VizeadmiralLothar von Arnauld de la Perière (German: [ˈloːtaʁ fɔn ʔaʁˈnoː də la peˈʁi̯ɛːɐ̯]; March 18, 1886 – February 24, 1941), born in Posen (now Poznań, Poland) and of French-German descent, was a German U-boat commander during World War I. With 194 ships and 453,716 gross register tons (GRT) sunk, he is the most successful submarine captain ever. His victories came in the Mediterranean, almost always using his 8.8-cm deck gun. During his career he fired 74 torpedoes, hitting 39 times.
Arnauld de la Perière remained in the German Navy (Reichsmarine) after the war ended. During World War II, he was recalled to active duty as a rear admiral, and was killed in a plane crash near Paris in 1941 while taking part in secret negotiations with the Vichy French government.
Arnauld de la Perière entered the Kaiserliche Marine in 1903. After serving on the battleships SMS Kurfürst Friedrich Wilhelm, Schlesien and Schleswig-Holstein, he served as torpedo officer on the light cruiser SMS Emden from 1911 to 1913.
At the outbreak of the First World War, Arnauld de la Perière served as an adjutant to admiral Hugo von Pohl in Berlin. Upon the mobilization, he was transferred to an active post where he served in the Marine-Luftschiff-Abteilung. In 1915, Arnauld de la Perière transferred to the U-boats. After a course in Pula, he was given command of the U-35 in November 1915. He made 14 voyages with the U-35 during which he sank 189 merchant vessels and two gunboats for a total of 446,708 GRT. One of his victories was the French troop carrier SS Gallia, which sank with great loss of life. Transferred to the U-139 in May 1918, he sank a further five ships with a combined tonnage of 7,008 GRT. His record number of sunken tonnage and number of sunken ships is unsurpassed since then. For his service, he was awarded the Iron Cross, second and first class, and the Pour le Mérite in 1916.