Friedrich Ruge

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Friedrich Ruge
Bundesarchiv Bild 101II-MW-2064-17A, Friedrich Oskar Ruge bei MS-Flottille.jpg
Friedrich Ruge visiting a Minensuchflottille
Born (1894-12-24)24 December 1894
Leipzig, German Empire
Died 3 July 1985(1985-07-03) (aged 90)
Tübingen, West Germany
Allegiance  German Empire (to 1918)
 Weimar Republic (to 1933)
 Nazi Germany (to 1945)
 West Germany
Service/branch  Kaiserliche Marine
 German Navy
Years of service 1914–45, 1955–61
Rank Vizeadmiral
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
Great Cross of Merit
Relations Peter von Zahn

Friedrich Oskar Ruge (24 December 1894 – 3 July 1985) was an officer in the German Navy and recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes). The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. He served as the first commander (Inspector of the Navy) of the post-war German Navy.


Friedrich Ruge was the son and grandson of German educators. Joining the Imperial German Navy as a cadet in March 1914, he was soon a participant in the 1914, 1915, and 1916 Baltic Sea operations. In 1917 and 1918, he sailed with the destroyer raids in the North Sea and English Channel.

After the armistice, Ruge was an officer aboard the German destroyer B-112, interned at Scapa Flow and in June 1919, he played a role in the scuttling of the German Fleet.

Returning to Germany to continue his naval career in the service of the new Weimar Republic, for the next two decades he concentrated on mines and mine warfare. From 1921 to 1923, he commanded a minesweeper. In the UK during the 1930s he met an ex British sailor at a regatta,

  1. redirect Template:Red links, whose ship, the HMS Partridge was sunk in 1917 by the SMS V100, the ship that Ruge had been serving on. The V100 was the ship that rescued Grey from the water after the sinking and the pair became friends after meeting, their friendship only interrupted by World War II.[1] After studies at Berlin Institute of Technology, he was the senior officer of a flotilla of minesweepers, and, in 1937, achieved the top post in that division.

In World War II, he was a part of the Polish Campaign in 1939 and the North Sea-English Channel operations during 1940. From 1940 to 1943, he was stationed in France, rising through the upper ranks to become Vice Admiral in 1943. Sent to Italy in 1943, he served as Senior German Naval Officer until mid-summer. He was appointed as Naval Advisor to Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in November 1943 to supervise the defense of northern France from the predicted Allied invasion. He had no faith in land mines and artillery shells struck underwater, but the marine mines he wanted weren't available. In August 1944, he became the Kriegsmarine's Director of Ship Construction, a position in which he served till the end of World War II.

At the end World War II, he became a POW. In 1946, he started a new life as a translator, writer and educator in Cuxhaven. He was one of four Flag Officers who made up the Naval Historical Team at Bremerhaven, sponsored by the United States Navy.

He entered politics as a political independent to the Cuxhaven Town Council.

During the early 1950s, he advised as to how the navy could be restructured in the new Bundesmarine, as detailed in Searle's Wehrmacht Generals. Called out of retirement when Germany became a part of NATO, Ruge was appointed Inspector of the Navy (a position similar to the U.S. Chief of Naval Operations), a post he occupied until 1961.

Afterward, he became a member of the faculty at the University of Tübingen, eventually becoming an Associate Professor on 21 July 1967 there. He was a guest lecturer at many universities, including the U.S. Naval War College at Newport.

Admiral Ruge was one of the umpires for the 1974 Sandhurst wargame on Operation Sea Lion.

He died in 1985.

Literary works

Ruge was the author of several books, including The Soviets as Naval Opponents, 1941-1945, written for Annapolis Naval Institute in 1979, and Rommel in Normandy, written in 1959.

Quoted at Normandy: Utilization of the Anglo-American air forces is the modern type of warfare, turning the flank not from the side but from above.

In the movie "The Longest Day" (1962), he played himself, and was a consultant to the film.


Wehrmachtbericht reference

Date Original German Wehrmachtbericht wording Direct English translation
Monday, 16 February 1942 An dem Gelingen des Durchbruchs unserer Seestreitkräfte durch den Kanal haben die unter Führung von Kapitän zur See und Kommodore Ruge stehenden Minensuch- und Räumboote sowie Sicherungsfahrzeuge hervorragenden Anteil.[5] In the breakthrough success of our naval forces through the channel, under the leadership of Captain at Sea and Commodore Ruge subordinated mine detection and minesweepers and patrol vessels had a prominent part.



  1. Jasper Copping (15 September 2013). "How WW1 sailor saved his life by laying it down for a friend". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 5 December 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Dörr 1996, p. 191.
  3. Fellgiebel 2000, p. 367.
  4. Scherzer 2007, p. 645.
  5. Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 2, p. 36.


  • Dörr, Manfred (1996). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Überwasserstreitkräfte der Kriegsmarine—Band 2: L–Z (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2497-6. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000) [1986]. Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 — Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtteile (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Range, Clemens (1974). Die Ritterkreuzträger der Kriegsmarine. Stuttgart, Germany: Motorbuch Verlag. ISBN 978-3-87943-355-1. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Ruge, Friedrich (1984). Rommel in Normandy.
  • Ruge, Friedrich (1979). The Soviets as Naval Opponents, 1941-1945.
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Searle, Alaric (2003). Wehrmacht Generals, West German Society, and the Debate on Rearmament, 1949-1959. Westport, Connecticut USA: Praeger Pub.
  • Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 2, 1. January 1942 bis 31. Dezember 1943 (in German). München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985. ISBN 978-3-423-05944-2. Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links