Wolfgang Wenzel

Kapitänleutnant (Crew 34)

No ships sunk or damaged.

Born  29 Mar 1910 Dresden
Died  14 Apr 1992(82)


8 Apr 1934 Offiziersanwärter
1 Jul 1935 Fähnrich zur See
1 Jan 1937 Oberfähnrich zur See
1 Apr 1937 Leutnant zur See
1 Apr 1939 Oberleutnant zur See
1 Apr 1942 Kapitänleutnant


U-boat Commands

U-231 14 Nov 1942 13 Jan 1944   3 patrols (125 days) 

Wolfgang Wenzel served on the pocket battleship Graf Spee before the war, and from the start of the war until the end of 1941 as navigation officer on the commerce raider Atlantis.

After commander training and Baubelehrung (U-boat construction familiarization) while U-231 was being built at Kiel, he commissioned her at the end of 1942, commanding her until she was sunk in 1944.

When the damaged-beyond-repair U-231 was abandoned, Wenzel, "apparently in a state of despondence attempted suicide by firing a revolver bullet to the mouth". Incredibly, the bullet lodged in the back of his throat without causing serious damage. All 50 men from the boat escaped from the wreck, but seven died of exposure before the rest were rescued by Allied destroyers. The bullet was removed from Wenzel's throat by a doctor on the American escort carrier USS Block Island (Blair, 1998).

Wolfgang Wenzel on the bridge.

After his lucky reprieve, Kptlt. Wenzel spent time in POW camp in Arizona, and was released on May 17 1946.

Wolfgang Wenzel was formerly a merchant navy officer, and resumed that career after the war. (Rust, 2009).


Blair, C. (1998). Hitler’s U-boat War. The Hunted, 1942-1945.
Busch, R. and Röll, H-J. (1999). German U-boat commanders of World War II.
Rust, E. (2009) E-mail correspondence. Author of Naval Officers under Hitler.

Patrol info for Wolfgang Wenzel

 U-boat Departure Arrival  
1. U-231 13 Apr 1943  Kiel  31 May 1943  La Pallice  Patrol 1,49 days
2. U-231 27 Jul 1943  La Pallice  29 Jul 1943  La Pallice   3 days
3. U-231 23 Sep 1943  La Pallice  24 Sep 1943  Bordeaux   2 days
4. U-231 27 Sep 1943  Bordeaux  22 Nov 1943  La Pallice  Patrol 2,57 days
5. U-231 26 Dec 1943  La Pallice  13 Jan 1944  Sunk  Patrol 3,19 days
3 patrols, 125 days at sea

About ranks and decorations
Ranks shown in italics are our database inserts based on the rank dates of his crew comrades. The officers of each crew would normally have progressed through the lower ranks at the same rate.

Media links

German U-boat Commanders of World War II

Busch, Rainer and Röll, Hans-Joachim

Naval Officers Under Hitler

Rust, Eric C.

Listing of all U-boat commanders

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