Wolfgang Lüth

Last updated

Wolfgang Lüth
Wolfgang Luth.jpg
Born(1913-10-15)15 October 1913
Riga, Latvia
Died 14 May 1945(1945-05-14) (aged 31)
Flensburg-Mürwik, Germany
BuriedCemetery Adelby in Flensburg
AllegianceFlag of German Reich (1935-1945).svg  Nazi Germany
Service/branchWar Ensign of Germany 1938-1945.svg  Kriegsmarine
Years of service 1933–45
Rank Kapitän zur See
Unit 1st U-boat Flotilla
6th U-boat Flotilla
12th U-boat Flotilla
22nd U-boat Flotilla
Commands held U-13, U-9, U-138, U-43, U-181
22nd U-boat Flotilla
Naval Academy Mürwik
Battles/wars

Spanish Civil War
World War II

Awards Spanish Cross
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds
Croce di Guerra (Italy)

Wolfgang Lüth (15 October 1913 – 14 May 1945) was the second most successful German U-boat ace of World War II. His career record of 46 merchant ships plus the French submarine Doris sunk during 15 war patrols, with a total displacement of 225,204  gross register tons (GRT), [1] was second only to that of Korvettenkapitän (Lieutenant Commander) Otto Kretschmer, whose 47 sinkings totaled 273.043 GRT. [2]

World War II 1939–1945 global war

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 50 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.

Gross register tonnage or gross registered tonnage, is a ship's total internal volume expressed in "register tons", each of which is equal to 100 cubic feet (2.83 m3). Gross register tonnage uses the total permanently enclosed capacity of the vessel as its basis for volume. Typically this is used for dockage fees, canal transit fees, and similar purposes where it is appropriate to charge based on the size of the entire vessel.

Contents

Lüth joined the Reichsmarine in 1933. After a period of training on surface vessels, he transferred to the U-boat service in 1936. In December 1939 he received command of U-9, which he took on six war-patrols. In June 1940 he took command of U-138 for two patrols. In October 1940 he transferred again, this time to the ocean-going submarine U-43 for five war-patrols. After two patrols on U-181, the second being his longest of the war, he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds. He was the first of two U-boat commanders to be so honored during World War II, the other recipient being Albrecht Brandi.

<i>Reichsmarine</i> 1919–1935 maritime warfare branch of Germanys military

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.

German submarine <i>U-9</i> (1935) 1935 Type IIB submarine of the German Navy

German submarine U-9 was a Type IIB U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine. Her keel was laid down on 8 February 1935, by Germaniawerft in Kiel as yard number 543. She was launched on 30 July 1935 and commissioned on 21 August, with Korvettenkapitän Hans-Günther Looff in command.

German submarine U-138 was a Type IID U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine in World War II. Her keel was laid down on 16 November 1939 by Deutsche Werke in Kiel as yard number 267. She was launched on 18 May 1940 and commissioned on 27 June 1940 with Oberleutnant zur See Wolfgang Lüth in command.

Lüth's last service position was commander of the Naval Academy Mürwik near Flensburg. He was accidentally shot and killed by a German sentry on the night of 13/14 May 1945. On 16 May 1945, Lüth was given the last state funeral in the Third Reich. [3]

Flensburg Place in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany

Flensburg is an independent town in the north of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. Flensburg is the centre of the region of Southern Schleswig. After Kiel and Lübeck, it is the third largest town in Schleswig-Holstein.

State funeral Public funeral ceremony held to honour people of national significance

A state funeral is a public funeral ceremony, observing the strict rules of protocol, held to honour people of national significance. State funerals usually include much pomp and ceremony as well as religious overtones and distinctive elements of military tradition. Generally, state funerals are held in order to involve the general public in a national day of mourning after the family of the deceased gives consent. A state funeral will often generate mass publicity from both national and global media outlets.

Early life and career

Lüth was a Baltic German born in Riga, then part of the Russian Empire. He went to the Naturwissenschaftliches Gymnasium there and after he had received his Abitur (certificate), he studied law for three semesters at the Herder-Institut. With his parents' approval he left Latvia to join the German Reichsmarine (renamed Kriegsmarine in 1935) on 1 April 1933 as an officer candidate. After he underwent basic military training, he was transferred to the training ship Gorch Fock attaining the rank of Seekadett (naval cadet) on 23 September 1933. He initially served with the surface fleet, going on a nine-month training tour around the world in the cruiser Karlsruhe from 24 September 1933 to 27 June 1934. He advanced in rank to Fähnrich zur See (midshipman) on 1 July 1934 and served for a year aboard the light cruiser Königsberg (22 March 1936 – 31 January 1937), attaining the rank of Oberfähnrich zur See (senior midshipman) on 1 April 1936 and Leutnant zur See (ensign) on 1 October 1936. [4]

Riga City in Latvia

Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia. With 637,827 inhabitants (2018), it is also the largest city in the three Baltic states, home to one third of Latvia's population and one tenth of the three Baltic states' combined population. The city lies on the Gulf of Riga, at the mouth of the Daugava river. Riga's territory covers 307.17 km2 (118.60 sq mi) and lies 1–10 m above sea level, on a flat and sandy plain.

Russian Empire Former country, 1721–1917

The Russian Empire, also known as Imperial Russia or simply Russia, was an empire that existed across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917.

Gymnasium (school) type of school providing advanced secondary education in Europe

A gymnasium is a type of school with a strong emphasis on academic learning, and providing advanced secondary education in some parts of Europe comparable to British grammar schools, sixth form colleges and US preparatory high schools. In its current meaning, it usually refers to secondary schools focused on preparing students to enter a university for advanced academic study. Before the 20th century, the system of gymnasiums was a widespread feature of educational system throughout many countries of central, north, eastern and southern Europe.

In February 1937 he transferred to the U-boat arm and was promoted to Oberleutnant zur See (lieutenant) on 1 June 1938. [5] In July he was appointed 2nd Watch Officer of U-27 (3 July 1938 – 23 October 1938). He sailed on a patrol in Spanish waters during the civil war in that country on the U-boat tender Erwin Wassner (13 April 1939 – 18 May 1939). In October he was appointed the 1st Watch Officer of U-38 under the command of Kapitänleutnant (Lieutenant) Heinrich Liebe, who during the course of World War II would earn the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves. When war broke out, Lüth was on patrol with U-38 which had left Wilhelmshaven on 19 August 1939 and patrolled the Western Approaches until returning to base on 18 September 1939. [6]

Oberleutnant zur See is traditionally the first and highest Lieutenant grade in the German Navy. It is grouped as OF-1a in NATO, equivalent to a Lieutenant Junior Grade in the United States Navy, and a Sub-Lieutenant in the British Royal Navy

German submarine U-27 was a Type VIIA U-boat of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine built for service in World War II. Her keel was laid down in November 1935 in Bremen. She was commissioned in August 1936 with Korvettenkapitän Hans Ibbeken in command. Ibbeken was relieved on 4 October 1937, by Johannes Franz, who commanded the boat until 6 June 1939 when Hans-Georg von Friedeburg assumed command for barely one month. He was relieved on 8 July again by Johannes Franz, who commanded the boat until her loss on 20 September 1939.

Spain Kingdom in Southwest Europe

Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a country mostly located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula. Its territory also includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country (Morocco). Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. The country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean.

Boats under his command

U-9

On 30 December 1939 Lüth took command of U-9, a Type IIB U-boat. He went on six patrols with this boat, achieving steady success. In January 1940, U-9 sank the Swedish merchantman Flandria, following the premature ignition of a smoke float. This surface attack was carried out while U-9's bridge was filled with onlooking crew members. [7] Other sinkings included the surfaced French submarine Doris on 9 May 1940 and seven merchant ships with a total of 16,669  gross register tons (GRT). [8] An attack on ORP Błyskawica on 20 April 1940, however, was unsuccessful as the torpedoes malfunctioned and detonated in the wake of the destroyer. [9]

ORP <i>Błyskawica</i> Grom-class destroyer

ORP Błyskawica (Lightning) is a Grom-class destroyer which served in the Polish Navy during World War II. It is the only Polish Navy ship to have been decorated with the Virtuti Militari, Poland's highest military order for gallantry, and in 2012 was given the Pro Memoria Medal. Błyskawica is preserved as a museum ship in Gdynia and is the oldest preserved destroyer in the world.

U-138

On 27 June 1940 Lüth took command of U-138, a Type IID submarine, with which he sank four ships on his first patrol, totalling 34,644  GRT. In October, U-138 returned from his second patrol, during which it fired a torpedo at (but missed) the Norwegian merchant steamer SS Dagrun (4,562  GRT), sank the British merchant steamer SS Bonheur (5,327  GRT) and damaged the British motor tanker British Glory (6,993  GRT). Initially, the German authorities believed that British Glory had been sunk and Lüth was nominated for the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, [10] which he was awarded on 24 October 1940. [11] In the radio announcement, Lüth was credited with sinking 12 ships and one submarine of 87,236 tons, [12] when in reality sunken tonnage added up to only 51,316  GRT by the end of September, rising to 56,643  GRT on 15 October 1940. [13]

U-43

For his achievements, Lüth was given command of a new boat, [10] and on 21 October 1940 Lüth took command of U-43, a long range Type IX U-boat. After twice aborting the first patrol due to mechanical failures, [14] he carried out five patrols with this boat, totaling 204 days at sea, sinking 12 ships adding up to 64,852  GRT. On 1 January 1941 he was promoted to Kapitänleutnant. [15] Lüth, because of his experience—like many other top commanders—was tasked with training future U-boat commanders, including Erich Würdemann. These trainees often came along on single war-patrols, which would be their last exercise before they received their own command. [16]

U-43 was due to depart Lorient on a war patrol to an area off Freetown, west Africa, but early on 4 February 1941, she sank while tied to Ysere, an old sailing ship which was used as a floating pier. Valves and vents had been tampered-with the previous day, but no one had noticed the slow, but steady ingress of water into the bilges. To make matters worse and contrary to a Befehlshaber der U-Boote (BdU—U-boat command headquarters) directive, a hatch had been left open, allowing water to pour into the after torpedo room. [17] Two petty officers were found to be most at fault; [18] but Lüth, as captain, was ultimately responsible. However, according to author Jordan Vause, no record of punishment seems to have survived and Lüth's career does not appear to have been affected. [17] U-43 was refloated and Lüth took it back out into the North Atlantic in May 1941. [19]

U-181

In January 1942, upon the completion of another patrol, Lüth was ordered to bring U-43 back to Germany for an overhaul. [20] On 9 May 1942 Lüth was given command of a long-range Type IXD-2 U-boat, U-181. He left on his first patrol in September 1942, departing from Kiel for the Indian Ocean and waters off South Africa. In October he reached the sea lanes outside Cape Town and spent a month patrolling the area. On 13 November 1942, while still at sea, Lüth received a signal stating that he had been awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves. [21]

Two days later, U-181 was heavily damaged by the British destroyer Inconstant in an engagement that lasted nine hours before Lüth was able to escape. After repairing his vessel, Lüth led it to Lourenco Marques and for the next fortnight U-181 undertook a series of surface attacks which resulted in eight ships being sunk, most primarily with U-181's deck gun. In January 1943, after sinking 12 ships for 58,381  GRT, U-181 returned to Bordeaux in France, in January 1943. [22] On 31 January 1943, Lüth and other Kriegsmarine officers traveled to the Wolf's Lair, Hitler's headquarters at Rastenburg, present-day Kętrzyn in Poland, for the Oak Leaves presentation. Following the presentation, Hitler met with Dönitz and Vizeadmiral Theodor Krancke in private. During this meeting, Hitler appointed Dönitz as Oberbefehlshaber der Marine (Commander-in-Chief) of the Kriegsmarine following Raeder's resignation on 30 January 1943. On the return flight to Berlin, Dönitz informed Lüth and the other officers present of this change in command. [23]

In March 1943 Lüth set out for a second patrol off South Africa and in the Indian Ocean, in particular the waters around Mauritius. This patrol lasted 205 days (23 March 1943 – 14 October 1943) making it the second longest of the war. (The longest combat patrol of World War II was 225 days in length, which was achieved by Eitel-Friedrich Kentrat as commander of the U-196.) Lüth sank 10 ships totaling 45,331  GRT on this patrol, which turned out to be his last. While at sea he was promoted to Korvettenkapitän on 1 April 1943. [15] Later that month, he received news that he had been awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords. [24]

After carrying out a patrol between Lourenco Marques and Durban, during which U-181 sank three more ships. U-181 rendezvoused with the supply ship Charlotte Schliemann east of Mauritius to refuel on 21 June. [25] Also present were U-177, under the command of Robert Gysae, U-178 (Wilhelm Dommes), U-196 (Eitel-Friedrich Kentrat), U-197 (Robert Bartels) and U-198 (Werner Hartmann). The commanders exchanged experiences and discussed the problem of torpedo failures. In July, Lüth led his boat west towards Madagascar, before being ordered back to Mauritius. [26] On 15 July 1943, Lüth sunk the British collier Empire Lake and noted in his logbook: "Five men have been left floating on a piece of wreckage. Due to the high sea and 180-mile distance from land they will probably not be saved." [27]

On 9 August 1943, while still on patrol, Lüth was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds. [26] In addition, Lüth nominated two crew members of U-181 for the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross after this patrol. The chief engineer Kapitänleutnant Carl-August Landfermann [28] and 2nd Watch Officer Johannes Limbach [29] both received the Knight's Cross for their achievements.

Ashore and death

After five years of operational U-boat service, including 15 war-patrols and over 600 days at sea, Lüth took command of 22nd U-boat Flotilla stationed at Gotenhafen in January 1944. This was a training unit for U-boat commanders. In July 1944 he took command of the 1st Department of the Naval Academy Mürwik in Flensburg. He was promoted to Fregattenkapitän (commander) on 1 August 1944 and became the commander of the entire academy in September. He was promoted to Kapitän zur See (captain) on 1 September 1944. [15]

Luth's state funeral, Grand Admiral Karl Donitz is on the far right delivering the eulogy Luth funeral.JPG
Lüth's state funeral, Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz is on the far right delivering the eulogy

The British forces occupied Flensburg on 5 May 1945; initially, nothing changed in the daily routine at the Mürwik Naval Academy. Returning drunk in the night of 13/14 May 1945, [30] Lüth failed to respond to the sentry's challenge and was shot in the head by 18-year-old seaman Mathias Gottlob, a German guard. The officer in charge immediately reported the incident, contacting Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz. Dönitz's adjutant, who had accepted the call, initially thought that it was a bad joke. He then called Lüth's brother, Joachim, as the two siblings had been staying together. It was he who informed Lüth's wife and their four children that Lüth had died. [3]

Dönitz contacted the British commander of the city of Flensburg, asking him for permission to conduct a formal state funeral, which was approved. That funeral, the last such of the Third Reich, was held on 16 May 1945 with Dönitz, Adolf Hitler's successor as Head of State, delivering the eulogy. In advance, Dönitz had ordered a board of inquiry and court martial to clarify the circumstances of the shooting. During the court martial, Gottlob stated that, in accordance with his orders, he had asked for the password three times without receiving a response from the person, whom he could not visually identify in the darkness. Without aiming he had fired his rifle from the hip. The chain of events was confirmed by the watch leader. The court ruled that Gottlob was not guilty and cleared him of any fault. [3]

Lüth was the subject of a hagiographic account by the German author Franz Kurowski, published in 1988 under the pen name Karl Alman, commemorating "the most successful U-boat commandant of the Second World War" (according to the subtitle). [31] According to Canadian historian Michael Hadley, Kurowski, by his own admission, used his birth name for "more serious work", and typically used pseudonyms for works of fiction. [32] In his 1995 book Count Not the Dead: The Popular Image of the German Submarine, Hadley panned Kurowski's works as "hackwork" and "pulp-trade yarn" focused on hero making. [33]

Summary of career

Luth's grave, cemetery Adelby Grabmal Wolfgang Luth.jpg
Lüth's grave, cemetery Adelby

Awards

Ships attacked

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During his career Lüth sank 46 commercial ships for 225,204  GRT, one warship of 552 long tons (561 t), and damaged two ships for 17,343  GRT. [1] His last patrol saw U-181 at sea for 206 days, patrolling the waters between Cape Town and Madagascar, second only to Eitel-Friedrich Kentrat's voyage in U-196 . [36]

DateU-boatName of ShipNationalityTonnageFate
18 January 1940 U-9 Flandria Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden 1,179Sunk at 54°00′N03°40′E / 54.000°N 3.667°E / 54.000; 3.667 (Flandria (ship))
19 January 1940 U-9 Patria Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden 1,188Sunk at 54°00′N03°30′E / 54.000°N 3.500°E / 54.000; 3.500 (Patria (ship))
11 February 1940 U-9 Linda Flag of Estonia.svg  Estonia 1,213Sunk at 58°51′N01°54′E / 58.850°N 1.900°E / 58.850; 1.900 (Linda (ship))
20 April 1940 U-9 ORP Błyskawica Naval Ensign of Poland.svg  Polish Navy 1,975 torpedo misfired
4 May 1940 U-9 San Tiburcio Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom 5,995Sunk at 57°46′N03°45′E / 57.767°N 3.750°E / 57.767; 3.750 (San Tiburcio (ship)) by mine laid on 10 February 1941
9 May 1940 U-9 Doris Civil and Naval Ensign of France.svg  French Navy 552Sunk at 53°40′N04°00′E / 53.667°N 4.000°E / 53.667; 4.000 (Doris (Q 135))
11 May 1940 U-9 Tringa Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom 1,930Sunk at 51°29′N02°25′E / 51.483°N 2.417°E / 51.483; 2.417 (Tringa (ship))
11 May 1940 U-9 Viiu Flag of Estonia.svg  Estonia 1,908Sunk at 51°22′N02°26′E / 51.367°N 2.433°E / 51.367; 2.433 (Viiu)
23 May 1940 U-9 Sigurd Faulbaum Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium 3,256Sunk at 51°29′N02°38′E / 51.483°N 2.633°E / 51.483; 2.633 (Sigurd Faulbaum (ship))
20 September 1940 U-138 New Sevilla Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom 13,801Sunk at 55°48′N07°22′W / 55.800°N 7.367°W / 55.800; -7.367 (New Sevilla (ship))
20 September 1940 U-138 Boka Flag of Panama.svg  Panama 5,560Sunk at 55°54′N07°24′W / 55.900°N 7.400°W / 55.900; -7.400 (Boka (ship))
20 September 1940 U-138 City of Simla Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom 10,138Sunk at 55°55′N08°20′W / 55.917°N 8.333°W / 55.917; -8.333 (City of Simla (ship))
21 September 1940 U-138 Empire Adventure Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom 5,145Sunk at 55°48′N07°22′W / 55.800°N 7.367°W / 55.800; -7.367 (Empire Adventure)
13 October 1940 U-138 Dagrun Flag of Norway.svg  Norway 4,562Torpedo missed; detonating 30–50 metres to the side of the ship
15 October 1940 U-138 Bonheur Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom 5,327Sunk at 57°10′N08°36′W / 57.167°N 8.600°W / 57.167; -8.600 (Bonheur (ship))
15 October 1940 U-138 British Glory Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom 6,993Damaged at 57°10′N08°36′W / 57.167°N 8.600°W / 57.167; -8.600 (British Glory (ship))
2 December 1940 U-43 Pacific President Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom 7,113Sunk at 56°04′N18°45′W / 56.067°N 18.750°W / 56.067; -18.750 (Pacific President (ship))
2 December 1940 U-43 Victor Ross Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom 12,247Sunk at 56°04′N18°30′W / 56.067°N 18.500°W / 56.067; -18.500 (Victor Ross (ship))
6 December 1940 U-43 Skrim Flag of Norway.svg  Norway 1,902Sunk at 53°N21°W / 53°N 21°W / 53; -21 (Skrim (ship))
13 December 1940 U-43 Orari Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom 10,350Damaged at 49°50′N20°55′W / 49.833°N 20.917°W / 49.833; -20.917 (Orari (ship))
15 May 1941 U-43 Notre Dame du Châtelet Flag of Free France (1940-1944).svg  Free France 488Sunk at 48°00′N14°00′W / 48.000°N 14.000°W / 48.000; -14.000 (Notre Dame du Châtelet (ship))
6 June 1941 U-43 Yselhaven Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands 4,802Sunk at 49°25′N40°54′W / 49.417°N 40.900°W / 49.417; -40.900 (Yselhaven (ship))
17 June 1941 U-43 Cathrine Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom 2,727Sunk at 49°30′N16°00′W / 49.500°N 16.000°W / 49.500; -16.000 (Cathrine (ship))
29 November 1941 U-43 Thornliebank Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom 5,569Sunk at 41°50′N29°28′W / 41.833°N 29.467°W / 41.833; -29.467 (Thornliebank (ship))
30 November 1941 U-43 Ashby Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom 4,868Sunk at 36°54′N29°51′W / 36.900°N 29.850°W / 36.900; -29.850 (Ashby)
2 December 1941 U-43 Astral Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg  United States 7,542Sunk at 35°40′N24°00′W / 35.667°N 24.000°W / 35.667; -24.000 (Astral)
12 January 1942 U-43 Yngaren Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden 5,246Sunk at 57°00′N26°00′W / 57.000°N 26.000°W / 57.000; -26.000 (Yngaren)
14 January 1942 U-43 Chepo Flag of Panama.svg  Panama 5,707Sunk at 58°30′N19°40′W / 58.500°N 19.667°W / 58.500; -19.667 (Chepo)
14 January 1942 U-43 Empire Surf Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom 6,641Sunk at 58°42′N19°18′W / 58.700°N 19.300°W / 58.700; -19.300 (Empire Surf)
3 November 1942 U-181 East Indian Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg  United States 8,159Sunk at 37°23′S13°34′E / 37.383°S 13.567°E / -37.383; 13.567 (East Indian (ship))
8 November 1942 U-181 Plaudit Flag of Panama.svg  Panama 5,060Sunk at 36°00′S26°32′E / 36.000°S 26.533°E / -36.000; 26.533 (Plaudit (ship))
10 November 1942 U-181 K.G. Meldahl Flag of Norway.svg  Norway 3,799Sunk at 34°59′S29°45′E / 34.983°S 29.750°E / -34.983; 29.750 (K.G. Meldahl (ship))
13 November 1942 U-181 Excello Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg  United States 4,969Sunk at 32°23′S30°07′E / 32.383°S 30.117°E / -32.383; 30.117 (Excello)
19 November 1942 U-181 Gunda Flag of Norway.svg  Norway 2,241Sunk at 25°40′S35°53′E / 25.667°S 35.883°E / -25.667; 35.883 (Gunda)
20 November 1942 U-181 Corinthiakos Flag of Greece (1822-1978).svg  Greece 3,562Sunk at 25°42′S33°27′E / 25.700°S 33.450°E / -25.700; 33.450 (Corinthiakos (ship))
22 November 1942 U-181 Alcoa Pathfinder Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg  United States 6,797Sunk at 26°59′S33°10′E / 26.983°S 33.167°E / -26.983; 33.167 (Alcoa Pathfinder (ship))
24 November 1942 U-181 Dorington Court Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom 5,281Sunk at 27°00′S34°45′E / 27.000°S 34.750°E / -27.000; 34.750 (Dorington Court)
24 November 1942 U-181 Mount Helmos Flag of Greece (1822-1978).svg  Greece 6,481Sunk at 26°38′S34°59′E / 26.633°S 34.983°E / -26.633; 34.983 (Mount Helmos (ship))
28 November 1942 U-181 Evanthia Flag of Greece (1822-1978).svg  Greece 3,551Sunk at 25°13′S34°00′E / 25.217°S 34.000°E / -25.217; 34.000 (Evanthia (ship))
30 November 1942 U-181 Cleanthis Flag of Greece (1822-1978).svg  Greece 4,153Sunk at 24°29′S35°44′E / 24.483°S 35.733°E / -24.483; 35.733 (Cleanthis)
2 December 1942 U-181 Amarylis Flag of Panama.svg  Panama 4,328Sunk at 28°14′S33°24′E / 28.233°S 33.400°E / -28.233; 33.400 (Amarylis)
11 April 1943 U-181 Empire Whimbrel Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom 5,983Sunk at 02°31′N19°18′W / 2.517°N 19.300°W / 2.517; -19.300 (Empire Whimbrel (ship))
11 May 1943 U-181 Tinhow Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom 5,232Sunk at 25°15′S33°30′E / 25.250°S 33.500°E / -25.250; 33.500 (Tinhow)
27 May 1943 U-181 Sicilia Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden 1,633Sunk at 24°31′S35°12′E / 24.517°S 35.200°E / -24.517; 35.200 (Sicilia (ship))
7 June 1943 U-181 Harrier Flag of South Africa (1928-1994).svg  South Africa 193Sunk at 29°00′S34°00′E / 29.000°S 34.000°E / -29.000; 34.000 (Harrier (ship))
2 July 1943 U-181 Hoihow Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom 2,798Sunk at 19°30′S55°30′E / 19.500°S 55.500°E / -19.500; 55.500 (Hoihow (ship))
15 July 1943 U-181 Empire Lake Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom 2,852Sunk at 21°27′S51°47′E / 21.450°S 51.783°E / -21.450; 51.783 (Empire Lake (ship))
16 July 1943 U-181 Port Franklin Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom 7,135Sunk at 22°36′S51°22′E / 22.600°S 51.367°E / -22.600; 51.367 (Port Franklin (ship))
4 August 1943 U-181 Dalfram Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom 4,558Sunk at 20°53′S56°43′E / 20.883°S 56.717°E / -20.883; 56.717 (Dalfram (ship))
7 August 1943 U-181 Umvuma Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom 4,419Sunk at 20°18′S57°14′E / 20.300°S 57.233°E / -20.300; 57.233 (Umvuma (ship))
12 August 1943 U-181 Clan Macarthur Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom 10,528Sunk at 23°00′S53°11′E / 23.000°S 53.183°E / -23.000; 53.183 (Clan Macarthur (ship))

Promotions

23 September 1933: Seekadett (Officer Cadet) [37]
1 July 1934: Fähnrich zur See (Midshipman) [37]
1 April 1936: Oberfähnrich zur See (Senior Midshipman) [5]
1 October 1936: Leutnant zur See (Ensign) [5]
1 June 1938: Oberleutnant zur See (Lieutenant junior grade) [5]
1 January 1941: Kapitänleutnant (Lieutenant) [15]
1 April 1943: Korvettenkapitän (Lieutenant Commander) [15]
1 August 1944: Fregattenkapitän (Commander) [15]
1 September 1944: Kapitän zur See (Captain) [15]

Related Research Articles

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References

Citations

  1. 1 2 Helgason, Guðmundur. "Wolfgang Lüth". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  2. Helgason, Guðmundur. "Most Successful U-boat Commanders". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  3. 1 2 3 Vause 2014, pp. 208–209.
  4. Busch & Röll 2003, p. 86–87.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Busch & Röll 2003, p. 87.
  6. Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol of German U-boat U.38 from 19 Aug to 18 Sep 1939". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  7. Vause 2014, pp. 29–32.
  8. Scherzer 2007, p. 682.
  9. "Records of attack on ORP Błyskawica on 20 April 1940". Historisches MarineArchiv. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  10. 1 2 Blair 2000a, p. 204.
  11. 1 2 3 4 5 Scherzer 2007, p. 518.
  12. Naval Intelligence Division (August 1941). "C.B. 4051 (25) "U 138" Interrogation of Survivors" . Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  13. see below: List of ships attacked
  14. Blair 2000a, p. 209.
  15. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Busch & Röll 2003, p. 88.
  16. Scherzer 2007, p. 799.
  17. 1 2 Vause 2014, pp. 81–85.
  18. Blair 2000a, pp. 232–232.
  19. Blair 2000a, p. 285.
  20. Blair 2000a, p. 484.
  21. Blair 2000b, p. 78.
  22. Blair 2000b, p. 79.
  23. Merten 2006, pp. 497–498.
  24. Blair 2000b, p. 299.
  25. Blair 2000b, p. 300.
  26. 1 2 Blair 2000b, p. 304.
  27. Vause 2014, p. 172.
  28. Scherzer 2007, p. 490.
  29. "Ritterkreuzträger der Kriegsmarine". Chronik des Seekrieges (1939–1945). Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  30. Gerhard Paul (2012). "Der Untergang 1945 in Flensburg" (PDF). Landeszentrale für politische Bildung, Schleswig-Holstein. p. 19. Retrieved 2014-06-25.
  31. Hadley 1995, pp. 169–170.
  32. Hadley 1995, p. 129.
  33. Hadley 1995, pp. 129, 137.
  34. Helgason, Guðmundur. "Spanish Cross in Bronze without Swords". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  35. Angolia 1987, p. 121.
  36. Blair 2000b, p. 305.
  37. 1 2 Busch & Röll 2003, p. 86.

Bibliography

  • Angolia, John (1987). For Führer and Fatherland: Military Awards of the Third Reich. R. James Bender Publishing. ISBN   0912138149. 
  • Blair, Clay (2000a) [1996]. Hitler's U-boat War. 1: The Hunters, 1939–1942. New York: Modern Library. ISBN   0-679-64032-0. 
  • Blair, Clay (2000b). Hitler's U-boat War. 2: The Hunted 1942–1945. New York: Modern Library. ISBN   0679640320. 
  • 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. 
  • Hadley, Michael L. (1995). Count Not the Dead: The Popular Image of the German Submarine. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press. ISBN   9780773512825. 
  • Merten, Karl-Friedrich (2006). Nach Kompaß—Die Erinnerungen des Kommandanten von U-68[By Compass—The Memories of the Commander of U-68]. Berlin, Germany: Ullstein. ISBN   978-3-548-26402-8. 
  • 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. 
  • Vause, Jordan (2014). U-Boat Ace: The Story of Wolfgang Lüth. Naval Institute Press. ISBN   9781612513805. 
Military offices
Preceded by
Kapitänleutnant Heinz Scheringer
Commander of U-13
16 December 1939 – 28 December 1939
Succeeded by
Kapitänleutnant Max-Martin Schulte
Preceded by
Oberleutnant zur See Max-Martin Schulte
Commander of U-9
30 December 1939 – 10 June 1940
Succeeded by
Oberleutnant zur See Wolfgang Kaufmann
Preceded by
Commissioned
Commander of U-138
27 June 1940 – 20 October 1940
Succeeded by
Kapitänleutnant Peter Lohmeyer
Preceded by
Kapitänleutnant Wilhelm Ambrosius
Commander of U-43
21 October 1940 – 11 April 1942
Succeeded by
Oberleutnant zur See Hans-Joachim Schwantke
Preceded by
Commissioned
Commander of U-181
9 May 1942 – 31 October 1943
Succeeded by
Fregattenkapitän Kurt Freiwald
Preceded by
Korvettenkapitän Wilhelm Ambrosius
Commander of 22nd U-boat Flotilla
15 January 1944 – 16 July 1944
Succeeded by
Korvettenkapitän Heinrich Bleichrodt
Preceded by
unknown
Commander of 1st Department (I. Abteilung) of the Naval Academy Mürwik
17 July 1944 – 17 September 1944
Succeeded by
unknown
Preceded by
Konteradmiral Waldemar Winther
Commander of Naval Academy Mürwik
18 September 1944 – 13 May 1945
Succeeded by
none