Rolf Rüggeberg

Fregattenkapitän (Crew 26)

2 ships sunk, total tonnage 12,789 GRT
1 ship damaged, total tonnage 7,174 GRT

Born  4 Mar 1907 Barcelona, Spain
Died  6 Dec 1979(72)


26 Oct 1926 Seekadett
1 Apr 1928 Fähnrich zur See
1 Oct 1930 Leutnant zur See
1 Apr 1933 Oberleutnant zur See
1 Apr 1936 Kapitänleutnant
1 Apr 1941 Korvettenkapitän
1 Nov 1944 Fregattenkapitän


U-boat Commands

U-513 10 Jan 1942 14 May 1943   3 patrols (159 days) 

Rolf Rüggeberg joined the Reichsmarine in 1926. From Jan to June 1940 he was a training leader with the Naval Academy San Fernando at Cadiz, Spain. He was assistant to the Naval Attaché in Madrid until Oct 1940, then acting Naval Attaché at Lisbon, Portugal Nov 1940 - March 1941.

He joined the U-boat force in April 1941, and received standard training until Aug 1941. From Aug to Nov 1941 he was posted to U-107 (Hessler) as a Kommandantenschüler (U-boat commander-in-training). In Dec 1941 he began Baubelehrung (U-boat construction familiarization) at Deutsche Werft AG in Hamburg on his own boat, the type IXC U-boat U-513, commissioning her on 10 Jan 1942.

Rüggeberg commanded U-513 until 14 May 1943, taking the boat out on three patrols, spending a total of 159 days at sea. He sank three ships with a total of almost 20,000 GRT.

Lucky escape from a mine
On his return from her third and last patrol on 14 April 1943 KrvKpt. Rolf Rüggeberg's U-513 was met by one of her sister type IX boats, Kptlt Hans Möglich's U-526, as they waited for a minesweeper to escort them to base at Lorient, France. Being the senior officer, Rüggeberg should have been first in line behind the minesweeper, but Möglich, eager to enter port after 63 days at sea, rushed ahead of Rüggeberg. One mile from port, the minesweeper had left the boats for them to continue to dock when U-526 hit a newly-laid British mine and exploded in a huge blast, ripping the boat in two. 42 died, including Möglich, and only twelve survived, nine of them wounded. U-513 moored unscathed amid frantic rescue operations. (Blair, 1998)

From June 1943 until the end of war FrgKpt. Rüggeberg commanded the 13th Flotilla at Trondheim, Norway.

Rolf Rüggeberg was a Naval Attache in London in the early 1960s.


Blair, C. (1998). Hitler’s U-boat War. The Hunted, 1942-1945.
Busch, R & Röll, H-J. (1998). German U-boat commanders of World War II.

Patrol info for Rolf Rüggeberg

 U-boat Departure Arrival  
1. U-513 7 Aug 1942  Kiel  22 Oct 1942  Lorient  Patrol 1,77 days
2. U-513 21 Nov 1942  Lorient  18 Dec 1942  Lorient  Patrol 2,28 days
3. U-513 20 Feb 1943  Lorient  14 Apr 1943  Lorient  Patrol 3,54 days
3 patrols, 159 days at sea

Ships hit by Rolf Rüggeberg

Date U-boat Name of ship Tons Nat. Convoy
5 Sep 1942U-513 Saganaga5,454br
5 Sep 1942U-513 Lord Strathcona7,335ca
29 Sep 1942U-513 Ocean Vagabond (d.)7,174brHX-209

2 ships sunk (12,789 tons) and 1 ship damaged (7,174 tons).

We have a picture of this vessel.
(d.) means the ship was damaged.

Media links

German U-boat Commanders of World War II

Busch, Rainer and Röll, Hans-Joachim

The Enemy On Our Doorstep

Neary, Steve

Listing of all U-boat commanders

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