WWI U-boat commanders

Werner Fürbringer

Kapitänleutnant (Crew 4/07)

101 ships sunk with a total of 97,881 GRT
5 ships damaged with a total of 9,033 GRT

Born:2 Oct 1888 Braunschweig 
Died:8 Feb 1982 Braunschweig 

Werner Fürbringer


3 Apr 1907 Seekadett
21 Apr 1908 Fähnrich zur See
28 Sep 1910 Leutnant zur See
27 Sep 1913 Oberleutnant zur See
16 Nov 1917 Kapitänleutnant
6 Mar 1920 Out of naval service
1 Oct 1933 Korvettenkapitän
15 May 1935 Fregattenkapitän
1 Oct 1937 Kapitän zur See
1 Dec 1942 Konteradmiral


 Iron Cross 2nd class
 Iron Cross 1st class
27 Aug 1916  Royal House Order of Hohenzollern

U-boat Commands

UB 220 Feb 1915 - 7 Mar 1916
UB 1710 Mar 1916 - 16 Mar 1916
UB 3929 Apr 1916 - 7 Nov 1916
UC 7022 Nov 1916 - 22 Jun 1917
UC 1722 May 1917 - 3 Aug 1917
UB 5810 Aug 1917 - 7 Feb 1918
UB 11023 Mar 1918 - 19 Jul 1918


Werner Fürbringer entered the Navy as a marine in Seekadett April 3 1907 by attending the basic course on the training ship SMS Charlotte until March 31 1908. He attended the Naval Academy from April 1, 1908 September 30, 1909, being promoted Fähnrich zur See (21/04/1908). The light cruiser SMS Roon participated in the Asian mission from 1909 to November 1910 being promoted to Leutnant zur See (28/09/1910), when back home was assigned to the armoured cruiser SMS Scharnhost until November 1912. At his request and then got to participate in the course Submarine lasting three months, after which it was shipped as wacht officer on the boat school SM U-1 from January to August 1913.

Promoted to Oberleutnant zur See (27.09.1913) was transferred with the same position on the new submarine oceanic SM U-20 under the U-Boote III Flotilla under the command of Kptlt. Otto Dröscher and Walther Schwiger beginning his war career.

In February 1915 he obtained his first command on the submarine SM UB-2 serving in Flanders Flotilla. Throughout the war he continued to be seconded to this group commanding various units including submarines also two mine-laying, earning accolades with a total of 106,914 tons, sank 102 merchant ships. He was promoted Kapitänleutnant November 16, 1917, and while he was in command of his latest submarine SM UB 110 was attacked with depth charges, 19 July 1918 off the coast of Scarborough and damaged, was forced to re-emerge and finally sunk by HMS Garry. 13 of the crew members were killed and he was captured along with the survivors. Returning from the prison was placed at the disposal of the Naval Command in Kiel until March 1920, when he retired from active service. From 1 January 1927 to 30 September 1933 he was appointed civilian employee at the Naval Command. Promoted Korvettenkapitän October 1, 1933, was taken into service as an instructor and consultant to the Submarine School until 1938 he is also in the last months of 1937 also served as commander of the department and promoted to Kapitän zur See.

Placed at the disposal of the Supreme Command of the Navy, he was awarded in 1938 the position of Chief of the Statistical Office of the Navy and later in 1939 like Chief of Exports of Armaments. At the beginning of the II world war, he was appointed commander of Submarine Defense Department of the Supreme Command of the Navy, which he held until October 31 1942, promoted Konteradmiral when he was appointed Inspector of Armaments of the Eastern Territories. On June 30, 1943 obtained the leave. He died at 94 years in the hometown of Brunswick on 8 Feb. 1982.

His older brother, Gerhardt Fürbringer, was also a U-boat Commander. He was captured when his U-40 was sunk on 23 June 1915.

Thoughts on submarine warfare prior to 1939
In the period immediately prior to the Second World War, Fübringer seems to have written a memorandum (cited in Padfield’s War Beneath the Sea, 1995 ed. p.48) arguing against a U-boat war against England until a way could be found to render U-boats immune to ASDIC, arguing that to commit the valuable U-boat crews [to such a war] would be irresponsible. Moreover, he argued that naval air power would be necessary to destroy convoy escorts and that in the future the roles of the navy and air forces would be so interconnected that these elements must be welded into unity by the outbreak of the war if heavy failures are not to result.

Media links

Kaiserliche Marine U-Boote 1914-1918

Dufeil, Yves

Fips - Legendary U-boat Commander

Brooks, Geoffrey

Back to listing of WWI U-boat commanders