Friedrich Guggenberger

Kapitänleutnant (Crew 34)

15 ships sunk, total tonnage 43,098 GRT
1 auxiliary warship sunk, total tonnage 1,150 GRT
1 warship sunk, total tonnage 22,600 tons
1 ship damaged, total tonnage 6,003 GRT

Born  6 Mar 1915 Munich
Died  13 May 1988(73)Erlenbach am Main, Germany

Kptlt. Friedrich Guggenberger


8 Apr 1934 Offiziersanwärter
26 Sep 1934 Seekadett
1 Jul 1935 Fähnrich zur See
1 Jan 1937 Oberfähnrich zur See
1 Apr 1937 Leutnant zur See
1 Apr 1939 Oberleutnant zur See
1 Sep 1941 Kapitänleutnant


23 Mar 1940 Iron Cross 2nd Class
8 Jul 1940 U-boat War Badge 1939
9 Sep 1940 Iron Cross 1st Class
10 Dec 1941 Knights Cross
8 Jan 1943 Knights Cross with Oak Leaves

U-boat Commands

U-28 16 Nov 1940 11 Feb 1941   No war patrols 
U-81 26 Apr 1941 24 Dec 1942   9 patrols (261 days) 
U-847 23 Jan 1943 1 Feb 1943   No war patrols 
U-513 15 May 1943 19 Jul 1943   1 patrol (63 days) 

Friedrich Guggenberger Friedrich Guggenberger with the IWO
before patrol

Friedrich Guggenberger began his U-boat career in October 1939 with the usual training. His first U-boat was U-28 under the command of Knights Cross holder Günther Kuhnke. During the autumn of 1940 Guggenberger took over U-28 and commanded the boat for a few months in a training flotilla.

In April 1941 he commissioned U-81. After three patrols in the Atlantic, during which he sank two ships, he took the boat into the Mediterranean in November 1941. On 13 Nov 1941, shortly after passing the Straits of Gibraltar, he torpedoed the British aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal (22,600 tons), which sank one day later.

After six further successful patrols in the Mediterranean, Guggenberger left the boat in early 1943, and for three months was a member of Dönitz's staff.

In May 1943 he took over U-513, a type IXC U-boat, but she was sunk on his first patrol, on 19 July 1943 in Brazilian waters, by an American aircraft (Niestlé, 1998). The badly wounded Guggenberger, together with six other survivors, spent one day in a lifeboat before being picked up by the US seaplane tender USS Barnegat (AVP-10).

Following a surgical operation and a long stay in hospital he was transferred to Fort Hunt interrogation center, New York on 25 September 1943, then to the POW camp at Crossville, Tennessee later that month, finally arriving at Papago Park POW camp near Phoenix, Arizona in late January 1944.

Escape from Papago Park
On 12 February 1944 Guggenberger and four other U-boat commanders escaped from this camp. Guggenberger and his companion August Maus were recaptured in Tucson, Arizona. Guggenberger was also one of the 25 POWs who escaped from this camp during the night of 23-24 December, 1944. He and his companion on that occasion Jürgen Quaet-Faslem were recaptured on 6 January 1945, less than 10 miles from the Mexican border.

Guggenberger was transferred to Camp Shanks, New York in February 1946, then to a POW compound in the British Zone of Germany near Münster. He was released from Allied captivity in August 1946.

After the war he became an architect, before joining the Federal German Navy, the Bundesmarine, in 1956. After graduating from the Naval War College in Newport (USA), Konteradmiral Guggenberger served as Deputy Chief of Staff on NATO command AFNORTH (Allied Forces North Europe) for four years. He retired in October 1972.

On 13 May 1988 he went for a walk in the forest from which he never returned. His body was not found until two years later.


Busch, R. and Röll, H-J. (1999). German U-boat commanders of World War II.
Busch, R. and Röll, H-J. (1997). Der U-Bootkrieg 1939-1945 (Band 2).
Niestlé, A. (1998). German U-boat losses during World War II.

Patrol info for Friedrich Guggenberger

 U-boat Departure Arrival  
1. U-81 21 Jun 1941  Kiel  3 Jul 1941  Trondheim   13 days
2. U-81 17 Jul 1941  Trondheim  7 Aug 1941  Kirkenes  Patrol 1,22 days
3. U-81 9 Aug 1941  Kirkenes  13 Aug 1941  Trondheim   5 days
4. U-81 27 Aug 1941  Trondheim  19 Sep 1941  Brest  Patrol 2,24 days
5. U-81 29 Oct 1941  Brest  31 Oct 1941  Brest   3 days
6. U-81 4 Nov 1941  Brest  10 Dec 1941  La Spezia  Patrol 3,37 days
7. U-81 27 Jan 1942  La Spezia  4 Mar 1942  La Spezia  Patrol 4,37 days
8. U-81 4 Apr 1942  La Spezia  25 Apr 1942  Salamis  Patrol 5,22 days
9. U-81 6 May 1942  Salamis  3 Jun 1942  Salamis  Patrol 6,29 days
10. U-81 6 Jun 1942  Salamis  24 Jun 1942  La Spezia  Patrol 7,19 days
11. U-81 5 Oct 1942  La Spezia  16 Nov 1942  La Spezia  Patrol 8,43 days
12. U-81 24 Nov 1942  La Spezia  21 Dec 1942  Pola  Patrol 9,28 days
13. U-513 18 May 1943  Lorient  19 Jul 1943  Sunk  Patrol 10,63 days
10 patrols, 324 days at sea

Ships hit by Friedrich Guggenberger

Date U-boat Commander Name of ship Tons Nat. Convoy
9 Sep 1941U-81Friedrich Guggenberger Empire Springbuck5,591brSC-42
10 Sep 1941U-81Friedrich Guggenberger Sally Mærsk3,252brSC-42
13 Nov 1941U-81Friedrich Guggenberger HMS Ark Royal (91)22,600br
16 Apr 1942U-81Friedrich Guggenberger FFL Vikings (P 41)1,150fr
16 Apr 1942U-81Friedrich Guggenberger Caspia6,018br
16 Apr 1942U-81Friedrich Guggenberger Bab el Farag105ag
16 Apr 1942U-81Friedrich Guggenberger Fatouh el Kher97ag
19 Apr 1942U-81Friedrich Guggenberger Hefz el Rahman90ag
22 Apr 1942U-81Friedrich Guggenberger El Saadiah122ag
22 Apr 1942U-81Friedrich Guggenberger Aziza100ag
10 Jun 1942U-81Friedrich Guggenberger Havre2,073brAT-49
10 Nov 1942U-81Friedrich Guggenberger Garlinge2,012br
13 Nov 1942U-81Friedrich Guggenberger Maron6,487brTorch
21 Jun 1943U-513Friedrich Guggenberger Venezia1,673sw
25 Jun 1943U-513Friedrich Guggenberger Eagle (d.)6,003am
1 Jul 1943U-513Friedrich Guggenberger Tutoya1,125bz
3 Jul 1943U-513Friedrich Guggenberger Elihu B. Washburne7,176am
16 Jul 1943U-513Friedrich Guggenberger Richard Caswell7,177am

17 ships sunk (66,848 tons) and 1 ship damaged (6,003 tons).

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

About ranks and decorations
Ranks shown in italics are our database inserts based on the rank dates of his crew comrades. The officers of each crew would normally have progressed through the lower ranks at the same rate.

Men who sank over 50,000 tons

Media links

U-Boat Attack Logs

Daniel Morgan and Bruce Taylor
(£ 38.25)

German U-boat Commanders of World War II

Busch, Rainer and Röll, Hans-Joachim

Silent Hunters

Savas, Theodore P. (editor)

Naval Officers Under Hitler

Rust, Eric C.

Aces of the Reich

Williamson, Gordon

The Faustball Tunnel

Moore, John Hammond

Listing of all U-boat commanders

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