The Career of U-Boat Ace Erich Topp

An examination of German U-boat commander Erich Topp. A look at his career.

A look at the career of Erich Topp, one of the most successful German U-Boat commanders. A look at his life, his career, his successes and contributions.
“In the early morning of October 31, 1941, the Type VIIC U-Boat, U-552, attacked the British convoy HX156. The boat was detected and one of the escorts was directed toward the enemy below. The escort was a United States Navy destroyer, USS Reuben James. U-552 torpedoed her and she sank with significant loss of life. This was several weeks before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor brought the United States into World War II. The commanding officer of U-552 was Erich Topp and this single incident would have been enough to ensure his fame or infamy. Topp recalled his feelings at the time as ?the tension a man endures when he thinks he is making history, however unintentional,? as being enormous. Yet though Topp perceived the gravity of this incident and its political ramifications, this incident represents but one of many peculiarities in a remarkable career. “