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Günther Krech

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Günther Krech

Günther Krech
File:Günther Krech.jpg
Born (1914-09-21)21 September 1914
Died 3 June 2000(2000-06-03) (aged 85)
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch  Kriegsmarine
Years of service 1933–1945
Rank Kapitänleutnant
Unit SSS Gorch Fock
cruiser Karlsruhe
Küstenfliegerstaffel 1./106
U-5, U-100
Commands held U-558

World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Günther Krech (21 September 1914 in Wilhelmshaven – 3 June 2000 in Wuppertal) was a German U-boat commander in World War II and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes). The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. As commander of U-558 he sank nineteen ships, totalling 100,771 tons, and damaged two ships (15,070 tons). He is thirty-third in the list of U-Boat aces of World War II.


Krech joined the German Navy in April 1933, initially training as an observer and pilot in the Marineflieger before transferring to the U-boat arm in November 1939. Krech conducted ten combat patrols in the Atlantic and Caribbean. He sank 18 merchant ships and the naval trawler HMT Bedfordshire, which was assisting the US Navy with anti-submarine patrols along the East Coast, for a total of 100,771 tons. He also damaged two merchant ships for a total of 15,070 GRT.[1]

U-558 was sunk by depth charges from a Halifax from No. 58 Squadron RAF, and a B-24 Liberator from 19th Antisubmarine Squadron USAAF on 20 July 1943 in the Bay of Biscay, north-west of Cape Ortegal, Spain.[2] Only Krech, the Leitender Ingenieur ("Leading Engineer"), and three men of the gun crew survived. Krech remained in Allied captivity until after the war. He died in 2000.[1]

Summary of career

Ships attacked

Date Name Nationality Tonnage Convoy Fate
28 August 1941 Otaio  United Kingdom 10,298 OS 4 Sunk
15 October 1941 Vancouver Island  Canada 9,472 Sunk
17 October 1941 Erviken  Norway 6,595 SC 48 Sunk
17 October 1941 Rym  Norway 1,369 SC 48 Sunk
17 October 1941 W.C. Teagle  United Kingdom 9,552 SC 48 Sunk
24 February 1942 Anadara  United Kingdom 8,009 ONS 67 Damaged
24 February 1942 Eidanger  Norway 9,432 ONS 67 Sunk
24 February 1942 Inverarder  United Kingdom 5,578 ONS 67 Sunk
12 May 1942 HMT Bedfordshire  United Kingdom 913 Sunk
18 May 1942 Fauna  Netherlands 1,254 Sunk
21 May 1942 Troisdoc  Canada 1,925 Sunk
23 May 1942 William Boyce Thompson  United States 7,061 Damaged
25 May 1942 Beatrice  United States 3,451 Sunk
27 May 1942 USAT Jack  United States Army 2,622 Sunk
2 June 1942 Triton  Netherlands 2,078 Sunk
25 August 1942 Amakura  United Kingdom 1,987 WAT 15 Sunk
13 September 1942 Empire Lugard  United Kingdom 7,241 TAG 5 Sunk
13 September 1942 Suriname  Netherlands 7,915 TAG 5 Sunk
13 September 1942 Vilja  Norway 6,672 TAG 5 Damaged, arrived safely Trinidad then later declared total loss[3]
16 September 1942 Commercial Trader  United States 2,606 Total loss
23 February 1943 Empire Norseman  United Kingdom 9,811 UC 1 Sunk


Wehrmachtbericht references

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
Thursday, 26 February 1942 Wie durch Sondermeldung bekanntgegeben, versenkten deutsche Unterseeboote im Mittelatlantik in tagelangen hartnäckigen Kämpfen aus einem stark gesicherten Geleitzug sieben Schiffe, darunter zwei große Tanker, mit zusammen 52 000 BRT. Weitere sechs große Schiffe, darunter ein Tanker, wurden so schwer beschädigt, daß auch mit ihrem Verlust zu rechnen ist.
Bei diesen Angriffen zeichnete sich das Unterseeboot unter Führung von Kapitänleutnant Krech besonders aus.
As announced by special bulletin, German submarines sunk in the mid-Atlantic in days of tenacious fighting from a heavily protected convoy seven ships, including two large tankers, with a total of 52 000 GRT. Another six large ships, including a tanker were so badly damaged that their loss can be assumed.
In these attacks, the submarine under the command of Lieutenant Captain Krech particularly distinguished itself.


  • Busch, Rainer & Röll, Hans-Joachim (2003). Der U-Boot-Krieg 1939–1945 — Die Ritterkreuzträger der U-Boot-Waffe von September 1939 bis Mai 1945 (in German). Hamburg, Berlin, Bonn Germany: Verlag E.S. Mittler & Sohn. ISBN 3-8132-0515-0.
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945. Friedburg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 3-7909-0284-5.
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.

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