Walther Schwieger

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Walther Schwieger
Bundesarchiv Bild 134-C1831, Kapitänleutnant Walther Schwieger.jpg
Walther Schwieger (1917)
Born 7 April 1885
Berlin, German Empire
Died 5 September 1917 (1917-09-06) (aged 32)
North Sea
Allegiance  German Empire
Service/branch  Kaiserliche Marine
Years of service 1903 - 1917
Rank Kapitänleutnant
Commands held U-14, 1 Aug 1914 – 15 Dec 1914
U-20, 16 Dec 1914 – 5 Nov 1916
U-88, 23 Jul 1916 – 5 Sep 1917
Battles/wars U-boat Campaign (World War I)
Awards Iron Cross 1st class
Pour le Mérite

Walther Schwieger (7 April 1885 – 5 September 1917) was a U-boat commander in the Imperial German Navy (Kaiserliche Marine) during First World War. In 1915, he sank the passenger liner, RMS Lusitania; its sinking with the loss of 100 American lives became one of the reasons why the United States ended its neutrality and joined the Western Allies. Schwieger is the sixth most successful submarine commander in the war.

Military career[edit]

In 1903 he joined the Imperial German Navy and from 1911 onwards he served with the U-boat Service. In 1912 he took over the command of the U-14. After the outbreak of World War I in 1914 he was promoted to Kapitänleutnant and given command of the U-20.

On 7 May 1915, Schwieger was responsible for U-20's torpedoing of the passenger liner RMS Lusitania leading to the deaths of 1,198 people, an event that played a role in the United States' later entry into World War I. He also torpedoed SS Hesperian on 4 September and SS Cymric on 8 May 1916. On 31 May 1917, his U-boat U-88 sunk the Miyazaki Maru during that ship's voyage from Yokohama to London, causing the loss of eight lives.

Schwieger was killed in action on 5 September 1917. His U-boat U-88 hit a British mine while being chased by HMS Stonecrop. It sank north of Terschelling at 53°57′N 4°55′E / 53.950°N 4.917°E / 53.950; 4.917Coordinates: 53°57′N 4°55′E / 53.950°N 4.917°E / 53.950; 4.917 with a loss of all hands.

At the time of his death, Schwieger had sunk 49 ships with 183,883 gross register tons (GRT) with three submarines on 34 missions. He was the sixth most successful submarine commander of World War I.

Schwieger (bottom right) in a 1906 group photograph of torpedo division students

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