Walther Schwieger

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Walther Schwieger
Bundesarchiv Bild 134-C1831, Kapitänleutnant Walther Schwieger.jpg
Kapitänleutnant Walter Schwieger (1917)
Born7 April 1885
Berlin, German Empire
Died5 September 1917 (1917-09-06) (aged 32)
North Sea
Allegiance German Empire
Service/branch Imperial German Navy
Years of service1903–17
RankGKMG06 - 1st Lieutenant.png Kapitänleutnant
Commands heldU-14, 1 August – 85 December 1914
U-20, 16 December 1914 – 5 November 1916
U-88, 23 July 1916 – 5 September 1917
Battles/warsU-boat Campaign (World War I)
AwardsPour le Mérite

Kapitänleutnant Walther Schwieger (Wilhem Otto 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 with the loss of 1,198 lives.

Military career[edit]

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

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 sinking 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 1915 and SS Cymric on 8 May 1916. On 31 May 1917, his U-boat U-88 sank 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.

During his wartime career, Schwieger captained three different submarines, on a total of 34 missions. He sank 49 ships, measuring 183,883 gross register tons (GRT). He was the sixth most successful submarine commander of World War I.


External links[edit]

  • Helgason, Guðmundur. "WWI U-boat commanders: Walther Schwieger". German and Austrian U-boats of World War I - Kaiserliche Marine - Uboat.net.
  • Maritimequest U-20 Photo Gallery