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Eitel-Friedrich Kentrat
Born (1906-09-11)11 September 1906
Died 9 January 1974(1974-01-09) (aged 67)
Place of birth Stahlheim, Metz
Place of death Bad Schwartau
Allegiance  Weimar Republic (to 1933)
 Nazi Germany
Service/branch  Reichsmarine
Years of service 1928–1945
Rank Korvettenkapitän
Unit German pocket battleship Admiral Scheer
Commands held U-8, U-74, U-196

World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Eitel-Friedrich Kentrat (11 September 1906, Amnéville – 9 January 1974) was a Korvettenkapitän with the Kriegsmarine during World War II. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German language: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes). The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.


Kentrat sailed with the U-8, U-74 and U-196, sinking twenty-one ships on seven patrols, for a total of 42,433 gross register tons (GRT) of Allied shipping including the HMCS Levis. He is noted for completing World War II longest combat patrol. U-196 had left Kiel on 13 March 1943 and reached Bordeaux on 23 October 1943, 225 days later.

Kentrat was a witness to battleship Bismarck's last battle on 27 May 1941. Naval command had ordered U-556 under the command of Kapitänleutnant Herbert Wohlfarth to retrieve Bismarck's war diary. The order was then passed on the U-74. Both U-boats failed to reach Bismarck on time. U-74 picked up three sailors, Georg Herzog, Otto Höntzsch, and Herbert Manthey, from a rubber raft.

Kentrat was severely criticised by the Befehlshaber der U-Boote (BdU) for his lack of support for U-197. Commander Robert Bartels of U-197 had radioed a distress signal on 20 August 1943. The correct response by any boat in the vicinity, according to orders, would have been to come to aid at top speed. The BdU twice ordered U-196 to come to aid before Kentrat responded accordingly by that time U-197 and the entire crew were lost at sea.[1]



  1. Busch & Röll 2003, p. 181.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Busch & Röll 2003, p. 178.
  3. Busch & Röll 2003, p. 179.
  4. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 253.
  • Busch, Hans-Joachim; Röll (2003) (in German). 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]. Hamburg, Berlin, Bonn Germany: Verlag E.S. Mittler & Sohn. ISBN 978-3-8132-0515-2. 
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) (in German). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 – Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtsteile [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]. Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. 
  • Kurowski, Franz (1995). Knight's Cross Holders of the U-Boat Service. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing. ISBN 978-0-88740-748-2. 
  • Range, Clemens (1974). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Kriegsmarine [The Knight's Cross Bearers of the Navy]. Stuttgart, Germany: Motorbuch Verlag. ISBN 978-3-87943-355-1. 
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007) (in German). 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]. Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. 

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