Fregattenkapitän (Crew 35)
8 ships sunk, total tonnage 25,879 GRT
1 auxiliary warship sunk, total tonnage 810 GRT
3 warships sunk, total tonnage 5,000 tons
|Born||20 Jun 1914||Dortmund|
|Died||6 Jan 1966||(51)||Köln, Germany|
|U-617||9 Apr 1942||12 Sep 1943||7 patrols (187 days)|
|U-380||Dec, 1943||11 Mar 1944||1 patrol (33 days)|
|U-967||Apr, 1944||1 Jul 1944||1 patrol (37 days)|
Albrecht Brandi began his career in the Navy as Seeoffiziersanwärter on 1 April, 1935. Other well known members of Crew 35 were: Frkpt. Reinhard Suhren, Krvkpt. Georg Lassen and Kptlt. Engelbert Endrass.
Brandi spent six months on board the cruiser Karlsruhe for basic naval training before he completed the usual course of instruction in the Marine-schule Flensburg-Mürvik from June 1936 to March 1937.
After some further training he was WO on several minesweepers. Brandi was on board M-1 as part of the 1.Minensuchflottille when it took part in the September 1939 attack on the Polish Westerplatte as cover ship for the German battleship Schleswig Holstein.
At this time Brandi made a first attempt to transfer to U-boats, but his application was refused. In May 1940 he became commander of the minesweeper M-1. In April 1941 Brandi began submarine training in Neustadt/Holstein. It was his second attempt to transfer to submarines. He completed the necessary courses of instruction and then waited for orders. Finally he was ordered to the St. Nazaire base, from where he started his first U-boat patrol.
The first U-boat patrol
At the end of 1941, Brandi embarked on his first submarine patrol as commander-in-training ("Kommandantenschüler", also known in German as "Konfirmand") on board U-552, the well known "Red Devil Boat" commanded by Kptlt. Erich Topp.
The first area of operations was to be the Azores, but at sea they received new orders to head for the Canadian coast. With neither winter equipment nor good maps, they arrived at their new operational area off Cape Race, where Topp sank two ships of some 7,000 tons.
There were many problems on this patrol, including stormy weather and difficulties with the torpedoes and engines. But it seems that this patrol with one of the best commanders was a good experience for the U-boat novice Brandi.
On 9 April, 1942 Brandi commissioned the VIIC U-boat U-617. Only five crewmembers apart from Brandi had any U-boat experience to speak of. From April to August 1942 Brandi completed the usual training with the new boat in the 5. U-Flotilla. (The 5. U-Flotilla was located in Kiel and was a training flotilla.)
The Gibraltar dash
While at sea on 4 November, 1942 Brandi received the order to enter a new operational area, namely the Mediterranean. While navigating the heavily guarded Straits of Gibraltar, U- 617 was attacked by a British Sunderland aircraft which dropped two bombs but missed. On 19 November, Brandi attacked a British convoy, but the results were uncertain. After the attack U-617 spent four hours under depth charge attack, during which time some 80 depth charges were dropped.
From November 1942 to September 1943, U-617 was registered in the 29. U-Flotilla (located in La Spezia/Toulon, and Commanded by Krvkpt. Frauenheim).
After leaving base on the boat's fourth patrol, Brandi had a 3-hour encounter with an enemy submarine. Both commanders attempted to close in for a good firing position, but after three hours Brandi went deep and continued his patrol. After returning from this patrol, Brandi received the Knights Cross on 21 January, 1943 in La Spezia.
During his fifth patrol with U-617, on 1 February, 1943 Brandi sank the minelayer HMS Welshman. That sinking was a great success for Brandi. Captain Roskill wrote in his book Royal Navy that HMS Welshman made a vital contribution in saving Malta.
On 11 April, 1943 during his sixth patrol, Brandi received the Oak Leaves to his Knights Cross. Brandi announced as sunk one cruiser (HMS Uganda?) and one ship of 23,500 tons (but there is no confirmation of these claims).
This was generally a problem for U-boats operating in the Mediterranean, and especially for Brandi it seems. Rohwer shows many unconfirmed successes for Brandi. But particularly in the Mediterranean it was not so easy for the U-boat commanders to identify their successes accurately, since as a rule they had to dive immediately after firing their torpedoes.
In August 1943, Brandi set out from Toulon on his eighth and last patrol with U-617. On 6 September, 1943 he sank the destroyer HMS Puckeridge 40 nautical miles east of Gibraltar. In the first days of the patrol the boat came across the two British aircraft carriers HMS Illustrious and HMS Formidable, but there was no opportunity to fire a torpedo.
During the night of 11 September, 1943 U-617 was located near the Moroccan coast and was attacked by an aircraft. Before it was shot down by the U-boat's crew, it damaged the boat so severely with three close-falling bombs that Brandi had to give up his boat. The crew blew up their boat and reached the shore, where they were interned by Spanish troops.
Brandi was held in the officers' camp near Cadiz (Spain). From there he succeeded in escaping back to Germany. Later he informed Admiral Dönitz, in Berlin, about his adventures.
In January 1944 Brandi returned to Toulon and took command of U-380, a Type VIIC boat. Brandi completed one patrol with U-380, but then the boat was destroyed on 13 March, 1944 in Toulon by a bombing raid of the 9th USAAF.
During the next patrol with U-967 in June 1944, Brandi became seriously ill and had to return to base. There he turned the boat over to Oblt. Eberbach, but she was scuttled soon after on 8 August, 1944 in Toulon.
One month later KrvKpt. Brandi became the Chief of U-boats operating in the eastern Baltic Sea. On 24 November, 1944 Brandi received the Diamonds to his Knights Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords (awarded for his accomplishments as U-boat commander). He was the second of only two Kriegsmarine officers to receive that award. Only 27 men from all services were awarded this decoration.
In January 1945 Fregkpt. Brandi became the Chief of the Marinekleinkampfverbände (the unit comprised of small U-boats such as the Biber and the Seehund).
After the War
Brandi was released from Canadian captivity in September 1945. He worked for some time as a mason before going on to study architecture. Later he was a successful architect in his hometown of Dortmund, as well as in other countries, including Saudi Arabia. For three years Brandi was chairman of the Bund Deutscher Architekten in Dortmund. In 1964, as member of the Rotary Club, he became the governor of the district of Westfalen.
On 6 January, 1966 Albrecht Brandi died of an illness in Dortmund. Officers from the Bundesmarine (German postwar Navy) stood as honor guard at his funeral. Some crewmates from U-617 were also present. The final words were spoken by his crewmate Frkpt. Reinhard Suhren (Crew 35). He described Brandi as a
"Ritter ohne Furcht und Tadel"
(Knight without fear or failings).
Patrol info for Albrecht Brandi
|1.||U-617||29 Aug 1942||Kiel||7 Oct 1942||St. Nazaire||Patrol 1,||40 days|
|2.||U-617||2 Nov 1942||St. Nazaire||28 Nov 1942||La Spezia||Patrol 2,||27 days|
|3.||U-617||21 Dec 1942||La Spezia||17 Jan 1943||Salamis||Patrol 3,||28 days|
|4.||U-617||27 Jan 1943||La Spezia||13 Feb 1943||Pola||Patrol 4,||18 days|
|5.||U-617||25 Mar 1943||Pola||17 Apr 1943||Toulon||Patrol 5,||24 days|
|6.||U-617||31 May 1943||Toulon||1 Jun 1943||Toulon||Patrol 6,||2 days|
|7.||U-617||19 Jun 1943||Toulon||20 Jul 1943||Toulon||Patrol 6,||32 days|
|8.||U-617||28 Aug 1943||Toulon||12 Sep 1943||Sunk||Patrol 7,||16 days|
|9.||U-380||20 Dec 1943||Toulon||21 Jan 1944||Toulon||Patrol 8,||33 days|
|10.||U-967||11 Apr 1944||Toulon||17 May 1944||Toulon||Patrol 9,||37 days|
|9 patrols, 257 days at sea|
Ships hit by Albrecht Brandi
|Date||U-boat||Name of ship||Tons||Nat.||Convoy|
|7 Sep 1942||U-617||Tor II||292||fa|
|23 Sep 1942||U-617||Athelsultan||8,882||br||SC-100|
|23 Sep 1942||U-617||Tennessee||2,342||br||SC-100|
|24 Sep 1942||U-617||Roumanie||3,563||be||SC-100|
|28 Dec 1942||U-617||HMS St. Issey (W 25)||810||br|
|15 Jan 1943||U-617||Annitsa||4,324||gr|
|15 Jan 1943||U-617||Harboe Jensen||1,862||nw|
|1 Feb 1943||U-617||HMS Welshman (M 84)||2,650||br|
|5 Feb 1943||U-617||Corona||3,264||nw||AW-22|
|5 Feb 1943||U-617||Henrik||1,350||nw||AW-22|
|6 Sep 1943||U-617||HMS Puckeridge (L 108)||1,050||br|
|5 May 1944||U-967||USS Fechteler (DE 157)||1,300||am||GUS-38|
12 ships sunk (31,689 tons).
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.