Kapitän zur See (Crew 26)
27 ships sunk, total tonnage 170,151 GRT
|Born||15 Aug 1905||Posen|
|Died||2 May 1993||(87)||Waldshut / Tiengen / Württemberg, Germany|
|U-68||11 Feb 1941||21 Jan 1943||5 patrols (368 days)|
Korvkpt. Karl-Friedrich Merten
After a ten-year stint on warships and serving on the WWI battleship Schleswig-Holstein during the attack on Westerplatte which started the invasion of Poland in September 1939, Merten joined the U-boat arm on 1 May 1940. He operated all over the world, patrolling in the Atlantic, the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean. U-68 was in wolfpack Eisbär (Polar bear), which in the course of a few weeks during September/October 1942 sank more than 100,000 tons of shipping off South Africa.
In January 1943 Merten became the commander of the 26th (Training) Flotilla U-boat Flotilla at Pillau. There the new U-boat crews received their final training before going to the front. In March 1943 Merten transferred to command the 24th (Training) Flotilla at Memel. This was the training flotilla for future U-boat commanders.
After the war Merten salvaged sunken ships in the Rhine with another famous former U-boat commander, Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock. He later worked in the shipbuilding industry.
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 Karl-Friedrich Merten
|1.||U-68||30 Jun 1941||Kiel||1 Aug 1941||Sunk||Patrol 1,||33 days|
|2.||U-68||11 Sep 1941||Lorient||25 Dec 1941||Sunk||Patrol 2,||106 days|
|3.||U-68||11 Feb 1942||Lorient||13 Apr 1942||Sunk||Patrol 3,||62 days|
|4.||U-68||14 May 1942||Lorient||10 Jul 1942||Sunk||Patrol 4,||58 days|
|5.||U-68||20 Aug 1942||Lorient||6 Dec 1942||Sunk||Patrol 5,||109 days|
|5 patrols, 368 days at sea|
Ships hit by Karl-Friedrich Merten
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.