Ernst Kals (2 August 1905 – 2 November 1979) was a Kapitän zur See with the Kriegsmarine during World War II. He commanded the Type IXC U-boat U-130 on five patrols, and sank twenty ships, for a total of 145,656 tons of Allied shipping. He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.
Kals joined the Reichsmarine in 1924. In October 1940, after a period of service on torpedo boats and light cruisers, he transferred to the Ubootwaffe ("U-boat force"). After one patrol on U-37 under the command of Nicolai Clausen as commander in training, he took command of U-130 in June 1941. He was awarded the Knight's Cross in September 1941.
In April 1942, Kals, in U-130, bombarded the Allied petroleum tank farm on Curaçao, in the Netherlands Antilles. He went on to sink a total of 20 ships on five patrols, for a total of 145,656 tons of Allied shipping. In five minutes he sank three United States troopships, the Edward Rutledge, Hugh L. Scott and Tasker H. Bliss.
In January 1943 Kals became commander of the 2nd U-boat Flotilla, based in Lorient, France. Promoted to Kapitän zur See in September 1944, he remained in this position until the end of the war.
Kals was held in French captivity from May 1945 to January 1948. He died at Emden in 1979 at the age of 74.
Summary of career
As commander of U-130 Ernst Kals reportedly sank 17 merchant ships for a total of 111,249 gross register tons (GRT), three auxiliary warships for a total of 34,407 GRT and damaged one further ship of 6,986 GRT.
|Date||Name of ship||Flag||Tonnage||Fate|
|10 December 1941||Kirnwood||United Kingdom||3,829||Sunk|
|10 December 1941||Kurdistan||United Kingdom||5,844||Sunk|
|10 December 1941||Star of Luxor||Egypt||5,298||Sunk|
|13 January 1942||Friar Rock||Panama||5,427||Sunk|
|13 January 1942||Frisco||Norway||1,582||Sunk|
|21 January 1942||Alexander Høegh||Norway||8,248||Sunk|
|25 January 1942||Varanger||Norway||9,305||Sunk|
|27 January 1942||Francis E. Powell||United States||7,096||Sunk|
|27 January 1942||Halo||United States||6,986||Damaged|
|11 April 1942||Grenanger||Norway||5,393||Sunk|
|11 April 1942||Esso Boston||United States||7,699||Sunk|
|25 July 1942||Tankexpress||Norway||10,095||Sunk|
|27 July 1942||Elmwood||Norway||7,167||Sunk|
|30 July 1942||Danmark||United Kingdom||8,391||Sunk|
|9 August 1942||Malmanger||Norway||7,078||Sunk|
|11 August 1942||Mirlo||Norway||7,455||Sunk|
|25 August 1942||Viking Star||United Kingdom||6,445||Sunk|
|26 August 1942||Beechwood||United Kingdom||4,897||Sunk|
|12 November 1942||USS Edward Rutledge||United States Navy||9,360||Sunk|
|12 November 1942||USS Hugh L. Scott||United States Navy||12,479||Sunk|
|12 November 1942||USS Tasker H. Bliss||United States Navy||12,568||Sunk|
- Iron Cross (1939)
- 2nd Class (18 December 1939)
- 1st Class (18 December 1941)
- U-boat War Badge (1939) (18 December 1941)
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 1 September 1942 as Korvettenkapitän and commander of U-130
- War Merit Cross 2nd Class with Swords (30 January 1944)
- Mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht on 30 January 1942
- ^ Busch & Röll 2003, p. 255.
- Fellgiebel 2000, p. 250.