GŁnther Prien was one of the ten
outstanding U-boat aces of the first part of the
Second World War.
He was part of an
elite group that wreaked havoc in the cold depths of
the North Atlantic.
famous exploit was the sinking of the British
battleship HMS Royal Oak in the heavily defended
British North Fleet main harbor at Scapa Flow.
On 14 October 1939 Prien risked shallow water,
unknown shoals, tricky currents and detection to
penetrate the Royal Navy's primary base and sank the
battleship Royal Oak
returned home to instant fame. He was awarded
Knight's Cross of the
Iron Cross, the first member of the
Kriegsmarine to receive this award, and
was given the nickname Der Stier von Scapa Flow
("The Bull of Scapa Flow".) This emblem was painted
on the conning tower of
U-47 and soon became the emblem of the
Following later patrols and raids
on Allied merchant shipping, Prien was awarded the
Oakleaves to the Knight's Cross in 1940. He was
killed, not long after being promoted to the rank of
lieutenant commander when U-47 was sunk in March
Although being at sea for less
than two years, Prien's record stands high among the
U-boat aces during the Second World War. He spent
238 days at sea, sinking 30 enemy vessels for a
total tonnage of 193,808 GRT.