Seekriegsleitung

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The Seekriegsleitung or SKL (Maritime Warfare Command) was a higher command staff section of the Kaiserliche Marine and the Kriegsmarine of Germany during the World Wars.

World War I[edit]

The SKL was established on August 27, 1918, on the initiative of Admiral Reinhard Scheer, who became its first commander, simultaneously to being the Chief of the German Imperial Admiralty Staff. It led the planning and execution of naval combat and directed the distribution of naval forces. Up to this point, that was done by several staffs and the individual theater commanders; including the Supreme Army Command under General Erich Ludendorff, whose decisions led to the unrestricted submarine warfare and the entrance of the United States into the war. When the war ended, the SKL was absorbed into the admiralty.

World War II[edit]

The SKL was reestablished in 1937 and deeply linked in the Naval High Command, the Commander-in-Chief also being the commander of the SKL with the Commander of the Naval Command Department (Marinekommandoamt) as the Chief of Staff. Though the competences of the SKL initially were equal to their role in World War I, they were narrowed when the Naval Command Department was split from it. The command was limited to except-domestic sea-areas, where the naval group commands did not possess the operational guidance. Also, the submarine war split and were, under the Commander of the submarines (Befehlshaber der U-Boote), directly subordinate to the Commander-in-Chief. In 1944, the SKL was tasked with the command of fleet units operating as transports, blockade runners, auxiliary cruisers and supply shipping.

SKL command[edit]

The Commanders of the Seekriegsleitung were:

No. Commander Took office Left office Time in office
1
Reinhard Scheer
Scheer, ReinhardAdmiral
Reinhard Scheer
(1863–1928)
28 August 191814 November 191878 days
2
Erich Raeder
Raeder, ErichGroßadmiral
Erich Raeder
(1876–1960)
(as Commander-in-Chief)
1 June 193530 January 19437 years, 243 days
3
Karl Dönitz
Dönitz, KarlGroßadmiral
Karl Dönitz
(1891–1980)
(as Commander-in-Chief)
30 January 19431 May 19441 year, 92 days
4
Wilhelm Meisel
Fricke, KurtAdmiral
Wilhelm Meisel
(1891–1974)
1 May 194422 May 19451 year, 21 days

The Chiefs of Staff of the Seekriegsleitung were:

No. Chiefs of Staff Took office Left office Time in office
1
Günther Guse [de]
Guse, GüntherVice Admiral
Günther Guse [de]
(1886–1953)
1 October 193731 October 19381 year, 30 days
2
Otto Schniewind
Schniewind, OttoAdmiral
Otto Schniewind
(1887–1964)
31 October 193812 June 19412 years, 224 days
3
Kurt Fricke
Fricke, KurtAdmiral
Kurt Fricke
(1889–1945)
13 June 194121 February 19431 year, 253 days
4
Wilhelm Meisel
Fricke, KurtAdmiral
Wilhelm Meisel
(1891–1974)
21 February 194322 July 19452 years, 151 days

References[edit]

  • Erich Gröner - Die Schiffe der deutschen Kriegsmarine und ihr Verbleib 1939-1945, J.F. Lehmanns Verlag, München (1976)
  • Hans H. Hildebrand - Die organisatorische Entwicklung der Marine nebst Stellenbesetzung 1848 bis 1945, Biblio-Verlag, Osnabrück(2000)
  • Hans H. Hildebrand & Ernest Henriot –Deutschlands Admirale 1849-1945, Biblio Verlag, Osnabrück (1989)
  • Hans H. Hildebrand, Albert Röhr & Hans-Otto Steinmetz – Die Deutschen Kriegsschiffe, Koehlers Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, Hamburg (1980)
  • Walter Lohmann & Hans H. Hildebrand –Die Deutsche Kriegsmarine, Verlag Hans-Henning Podzun, Bad Nauheim (1956)