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Kurt-Caesar Hoffmann

Kurt-Caesar Hoffmann German admiral

German admiral
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro German admiral
Was Soldier Military officer
From Germany
Type Military
Gender male
Birth 26 August 1895, Kiel
Death 19 May 1988, Mölln (aged 92 years)
Kurt-Caesar Hoffmann
The details

Vizeadmiral Kurt-Caesar Hoffmann (26 August 1895 – 19 May 1988) was a Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross recipient during World War II and commander of the battleship Scharnhorst. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.


Hoffmann joined the military service of the Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial Navy) on 1 April 1912 as a Seekadett (midshipman) and took his first ship training on the cruiser SMS Hansa. On 1 April 1913 he underwent further training at the Naval Academy Mürwik and on 12 April 1913 was promoted to Fähnrich zur See (ensign at sea).

Battleship Scharnhorst, 1939

He relinquished command of the Coastal Artillery School and was appointed commander of the light cruiser Königsberg on 27 June 1939. After the outbreak of World War II, he initially remained in command of Königsberg. On 21 September 1939 he took over command from Kapitän zur See Otto Ciliax of the battleship Scharnhorst. Scharnhorst's first operation began on 21 November 1939 lasting until 27 November 1939. Accompanied by her sister Gneisenau, the light cruiser Köln, and nine destroyers, Scharnhorst patrolled the area between Iceland and the Faroe Islands. The intent of the operation was to draw out British units and ease the pressure on the heavy cruiser Admiral Graf Spee, which was being pursued in the South Atlantic. Two days later, the German flotilla, under the command of Admiral Wilhelm Marschall aboard Gneisenau, intercepted the auxiliary cruiser Rawalpindi. At 16:07, lookouts aboard Scharnhorst spotted the British vessel, and less than an hour later Scharnhorst had closed the range. At 17:03, Scharnhorst opened fire, and three minutes later a salvo of her 28 cm guns hit Rawalpindi's bridge, killing the captain and the majority of the staff. During the brief engagement, Rawalpindi managed to score at hit on Scharnhorst, which caused minor splinter damage. Rawalpindi was sunk within 40 minutes.

After this Hoffmann remained at the helm of the Scharnhorst until after the "Channel Dash" in February 1942, thus captaining the ship through Operation Weserübung, Operation Juno and Operation Berlin.

On March 28, 1942 Hoffmann became the commanding Admiral of the German Navy in the Baltic and was promoted to Konteradmiral on April 1. From July 1, 1942 til March 4, 1943 he was the commanding naval officer of the German Navy in the Netherlands. On being promoted to Vizeadmiral on April 1, 1943, Hoffmann became the head of department for artillery development and construction in the naval armaments office of the German Navy.

On May 23, 1945, after the collapse of Germany, Hoffmann was arrested by British forces but released on February 20, 1947.

He was allowed to join the new German Navy and from June 26, 1956 to August 31, 1957 Hoffmann was first deputy head of the Maritime Office Hamburg and thereafter head of administration until his retirement on March 31, 1965.


  • Iron Cross (1914)
    • 2nd Class (1 August 1916)
    • 1st Class (14 February 1918)
  • Ritterkreuz II. Klasse des Königlichen Sächsischen Albrechts-Ordens mit Schwertern (14 February 1918)
  • Honour Cross of the World War 1914/1918
  • Wehrmacht-Dienstauszeichnung 4th to 1st Class
  • Clasp of the Iron Cross (1939)
    • 2nd Class (16 October 1939)
    • 1st Class (26 November 1939)
  • High Seas Fleet Badge
  • Destroyer War Badge
  • German Cross in Gold on 20 November 1941 as Kapitän zur See on battleship Scharnhorst
  • Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross number 106 of the Kriegsmarine on 21 March 1942 as Kapitän zur See and commander of battleship Scharnhorst
  • Cross of Merit 1st Class (15 July 1965)
  • ^ Dörr 1995, p. 263.
  • Patzwall & Scherzer 2001, p. 191.
  • Scherzer 2007, p. 399.

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