Ludwig Mathes

Korvettenkapitän (Crew 28)

8 ships sunk, total tonnage 30,885 GRT

Born  23 Nov 1908 Kaiserslautern
Died  13 Mar 1940(31)North Sea

© Deutsches U-Boot Museum


10 Oct 1928 Seekadett
1 Jan 1930 Fähnrich zur See
1 Oct 1932 Leutnant zur See
1 Sep 1934 Oberleutnant zur See
1 Jun 1937 Kapitänleutnant
1 Mar 1940 Korvettenkapitän


U-boat Commands

U-6 7 Sep 1935 30 Sep 1937   No war patrols 
U-9 1 Oct 1937 18 Sep 1939   1 patrol (22 days) 
U-44 4 Nov 1939 13 Mar 1940  (+)  2 patrols (36 days) 

Ludwig Mathes joined the Reichsmarine in 1928. He belonged to Crew 28, and among his classmates were men like Werner Harteinstein (U-156), Eitel-Friedrich Kentrat (U-74) and Karl Thurmann (U-553).

Mathes joined the new U-boat force in 1935, and commanded the small 'duck' boat U-6 from Sep 1935 - Sep 1937, followed by U-9, another 'duck', until 18 Sept 1939. This gave him an extensive pre-war experience of great value to his future career.

After U-boat construction familiarization (Baubelehrung) at Bremen he commissioned the much larger type IX U-boat U-44 on 4 Nov 1939 and put her through her trials in the Baltic with the 6th Flotilla. On 6 Jan 1940 he left Wilhelmshaven for his first war patrol.

When Kptlt. Ludwig Mathes returned to base in Feb 1940 he had completed the 5th most successful patrol of the war so far. He was highly praised by Dönitz and was told to have "perfectly executed" his mission (Blair, 1996).

He was lost at the start of his second patrol when U-44 hit a British mine on or around 13 March 1940, along with his entire crew (47). After his death Kptlt Mathes was promoted to Korvettenkapitän, effective from 1 March 1940, making him one of the first of Crew 28 to reach that rank.


Blair, C. (1996). Hitler’s U-boat War. The Hunters, 1939-1942.
Busch, R & Röll, H-J. (1998). German U-boat commanders of World War II.

Patrol info for Ludwig Mathes

 U-boat Departure Arrival  
1. U-9 25 Aug 1939  Wilhelmshaven  15 Sep 1939  Kiel  Patrol 1,22 days
2. U-44 6 Jan 1940  Wilhelmshaven  9 Feb 1940  Wilhelmshaven  Patrol 2,35 days
3. U-44 13 Mar 1940  Wilhelmshaven  13 Mar 1940  Sunk  Patrol 3,1 days
3 patrols, 58 days at sea

Ships hit by Ludwig Mathes

Date U-boat Name of ship Tons Nat. Convoy
15 Jan 1940U-44 Fagerheim1,590nw
15 Jan 1940U-44 Arendskerk7,906nl
16 Jan 1940U-44 Panachrandos4,661gr
18 Jan 1940U-44 Canadian Reefer1,831da
20 Jan 1940U-44 Ekatontarchos Dracoulis5,329gr
24 Jan 1940U-44 Alsacien3,819fr56-KS
25 Jan 1940U-44 Tourny2,769fr56-KS
28 Jan 1940U-44 Flora2,980gr

8 ships sunk (30,885 tons).

We have a picture of this vessel.

Media links

German U-boat Commanders of World War II

Busch, Rainer and Röll, Hans-Joachim

Listing of all U-boat commanders

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