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Jost Metzler

German World War II U-boat commander
The basics
Occupation Writer Korvettenkapitän Submariner
Country Germany
Date of birth Altshausen, Landkreis Ravensburg, Tübingen
Date of death Sep 29, 1975 Ravensburg, Landkreis Ravensburg, Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
Authority ISNI id VIAF id Library of congress id
The details

Jost Metzler (26 February 1909 – 29 September 1975) was a Korvettenkapitän with the Kriegsmarine during World War II, commander of the U-boats U-69 and U-847, and 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.


Metzler joined the Kriegsmarine in October 1933, after spending eight years in the merchant marine. He served on the torpedo boat T-196 and on several minesweepers. After 13 patrols on the minesweeper Grille, he transferred to the U-boat arm in April 1940, commissioning U-69 in November 1940.

On his first patrol, sailing from Kiel to St. Nazaire in early 1941, he sank three ships for a total of 18,576 gross register tons (GRT). On his second patrol south-west of Iceland, he sank a single ship of 3,759 GRT and damaged another. Metzler's third patrol on U-69 was the most successful. He laid 16 mines in the harbour of Lagos, Nigeria, where they later sank a British steamer. He then sank another five ships for a total of 25,544 GRT.

Metzler developed renal colic a few days after leaving St. Nazaire on his fourth patrol in August 1941, forcing the U-boat to return to port. After two months in hospital he served as the leading training officer in 25th and 27th U-boat Flotilla until February 1943.

Metzler commanded U-847 from February to June 1943 without sailing on any patrols, and was appointed temporary locum commander of 5th U-boat Flotilla for two months before serving as commander of 19th U-boat Flotilla from October 1943 until the end of war.

In 1954 Metzler published a memoir The Laughing Cow: The Story of U-69. The title is derived from the time when U-69 was first assigned to 7th U-boat Flotilla and the crew were instructed to paint Günther Prien's snorting bull insignia on the U-boat's conning tower. No illustration was enclosed, so U-69's First Watch Officer, Oberleutnant zur See Hans-Jürgen Auffermann instructed a shipyard worker to copy the head of laughing cow which appeared on the packaging of a popular French dairy product instead. This naturally proved to be a source of great amusement.

Summary of career

Ships attacked

As commander of U-69 Jost Metzler is credited with sinking ten ships for a total of 50,873 gross register tons (GRT), further damaging one ship of 4,887 GRT and damaging one ship of 5,445 GRT so severely that it had to be considered a total loss.

Date Ship Nationality Tonnage Fate
17 February 1941 MV Siamese Prince United Kingdom 8,456 Sunk
19 February 1941 SS Empire Blanda United Kingdom 5,693 Sunk
23 February 1941 SS Marslew United Kingdom 4,542 Sunk
30 March 1941 SS Coultarn United Kingdom 3,759 Sunk
3 April 1941 Thirlby United Kingdom 4,877 Damaged
21 May 1941 SS Robin Moor USA 4,999 Sunk
21 May 1941 SS Tewkesbury United Kingdom 4,601 Sunk
31 May 1941 MV Sangara United Kingdom 5,445 Total loss
3 June 1941 barge Robert Hughes United Kingdom 2,879 Sunk (mine)
27 June 1941 SS Empire Ability United Kingdom 7,603 Sunk
27 June 1941 SS River Lugar United Kingdom 5,423 Sunk
3 July 1941 SS Robert L. Holt United Kingdom 2,918 Sunk


  • Wehrmacht Long Service Award 4th Class (1 June 1936)
  • Sudetenland Medal (20 December 1939)
  • Iron Cross (1939)
    • 2nd Class (21 December 1939)
    • 1st Class (2 March 1941)
  • U-boat War Badge (1939) (12 April 1941)
  • Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 28 July 1941 as Kapitänleutnant and commander of U-69
  • Mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht on 27 June 1941
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