It led planning and execution of naval combat and directed the distribution of naval forces. In the Second World War their competence was limited to except-domestic sea-areas, where the naval group commands did not possess the operational guidance. Also the submarine war was subordinate to another force, the commander of the submarines (BdU).
The Chief of Staff of the Seekriegsleitung during the First World War was Reinhard Scheer.
The Chiefs of Staff of the Seekriegsleitung during the Second World War were:
- October 1938 to 10 June 1941: Admiral Otto Schniewind
- until 20 February 1943: Admiral Kurt Fricke
- to end of war: Admiral Wilhelm Meisel
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