Greatest U-boat Commanders

Commanders with over 100,000 tons sunk

The most successful U-boat commanders are most often rated based on how much tonnage they sank. This is the case here, warships are not included.

 CommanderPatrols  Ships sunk/damaged
1.Otto Kretschmer

16 patrols  46 ships sunk (273.043 tons)
5 ships damaged (37.965 tons)
2.Wolfgang Lüth

16 patrols  46 ships sunk (225.204 tons)
2 ships damaged (17.343 tons)
3.Erich Topp

13 patrols  35 ships sunk (197.460 tons)
4 ships damaged (32.317 tons)
4.Heinrich Liebe

9 patrols  34 ships sunk (187.267 tons)
1 ship damaged (3.670 tons)
5.Viktor Schütze

7 patrols  35 ships sunk (180.073 tons)
2 ships damaged (14.213 tons)
6.Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock

10 patrols  25 ships sunk (179.125 tons)
2 ships damaged (15.864 tons)
7.Karl-Friedrich Merten

5 patrols  27 ships sunk (170.151 tons)
8.Herbert Schultze

9 patrols  26 ships sunk (169.709 tons)
1 ship damaged (9.456 tons)
9.Günther Prien

10 patrols  30 ships sunk (162.769 tons)
8 ships damaged (62.751 tons)
10.Georg Lassen

4 patrols  26 ships sunk (156.082 tons)
5 ships damaged (34.419 tons)
11.Joachim Schepke

14 patrols  37 ships sunk (155.882 tons)
4 ships damaged (17.229 tons)
12.Werner Henke

7 patrols  24 ships sunk (155.714 tons)
2 ships damaged (7.954 tons)
13.Carl Emmermann

5 patrols  26 ships sunk (152.080 tons)
14.Heinrich Bleichrodt

8 patrols  24 ships sunk (151.260 tons)
2 ships damaged (11.684 tons)
15.Robert Gysae

8 patrols  25 ships sunk (146.815 tons)
1 ship damaged (2.588 tons)
16.Ernst Kals

5 patrols  20 ships sunk (145.656 tons)
1 ship damaged (6.986 tons)
17.Johann Mohr

6 patrols  27 ships sunk (129.976 tons)
3 ships damaged (26.167 tons)
18.Klaus Scholtz

8 patrols  25 ships sunk (128.190 tons)
19.Adolf Cornelius Piening

9 patrols  25 ships sunk (126.664 tons)
1 ship damaged (6.736 tons)
20.Helmut Witte

4 patrols  23 ships sunk (119.554 tons)
1 ship damaged (265 tons)
21.Günter Hessler

3 patrols  21 ships sunk (118.822 tons)
22.Ernst Bauer

5 patrols  25 ships sunk (118.560 tons)
4 ships damaged (31.304 tons)
23.Engelbert Endrass

10 patrols  22 ships sunk (118.528 tons)
4 ships damaged (25.491 tons)
24.Reinhard Hardegen

5 patrols  22 ships sunk (115.656 tons)
5 ships damaged (46.500 tons)
25.Werner Hartmann

4 patrols  26 ships sunk (115.337 tons)
26.Hans Jenisch

6 patrols  17 ships sunk (110.139 tons)
3 ships damaged (22.749 tons)
27.Richard Zapp

5 patrols  16 ships sunk (106.200 tons)
1 ship damaged (12.502 tons)
28.Victor Oehrn

4 patrols  23 ships sunk (103.760 tons)
1 ship damaged (9.494 tons)
29.Jürgen Oesten

14 patrols  19 ships sunk (101.744 tons)
4 ships damaged (51.668 tons)
30.Wilhelm Rollmann

8 patrols  22 ships sunk (101.519 tons)
31.Erwin Rostin

2 patrols  17 ships sunk (101.321 tons)
2 ships damaged (15.264 tons)
32.Hans-Ludwig Witt

3 patrols  19 ships sunk (100.773 tons)
33.Günther Krech

10 patrols  19 ships sunk (100.771 tons)
2 ships damaged (15.070 tons)
34.Harald Gelhaus

10 patrols  19 ships sunk (100.373 tons)
1 ship damaged (10.068 tons)

On 262 war patrols these 34 men sank 873 ships with a total of 4.826.177 tons.

Please note: These tonnage figures (and sometimes the number of ships sunk) is still being debated among historians. This is one of several different possible figures but still very close whatever the "real truth is". This is often due to convoy battles at night when an attacking wolfpack fired torpedoes into the convoy and two commanders claimed the same ship, although post-war research has eliminated most of those doubtful victims there are still some in question.

This listing is read from our database and should be very accurate (or as accurate as the latest research allows).

Read U-boat commanders with over 50,000 tons sunk

Update If you'd like to see how these commanders compare to their World War One counterparts check this out.