Ernst Bauer (3 January 1914 – 12 March 1988) was a German naval officer and an U-boat commander in World War II. He commanded the U-boats U-120 and U-126, sinking 25 ships on five patrols, for a total of 118,560 gross register tons (GRT) of Allied shipping, to stand 22nd on the list of highest scoring U-Boat aces of 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.
Bauer joined the Reichsmarine on 23 September 1933. He served on the light cruiser Königsberg before transferring to the U-boat arm in 1938. He served as watch officer on U-20 and U-37 before commanding the training U-boat U-120 from April 1940. On 1 March 1941, he was given command of U-126, and conducted 5 combat patrols, sinking 25 merchant ships for a total of 118,560 long tons (120,460 t).
On 22 November, Bauer was aboard the auxiliary cruiser Atlantis in the south Atlantic, when she was sunk by the British heavy cruiser HMS Devonshire. U-126 crash-dived, leaving her captain behind, and after Devonshire left the area, she resurfaced to pick up survivors.
From March 1943, Bauer served as training officer in 27th U-boat Flotilla based at Gotenhafen, becoming commander of the unit in October 1944. During the last month of the war, he was transferred to command of 26th U-boat Flotilla at Warnemünde.
Bauer joined the Bundesmarine in 1955 and held several staff positions, before retiring in 1972 with the rank of Kapitän zur See. He died in 1988.
Summary of career
Iron Cross (1939)
2nd Class (8 November 1939)
1st Class (1 August 1941)
Destroyer War Badge (19 October 1940)
U-boat War Badge (1939) (8 November 1939)
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 16 March 1942 as Kapitänleutnant and commander of U-126
Mentioned twice in the Wehrmachtbericht on 30 July 1941 and 15 March 1942
War Merit Cross with Swords
2nd Class (20 April 1944)
1st Class (1 April 1945)
Officer's Cross, Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (Bundesverdienstkreuz) (10 November 1971)
23 September 1933:
1 July 1934:
Fähnrich zur See (Officer Cadet)
1 April 1936:
Oberfähnrich zur See (Senior Ensign)
1 October 1936:
Leutnant zur See (Second Lieutenant)
1 June 1938:
Oberleutnant zur See (First Lieutenant)
1 March 1941:
Kapitänleutnant (Captain Lieutenant)
5 April 1945:
Korvettenkapitän (Corvette Captain), effective as of 1 April 1945 with rank age dated 20 April 1945