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Albrecht Brandi
20 June 1914(1914-06-20) – 6 January 1966 (aged 51)
Albrecht Brandi.jpg
Albrecht Brandi
Place of birth Dortmund
Place of death Dortmund
Allegiance Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Service/branch  Kriegsmarine
Years of service 1935 – 1945
Rank Fregattenkapitän
Unit 5. Unterseebootsflottille
7. Unterseebootsflottille
29. Unterseebootsflottille
Commands held U-617, Apr 1942 – Sep 1943

U-380, Dec 1943 – Mar 1944
U-967, Apr 1944 – Jul 1944

Battles/wars World War II
Awards Knight's cross with Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds
Other work Architect

Albrecht Brandi (June 20, 1914 – January 6, 1966) was a German U-boat commander in World War II. Together with Wolfgang Lüth he was the only Kriegsmarine sailor who was awarded with the Knight's cross with Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds. Brandi was well known as a daring and aggressive U-boat commander.

During his naval career Brandi destroyed 14 ships, including one light cruiser, one minelayer and 3 destroyers. He also damaged the battleship HMS Rodney and the two aircraft carriers HMS Illustrious and HMS Formidable. With these victories Brandi became the U-boat commander who destroyed the most warships. However, he is not the U-boat commander with the most ships sunk, that honor going to Otto Kretschmer with 47 victories. Brandi is ranked number 24 on the top scoring list of Germany's U-boat commanders.




Early years

Brandi joined the German Kriegsmarine in 1935 and had his study as a naval officer on board on the German light cruiser Karlsruhe. After his graduation he became commander of the minesweeper M-1. During the first year of World War II, Brandi cleared various minefields in the North Sea.

In April 1941 Brandi started his U-boat training at the U-boat training camp in Neustadt in Holstein. From May 1941 to April 1942, Brandi was a Kommandantenschüler (Commander-in-training) aboard U-552, which was commanded by famous commander Erich Topp, for 3 patrols. On 9 April 1942 Brandi was given the command of his own u-boat, U-617 and completed the usual training with the new boat in the 5. Unterseebootsflottille.

War in the Mediterranean Sea

During his first patrol, Brandi destroyed four merchant ships. On his second patrol, he sank one destroyer and damaged one tanker. On 4 November 1942, Brandi was ordered to patrol the Mediterranean Sea. To get to his destination Brandi had to traverse the heavily guarded Strait of Gibraltar. Brandi decided to proceed through the Strait surfaced by night with engines stopped, relying on the current in the Straits (which on the surface move from the Atlantic into the Mediterranean) to propel his boat through. During this extremely dangerous trip, Brandi was discovered by a Short Sunderland bomber which dropped two depth charges. The bombs missed the U-boat and Brandi succeeded in making the breakthrough.

In November 1942, U-617 was assigned to 29. Unterseebootsflottille, located in La Spezia/Toulon and commanded by Fritz Frauenheim. During 1943, Brandi made various patrols in the Mediterranean Sea. During these patrols Brandi targeted British warships preying on the German and Italian supply ships that were so vital for the Afrikakorps in North Africa.

The Mediterranean Sea offered particular challenges for a U-boat captain. The often shallow waters offered little chance to dive deep and the British had air cover over the entire southern half of the Mediterranean. This, coupled with the fact that most of his victims were heavily armed or guarded warships, makes Brandis achievements remarkable.

In February 1943 Brandi destroyed the British minelayer HMS Welshman a few miles from the Maltese coast. The destruction of this ship was important, as the minelayer had been an integral part of the defense of Malta. Brandi was awarded with the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross for this victory. Later, in April 1943, Brandi sank a light cruiser, 40 miles off Gibraltar. Brandi was awarded Oak Leaves with his Knight's Cross.

In September 1943 Brandi's U-617 sank HMS Puckeridge, a Hunt class destroyer, off Gibraltar. A few days later, on 12 September, she was attacked near the Moroccan coast by British aircraft. While the German Flak crew managed to shoot down a bomber, three bombs hit close to the U-617. The damage was so severe that Brandi decided to abandon ship. After evacuating into rubber boats the crew sank the U-617 with demolition charges. They managed to reach the shore and were interned by Spanish troops. Brandi was held in the officers' camp near Cadiz. From there he succeeded in escaping back to Germany.

Brandi as a leader

In January 1944 Brandi returned to Toulon and took command of U-380. Brandi completed one patrol with U-380, but then the boat was destroyed on 13 March 1944 in Toulon by a bombing raid of the 9th USAAF. In April 1944 Brandi became commander of U-967. During a patrol in May 1944 Brandi received the Swords to his Knights Cross with Oak Leaves.

During the next patrol with U-967 in June 1944, Brandi became seriously ill and had to return to base. Brandi then was appointed commander of all U-boats in the Eastern Baltic Sea. During this period many ships were destroyed in the Baltic Sea and Brandi was awarded with Diamonds to his Knight's Cross, for his leadership of the U-boat fleet. In the last year of the war Brandi became chief commander of the mini submarine fleet.

After the war Brandi started a career as an architect.


  • 8 ships sunk for a total of 25.879 GRT
  • 1 auxiliary warship sunk for a total of 810 GRT
  • 3 warships sunk for a total of 5.000 tons
Date U-boat Name of Ship Nationality Tonnage Fate
7 September 1942 U-617 Tor II Faroe Islands Faroe Islands 292 sunk
23 September 1942 U-617 Athelsultan United Kingdom British 8,882 sunk
23 September 1942 U-617 Tennessee United Kingdom British 2,342 sunk
24 September 1942 U-617 Roumanie BelgiumBelgian 3,563 sunk
28 December 1942 U-617 HMS St. Issey (W25) United Kingdom British 810 sunk
15 January 1943 U-617 Annitsa Greece Greek 4,324 sunk
15 January 1943 U-617 Harboe Jensen Norway Norwegian 1,862 sunk
1 February 1943 U-617 HMS Welshman (M84) United Kingdom British 2,650 sunk
5 February 1943 U-617 Corona Norway Norwegian 3,264 sunk
5 February 1943 U-617 Henrik Norway Norwegian 1,350 sunk
6 September 1943 U-617 HMS Puckeridge (L108) United Kingdom British 1,050 sunk
5 May 1944 U-967 USS Fechteler (DE-157) United States American 1,300 sunk



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  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939-1945 (in German). Friedburg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 3-7909-0284-5.
  • Fraschka, Günther (1994). Knights of the Reich. Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Military/Aviation History. ISBN 0-88740-580-0.
  • Kurowski, Franz (1995). Knight's Cross Holders of the U-Boat Service. Schiffer Publishing Ltd. ISBN 0-88740-748-X.
  • Range, Clemens (1974). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Kriegsmarine (in German). Stuttgart, Germany: Motorbuch Verlag. ISBN 3-87943-355-0.
  • Schaulen, Fritjof (2003). Eichenlaubträger 1940 - 1945 Zeitgeschichte in Farbe I Abraham - Huppertz (in German). Selent, Germany: Pour le Mérite. ISBN 3-932381-20-3.
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007). Ritterkreuzträger 1939 - 1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.
  • Williamson, Gordon (2006). Knight's Cross with Diamonds Recipients 1941-45. Osprey Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-84176-644-5.
  • Helden der Wehrmacht - Unsterbliche deutsche Soldaten (in German). München, Germany: FZ-Verlag GmbH, 2004. ISBN 3-924309-53-1.

External links


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