Adalbert Schnee

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Adalbert Schnee
Adalbert Schnee.jpg
Nickname(s) Adi
Born (1913-12-31)31 December 1913
Died 4 November 1982(1982-11-04) (aged 68)
Allegiance  Nazi Germany
Service/branch  Kriegsmarine
Years of service 1934–45
Rank Korvettenkapitän
Commands held U-6

World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
U-boat War Badge

Otto Adalbert Schnee (31 December 1913 – 4 November 1982) was a Korvettenkapitän (corvette captain) with Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. He commanded the U-boats U-6, U-60, U-121, U-201 and U-2511, sinking twenty-one merchant ships on twelve patrols, for a total of 90,847 gross register tons (GRT) of Allied shipping, and received the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves. He is thirty-seventh in the list of U-Boat aces of World War II.


Schnee joined the Reichsmarine in April 1934. After serving aboard the light cruiser Leipzig, he transferred to the U-boat arm in May 1937. He spent two years on board the Type IIB U-boat U-23, under the command of Oberleutnant zur See Otto Kretschmer, completing five combat patrols as 1.WO (second-in-command), between October 1939 and January 1940.[1]

Schnee's first command, from January to July 1940, was the Type IIA U-boat U-6,[1] in which he sailed on only a single short patrol in April supporting "Operation Weserübung" (the invasion of Norway).[2]

His next command, between July and October 1940, was the Type IIC U-boat U-60.[1] In her he sailed on three more patrols around the coasts of the British Isles sinking two ships for a total of 3,188 tons, and damaging one of 15,434 tons.[3]

Schnee commanded the Type IIB training boat U-121 during November 1940, but as this class of U-boat were withdrawn from front-line service, in January 1941 Schnee was given command of the newer, larger Type VIIC U-boat U-201.[1]

Adalbert Schnee (white cap) on the conning tower of U-201 as it leaves Lorient on 8 June 1941 for its 2nd war patrol.

Schnee sailed on seven combat patrols in U-201 between April 1941 and August 1942, sinking 19 merchant ships (totalling 87,001 tons) and damaged two others (13,386 tons). He also sank two British Royal Navy auxiliary warships, the fighter catapult ship HMS Springbank and the anti-submarine naval trawler HMS Laertes. In August 1941 he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, and in July 1942 with the Oak Leaves.[1]

In October 1942 Schnee joined the BdU staff. In his position as the Geleitzugs-Admiralstabsoffizier, he planned and organized operations against Allied convoys.[1]

In September 1944 Schnee took command of the new Elektroboot U-2511, one of only two Type XXI U-boats to go on patrol (U-3008 being the other). U-2511's first and only patrol began on 3 May 1945 at Bergen. The next day Schnee received the cease-fire order, prior to the German surrender, and a few hours later spotted a group of British warships. Simulating an attack, he evaded the destroyer screen, closed to within 500 metres (1,600 ft) of the British cruiser Norfolk, and then left the area without being detected. U-2511 returned to Bergen on 5 May to surrender as ordered. Schnee spoke to officers from Norfolk a few days later, who could not believe that U-2511 was able to get so close without any sonar contact. Schnee is said to have requested a comparison of the respective ships' logs, which confirmed his account. His Leitender Ingenieur (chief engineer) on this patrol was Gerd Suhren.[1]


After the war Schnee served for six months in the German Mine Sweeping Administration. In October 1945 he was called to testify at the trial of Heinz-Wilhelm Eck and the officers of U-852, for their actions after the sinking of SS Peleus. Although appearing for the defence, Schnee was forced to admit he would not have acted as Eck did. He then worked for some years as a commercial representative before becoming the director of a sailing school on Elba. He was also for many years the chairman of the Verband Deutscher Ubootfahrer ("Association of U-boat Crews in Germany"). He died in 1982.[1]




  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Helgason, Guðmundur. "Korvettenkapitän Adalbert Schnee". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 29 April 2010. 
  2. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol of U-6 from 4 April 1940 to 19 April 1940". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 29 April 2010. 
  3. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "War Patrols by U-60". German U-boats of WWII - Retrieved 29 April 2010. 
  4. ^ Busch & Röll 2003, p. 151.
  5. ^ a b c d Busch & Röll 2003, p. 152.
  6. ^ a b Thomas 1998, p. 274.
  7. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 384.
  8. ^ Fellgiebel 2000, p. 60.


  • Busch, Rainer; Röll, Hans-Joachim (2003). 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]. Der U-Boot-Krieg 1939–1945 (in German). V. Hamburg, Berlin, Bonn Germany: Verlag E.S. Mittler & Sohn. ISBN 978-3-8132-0515-2. 
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) [1986]. Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile [The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches] (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. 
  • Thomas, Franz (1998). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 2: L–Z [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 2: L–Z] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2300-9. 
Military offices
Preceded by
Kapitänleutnant Otto Harms
Commanding officer, U-6
18/31 January 1940 – 10 July 1940
Succeeded by
Kapitänleutnant Georg Peters
Preceded by
Kapitänleutnant Georg Schewe
Commanding officer, U-60
19 July 1940 – 5 November 1940
Succeeded by
Kapitänleutnant Georg Wallas
Preceded by
Kapitänleutnant Otto Harms
Commanding officer, U-121
6 November 1940 – 27 November 1940
Succeeded by
Kapitänleutnant Egon-Reiner Freiherr von Schlippenbach
First Commanding officer, U-201
25 January 1941 – 24 August 1942
Succeeded by
Kapitänleutnant Günter Rosenberg
First Commanding officer, U-2511
29 September 1944 – 8 May 1945