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Karl-Friedrich Merten (deceased)
|Karl-Friedrich Merten was born in 1905, joining the navy in 1928. After a ten year stint on warships and serving on the WW1 battleship Schleswig-Holstein during the attack on the Polish Westerplatte in Septmeber 1939, Merten joined the U-boat arm on 1st May 1940. He operated all over the world, patrolling in the Atlantic, the Caribbean and the Indian Oceans. U-68 was in the U-boat wolfpack Eisbar (Polar Bear) which in the course of a few weeks during September - October 1942 sank more than 100,000 tons of shipping off South Africa. In January 1943 Merten became the commander of the 26th U-boat Flotilla in Pillau. There the new U-boat crews received their final training before going to the front. In March 1943 Merten moved to the 24th U-Boat Flotilla in Memel where he also was the flotilla commander. This was the training flotilla for future Commanders. After Merten gave up command of U-68, the boat had 4 commanders during the next 15 months. On April 10th 1944 U-68 was sunk off Madeira, Portugal by aircraft from the carrier USS Guadalcanal. A lookout survived. The remaining 56 crew members went down with the boat. After the war Merten salvaged sunken ships in the Rhine river along with another famous former U-boat commander, Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock. Later he wroked in the shipbuilding industry. In his time commanding U-68 he sank 27 ships - over 170 thousand tons of shipping, making him the 7th most successful u-boat Ace. He was awarded the Knights Cross with Oak Leaves. Karl-Friedrich Merten died 2nd May 1993.|
Otto Kretschmer (deceased)
|Otto Kretschmer was born in May 1912, joining the navy in 1930, and transferring to u-boats in 1936. He was the Watch Officer aboard U-35 from 3rd November 1936 to 30th July 1937. He briefly took command of U-35 after the death of the Captain, Hermann Michahelles, assuming command until 15th August 1937, after which he was Watch Officer once again until 30th September 1937. During this time, U-35 was involved in the Spanish Civil WarHe was in command of U-23 at the outbreak of war in 1939, and had successful patrols with U-23 which included the sinking of HMS Daring, before taking command of U-99 in April 1940. In March 1941, Kretschmer was captured after scuttling U-99 due to damage suffered from depth charges from British destroyer HMS Walker. After his capture, Kretschmer was imprisoned until December 1947. Despite his capture early in the war, Kretschmers total tonnage sunk of over 273 thousand tons was enough to make him the top scoring u-boat Ace of the war. Kretschmer was awarded the Knights Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords. Otto Kretschmer died 5th August 1998.|
Peter Cremer (deceased)
|Peter Cremer joined the German Navy in 1932, joining the surface warships Koln, Deutschland and Theodor Riedel before joining the u-boats in 1940, commissioning U-152 in January the next year before taking command of U-333 some months later. He sank three enemy ships on his first patrol, and although absolved of blame later, he also sank the German ship Spreewald on this tour. On his second tour, Cremer sank four ships before bringing U-333 back home damaged, a result of being rammed. U-333 was in battle with British corvette HMS Crocus on Cremers third patrol, with the British vessel suffering damage, while 7 crew of U-333 were killed by gunfire from the corvette, Cremer himself being seriously wounded in the incident. Once again U-333 returned to base with heavy damage. After a brief spell on the staff of Donitz, Cremer embarked on another patrol with U-333, again returning with damage from a depth-charge attack. U-333 was lost on the next patrol, but Cremer had by then left the boat. Towards the end of the war, Cremer commanded U-2519. He was captured and spent a short time in captivity before his release. He was awarded the Knights Cross in June 1942, with a total of 6 ships sunk - almost 27,000 tons. Peter Cremer died 5th July 1992.|
|The Aircraft :|
|Fw200||The Focke-Wulf Fw-200 known as the Condor was a German maritime reconnaissance bomber and transport aircraft. The Condor was originally designed as a civilian transport for Lufthansa and before World War Two it was a Condor which set the speed record for transalantic flights. During the war the Luftwaffe frst used the Fw200 against British shipping in June 1940. The Condor proved successful and the British introduced catapult aircraft and escort carriers to defend against them. In the later stages of the war in 1944 the Condor was used primarily as a transport aircraft mostly on the eastern front. The total number of Fw200 Condors built for the Luftwaffe was 276.|
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