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Albrecht Achilles (Korvettenkapitän)

Albrecht Achilles (Korvettenkapitän)

German World War II U-boat commander
The basics
Occupations Soldier Korvettenkapitän Submariner
Countries Germany
Gender male
Birth January 25, 1914 (Karlsruhe)
Death September 27, 1943 (Salvador)
The details

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.

Military career

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).

Personal life

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

Ships attacked

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).

Date Name Nationality Tonnage
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)

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