Erich Topp & Otto Kretschmer
Erich Topp & Otto KretschmerOtto Kretschmer

Erich Topp & Otto Kretschmer

Rear Admiral Erich Topp was the third most successful of German U-Boot Experten commander of World War II. He was also a recipient of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords / Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern.

The Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves and Swords was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. He sank 35 ships for a total of 197,460 gross register tons.

Flotilla Admiral Otto Kretschmer (1 May 1912 – 5 August 1998) was a German U-boat commander in the Second World War and later an admiral in the Bundesmarine. From September 1939 until being captured in March 1941, he sank 47 ships, a total of 274,333 tons.

For this he received the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords / Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern, among other awards. He earned the nickname “Silent Otto” both for his successful use of the “silent running” capability of the U-boats as well and for his reluctance to transmit radio messages during patrols.