Erich Topp

Fregattenkapitän (Crew 34)


Successes
35 ships sunk, total tonnage 197,460 GRT
1 warship sunk, total tonnage 1,190 tons
4 ships damaged, total tonnage 32,317 GRT

Born  2 Jul 1914 Hannover
Died  26 Dec 2005(91)Suessen, Germany


Erich Topp

Ranks

8 Apr 1934Offiziersanwärter
1 Jul 1935Fähnrich zur See
1 Jan 1937Oberfähnrich zur See
1 Apr 1937Leutnant zur See
1 Apr 1939Oberleutnant zur See
1 Sep 1941Kapitänleutnant
17 Aug 1942Korvettenkapitän
1 Dec 1944Fregattenkapitän

Decorations

7 Nov 1939U-boat War Badge 1939
20 Jun 1941Knights Cross
11 Apr 1942Knights Cross with Oak Leaves
11 Apr 1942U-boat War Badge with Diamonds
17 Aug 1942Knights Cross with Oak Leaves and Crossed Swords

U-boat Commands

U-boatFromTo
U-57 5 Jun 1940 15 Sep 1940   2 patrols (44 days) 
U-552 4 Dec 1940 8 Sep 1942   10 patrols (308 days) 
U-3010 23 Mar 1945 26 Apr 1945   No war patrols 
U-2513 27 Apr 1945 9 May 1945   No war patrols 

Erich Topp Kapitänleutnant Erich Topp after a patrol.

Erich Topp began his naval career in April 1934. He served six months on the light cruiser Karlsruhe before joining the U-boat force in October 1937. A year later he became watch officer on U-46.

After four patrols with U-46, Topp took over command of U-57. With this boat he sank six ships with a total of 36,862 tons. U-57 sank on 3 September 1940 after an accident with the Norwegian ship Rona.

Topp was then given command of the VIIC boat U-552, the famous "Red Devil Boat". Topp scored most of his successes in the North Atlantic against convoys and off the North American coast. On his very successful eighth patrol in March/April 1942, he sank eight ships with a total of 45,731 tons.


Oberleutnant Erich Topp and his close friend Bertl Endrass

In September 1942 Topp became commander of the 27th U-boat Flotilla, where new U-boat crews received their tactical training. Topp wrote the Battle Instructions for the new XXI Elektro Boat submarine in 1944, and when the war ended he was commanding one of them, U-2513, which he surrendered at Horten, Norway in May 1945.


Konteradmiral Erich Topp

After the war Topp worked for some months as a fisherman before he became a successful architect. In March 1958 he rejoined the Navy. He then spent four years in the USA as a staff member of the Military Committee of NATO. Later he served in several staff positions and for a month was commander of U-boats in deputize.

Konteradmiral Erich Topp retired in December 1969. He was decorated in that year with the Große Bundes-Verdienst- kreuz (Great Federal Merit Cross).

From 1970 to 1984 he worked as industrial consultant for, among others, the Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft.

He died on Dec 26 2005.

Sources

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).
Rohwer, J. (1998). Axis Submarine Successes of World War Two.

Patrol info for Erich Topp


 U-boat Departure Arrival  
1. U-57 11 Jul 1940  Kiel  15 Jul 1940  Bergen   5 days
2. U-57 15 Jul 1940  Bergen  20 Jul 1940  Bergen  Patrol 1,6 days
3. U-57 22 Jul 1940  Bergen  7 Aug 1940  Lorient  Patrol 1,17 days
4. U-57 14 Aug 1940  Lorient  3 Sep 1940  Sunk  Patrol 2,21 days
5. U-552 13 Feb 1941  Kiel  15 Feb 1941  Helgoland   3 days
6. U-552 18 Feb 1941  Helgoland  16 Mar 1941  St. Nazaire  Patrol 3,27 days
7. U-552 7 Apr 1941  St. Nazaire  6 May 1941  St. Nazaire  Patrol 4,30 days
8. U-552 25 May 1941  St. Nazaire  2 Jul 1941  St. Nazaire  Patrol 5,39 days
9. U-552 18 Aug 1941  St. Nazaire  26 Aug 1941  St. Nazaire  Patrol 6,9 days
10. U-552 4 Sep 1941  St. Nazaire  5 Oct 1941  St. Nazaire  Patrol 7,32 days
11. U-552 25 Oct 1941  St. Nazaire  26 Nov 1941  St. Nazaire  Patrol 8,33 days
12. U-552 25 Dec 1941  St. Nazaire  27 Jan 1942  St. Nazaire  Patrol 9,34 days
13. U-552 7 Mar 1942  St. Nazaire  27 Apr 1942  St. Nazaire  Patrol 10,52 days
14. U-552 9 Jun 1942  St. Nazaire  19 Jun 1942  St. Nazaire  Patrol 11,11 days
15. U-552 4 Jul 1942  St. Nazaire  13 Aug 1942  St. Nazaire  Patrol 12,41 days
12 patrols, 352 days at sea

Ships hit by Erich Topp

Date U-boat Name of ship Tons Nat. Convoy
17 Jul 1940U-57 O.A. Brodin1,960sw
17 Jul 1940U-57 Manipur8,652brHX-55A
3 Aug 1940U-57 Atos2,161sw
24 Aug 1940U-57 Cumberland10,939brOB-202
24 Aug 1940U-57 Havildar (d.)5,407brOB-202
24 Aug 1940U-57 Saint Dunstan5,681brOB-202
25 Aug 1940U-57 Pecten7,468brHX-65B
 
1 Mar 1941U-552 Cadillac12,062brHX-109
10 Mar 1941U-552 Reykjaborg687is
27 Apr 1941U-552 Commander Horton227br
27 Apr 1941U-552 Beacon Grange10,119br
28 Apr 1941U-552 Capulet (d.)8,190brHX-121
1 May 1941U-552 Nerissa5,583brHX-121
10 Jun 1941U-552 Ainderby4,860br
12 Jun 1941U-552 Chinese Prince8,593br
18 Jun 1941U-552 Norfolk10,948br
23 Aug 1941U-552 Spind2,129nwOG-71
20 Sep 1941U-552 T.J. Williams8,212brSC-44
20 Sep 1941U-552 Pink Star4,150paSC-44
20 Sep 1941U-552 Barbro6,325nwSC-44
31 Oct 1941U-552 USS Reuben James (DD 245)1,190amHX-156
 
15 Jan 1942U-552 Dayrose4,113br
18 Jan 1942U-552 Frances Salman2,609am
20 Jan 1942U-552 Maro3,838grON-53
25 Mar 1942U-552 Ocana6,256nl
3 Apr 1942U-552 David H. Atwater2,438am
5 Apr 1942U-552 Byron D. Benson7,953am
7 Apr 1942U-552 British Splendour7,138br
7 Apr 1942U-552 Lancing7,866nw
9 Apr 1942U-552 Atlas7,137am
10 Apr 1942U-552 Tamaulipas6,943am
15 Jun 1942U-552 Etrib1,943brHG-84
15 Jun 1942U-552 Pelayo1,346brHG-84
15 Jun 1942U-552 Slemdal7,374nwHG-84
15 Jun 1942U-552 City of Oxford2,759brHG-84
15 Jun 1942U-552 Thurso2,436brHG-84
25 Jul 1942U-552 British Merit (d.)8,093brON-113
25 Jul 1942U-552 Broompark5,136brON-113
3 Aug 1942U-552 G.S. Walden (d.)10,627brON-115
3 Aug 1942U-552 Lochkatrine9,419brON-115
 230,967

36 ships sunk (198,650 tons) and 4 ships damaged (32,317 tons).

Legend
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.

Media links


U-Boat Attack Logs

Daniel Morgan and Bruce Taylor


Q-ships versus U-boats

Beyer, Kenneth


The Iron Time

Previtera, Stephen Thomas


German U-boat Commanders of World War II

Busch, Rainer and Röll, Hans-Joachim


Wolf

Vause, Jordan


The Odyssey of a U-Boat Commander

Topp, Erich. Translated by Eric C. Rust


Naval Officers Under Hitler

Rust, Eric C.

Listing of all U-boat commanders