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Kurt-Caesar Hoffmann

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Kurt-Caesar Hoffmann

Kurt-Caesar Hoffmann
Born (1895-08-26)26 August 1895
Died 19 May 1988(1988-05-19) (aged 92)
Allegiance  German Empire (to 1919)
 Weimar Republic (to 1933)
 Nazi Germany
Service/branch  Kaiserliche Marine
Years of service 1912–1945
Rank Vizeadmiral
Unit SMS Hansa
SMS Wettin
Cruiser Köln
Cruiser Amazone
Commands held Light cruiser Königsberg
Battleship Scharnhorst

World War I
World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Vizeadmiral Kurt-Caesar Hoffmann (26 August 1895 – 19 May 1988) was a Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross recipient during World War II and commander of the battleship Scharnhorst. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.


Hoffmann joined the military service of the Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial Navy) on 1 April 1912 as a Seekadett (midshipman) and took his first ship training on the cruiser SMS Hansa. On 1 April 1913 he underwent further training at the Naval Academy Mürwik and on 12 April 1913 was promoted to Fähnrich zur See (ensign at sea).

He relinquished command of the Coastal Artillery School and was appointed commander of the light cruiser Königsberg on 27 June 1939. After the outbreak of World War II, he initially remained in command of Königsberg. On 21 September 1939 he took over command from Kapitän zur See Otto Ciliax of the battleship Scharnhorst. Scharnhorst's first operation began on 21 November 1939 lasting until 27 November 1939. Accompanied by her sister Gneisenau, the light cruiser Köln, and nine destroyers, Scharnhorst patrolled the area between Iceland and the Faroe Islands. The intent of the operation was to draw out British units and ease the pressure on the heavy cruiser Admiral Graf Spee, which was being pursued in the South Atlantic. Two days later, the German flotilla, under the command of Admiral Wilhelm Marschall aboard Gneisenau, intercepted the auxiliary cruiser Rawalpindi. At 16:07, lookouts aboard Scharnhorst spotted the British vessel, and less than an hour later Scharnhorst had closed the range. At 17:03, Scharnhorst opened fire, and three minutes later a salvo of her 28 cm guns hit Rawalpindi's bridge, killing the captain and the majority of the staff. During the brief engagement, Rawalpindi managed to score at hit on Scharnhorst, which caused minor splinter damage. Rawalpindi was sunk within 40 minutes.



  • Dörr, Manfred (1995). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Überwasserstreitkräfte der Kriegsmarine, Band 1: A-K (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio Verlag. ISBN 3-7648-2453-0.
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939-1945 (in German). Friedburg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 3-7909-0284-5.
  • Huß, Jürgen & Viohl, Armin (2003). Die Ritterkreuzträger des Eisernen Kreuzes der preußischen Provinz Schleswig-Holstein und der Freien und Hansestadt Lübeck 1939-1945 (in German). VDM Heinz Nickel. ISBN 3-925480-79-X.

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