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Befehlshaber der U-Boote (BdU) was the title of the supreme commander of the Kriegsmarines U-boat Arm (Ubootwaffe) during World War II. The term also referred to the Command HQ of the U-boat arm itself .[1] The title was established on 17 October 1939, when Karl Dönitz was promoted to Rear Admiral (Konteradmiral). His previous title had been U-Boat Leader (Führer der U-Boote), a position he had held from January 1936.[2]

On 31 January 1943 Dönitz was promoted to Grand Admiral (Großadmiral) and became supreme commander (Oberbefehlshaber der Kriegsmarine) of the entire Kriegsmarine, replacing Erich Raeder. He retained the title, but was replaced as operational commander at BdU by his chief of staff Eberhard Godt.[3]

Godt's successor was Admiral Hans Georg von Friedeburg who held the position at the end of the war.

  • Abteilungschef (department chief):
    • Kapitän zur See Hans Georg von Friedeburg (17 October 1939 – 11 September 1941)
  • 2. Admiral der Unterseeboote (2nd Admiral of the U-boats):
    • Konteradmiral Hans Georg von Friedeburg (12 September 1941 – 31 April 1943)
  • Komandierender Admiral der Unterseeboote (commanding admiral of the U-boats):
    • Admiral Hans Georg von Friedeburg (1 February 1943 – 30 April 1945)
    • Kapitän zur See Kurt Dobratz (1–8 May 1945).
  • Stabschef des Komandierenden Admirals der Unterseeboote (chief of staff of the commanding admiral of the U-boats):
    • Fregattenkapitän Heinz Ehler Beucke (March 1943 – May 1943)
    • Konteradmiral Ernst Kratzenberg (June 1943 – April 1945)
    • Kapitän zur See Kurt Dobratz (April 1945)
    • Fregattenkapitän (Ing) Ewald Engler (1–8 May 1945)


  1. Hague pviii
  2. "Karl Dönitz". Retrieved 31 August 2009. 
  3. "Eberhard Godt". Retrieved 31 August 2009. 


  • Arnold Hague : The Allied Convoy System 1939-1945 (2000). ISBN (Canada) 1 55125 033 0 :ISBN (UK) 1 86176 147 3.

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