Frequently Asked Questions

Who was the youngest commander?

The youngest commander was Leutnant zur See Ludwig-Ferdinand von Friedeburg. He took over the command of U-155 on 15 August 1944. He was then 20 years and 3 months old. There were 3 others Leutnants who took over a boat while only 20 years old: Hans-Eckart Augustin (U-62), Gerhard Ady (U-704) and Hans-Joachim Dierks (U-14). They were all training U-boats.

The youngest combat U-boat commander is often considered to be Oberleutnant zur See Hans-Georg Hess of 21 years. He won later with his U-995 the Knights Cross. But von Friedeburg was still younger and certainly qualifies.

During the first years of the war there was a strict rule, that a commander had to be at least 25 years old. So "Teddy" Suhren, then already a Knights Cross owner, had to wait for a few months in a training unit until he was old enough.

This question was last modified: Mon 29 Dec 2008.

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