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Ernst Kals
Ernst Kals
Born (1905-08-02)2 August 1905
Died 2 November 1979(1979-11-02) (aged 74)
Place of birth Glauschau
Place of death Emden
  •  Weimar Republic (to 1933)
  •  Nazi Germany
Years of service 1924–1945
Rank Kapitän zur See
Commands held
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Ernst Kals (2 August 1905 – 2 November 1979) was a Kapitän zur See with the Kriegsmarine during World War II. He commanded the Type IXC U-boat U-130 on five patrols, and sank twenty ships, for a total of 145,656 tons of Allied shipping, becoming the sixteenth highest scoring U-Boat ace of World War II. He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.


Kals joined the Reichsmarine in 1924. In October 1940, after a period of service on torpedo boats and light cruisers, he transferred to the Ubootwaffe ("U-boat force"). After one patrol on U-37 under the command of Nicolai Clausen as commander in training, he took command of U-130 in June 1941. He was awarded the Knight's Cross in September 1941.[1]

In April 1942, Kals, in U-130, bombarded the Allied petroleum tank farm on Curaçao, in the Netherlands Antilles. He went on to sink a total of 20 ships on five patrols, for a total of 145,656 tons of Allied shipping. In five minutes he sank three United States troopships, the Edward Rutledge, Hugh L. Scott and Tasker H. Bliss.[1]

In January 1943 Kals became commander of the 2nd U-boat Flotilla which based in Lorient, France. Promoted to Kapitän zur See in September 1944, he remained in this position until the end of the war.[1]

Later life

Kals was held in French captivity from May 1945 to January 1948. He died at Emden in 1979 at the age of 74.[1]

Summary of career

Ships attacked

As a U-boat commander of U-130 and Ernst Kals is credited with the sinking of 17 merchant ships for a total of 111,249 gross register tons (GRT), three auxiliary warships for a total of 34,407 gross register tons (GRT) and damaging one further ship of 6,986 GRT.

Date Name of ship Flag Tonnage Fate
10 December 1941 Kirnwood  United Kingdom 3,829 Sunk
10 December 1941 Kurdistan  United Kingdom 5,844 Sunk
10 December 1941 Star of Luxor  Egypt 5,298 Sunk
13 January 1942 Friar Rock  Panama 5,427 Sunk
13 January 1942 Frisco  Norway 1,582 Sunk
21 January 1942 Alexander Høegh  Norway 8,248 Sunk
25 January 1942 Varanger  Norway 9,305 Sunk
27 January 1942 Francis E. Powell  USA 7,096 Sunk
27 January 1942 Halo  USA 6,986 Damaged
11 April 1942 Grenanger  Norway 5,393 Sunk
11 April 1942 Esso Boston  USA 7,699 Sunk
25 July 1942 Tankexpress  Norway 10,095 Sunk
27 July 1942 Elmwood  Norway 7,167 Sunk
30 July 1942 Danmark  United Kingdom 8,391 Sunk
9 August 1942 Malmanger  Norway 7,078 Sunk
11 August 1942 Mirlo  Norway 7,455 Sunk
25 August 1942 Viking Star  United Kingdom 6,445 Sunk
26 August 1942 Beechwood  United Kingdom 4,897 Sunk
12 November 1942 USS Edward Rutledge  USA 9,360 Sunk
12 November 1942 USS Hugh L. Scott  USA 12,479 Sunk
12 November 1942 USS Tasker H. Bliss  USA 12,568 Sunk


Wehrmachtbericht reference

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
Friday, 30 January 1942 (extra) Deutsche Unterseeboote haben in Fortsetzung ihrer Angriffe auf die feindliche Versorgungsschifffahrt in nordamerikanischen und kanadischen Gewässern weitere 13 Schiffe mit zusammen 74 000 BRT versenkt. Hierbei hat sich das Unterseeboot des Korvettenkapitäns Kals besonders ausgezeichnet.[4] German submarines have sunk in continuation of their attacks on the enemy supply shipping in North American and Canadian waters a further 13 vessels with a total of 74 000 GRT. Here the submarine of Corvette Captain Kals has particularly distinguished itself.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Kapitän zur See Ernst Kals". Retrieved 18 April 2010. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Busch and Röll 2003, p. 255.
  3. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 250.
  4. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939-1945 Band 2, p. 22.
  • 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]. Friedburg, 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. 
  • (in German) Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 2, 1. Januar 1942 bis 31. Dezember 1943 [The Wehrmacht Reports 1939–1945 Volume 2, 1 January 1942 to 31 December 1943]. München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985. ISBN 978-3-423-05944-2. 

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Korvettenkapitän Viktor Schütze
Commander of 2nd U-boat Flotilla
January, 1943 – October, 1944
Succeeded by

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