Underwater Aces: The Men In Submarines Who Achieved Legendary Status In World War II

Underwater Aces

During World War I & II, the Germans were known for their adept use of the U-boat in battles. They even had “U-boat aces” who were well-known for what they accomplished in the water.

U-boat Aces

Two U-boat aces were Otto Kretchemer and Gunther Prien. Of the almost 2,000 men who commanded U-boats in World War 1 and II, only 71 can say they sank over 100,000 tons of enemy ships.

It’s an amazing amount, especially when compared to the American numbers. However, there are a few who stand out. Eli Reich and Joe Enright both pulled off their numbers in single missions.

Reich sank a single battleship, which was the only one the American subs were able to sink. On the other hand, Enright sunk Shinano, which was the largest ship to be sunk by a submarine.

German Feats

One German U-boat, the Prien, was able to get onto the British naval base of Scapa Flow and sink the HMS Royal Oak. Three torpedoes took the Revenge-class ship down, and 825 British sailors lost their lives.

Kretschmer was able to sink 46 ships, which was 274,000 tons in total. Richard O’Kane, a Medal of Honor recipient, was commander of the USS Tang. The submarine took out 24 ships or 93,824 tons.

Every top five German U-boat ace made it through the war. Unfortunately, one died five days after the war, and another in 1950.

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