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Ernst Kals

Ernst Kals

German U-boat commander
The basics
Quick Facts
Occupations Korvettenkapitän Submariner
Countries Germany
Gender male
Birth August 2, 1905 (Emden)
Death November 2, 1979 (Emden)
The details
Biography

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.

Career

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.

Later life

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

Ships attacked

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

Awards

  • 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.

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