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Rolf Mützelburg

Rolf Mützelburg

German World War II U-boat commander
The basics
Quick Facts
Occupations Korvettenkapitän Submariner
Countries Germany
Gender male
Birth June 23, 1913 (Kiel)
Death September 11, 1942 (Atlantic Ocean)
The details

Rolf Mützelburg (23 June 1913 – 11 September 1942) was a German U-boat commander during World War II and a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves of Nazi Germany. Mützelburg died on active service on 11 September 1942 following an accident at sea.


Mützelburg joined the Reichsmarine of the Weimar Republic on 1 April 1932 as member of "Crew 32" (the incoming class of 1932). After spending two years on minesweepers, in October 1939 he joined the U-boat arm. He spent five months commanding the school boat U-10 from June to November 1940 as part of 21st U-boat Flotilla, receiving his first combat experience aboard U-100 under Joachim Schepke. He commissioned U-203 into 1st U-boat Flotilla in February 1941. On his eight patrols in the Atlantic, the US east coast, and the Caribbean Sea, he sank 19 ships for a total of 81,961 gross register tons (GRT), and damaged three more (17,052 GRT).

Mützelburg died on 11 September 1942 in a freak accident. He was swimming in the Atlantic south-west of the Azores, and dove from the conning tower, but struck the deck head-first when the U-boat suddenly lurched in the swell. The supply U-boat U-462 arrived the next day with a doctor on board, but too late, and Mützelburg was buried at sea on 12 September 1942.

Summary of career

Ships attacked

Date Ship Nationality GRT Convoy Fate
24 June 1941 Kinross  United Kingdom 4,956 OB-336 Sunk
24 June 1941 Soløy  Norway 4,402 HX-133 Sunk
27 July 1941 Hawkinge  United Kingdom 2,475 OG-69 Sunk
28 July 1941 Lapland  United Kingdom 1,330 OG-69 Sunk
28 July 1941 Norita  Sweden 1,516 OG-69 Sunk
26 September 1941 Avoceta  United Kingdom 3,442 HG-73 Sunk
26 September 1941 Lapwing  United Kingdom 1,348 HG-73 Sunk
26 September 1941 Varangberg  Norway 2,842 HG-73 Sunk
3 November 1941 Empire Gemsbuck  United Kingdom 5,626 SC-52 Sunk
3 November 1941 Everoja  United Kingdom 4,830 SC-52 Sunk
15 January 1942 Catalina  Portugal 632 Sunk
17 January 1942 Octavian  Norway 1,345 Sunk
21 January 1942 North Gaspe  Canada 888 Damaged
10 April 1942 San Delfino  United Kingdom 8,072 Sunk
11 April 1942 Harry F. Sinclair, Jr.  United States 6,151 Damaged
12 April 1942 Stanvac Melbourne  Panama 10,013 Damaged
14 April 1942 Empire Thrush  United Kingdom 6,160 Sunk
26 June 1942 Pedrinhas  Brazil 3,666 Sunk
26 June 1942 Putney Hill  United Kingdom 5,216 Sunk
28 June 1942 Sam Houston  United States 7,176 Sunk
9 July 1942 Cape Verde  United Kingdom 6,914 Sunk
11 July 1942 Stanvac Palembang  Panama 10,013 Sunk


  • Wehrmacht Long Service Award 4th Class (15 August 1936)
  • Iron Cross (1939) 2nd Class (1 July 1941) & 1st Class (1 July 1941)
  • U-boat War Badge (1939) (1 July 1941)
  • Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
    • Knight's Cross on 17 November 1941 as Kapitänleutnant and commander of U-203
    • 104th Oak Leaves on 15 July 1942 as Kapitänleutnant and commander of U-203
  • Mentioned three times in the Wehrmachtbericht on 30 July 1941, 20 April 1942 and 15 September 1942

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