Adolf Cornelius Piening

Korvettenkapitän (Crew 30)

25 ships sunk, total tonnage 126,664 GRT
1 warship sunk, total tonnage 13,785 tons
1 auxiliary warship damaged, total tonnage 6,736 GRT

Born  16 Sep 1910 Süderende, Tondem
Died  15 May 1984(73)Kiel, Germany

Kapitänleutnant Adolf Piening


1 Apr 1930 Offiziersanwärter
9 Oct 1930 Seekadett
1 Jan 1932 Fähnrich zur See
1 Apr 1934 Oberfähnrich zur See
1 Oct 1934 Leutnant zur See
1 Jun 1936 Oberleutnant zur See
1 Apr 1939 Kapitänleutnant
1 Apr 1943 Korvettenkapitän


21 Nov 1939 Iron Cross 2nd Class
27 Jun 1940 Iron Cross 1st Class
13 Mar 1942 U-boat War Badge 1939
13 Aug 1942 Knights Cross

U-boat Commands

U-155 23 Aug 1941 Feb, 1944   8 patrols (459 days) 

Adolf Piening began his navy career on the famous 'Pocket Battleship' Deutschland, then spent a few years on torpedo boats and minesweepers before transferring to the U-bootwaffe (U-boat arm) in October 1940. Following standard training he made one patrol on U-48 as Kommandantenschüler (commandant in training) in June 1941, and in August took command of U-155. This command was very successful, most notably for the sinking of the British escort carrier HMS Avenger (13,875 tons) on 15 November 1942.

In March 1944 he became leader of the 7th Flotilla. On 30 April 1945 he laid mines outside St. Nazaire in U-255. After the war he spent more than two years in Allied captivity. In 1956 Adolf Piening joined the Bundesmarine, serving for 13 years and retiring as Kapitän zur See.

Piening is famous for the Piening Route, which he devised as a means to escape Allied aircraft in the Bay of Biscay.


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 Adolf Cornelius Piening

 U-boat Departure Arrival  
1. U-155 7 Feb 1942  Kiel  27 Mar 1942  Lorient  Patrol 1,49 days
2. U-155 24 Apr 1942  Lorient  14 Jun 1942  Lorient  Patrol 2,52 days
3. U-155 9 Jul 1942  Lorient  15 Sep 1942  Lorient  Patrol 3,69 days
4. U-155 7 Nov 1942  Lorient  30 Dec 1942  Lorient  Patrol 4,54 days
5. U-155 8 Feb 1943  Lorient  30 Apr 1943  Lorient  Patrol 5,82 days
6. U-155 10 Jun 1943  Lorient  16 Jun 1943  Lorient  Patrol 6,7 days
7. U-155 30 Jun 1943  Lorient  11 Aug 1943  Lorient  Patrol 7,43 days
8. U-155 18 Sep 1943  Lorient  19 Sep 1943  Brest   2 days
9. U-155 21 Sep 1943  Brest  1 Jan 1944  Lorient  Patrol 8,103 days
10. U-255 28 Apr 1945  La Pallice  30 Apr 1945  St. Nazaire  Patrol 9,3 days
9 patrols, 462 days at sea

Ships hit by Adolf Cornelius Piening

Date U-boat Commander Name of ship Tons Nat. Convoy
22 Feb 1942U-155Adolf Cornelius Piening Sama1,799nwONS-67
22 Feb 1942U-155Adolf Cornelius Piening Adellen7,984brONS-67
7 Mar 1942U-155Adolf Cornelius Piening Arabutan7,874bz
14 May 1942U-155Adolf Cornelius Piening Brabant2,483be
17 May 1942U-155Adolf Cornelius Piening San Victorio8,136br
17 May 1942U-155Adolf Cornelius Piening Challenger7,667am
20 May 1942U-155Adolf Cornelius Piening Sylvan Arrow7,797paOT-1
23 May 1942U-155Adolf Cornelius Piening Watsonville2,220pa
28 May 1942U-155Adolf Cornelius Piening Poseidon1,928nl
30 May 1942U-155Adolf Cornelius Piening Baghdad2,161nw
28 Jul 1942U-155Adolf Cornelius Piening Barbacena4,772bz
28 Jul 1942U-155Adolf Cornelius Piening Piave2,347bz
29 Jul 1942U-155Adolf Cornelius Piening Bill2,445nw
30 Jul 1942U-155Adolf Cornelius Piening Cranford6,096am
1 Aug 1942U-155Adolf Cornelius Piening Kentar5,878nl
1 Aug 1942U-155Adolf Cornelius Piening Clan Macnaughton6,088br
4 Aug 1942U-155Adolf Cornelius Piening Empire Arnold7,045brE-6
5 Aug 1942U-155Adolf Cornelius Piening Draco389nl
9 Aug 1942U-155Adolf Cornelius Piening San Emiliano8,071brE-7
10 Aug 1942U-155Adolf Cornelius Piening Strabo383nl
15 Nov 1942U-155Adolf Cornelius Piening HMS Avenger (D 14)13,785brMKF-1Y
15 Nov 1942U-155Adolf Cornelius Piening USS Almaack (AK 27) (d.)6,736amMKF-1Y
15 Nov 1942U-155Adolf Cornelius Piening Ettrick11,279brMKF-1Y
6 Dec 1942U-155Adolf Cornelius Piening Serooskerk8,456nlON-149
2 Apr 1943U-155Adolf Cornelius Piening Lysefjord1,091nw
3 Apr 1943U-155Adolf Cornelius Piening Gulfstate6,882am
24 Oct 1943U-155Adolf Cornelius Piening Siranger5,393nw

26 ships sunk (140,449 tons) and 1 ship damaged (6,736 tons).

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

German U-boat Commanders of World War II

Busch, Rainer and Röll, Hans-Joachim

Listing of all U-boat commanders

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