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Werner Winter

German World War II U-boat commander
The basics
Occupation Korvettenkapitän Submariner
Country Germany
Date of birth Hamburg, Germany
Date of death Sep 09, 1972 Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
The details

Werner Winter (26 March 1912 – 9 September 1972) was a German U-boat commander in World War II and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. He reached the rank of Korvettenkapitän with the Kriegsmarine during World War II, and later that of Kapitän zur See with the Bundesmarine.


Winter joined the Reichsmarine in April 1930, serving aboard the battleship Schlesien and the light cruiser Emden then transferred to the U-boat force in July 1935.

He served for a few months aboard U-22, before taking command of the U-boat in October 1937. In September 1939 he made two short and unsuccessful combat patrols, before joining the staff of the BdU, but returned in July 1941 to take command of U-103 from Viktor Schütze, making three successful patrols, sinking fifteen merchant ships, for a total of 79,302 tons of Allied shipping, including the USS W. L. Steed.

Winter testified in the court martial which sentenced Oskar Kusch, the commander of U-154, to death on charges of "defeatism". Kusch had served on U-103 under the command of Winter. Although the prosecution had only requested a 10-year sentence, the court led by Marine-Kriegs-Gerichtsrat Karl-Heinrich Hagemann, assisted by Oberleutnant zur See Otto Westphalen, sentenced him to death. Both Winter and his successor as commander of U-103, Gustav-Adolf Janssen, had tried their best to save the life of Kusch, whom they considered a very able and brave officer.

In July 1942 he took command of 1st U-boat Flotilla in Brest, France, where he was captured after the city's surrender in August 1944, and was finally released in November 1947.

Winter joined the Bundesmarine in 1957, commanding the German destroyer Z-1 from July 1961 to September 1962, retiring in March 1970 with the rank of Kapitän zur See.

Summary of career

Ships attacked

As commander of U-103 Winter is credited with the sinking of 15 ships for a total of 79,302 gross register tons (GRT).

Date Ship Nationality Tonnage Fate
22 September 1941 Edward Blyden United Kingdom 5,003 Sunk
22 September 1941 Niceto de Larringa United Kingdom 5,591 Sunk
2 February 1942 W. L. Steed United States 6,182 Sunk
4 February 1942 San Gil United States 3,627 Sunk
5 February 1942 China Arrow United States 8,403 Sunk
5 February 1942 India Arrow United States 8,327 Sunk
5 February 1942 Stanbank United States 5,966 Sunk
17 May 1942 Ruth Lykes United States 2,612 Sunk
19 May 1942 Ogontz United States 5,037 Sunk
21 May 1942 Clare United States 3,372 Sunk
21 May 1942 Elizabeth United States 4,727 Sunk
23 May 1942 Samuel Q. Brown United States 6,625 Sunk
24 May 1942 Hector Netherlands 1,828 Sunk
26 May 1942 Alcoa Carrier United States 5,588 Sunk
28 May 1942 New Jersey United States 6,414 Sunk


  • Wehrmacht Long Service Award 4th Class
  • Knight's Cross of the Hungarian Merit Medal (August 1938)
  • Sudetenland Medal (20 December 1939)
  • Iron Cross (1939)
    • 2nd Class (18 September 1939)
    • 1st Class (10 November 1941)
  • Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 5 June 1942 as Kapitänleutnant and commander of U-103
  • War Merit Cross 2nd Class
  • Mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht on 1 June 1942
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