Adalbert Schnee

Korvettenkapitän (Crew 34)

21 ships sunk, total tonnage 90,189 GRT
2 auxiliary warships sunk, total tonnage 5,700 GRT
3 ships damaged, total tonnage 28,820 GRT

Born  31 Dec 1913 Berlin
Died  4 Nov 1982(68)Hamburg, Germany

Kapitänleutnant Adalbert Schnee


8 Apr 1934 Offiziersanwärter
26 Sep 1934 Seekadett
1 Jul 1935 Fähnrich zur See
1 Jan 1937 Oberfähnrich zur See
1 Apr 1937 Leutnant zur See
1 Apr 1939 Oberleutnant zur See
1 Mar 1942 Kapitänleutnant
1 Dec 1944 Korvettenkapitän


21 Oct 1939 Iron Cross 2nd Class
27 Nov 1939 U-boat War Badge 1939
15 Aug 1940 Iron Cross 1st Class
30 Aug 1941 Knights Cross
15 Jul 1942 Knights Cross with Oak Leaves

U-boat Commands

U-6 31 Jan 1940 10 Jul 1940   1 patrol (16 days) 
U-60 19 Jul 1940 5 Nov 1940   3 patrols (54 days) 
U-121 6 Nov 1940 27 Nov 1940   No war patrols 
U-201 25 Jan 1941 24 Aug 1942   7 patrols (242 days) 
U-2511 29 Sep 1944 9 May 1945   1 patrol (4 days) 

'Adi' Schnee on board

Adalbert Schnee joined the Reichsmarine in April 1934. After some months on the light cruiser Leipzig, he began his U-boat career in May 1937.

He spent two pre-war years on board U-23 under the command of Oberleutnant zur See Otto Kretschmer. He completed five patrols on her before going on to win great success with his own boat, U-201. He was awarded the Knights Cross after three patrols in U-201, then on the seventh he sank ships totalling 41,036 tons, which earned him the Oak Leaves to his Knights Cross.

In October 1942 he joined the BdU staff. In his position as the "Geleitzugs-Asto" (A I op), he planned and organised operations against Allied convoys.

'Adi' Schnee returning from his 'Oak Leaves' patrol
The snowman on the conning tower only has the Knights Cross as yet (Schnee is the German word for snow)

In September 1944 he took over the command of the new 'Elektro-boot' U-2511, the first type XXI Elektro U-boat to see active service, commencing her first patrol on 16 March*. It is claimed that on her second patrol on the last day of the war, in the hours immediately after the cease-fire order of 4 May 1945, Korvettenkapitän Schnee had an excellent opportunity to sink the British cruiser HMS Norfolk, and in fact simulated an actual attack, evaded the destroyer screen, closed to point-blank range, and then simply left the area. (In recent years doubt has been cast on this version of events, however. See:

Adalbert Schnee

After the surrender he served for six months in a minesweeper unit. In October 1945 he was called into court to testify in defence of Heinz-Wilhelm Eck and some of his officers, who were being tried for their actions in the Peleus Affair. On the stand, Schnee was placed in a difficult position by the prosecutor, and faced with the choice of either incriminating himself or condemning Eck's decision. Backed into a corner, Schnee, who was to have been the star witness for the defense, was forced to admit he would not have done what Eck did.

Schnee later completed a commercial training course and worked for some years as a commercial representative. Then he retired from this profession to become the director of a sailing school on the island of Elba in the Mediterranean.

Adalbert Schnee was for many years chairman of the Verband der U-Boots-Fahrer (Association of U-Boat Crew).

*Kptlt. Manseck took U-3008 out on patrol from 1 Apr - 8 May 1945. U-3008 surrendered at sea two days after U-2511.


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).
Niestlé, A. (1998). German U-boat losses during World War II.
Rohwer, J. (1998). Axis Submarine Successes of World War Two.

Patrol info for Adalbert Schnee

 U-boat Departure Arrival  
1. U-6 4 Apr 1940  Wilhelmshaven  19 Apr 1940  Wilhelmshaven  Patrol 1,16 days
2. U-60 30 Jul 1940  Kiel  18 Aug 1940  Lorient  Patrol 2,20 days
3. U-60 21 Aug 1940  Lorient  6 Sep 1940  Lorient  Patrol 3,17 days
4. U-60 16 Sep 1940  Lorient  2 Oct 1940  Bergen  Patrol 4,17 days
5. U-60 5 Oct 1940  Bergen  8 Oct 1940  Kiel   4 days
6. U-201 22 Apr 1941  Kiel  18 May 1941  Lorient  Patrol 5,27 days
7. U-201 8 Jun 1941  Lorient  19 Jul 1941  Brest  Patrol 6,42 days
8. U-201 14 Aug 1941  Brest  25 Aug 1941  Brest  Patrol 7,12 days
9. U-201 14 Sep 1941  Brest  30 Sep 1941  Brest  Patrol 8,17 days
10. U-201 29 Oct 1941  Brest  9 Dec 1941  Brest  Patrol 9,42 days
11. U-201 24 Mar 1942  Brest  21 May 1942  Brest  Patrol 10,59 days
12. U-201 27 Jun 1942  Brest  8 Aug 1942  Brest  Patrol 11,43 days
13. U-2511 17 Mar 1945  Kiel  23 Mar 1945  Horten   7 days
14. U-2511 3 Apr 1945  Horten  8 Apr 1945  Bergen   6 days
15. U-2511 17 Apr 1945  Bergen  20 Apr 1945  Bergen   4 days
16. U-2511 3 May 1945  Bergen  6 May 1945  Bergen, Norway  Patrol 12,4 days
12 patrols, 316 days at sea

Ships hit by Adalbert Schnee

Date U-boat Commander Name of ship Tons Nat. Convoy
13 Aug 1940U-60Adalbert Schnee Nils Gorthon1,787swHX-62
31 Aug 1940U-60Adalbert Schnee Volendam (d.)15,434nlOB-205
3 Sep 1940U-60Adalbert Schnee Ulva1,401br
2 May 1941U-201Adalbert Schnee Capulet8,190brHX-121
9 May 1941U-201Adalbert Schnee Gregalia5,802brOB-318
9 May 1941U-201Adalbert Schnee Empire Cloud (d.)5,969brOB-318
19 Aug 1941U-201Adalbert Schnee Aguila3,255brOG-71
19 Aug 1941U-201Adalbert Schnee Ciscar1,809brOG-71
23 Aug 1941U-201Adalbert Schnee Aldergrove1,974brOG-71
23 Aug 1941U-201Adalbert Schnee Stork787brOG-71
21 Sep 1941U-201Adalbert Schnee Runa1,575brOG-74
21 Sep 1941U-201Adalbert Schnee Lissa1,511brOG-74
21 Sep 1941U-201Adalbert Schnee Rhineland1,381brOG-74
27 Sep 1941U-201Adalbert Schnee Cervantes1,810brHG-73
27 Sep 1941U-201Adalbert Schnee HMS Springbank5,155brHG-73
27 Sep 1941U-201Adalbert Schnee Margareta3,103brHG-73
18 Apr 1942U-201Adalbert Schnee Victoria (d.)7,417ar
21 Apr 1942U-201Adalbert Schnee Bris2,027nw
22 Apr 1942U-201Adalbert Schnee San Jacinto6,069am
22 Apr 1942U-201Adalbert Schnee Derryheen7,217br
6 Jul 1942U-201Adalbert Schnee Avila Star14,443br
12 Jul 1942U-201Adalbert Schnee Cortona7,093brOS-33
12 Jul 1942U-201Adalbert Schnee Siris5,242brOS-33
13 Jul 1942U-201Adalbert Schnee Sithonia6,723brOS-33
15 Jul 1942U-201Adalbert Schnee British Yeoman6,990br
25 Jul 1942U-201Adalbert Schnee HMS Laertes (T 137)545br

23 ships sunk (95,889 tons) and 3 ships damaged (28,820 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.

Men who sank over 50,000 tons

Media links

German U-boat Commanders of World War II

Busch, Rainer and Röll, Hans-Joachim

Naval Officers Under Hitler

Rust, Eric C.

Listing of all U-boat commanders

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