Adalbert Schnee joined the German Navy in April of 1934 and served several months aboard the light cruiser Leipzig. In 1937, he joined the U-boat service and spent two pre-war years aboard U-23 under the command of Otto Kretschmer. His first five patrols were spent with Kretschmer before he recieved his own boat, U-201. It was with this boat that he would have great success and on his seventh patrol, he sunk a total of 41,036 tons and was awarded the Oak Leaves to the his Knights Cross.

In October of 1942, Schnee joined the command staff, or BdU where he planned and organized the patrol against Allied convoys. His time spent here was very successful as Schnee was gifted with organizational and leadership skills. However, he never lost the love for his own command.

In 1944, Schnee took over the command of the new "Elektro-boot", U-2511. This was first Type XXI boat to venture out on patrol. After receiving the cease-fire order, he simulated an attack on the British cruiser, HMS Norfolk, to better test out the new class of ship.

Once the war ended, Schnee spent time in a minesweeper unit. In October of 1945, he was asked to testify in the Peleus Affair in international court. However, in his testimony Schnee was forced to admit that he would not have done what Heinz-Wilhelm Eck had done.

Schnee died in Hamburg in 1982 as the top U-boat Ace, sinking the most tonnage of any commander.

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