Gerhard Wagner (admiral)

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Gerhard Wagner
Born (1898-11-23)23 November 1898
Schwerin, Germany
Died 26 June 1987(1987-06-26) (aged 88)
Altenkirchen, Germany
Rank Konteradmiral (rear admiral)
Commands held COMNAVBALTAP (1961–1962)
Battles/wars World War II

Gerhard Wagner (23 November 1898 – 26 June 1987) was a German naval officer, who ended his career as a Konteradmiral (rear admiral) of the German Navy of West Germany.


Born in Schwerin, Wagner joined the Imperial German Navy on 4 July 1916.

Wagner campaign

At the beginning of the Second World War, Wagner was Naval Attaché in Madrid, Spain. The Wagner campaign was named after him: From January to August 1940, 300 tons of strategic commodities, mainly tungsten, were exported from Spain to the German Reich. The transaction was accounted with deliveries of German arms, mercenary services and transports to Spain. Still after 1 September 1939, the outbreak of World War II, airplane parts were delivered to Spain. The German exports to Spain which had increased during the Spanish Civil War were mainly carried out seaborne. With the outbreak of World War II the Allies tried to block this sea route. The Wagner campaign was devised to make German cargo ships that were stuck in Spanish ports change their flags and partially subscribe them to Spanish entrepreneur Juan March.[1]


File:POW record Gerhard Wagner.jpg
Wagner's POW record, and his fingerprints

During the Second World War, Wagner became head of the Operational Department of the naval staff. At the end of the war, Wagner together with the supreme commander of the Kriegsmarine, Hans Georg von Friedeburg, visited British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery and negotiated a partial surrender of the German forces in northern Germany at Lüneburg Heath on 4 May 1945.[2]

Nuremberg Trials

Wagner gave testimony on 13 and 14 May 1946 at the Nuremberg Trials.[3]

Post-war period

In the postwar period Wagner was a member of the Naval Historical Team Bremerhaven, a group of German officers appointed by the United States Navy to work the up war experiences of German naval forces from a German point of view. In this context, the report 1949, Soviet anti-submarine warfare potential (A historical summary of soviet anti-submarine warfare (ASW) operations during World War II) was published wherein he described the missions of German U-boats U-9, U-18, U-19, U-20, U-23, U-24, U-576, U-752, U-986, and U-997 in the years from 1942 to 1945. In 1951 he wrote "Critique on Vice-Admiral Eberhard Weichold's essay on 'German surface ships—policy and operations in World War II'(promulgated in ONI GHS / 4)".[4] In this context, two documents known as Bremerhaven or Wagner memoranda were written on the construction of a new German Navy: "Aufbau eines deutschen Marinekontingents im Rahmen deutscher Mitwirkung an der Verteidigung Westeuropas [Establishment of a German naval contingent in the frame of a German involvement in the defense of Western Europe]", the so-called Wagner's memorandum, March 1951, and "Ausführungen des deutschen Marinesachverständigen, Konteradmiral a.D. Gerhard Wagner über Fragen des deutschen Marinebeitrages [Explanations by German naval expert Rear Admiral (ret.) Gerhard Wagner on questions of the German naval contribution]", 8 February 1952.[4]

German Federal Navy

In the Navy of West Germany Wagner became deputy of Navy Inspector Friedrich Ruge. He was the first flag officer to hold the position of the integrated NATO Commander Naval Forces Baltic Approaches (COMNAVBALTAP, 1961 to 1962), in the beginning called Commander Allied Naval Forces Northern Area Central Europe (COMNAVNORCHENT). In this role, he held the temporary rank of Vice Admiral.

He died in Altenkirchen.


  1. Leitz, Christian (1996). Economic Relations Between Nazi Germany and Franco's Spain. Clarendon Press. p. 120. ISBN 978-0-19-820645-3.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Madsen, Chris (1998). The Royal Navy and German Naval Disarmament, 1942-1947. Routledge/Curzon. p. 120. ISBN 978-0-7146-4373-1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Nuremberg Trial Proceedings Volume 13: One Hundred and Twentieth Day to the One Hundred and Twenty Nineth (sic) Day". Avalon Project, Yale Law School. Retrieved May 7, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 Menzel, Thomas (January 2006). "Naval Historical Team" (in German). German Federal Archives. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Further reading

  • Hildebrand, Hans H.; Rövekamp, Markus; Henriot, Ernest, eds. (1990). Deutschlands Generale und Admirale (in German). 3, Deutschlands Admirale 1849–1945. PZ (Packroß – Zuckschwerdt). Osnabrück: Biblio-Verlag. pp. 500–501. ISBN 3-7648-2482-4. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
Military offices
New title Deputy Inspector of the Navy
June 1957 – Mai 1961
Succeeded by
Flottillenadmiral Alfred Schumann