Korvettenkapitän (Crew 32)
6 ships sunk, total tonnage 26,873 GRT
1 ship damaged, total tonnage 8,327 GRT
1 warship damaged, total tonnage 925 tons
|Born||25 Mar 1911||Metz, Lorraine|
|Died||5 Jul 1992||(81)||Hamburg|
|U-152||29 Jan 1941||21 Jul 1941||No war patrols|
|U-333||25 Aug 1941||6 Oct 1942||4 patrols (170 days)|
|U-333||18 May 1943||19 Jul 1944||5 patrols (211 days)|
|U-2519||15 Nov 1944||Feb, 1945||No war patrols|
Korvettenkapitän 'Ali' Cremer
Peter Erich Cremer began his naval career in August 1932 after studying law for six semesters. This was four months later than the usual start date, due to an accident in June of that year in which the German sailing school ship Niobe sank after capsizing, killing most of the cadets (27 men) of Crew 1932. Some men from the Reichsmarine thus went on to replace this loss.
Cremer completed the one year of basic on-board training on the light cruiser Köln. After a few months on the armored cruiser Deutschland, Leutnant Cremer served for three years in the naval artillery. Then he became II WO on the destroyer Theodor Riedel. In August 1940 he transferred to the U-boat force.
In January 1941 Kptlt. Cremer commissioned U-152, a small coastal U-boat of type IID which only served as a school boat. A few months later he took command of the larger combat boat U-333. The boat's emblem, 3 little fishes, was chosen to go along with the boat's number. 'Ali' Cremer was one of those commanders who began their first patrol without any combat experience. Even so, he sank three ships on this first patrol - but unfortunately also sank the German blockade-runner Spreewald. Dönitz investigated the accident and found that Cremer was not to blame. During Cremer's next patrol in US waters he was also successful, sinking four ships, and managed to bring his boat badly damaged back to base after she had been rammed.
On his third patrol Cremer was seriously wounded by gunfire from the British corvette HMS Crocus. Seven crew members died and a replacement WO from the Milch Cow U-459 helped Cremer bring the once more heavily damaged U-333 back to base. After this patrol, Cremer got the nickname 'Ali Wrack' (Ali Wreck). But the crew members proudly said "Ali on board is the best life insurance!". Cremer spent three months in hospital recovering from his wounds.
Kptlt. Cremer after patrol (on the cap the '3 little fishes')
From February to May 1943 he served on the staff of Dönitz, but after the great U-boat losses of May 1943 Dönitz sent some experienced commanders out on patrol to check out the new situation, among them Cremer. And so once again Cremer took U-333 out on patrol, and returned once again badly damaged after a serious depth charge attack in April 1944. In July 1944 he left the boat, which was lost on the next patrol.
Cremer then commissioned the new Type XXI Electro boat U-2519, and thus was one of the highly decorated U-boat commanders (like Schnee, Bülow, Emmermann, Witt and Topp), who took command of the new Electro U-boats in an attempt to turn the tide in the battle of the Atlantic.
Korvkpt. Cremer left U-2519 in February 1945. He now became commander of the Marine-Panzervernichtungsbataillon (Naval Tank Destroying Battalion) which fought on land against British tanks attempting to occupy the city of Hamburg.
On 25 April, 1945 the daily Wehrmachtsbericht announced:
Ein von Korvettenkapitän Cremer geführter Panzervernichtungstrupp der Kriegsmarine, zusammengestellt aus Freiwilligen eines Unterseeboot-Stützpunktes, vernichtete innnerhalb weniger Tage 24 Panzer.
(A navy tank destroying unit under command of Korvettenkapitän Cremer, including volunteers from a U-boat base, destroyed 24 tanks during the last few days.)
In the last days of the war Cremer became commander of Dönitz's guard unit and thus was involved in the tragic incident in which Kapitän z. See Wolfgang Lüth was shot to death by a German guard. After the surrender he spent one month in British captivity. After the war he was successful as a manager in several companies.
Busch, R. and Röll, H-J. (1998). German U-boat commanders of World War II.
Patrol info for Peter-Erich Cremer
|1.||U-333||27 Dec 1941||Kiel||9 Feb 1942||La Pallice||Patrol 1,||45 days|
|2.||U-333||30 Mar 1942||La Pallice||26 May 1942||La Pallice||Patrol 2,||58 days|
|3.||U-333||11 Aug 1942||La Pallice||24 Aug 1942||La Pallice||Patrol 3,||14 days|
|4.||U-333||1 Sep 1942||La Pallice||23 Oct 1942||La Pallice||Patrol 4,||53 days|
|5.||U-333||2 Jun 1943||La Pallice||31 Aug 1943||La Pallice||Patrol 5,||91 days|
|6.||U-333||21 Oct 1943||La Pallice||1 Dec 1943||La Pallice||Patrol 6,||42 days|
|7.||U-333||10 Feb 1944||La Pallice||12 Feb 1944||La Pallice||Patrol 7,||3 days|
|8.||U-333||14 Feb 1944||La Pallice||20 Apr 1944||La Pallice||Patrol 8,||67 days|
|9.||U-333||6 Jun 1944||La Pallice||13 Jun 1944||Lorient||Patrol 9,||8 days|
|9 patrols, 381 days at sea|
Ships hit by Peter-Erich Cremer
|Date||U-boat||Commander||Name of ship||Tons||Nat.||Convoy|
|22 Jan 1942||U-333||Peter-Erich Cremer||Vassilios A. Polemis||3,429||gr||ON-53|
|24 Jan 1942||U-333||Peter-Erich Cremer||Ringstad||4,765||nw||ON-55|
|31 Jan 1942||U-333||Peter-Erich Cremer||Spreewald||5,083||dt|
|6 May 1942||U-333||Peter-Erich Cremer||Java Arrow (d.)||8,327||am|
|6 May 1942||U-333||Peter-Erich Cremer||Amazone||1,294||nl|
|6 May 1942||U-333||Peter-Erich Cremer||Halsey||7,088||am|
|10 May 1942||U-333||Peter-Erich Cremer||Clan Skene||5,214||br|
|6 Oct 1942||U-333||Peter-Erich Cremer||HMS Crocus (K 49) (d.)||925||br|
6 ships sunk (26,873 tons) and 2 ships damaged (9,252 tons).
About ranks and decorations
Special thanks to Fernando Almeida for data on ranks and decorations.