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Friedrich Bonte

Friedrich Bonte

Recipient of the Knight's Cross
The basics
Occupations Soldier
Countries Germany
Gender male
Birth October 19, 1896 (Potsdam, Brandenburg, Germany)
Death April 10, 1940 (Narvik, Narvik municipality, Nordland, Northern Norway)
Authority VIAF id
Friedrich Bonte
The details

Friedrich Bonte (19 October 1896 – 10 April 1940) was the German naval officer commanding the destroyer flotilla that transported invasion troops to Narvik during the German invasion of Norway (Operation Weserübung) in April 1940.

Naval career

Born in Potsdam, Bonte joined the Imperial German Navy as a midshipman in April 1914 and was commissioned Leutnant zur See in July 1916. He was retained in the drastically reduced post-war German navy, where he had a steady career. He was promoted to Oberleutnant zur See in September 1920, Kapitänleutnant in April 1926, Korvettenkapitän (Lieutenant Commander) in September 1933, and Fregattenkapitän (Commander) in April 1937. In November 1938, he was given command of the Second Destroyer Flotilla, and in April 1939 he was promoted to Kapitän zur See (Captain). On 24 October 1939, Bonte was appointed type commander of torpedo boats (Führer der Torpedoboote) and two days later also type commander of destroyers (Führer der Zerstörer) of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine. He relinquished command of the torpedoboats at the end of November 1939, but held the command over the destroyers until his death. On 10 February 1940 he was promoted to Commodore.


During the German invasion of Norway, Bonte commanded the ten destroyers carrying General Dietl's mountain troops to Narvik on 9 April 1940. On the morning of 10 April, the flotilla was attacked in Narvik fjord by British destroyers under the command of Commodore Bernard Warburton-Lee. In the ensuing battle, Bonte's flagship, the destroyer Wilhelm Heidkamp, was hit by a torpedo and exploded. Bonte and most of the crew perished. Bonte was posthumously awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.


  • Iron Cross (1914)
    • 2nd Class (1 August 1916)
    • 1st Class (5 March 1922)
  • Cross of Honor (24 October 1935)
  • Wehrmacht Long Service Award
    • 4th to 2nd Class (2 October 1936)
    • 1st Class (1 April 1939)
  • Clasp to the Iron Cross (1939)
    • 2nd Class (16 October 1939)
    • 1st Class (13 November 1939)
  • Destroyer War Badge (posthumously)
  • Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 17 October 1940 (posthumously) as Kapitän zur See and Führer der Zerstörer (leader of the destroyers) and of Kampfgruppe Narvik
  • Narvik Shield (posthumously)
  • Mentioned twice in the Wehrmachtbericht
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