Reinhard Hardegen

Reinhard Hardegen

World War Ii U-boat Commander
Born Mar 18, 1913

Lieutenant Commander Reinhard Hardegen is a German U-boat Commander who sank 22 ships, amounting to 115,656 gross register tons (GRT) sunk, ranking him as the 24th most successful Commander in World War II. After the war, he spent a year in British captivity before running a successful oil company and serving in Bremen's Parliament for over 32 years. An efficient and effective combat Commander, he was never known for being a virulent Nazi supporter.… Read More

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Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Reinhard Hardegen.


1913 Birth Born on March 18, 1913.


1933 20 Years Old Born in Bremen, Germany, Hardegen dreamed of a career in the German navy from an early age. Following his graduation from high school he enrolled in the Reichsmarine as a Seekadett, sailing around the world in the light cruiser in 1933.
1935 22 Years Old In 1935, Hardegen was transferred as a Marineflieger in the Kriegsmarines air arm.
1936 23 Years Old He trained as a naval aircraft observer and, after, as a pilot, and was promoted to leutnant on 1 October 1936.
1939 26 Years Old In early 1939, he crashed his aircraft and was hospitalized for six months. … Read More
1940 27 Years Old Hardegen served as 1.WO (First Watch Officer) under Kapitänleutnant Georg-Wilhelm Schulz aboard and, after two war patrols, was given his own command, the Type IID U-boat, operating out of Kiel, on 11 December 1940. … Read More
1941 28 Years Old 1 More Event
After completing the patrol, Hardegen was given command of, a Type IXB U-boat operating out of Lorient. Hardegen's first patrol with U-123 started on 16 June 1941, with a course for West African waters to attack British shipping around Freetown. … Read More
On 12 January 1942, Hardegen drew first blood, sinking the British freighter Cyclops. … Read More


1943 30 Years Old In March 1943, Kapitänleutnant Hardegen became chief of U-boat training of the torpedo school at Marineschule Mürwik, before taking up a position in the Torpedowaffenamt (torpedo weapon department), where he oversaw testing and development of new acoustic and wired torpedoes.
1945 32 Years Old In his last posting, he served as battalion commander in Marine Infanterie Regiment 6 from February 1945 until the end of the war. … Read More
1946 33 Years Old He returned home in November 1946, where he started as a businessman, first on a bike and then in a car.
1952 39 Years Old In 1952, he started an oil trading company, which he built up into a great success. … Read More


2013 100 Years Old He turned 100 in March 2013 in very good health, winning golf trophies and still driving a car.
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