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: 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 HMCS Levis. He is noted for completing World War II's 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.
Dienstauszeichnung 4th Class (2 October 1936)
Dienstauszeichnung 3rd Class (1 October 1937)
Iron Cross (1939)
2nd Class (13 April 1941)
1st Class (13 April 1941)
U-boat War Badge (1939) (13 April 1941)
U-boat Front Clasp in Bronze (20 September 1944)
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 31 December 1941 as Kapitänleutnant and commander of U-74