Fregattenkapitän (Crew 34)
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|
|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||9 Mar 1945||26 Apr 1945||No war patrols|
|U-2513||27 Apr 1945||9 May 1945||No war patrols|
|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 (Sohler).
After four patrols in U-46, Topp took over command of U-57 (Korth). During this command he sank six ships with a total of 36,862 tons - a considerable achievement with a small coastal boat. U-57 sank on 3 September 1940 after colliding with the Norwegian ship Rona.
Topp then commissioned the larger Type 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.
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 Type XXI Elektro Boats 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 becoming a successful architect. In March 1958 he joined the Bundesmarine (Federal German 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 deputy commander of U-boats.
Konteradmiral Erich Topp retired in December 1969. He was decorated in that year with the Großes Verdienstkreuz (Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of Federal Germany).
From 1970 to 1984 he worked as an industrial consultant for, among others, the Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft shipyard.
He died on Dec 26 2005.
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
|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
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.