Peter-Erich Cremer

Peter-Erich Cremer (25 March 1911 – 5 July 1992) was a German U-boat commander during the Second World War. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross of Nazi Germany.

Peter-Erich Cremer
Peter-Erich Cremer.jpg
Born(1911-03-25)25 March 1911
Died5 July 1992(1992-07-05) (aged 81)
Allegiance Nazi Germany
Service/branch Kriegsmarine
Years of service1932–45
Commands heldU-152
Battles/warsWorld War II
AwardsKnight's Cross of the Iron Cross


Peter-Erich Cremer was born in Metz, Alsace-Lorraine, on 25 March 1911. After high school, Cremer enlisted in the Reichsmarine in 1932. After serving on cruisers and destroyers, Cremer became captain in February 1940. He received the Iron Cross 2nd class. He was promoted to the rank of submarine commander in August 1940, and was given the U-152. He commanded the U-333 from 25 August 1941 to 6 October 1942 and again from 18 May 1943, to 19 July 1944. On 31 January 1942 he mistakenly attacked and sunk the SS Spreewald; he was court-martialed and found not guilty.

After several victorious trips, he received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) on 5 June 1942, and in that same year was severely wounded. He sailed again from 1943 until July 1944, before giving his boat to his lieutenant. On November 1944, Cremer, now Lieutenant Commander, aimed to convey the new submarine U-2519 Class XXI. Citing "several design flaws", Cremer scuttled the submarine at Kiel, on May 1945. As the War drew to a close, he was attached to the personal security unit of Karl Dönitz. In this role he was involved in the incident in which Kapitän zur See Wolfgang Lüth was shot to death by a German sentry.

Peter-Erich Cremer appeared in the British television documentary The World at War in the early 1970s. Later he recounted his life in his books U-333: The story of a U-boat ace and U-Boat Commander: a periscope view of the Battle of the Atlantic. He died in Hamburg on 5 July 1992.

Summary of careerEdit

Ships sunk and damagedEdit

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As commander of U-333 Cremer sank six merchant ships totalling 26,873 GRT, damaged another 8,327 GRT, and also engaged and damaged the 925 long tons (940 t) Flower-class corvette HMS Crocus.

Date Ship Nationality Tons Convoy Fate and location
22 January 1942 Vassilios A. Polemis   Greece 3,429 ON-53 Sunk at 42°32′N 52°38′W / 42.533°N 52.633°W / 42.533; -52.633 (Vassilios A. Polemis (ship))
24 January 1942 Ringstad   Norway 4,765 ON-55 Sunk at 45°50′N 51°04′W / 45.833°N 51.067°W / 45.833; -51.067 (Ringstad (ship))
31 January 1942 Spreewald   Nazi Germany 5,083 Sunk at 45°12′N 24°50′W / 45.200°N 24.833°W / 45.200; -24.833 (Spreewald (ship))
6 May 1942 Amazone   Netherlands 1,294 Sunk at 27°21′N 80°04′W / 27.350°N 80.067°W / 27.350; -80.067 (Amazone (ship))
6 May 1942 Halsey   United States 7,088 Sunk at 27°14′N 80°03′W / 27.233°N 80.050°W / 27.233; -80.050 (Halsey (ship))
6 May 1942 Java Arrow   United States 8,327 Damaged at 27°35′N 80°08′W / 27.583°N 80.133°W / 27.583; -80.133 (Java Arrow (ship))
10 May 1942 Clan Skene   United Kingdom 5,214 Sunk at 31°43′N 70°43′W / 31.717°N 70.717°W / 31.717; -70.717 (Clan Skene (ship))
6 October 1942 HMS Crocus   Royal Navy 925 Damaged at 07°52′N 14°57′W / 7.867°N 14.950°W / 7.867; -14.950 (HMS Crocus (ship))



15 August 1932: Offiziersanwärter (Officer Candidate)
1 January 1934: Fähnrich zur See (Officer Cadet)
1 September 1935: Oberfähnrich zur See (Senior Ensign)
1 January 1936: Leutnant zur See (Second Lieutenant)
1 October 1937: Oberleutnant zur See (First Lieutenant)
2 February 1940: Kapitänleutnant (Captain Lieutenant)
11 July 1944: Korvettenkapitän (Corvette Captain)



  1. ^ a b c d e Busch & Röll 2003, p. 217.
  2. ^ Scherzer 2007, p. 263.


  • Busch, Rainer; Röll, Hans-Joachim (2003). Der U-Boot-Krieg 1939–1945 — Die Ritterkreuzträger der U-Boot-Waffe von September 1939 bis Mai 1945 [The U-Boat War 1939–1945 — The Knight's Cross Bearers of the U-Boat Force from September 1939 to May 1945] (in German). Hamburg, Berlin, Bonn Germany: Verlag E.S. Mittler & Sohn. ISBN 978-3-8132-0515-2.
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die 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 [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives] (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Militaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.