Kapitänleutnant (Crew 36)
3 ships sunk, total tonnage 20,541 GRT
|Born||26 Jun 1913||Hagen-Haspe|
|Died||6 Apr 1945||(31)||English Channel|
|U-560||25 Aug 1941||15 Jul 1942||No war patrols|
|U-763||13 Mar 1943||31 Oct 1944||3 patrols (101 days)|
|U-1195||1 Nov 1944||6 Apr 1945 (+)||1 patrol (41 days, * died during this patrol)|
Ernst Cordes joined the Reichsmarine in 1934 and served on the square-rigger school ship Gorch Fock, the battleship Schleswig-Holstein and the destroyer Theodor Riedel. From May 1940 to Apri 1941 he served as Second Watch Officer on the famous U-123, and then moved to another famous boat, U-103, until June 1941.
(Ernst Cordes joined the navy as a rating and was therefore not part of Crew 34. He may have been belatedly attached to the Crew for administrative purposes by the Navy’s personnel office, but he did not share the common training experience of the Crew’s regular members.)
He left U-103 for U-boat commander training at the 24th Flotilla and in August 1941 he took command of the type VIIC U-boat training boat U-560 until July 1942. He then served as a liason officer for the commander of the Luftwaffe Fliegerführer Atlantik, the German Air Force equivalent to RAF Coastal Command.
In February 1942 he was given his first combat U-boat command, the type VIIC U-boat U-763, first stationed at Danzig with the 8th Training flotilla and then with the 3rd Flotilla at La Rochelle, France. He took the boat on three combat patrols, 98 days in total at sea.
On 7 March 1942 Ernst Cordes married Irmgard Fikentscher and on 25 April 1944 she gave birth to a son, Gerhard.
He left Bergen for for the English Channel on his first and last patrol in her on 1 Jan 1945. He sank two ships, an unusual achievement at this stage of the war, but went down with his boat shortly after sinking the second, the ex-Cunard liner troop transport HMS Cuba on 6 April. There were 18 survivors from the boat, but 31 men were lost with Cordes. He was 31 years old.
Patrol info for Ernst Cordes
|1.||U-763||14 Dec 1943||Kiel||7 Feb 1944||La Pallice||Patrol 1,||56 days|
|2.||U-763||19 Mar 1944||La Pallice||27 Mar 1944||La Pallice||Patrol 2,||9 days|
|3.||U-763||10 Jun 1944||La Pallice||15 Jul 1944||Brest||Patrol 3,||36 days|
|4.||U-1195||4 Feb 1945||Kiel||8 Feb 1945||Horten||5 days|
|5.||U-1195||13 Feb 1945||Horten||14 Feb 1945||Kristiansand||2 days|
|6.||U-1195||16 Feb 1945||Kristiansand||22 Feb 1945||Bergen||7 days|
|7.||U-1195||25 Feb 1945||Bergen||7 Apr 1945||Patrol 4,||41 days||*|
|4 patrols, 142 days at sea|
* Ernst Cordes died during this patrol on 6 Apr 1945
Ships hit by Ernst Cordes
|Date||U-boat||Name of ship||Tons||Nat.||Convoy|
|5 Jul 1944||U-763||Glendinning||1,927||br||FTC-27|
|21 Mar 1945||U-1195||John R. Park||7,194||am||TBC-102|
|6 Apr 1945||U-1195||Cuba||11,420||br||VWP-116|
3 ships sunk (20,541 tons).
About ranks and decorations
Special thanks to Fernando Almeida for data on ranks and decorations.