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Peter-Erich Cremer
File:File:Peter-Erich Cremer.jpg
Nickname "Ali"
Born (1911-03-25)25 March 1911
Died 5 July 1992(1992-07-05) (aged 81)
Place of birth Metz, Alsace-Lorraine
Place of death Hamburg, Germany
Allegiance Germany Weimar Republic (to 1933)
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Service/branch  Reichsmarine
Years of service 1932–1945
Rank Korvettenkapitän
Unit cruiser Köln
Panzerschiff Deutschland
destroyer Theodor Riedel
Commands held U-152, 1941-1-29 – 1941-7-21
U-333, 1941-8-25 – 1942-10-6
U-333, 1943-5-18 – 1944-7-19
U-2519, 1944-11-15 – 1945
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross

Peter-Erich Cremer (25 March 1911 – 5 July 1992) was a German U-boat commander during the Second World War. He was half-English on his mother's side. 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.


Peter-Erich Cremer, also known by the nickname "Ali Cremer", was born in Metz, Alsace-Lorraine, on 25 March 1911. After high school, Cremer enlisted in the German Navy (Reichsmarine) in 1932. After serving on cruisers and destroyers, Cremer became captain in February 1940. He received the Iron Cross 2nd class. On August 1940, Cremer was promoted to the rank of commander of submarine. After a perilous sea trip, his crew gave him the nickname "Ali". After this epic trip, "Ali" Cremer commanded the U-152. Then, Cremer commanded the U-333 from 25 August 1941 to 6 October 1942 and again from 18 May 1943, to 19 July 1944. On 31 January 1942 he mistakenly attacked and sunk the SS Spreewald. Subsequently he was court-martialed and found not guilty.

After several victorious trips, he received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) on 5 June 1942. The same year, Cremer was severely wounded. He sailed again from 1943 until July 1944, before giving his boat to his lieutenant. On November 1944, Cremer, now Lieutenant Commander, aimed to convey the new submarine U-2519 Class XXI. Citing "several design flaws", Cremer scuttled the submarine at Kiel, on May 1945. As the War drew to a close, he was attached to the personal security unit of Karl Dönitz. In this role he was involved in the incident in which Kapitän zur See Wolfgang Lüth was shot to death by a German guard.

Peter-Erich Cremer recounted his life in his books "U-333: The story of a u-boat ace" and "U-Boat Commander: a periscope view of the Battle of the Atlantic.". He died at Hamburg on 5 July 1992.

Summary of career

Ships sunk and damaged

Peter-Erich Cremer as commander of U-333 sank six merchant ships totalling 26,873 GRT, damaged another of 8,327 GRT, and also engaged and damaged the 925 GRT Flower class corvette HMS Crocus.

Date Ship Tons Nationality Convoy Fate and location
22 January 1942 Vassilios A. Polemis 3,429  Greece ON-53 Sunk at 42°32′N 52°38′W / 42.533°N 52.633°W / 42.533; -52.633 (Vassilios A. Polemis (ship))
24 January 1942 Ringstad 4,765  Norway ON-55 Sunk at 45°50′N 51°04′W / 45.833°N 51.067°W / 45.833; -51.067 (Ringstad (ship))
31 January 1942 Spreewald 5,083  Nazi Germany Sunk at 45°12′N 24°50′W / 45.2°N 24.833°W / 45.2; -24.833 (Spreewald (ship))
6 May 1942 Amazone 1,294  Netherlands Sunk at 27°21′N 80°04′W / 27.35°N 80.067°W / 27.35; -80.067 (Amazone (ship))
6 May 1942 Halsey 7,088 United States Sunk at 27°14′N 80°03′W / 27.233°N 80.05°W / 27.233; -80.05 (Halsey (ship))
6 May 1942 Java Arrow 8,327 United States Damaged at 27°35′N 80°08′W / 27.583°N 80.133°W / 27.583; -80.133 (Java Arrow (ship))
10 May 1942 Clan Skene 5,214  United Kingdom Sunk at 31°43′N 70°43′W / 31.717°N 70.717°W / 31.717; -70.717 (Clan Skene (ship))
6 October 1942 HMS Crocus 925  United Kingdom Damaged at 07°52′N 14°57′W / 7.867°N 14.95°W / 7.867; -14.95 (HMS Crocus (ship))


Wehrmachtbericht references

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
11 May 1942 Unterseeboote versenkten, wie durch Sondermeldung bekanntgegeben, in amerikanischen Gewässern, in der Karibischen See und im Golf von Mexiko 21 feindliche Handelsschiffe mit zusammen 118 000 BRT. Bei diesen Erfolgen hat sich das Unterseeboot des Kapitänleutnants Cremer, das trotz schwerer Beschädigungen vier große Schiffe mit 35 000 BRT versenkte, besonders ausgezeichnet.[4] Submarines sunk, as announced by special bulletin, in U.S. waters, in the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico 21 enemy merchant ships for a total of 118 000 GRT. In these achievements, the submarine of Captain Lieutenant Cremer, despite heavy damage sank four large ships of 35 000 GRT, has especially distinguished itself.
25 April 1945 (Addendum) Ein von Korvettenkapitän Cremer geführter Panzervernichtungstrupp der Kriegsmarine, zusammengestellt aus Freiwilligen eines U-Boot-Stützpunktes, vernichtete innerhalb weniger Tage 24 Panzer.[5] A tank destruction unit of the navy under the command of Lieutenant Commander Cremer, composed of volunteers from a U-boat base, destroyed 24 tanks within a few days.

Dates of rank

  • Offiziersanwärter : 15 August 1932
  • Fähnrich zur See : 1 January 1934
  • Oberfähnrich zur See : 1 September 1935
  • Leutnant zur See : 1 January 1936
  • Oberleutnant zur See : 1 October 1937
  • Kapitänleutnant : 2 February 1940
  • Korvettenkapitän : 11 July 1944[6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Busch and Röll 2003, p. 217.
  2. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 155.
  3. Scherzer 2007, p. 263.
  4. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 2, p. 111.
  5. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 3, p. 556.
  6. Ritterkreuzträger Peter Erich Cremer on ""
  • 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. 
  • (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. 
  • (in German) Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 3, 1. Januar 1944 bis 9. Mai 1945 [The Wehrmacht Reports 1939–1945 Volume 3, 1 January 1944 to 9 May 1945]. München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985. ISBN 978-3-423-05944-2. 

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