Monday, 15 April, 2024
17October 1939

German navy welcome home victorious u-boat commander

On this day, Günther Prien, the commander of U-47, returned to his home port of Wilhelmshaven to be welcomed as a hero by his commanding officers.

The u-boat commander was warmly greeted due to successfully completing his mission of sneaking into the British naval base at Scapa Flow, sinking the battleship HMS Royal Oak and escaping without any harm coming to his submarine or crew. This occurred on 14th October 1939.

He was welcomed by Chief of the German Navy High Command, Grand Admiral Erich Raeder, and the supreme commander of the Kreigsmarine’s u-boat arm, Karl Dönitz. Prien and his crew were then flown to Berlin, where, on the 18th October 1939, the commander was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross by Hitler. The rest of the crew received the Iron Cross 2nd Class. Back in Wilhelmshaven, Dönitz was promoted to rear admiral on the deck of U-47 by Raeder.

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