Albrecht Achilles (25 January 1914 – 27 September 1943) was a German U-boat commander in World War II and commander of U-161. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes). The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognize extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.
Albrecht Achilles began his naval career with the Reichsmarine on 8 April 1934 as a member "Crew 34" (the incoming class of 1934).. He transferred to the U-boat service in April 1940. For one year, he served as a commander trainee as first and second watch officer on board various U-boats, including three patrols on U-66 under the command of Robert-Richard Zapp, before taking over command of U-161 from Kapitänleutnant Hans Witt.
On his third war patrol (28 April – 7 August 1942), Achilles sank three ships in the Caribbean Sea totaling 14,201 GRT and further torpedoed one ship of 3,305 GRT in the port of Santa Lucia.
Albrecht Achilles and his entire crew were killed in action when U-161 was sunk northeast of Bahia on 27 September 1943 by depth charges from a U.S. Navy Martin PBM Mariner (VP-74/P-2).
On 16 November 1940 he married Chirstel Busz. The marriage produced two children, daughter Christiane born 1941 and a posthumous son Konrad born 1944.
Summary of career
As commander of U-161, Achilles is credited with the sinking of 12 merchant ships totalling 60,107 gross register tons (GRT), damaging another ship of 3,305 GRT that it had to be considered a total loss and damaging five further ships of 35,672 GRT. He also sank the United States Lighthouse Service ship Acacia of 1,130 long tons (1,150 tonnes) and damaged the British light cruiser HMS Phoebe (43) 5,450 long tons (5,540 t).
|19 February 1942||British Consul||United Kingdom||6,940||Damaged|
|19 February 1942||Mokihana||United States||7,460||Damaged|
|21 February 1942||Circe Shell||United Kingdom||8,207||Sunk|
|23 February 1942||Lihue||United States||7,001||Sunk|
|7 March 1942||Uniwaleco||South Africa||9,755||Sunk|
|10 March 1942||HMCS Lady Nelson||Royal Canadian Navy||7,970||Damaged|
|10 March 1942||Umtata||United Kingdom||8,141||Damaged|
|14 March 1942||Sarniadoc||Canada||1,940||Sunk|
|15 March 1942||USCGC Acacia||United States Coast Guard||1,130||Sunk|
|16 June 1942||Nueva Altagracia||Dominican Republic||30||Sunk|
|22 June 1942||E.J. Sadler||United States||9,639||Sunk|
|3 July 1942||San Pablo||Panama||3,305||Total loss|
|16 July 1942||Fairport||United States||6,165||Sunk|
|23 October 1942||HMS Phoebe||Royal Navy||5,450||Damaged|
|8 November 1942||Bonalder||United Kingdom||5,161||Damaged|
|8 November 1942||West Humhaw||United States||5,527||Sunk|
|29 November 1942||Tjilboet||Netherlands||5,760||Sunk|
|12 December 1942||Ripley||United Kingdom||4,997||Sunk|
|19 May 1943||Angelus||Canada||255||Sunk|
|20 September 1943||St. Usk||United Kingdom||5,472||Sunk|
|26 September 1943||Itapagé||Brazil||4,998||Sunk|
- Wehrmacht Long Service Award 4th Class (8 April 1938)
- Iron Cross (1939)
- 2nd Class (7 August 1941)
- 1st Class (5 April 1942)
- U-boat War Badge (1939) (7 August 1941)
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 16 January 1943 as Kapitänleutnant and commander of U-161
- Mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht on 12 March 1942
|26 September 1934:||Seekadett (Midshipman)|
|1 October 1934:||Obermatrose (Seaman Apprentice)|
|1 January 1935:||Oberstabsmatrose (Leading Seaman)|
|1 July 1935:||Fähnrich zur See (Officer Cadet)|
|1 January 1937:||Oberfähnrich zur See (Senior Ensign)|
|1 April 1937:||Leutnant zur See (Second Lieutenant)|
|1 April 1939:||Oberleutnant zur See (First Lieutenant)|
|1 September 1941:||Kapitänleutnant (Captain Lieutenant)|
|5 April 1945 |
|Korvettenkapitän (Corvette Captain)|