16 September 1910|
Süderende on Föhr
|Died||15 May 1984
|Allegiance|| Nazi Germany (to 1945)
|Years of service||1930–45
Kapitän zur See
|Awards||Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross|
Adolf Cornelius Piening (16 September 1910 in Süderende on Föhr – 15 May 1984 in Kiel) was a Kapitänleutnant with the Kriegsmarine during World War II. He commanded the Type IXC U-boat U-155, sinking twenty-six ships on nine patrols, for a total of 140,449 gross register tons (GRT) of Allied shipping, to become the nineteenth highest scoring U-Boat ace of World War II, and receiving the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.
Piening joined the Reichsmarine in 1930.[Notes 1] His first assignment was to the armoured cruiser Deutschland, after which he served on torpedo boats and minesweepers, reaching the rank of Kapitänleutnant by April 1939. In October 1940 he moved from the surface fleet to the submarine arm or U-Bootwaffe.
In May–June 1941 he carried out a single patrol out of Saint-Nazaire aboard U-48 (commanded by Herbert Schultze) as Kommandantenschüler or "Commander-in-Training". Following this, he was appointed commander of the newly built Type IX submarine U-155 on 23 August 1941. After training the boat's crew for several month, Piening set out from Kiel on his first patrol in command of U-155 in February 1942, with the intention of attacking shipping in American waters. On the journey across the Atlantic, U-155 encountered the westbound convoy ON 67, and after sending out a contact report that allowed several more U-boats to be directed against the convoy, carried out an attack that sank an 8,000 ton tanker and a 1,800 ton freighter. U-155 sank another ship off the coast of the United States re-crossing the Atlantic to the submarine's new base at Lorient, as part of the 10th U-boat Flotilla.
Piening carried out a further seven patrols in command of U-155, sinking 26 ships for a total of 140,449 GRT, including the escort carrier HMS Avenger, and also badly damaged the attack cargo ship USS Almaack. He also became well known for developing the "Piening Route" in 1943, hugging the coast of France and northern Spain, to evade Allied patrol aircraft in the Bay of Biscay.
In March 1944 Piening left U-155 and was appointed commander of the 7th U-boat Flotilla at Saint-Nazaire. In April 1945 Piening made one last patrol, laying mines off Saint-Nazaire in U-255. Piening spent more than two years as a Prisoner of war following the end of the war.
In 1956, West Germany established its navy, the Bundesmarine, and Piening joined the new navy. In 1959 he was appointed commanding officer of the 1. Geleitgeschwader (1st Escort Squadron). He then held the position of Planning officer on the staff of COMNAVNORCENT (Commander Allied Naval Forces North Norway) and Chief of the Operations Division on the staff of COMNAVBALTAP (Commander of Allied Forces Baltic Approaches). On 1 October 1965 he became team leader at the Führungsakademie der Bundeswehr, serving until 1969, retiring with the rank of Kapitän zur See. He died in 1984.
Summary of career
As a U-boat commander of U-155 Adolf Piening is credited with the sinking of 25 ships for a total of 126,664 gross register tons (GRT), one warship, the HMS Avenger, of 13,785 metric tons (13,567 long tons; 15,195 short tons) and damaging one auxiliary warship, the USS Almaack, of 6,736 metric tons (6,630 long tons; 7,425 short tons).
|Date||Ship Name||Flag||Tonnage (GRT)||Fate|
|22 February 1942||Adellen||United Kingdom||7,984||Sunk|
|22 February 1942||Sama||Norway||1,799||Sunk|
|7 March 1942||Arabutan||Brazil||7,874||Sunk|
|14 May 1942||Brabant||Belgium||2,483||Sunk|
|17 May 1942||USS Challenger||United States Navy||7,667||Sunk|
|17 May 1942||San Victorio||United Kingdom||8,136||Sunk|
|20 May 1942||Sylvan Arrow||Panama||7,797||Sunk|
|23 May 1942||Watsonville||Panama||2,220||Sunk|
|28 May 1942||Poseidon||Netherlands||1,928||Sunk|
|30 May 1942||Baghdad||Norway||2,161||Sunk|
|28 July 1942||Barbacena||Brazil||4,772||Sunk|
|28 July 1942||Piave||Brazil||2,347||Sunk|
|28 July 1942||Bill||Norway||2,445||Sunk|
|30 July 1942||Cranford||United States||6,096||Sunk|
|1 August 1942||Clan Macnaughton||United Kingdom||8,088||Sunk|
|1 August 1942||Kentaur||Netherlands||5,878||Sunk|
|4 August 1942||Empire Arnold||United Kingdom||7,045||Sunk|
|5 August 1942||Draco||Netherlands||389||Sunk|
|9 August 1942||San Emiliano||United Kingdom||8,071||Sunk|
|10 August 1942||Strabo||Netherlands||383||Sunk|
|15 August 1942||Ettrick||United Kingdom||11,279||Sunk|
|15 August 1942||HMS Avenger||Royal Navy||13,785||Sunk|
|15 August 1942||USS Almaack||United States Navy||6,736||Damaged|
|6 December 1942||Serooskerk||Netherlands||8,456||Sunk|
|2 April 1943||Lysefjord||Norway||1,091||Sunk|
|3 April 1943||Gulfstate||United States||6,882||Sunk|
|24 October 1943||Siranger||Norway||5,393||Sunk|
- Wehrmacht Long Service Award 4th Class (2 October 1936)
- Spanish Cross in Bronze with Swords (6 June 1939)
- Iron Cross (1939)
- U-boat War Badge (1939) (28 March 1942)
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 13 August 1942 as Kapitänleutnant and commander of U-155
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "Korvettenkapitän Adolf Cornelius Piening". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrols by U-48". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "The Type IXC boat U-155". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
- Blair Hitler's U-Boat War: The Hunters 1939–1942, pp. 509–510.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "Patrol of German U-boat U-155 from 7 February 1942 to 27 March 1942". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "War Patrols by German U-boat U-155". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
- Helgason. U-155 attacked and sunk MS Siranger sailing from New York to Vest-Afrika October 24. 1943. Nobody died and everybody reached the life boats. The "U-155" later surfaced and the german captain Adolf Pienning apologized to the surveivors for the act, claiming he was only carrying out orders. Dokumentary by NRK, Guðmundur. "The Piening-Route". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 18 April 2010.
- Busch & Röll 2003, p. 242.
- Scherzer 2007, p. 594.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 339.
- Blair, Clay (2000). Hitler's U-Boat War: The Hunters 1939–1942. London: Cassell. ISBN 0-304-35260-8.
- 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.
- Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) . 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.
- Huß, Jürgen; Viohl, Armin (2003). Die Ritterkreuzträger des Eisernen Kreuzes der preußischen Provinz Schleswig-Holstein und der Freien und Hansestadt Lübeck 1939–1945 [The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross Bearers of the Prussian Province of Schleswig-Holstein and the Free and Hanseatic City of Lübeck 1939–1945] (in German). Zweibrücken, Germany: VDM Heinz Nickel. ISBN 978-3-925480-79-9.
- 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 Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "Adolf Piening". German U-boats of WWII - uboat.net. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
- "Adolf Piening". Lexikon der Wehrmacht (in German). Retrieved 27 May 2013.
Kapitänleutnant Herbert Sohler
|Commander of 7th U-boat Flotilla
March 1944 – May 1945