and the inter-war Reichsmarine (1919–1935) of the Weimar Republic. The Kriegsmarine was one of three official branches, along with the Heer (Army) and the Luftwaffe of the Wehrmacht, the German armed forces from 1933 to 1945.
HMT Juniper (T123) was a Tree-class minesweeping trawler of the Royal Navy. She was built by Ferguson Brothers Ltd. at Port Glasgow, launched on 15 December 1939, and commissioned on 9 March 1940.
HMS Glorious was the second of the three Courageous-class battlecruisers built for the Royal Navy during the First World War. Designed to support the Baltic Project championed by the First Sea Lord, Lord Fisher, they were relatively lightly armed and armoured. Glorious was completed in late 1916 and spent the war patrolling the North Sea. She participated in the Second Battle of Heligoland Bight in November 1917 and was present when the German High Seas Fleet surrendered a year later.
Admiral of the Fleet Bruce Austin Fraser, 1st Baron Fraser of North Cape, was a senior Royal Navy officer. He served in the First World War, saw action during the Gallipoli Campaign and took part in the internment of the German High Seas Fleet at the end of the war. He also served in the Second World War initially as Third Sea Lord and Controller of the Navy and then as second-in-command and afterwards as commander of the Home Fleet, leading the force that destroyed the German battleship Scharnhorst. He went on to be First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff in which role he assisted in establishing NATO and agreed to the principle that the Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic should be an American admiral, in the face of fierce British opposition.
Admiral Hipper, the first of five ships of her class, was the lead ship of the Admiral Hipper class of heavy cruisers which served with Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. The ship was laid down at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg in July 1935 and launched February 1937; Admiral Hipper entered service shortly before the outbreak of war, in April 1939. The ship was named after Admiral Franz von Hipper, commander of the German battlecruiser squadron during the Battle of Jutland in 1916 and later commander-in-chief of the German High Seas Fleet. She was armed with a main battery of eight 20.3 cm (8.0 in) guns and, although nominally under the 10,000-long-ton (10,000 t) limit set by the Anglo-German Naval Agreement, actually displaced over 16,000 long tons (16,000 t).
Operation Juno was a German naval offensive late in the Norwegian Campaign. The German ships involved were the battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, the heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper and the destroyers Z20 Karl Galster, Z10 Hans Lody, Z15 Erich Steinbrinck and Z7 Hermann Schoemann.
The Scharnhorst class were the first capital ships, referred to as either battleships or battlecruisers, built for Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine after World War I. The class comprised two vessels: Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. Scharnhorst was launched first, and is considered to be the lead ship by some sources; they are also referred to as the Gneisenau class in some other sources, as Gneisenau was the first to be laid down and commissioned. They marked the beginning of German naval rearmament after the Treaty of Versailles. The ships were armed with nine 28 cm (11 in) SK C/34 guns in three triple turrets; plans to replace these with six 38 cm (15 in) SK C/34 guns in twin turrets were never realized.
HMS Ardent was one of eight A-class destroyers built for the Royal Navy (RN) in the 1920s. The ship spent most of the 1930s assigned to the Mediterranean Fleet. During the early months of the Spanish Civil War of 1936–1939, Ardent spent considerable time in Spanish waters enforcing the arms blockade imposed by Britain and France on both sides of the conflict.
HMS Acasta was one of eight A-class destroyers built for the Royal Navy (RN) in the 1920s. The ship spent most of the 1930s assigned to the Mediterranean Fleet. During the early months of the Spanish Civil War of 1936–1939, Acasta spent considerable time in Spanish waters enforcing the arms blockade imposed by Britain and France on both sides of the conflict.
Admiral of the Fleet Sir John Henry Dacres Cunningham was a Royal Navy officer. A qualified senior navigator, he became Director of Plans at the Admiralty in 1930. He saw action as Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet during the Second World War with responsibility for the allied landings at Anzio and in the south of France. He served as First Sea Lord in the late 1940s: his focus was on implementing the Government's policy of scrapping a large number of serviceable ships.
Kurt-Caesar Hoffmann was a senior naval commander in the Kriegsmarine of Nazi Germany during World War II who commanded the battleship Scharnhorst. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.
Scharnhorst was a German capital ship, alternatively described as a battleship or battlecruiser, of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine. She was the lead ship of her class, which included one other ship, Gneisenau. The ship was built at the Kriegsmarinewerft dockyard in Wilhelmshaven; she was laid down on 15 June 1935 and launched a year and four months later on 3 October 1936. Completed in January 1939, the ship was armed with a main battery of nine 28 cm (11 in) C/34 guns in three triple turrets. Plans to replace these weapons with six 38 cm (15 in) SK C/34 guns in twin turrets were never carried out.
Johann Günther Lütjens was a German Admiral whose military service spanned more than thirty years and two world wars. Lütjens is best known for his actions during World War II and his command of the battleship Bismarck during its foray into the Atlantic Ocean in 1941. In its aftermath, the episode entered into naval legend.
Z7 Hermann Schoemann was a Type 1934A-class destroyer built for Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine in the mid-1930s. The ship was plagued by machinery problems for most of her life and was under repair when World War 2 began in September 1939. She covered her sister ships over the next few months as they laid offensive minefields in English waters in late 1939–early 1940. Hermann Schoemann played a minor role in the Norwegian Campaign as engine problems limited her availability throughout 1940 and for most of 1941.
Otto Schultze was a Generaladmiral with the Kriegsmarine during World War II and a recipient of the Pour le Mérite during World War I. The Pour le Mérite was the Kingdom of Prussia's highest military order for German soldiers until the end of World War I. As a U-boat commander during World War I, he was credited with the sinking of 53 merchant ships for a total of 132,567 gross register tons, and HMS Falmouth of 5,275 long tons (5,360 t) displacement.
The Action off Lofoten was a naval battle fought between the German Kriegsmarine and the British Royal Navy off the southern coast of the Lofoten Islands, Norway during World War II. A German squadron under Vizeadmiral Günther Lütjens consisting of the battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau met and engaged a British squadron under Admiral Sir William Whitworth consisting of the battlecruiser HMS Renown and 9 destroyers. After a short engagement, Gneisenau suffered moderate damage and the Germans withdrew.
A type commander in the Kriegsmarine was a permanently assigned administrative officer in the organization of the Kriegsmarine which oversaw the development, deployment, and in some cases operational activities of the various classes of German naval vessels. Due to cross jurisdiction with the Navy group commanders, who tactically commanded all vessels at sea, some type commanders were little more than ceremonial officers who held a title with little authority. Others, such as Karl Dönitz who commanded the German U-boat force, exercised near total independence and held enormous authority, both operationally and administrative.
Admiral Otto Schultze
| Commanding Admiral France|
9 August 1942 – November 1942
Generaladmiral Alfred Saalwächter
| Commander-in-Chief of the Kriegsmarine Group Command West|
21 September 1942 – 19 April 1943
Admiral Theodor Krancke
Admiral Hermann Boehm
| Chief of Fleet of the Kriegsmarine |
21 October 1939 – 7 July 1940
Admiral Günther Lütjens