Ernst Felix Krüder was born in Hamburg, Germany, December 6th 1897, joined the Kriegsmarine (German Navy) on October 2nd 1915 and was stationed on board the Sailing Vessel Freya. After he was promoted Obermatrose, Krüder was transferred to the SMS König. With this vessel he took part in the Battle at Skaggerak. His promotion to Fähnrich zur See, followed on July 13th 1916. When he was transferred to the Battle Cruiser Göben in 1917, he was promoted to Leutnant zur See on December 13th 1917. With this ship he took part in the fighting’s in and around Sewastopol.
After the First World War, Ernst Felix Krüder kept faithful to the new German Government and during the revolutions in 1919 he led the Naval Assault Brigade "Ehrhart" in the struggle against revolutionaries in Braunschweig, Berlin and Munich.
He was appointed Watch Officer on board the Minesweeper M 111 on January 10th 1921 and promoted to Oberleutnant zur See. Little time later he was appointed commander of Minesweeper M 145. His promotion to Kapitänleutnant was followed on November 1st 1928. His career kept rising and in 1934 he was appointed commander of the 1.Minenjäger-Flotille at Pilau. This was followed by his promotions to Korvettenkapitän on April 1st 1934 and Fregattenkapitän on August 1st 1938.
February 1940, he gained command of Hilfskreuzer 33 Penguin (Auxiliary cruiser). This was a converted freighter or raider meant to hijack and capture Allied vessels.
June 15th, 1940, she left Gotenhaven on her way to the Indian Ocean. During her 357 day voyage, the Penguin, commanded by Krüder became the most successful raider with 154,619 tons of shipping to her credit. Her victims were 12 vessels sunk and 16 captured, including almost the entire Norwegian whaler fleet comprising 14 whalers and 20,500 tons of whale oil worth a fortune. The Penguin also successfully laid mines in Australian waters.
Eventually, the Penguin was chased down and discovered by the British heavy cruiser HMS Cornwall, After an exchange of fire, the Cornwall scored a direct hit in the magazine holding the mines. The Penguin exploded, killing most of her crew including Krüder on May 8th, 1941, somewhere in the Indian Ocean. (East of Somalialand and Northwest of the Seychelles).
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