WWI U-boat commanders

Walther Schwieger

Kapitänleutnant (Crew 4/03)

49 ships sunk with a total of 185,212 GRT
4 ships damaged with a total of 3,488 GRT

Born:7 Apr 1885  
Died:5 Sep 1917 North Sea 

Walther Schwieger


1 Apr 1903 Seekadett
15 Apr 1904 Fähnrich zur See
28 Sep 1906 Leutnant zur See
10 Nov 1908 Oberleutnant zur See
19 Sep 1914 Kapitänleutnant


prewar  Order of the Crown
 Iron Cross 2nd class
 Iron Cross 1st class
5 Jun 1916  Royal House Order of Hohenzollern
30 Jul 1917  Pour le Mérite

U-boat Commands

U 141 Aug 1914 - 15 Dec 1914
U 2016 Dec 1914 - 4 Nov 1916
U 8823 Jul 1916 - 5 Sep 1917 (+)


Walther Schwieger came from a respected Berlin family and commanded U 20 and the U 88. He would become known to the whole world as the man who sank the liner Lusitania on 7 May 1915 or by the nickname the British gave him, “The Baby Killer”.

Over 100 U.S. citizens were lost with on the Lusitania, which served as the basis for much Allied propaganda. The facts were not as innocent as the British claimed; the Lusitania was listed in "Jane's Fighting Ships" as a potental auxiliary cruiser and was possibly carrying munitions and gun parts at the time of her loss. The U.S. strongly protested the loss of life of her citizens.

Schwieger's name would appear on the Admiralty's wanted list of possible war criminals. There was nothing special in this; U-boat commanders often landed on this list if they became too successful against the British.

Schwieger wouldn't survive the war. On 5 September 1917, the U 88 is presumed to have struck a mine while outbound from Germany for the French coast. There were no survivors.

Media links

Kaiserliche Marine U-Boote 1914-1918

Dufeil, Yves

The Lusitania

Butler, Daniel Allen

SS Lusitania

Kennedy, William P.

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