Skip to menu

The Crew

Engelbert Endrass, 1.WO

U-47's First Watch Officer (1.WO), Engelbert "Bertl" Endrass, was born on 2 March 1911 in the Bavarian town of Bamberg. Like Günther Prien, Endrass had been a member of the Merchant Navy before joining the Reichsmarine, where he served on a number of vessels including the cruiser Deutschland. At the end of 1937, he was transferred to the U-boat arm, joining U-47 in December the following year at the rank of Leutnant zur See.

Leutnant zur See Endrass was to play a major role in creating the unique identity of both U-47 and its skipper; on the return journey following the successful raid at Scapa Flow in October 1939, he painted the unique "snorting bull" on the conning tower of the submarine. In December 1939 after U-47's third mission Endrass was provided further training, culminating in his promotion to Oberleutnant zur See and the command of U-47's sister vessel U-46 in May 1940. During his spell as 1WO on board U-47, Endrass had been awarded both the Iron Cross first and second class.

Engelbert EndrassEngelbert Endrass with Erich ToppEngelbert Endrass with Knight's Cross and Oakleaves

Three contrasting portraits of Engelbert Endrass, Prien's 1WO and commander of U-46. Left: aboard U-46 after a successful patrol. Centre: talking with fellow Knight's Cross recipient Erich Topp. Right: Endrass in dress uniform, Knight's Cross with Oakleaves clearly visible.

Like his former skipper Prien, the twenty-nine year old Endrass proved to be a more than able commander; his first patrol in May 1940 yielded five victims for over 35,000 tons, including the British auxiliary cruiser Carinthia, which weighed in at a substantial 20,277 tons. This was followed by an equally successful second patrol, sinking a further five ships for 27,038 tons. The figure included a second auxiliary cruiser, the 15,007-ton Dunvegan Castle. Following his return to Germany Endrass was presented with the Knight's Cross - an award that had been long overdue.

Endrass was to serve as skipper of U-46 until September 1941, winning both the Oakleaves to the Knight's Cross and the coveted U-boat badge with diamonds during this time. Having been promoted to the rank of Kapitänleutnant in early July 1941, Endrass was then given command of a new boat, the Type VIIC U-567.

The long run of success Endrass had seen both as 1WO of U-47 and skipper of U-46 was then to come to a sudden end. On his first patrol as commander of U-567, he ran into trouble north-east of the Azores in the shape of the British attack vessel HMS Deptford. Succumbing to the Deptford's depth charge attack, U-567 went down with all hands on 21 December 1941.

Engelbert Endrass was one of the most successful U-boat commanders of the war. At the time of his death in December 1941, he had been responsible for the destruction of twenty-four enemy vessels at over 120,000 tons.

« previous

In association with amazon.com

Main Menu