Paul Büchel

Fregattenkapitän (Crew 25)

3 ships sunk, total tonnage 6,697 GRT
2 ships damaged, total tonnage 17,525 GRT

Born  3 Aug 1907 Greifenberg, Pomerania
Died  2 Feb 1986(78)

FrgKpt. Paul Büchel, probably after capture by US Navy


1 Apr 1925 Offiziersanwärter
16 Nov 1925 Seekadett
1 Apr 1927 Fähnrich zur See
1 Jun 1928 Oberfähnrich zur See
1 Oct 1929 Leutnant zur See
1 Jul 1931 Oberleutnant zur See
1 Oct 1935 Kapitänleutnant
1 Jan 1940 Korvettenkapitän
1 Oct 1943 Fregattenkapitän


6 Jun 1939 Spanish Cross in Bronze without Swords
1 Oct 1939 Iron Cross 2nd Class
Jan 1940 Iron Cross 1st Class
23 Jan 1940 U-boat War Badge 1939

U-boat Commands

U-32 16 Aug 1937 11 Feb 1940   3 patrols (58 days) 
U-860 12 Aug 1943 15 Jun 1944   1 patrol (66 days) 

Paul Büchel joined the Reichsmarine in 1925. After seeing service (but not combat) in the Spanish Civil War, he underwent U-boat training, and took command of the type VIIA U-32 in August 1937.

During his second patrol in U-32, mine-laying in the Bristol Channel, Büchel sank two vessels with torpedoes, and two large freighters were damaged by mines U-32 had laid.

For the third patrol, Büchel's mission was to lay mines in the hazardous and well-defended waters of the Firth of Clyde, but he set them in deeper water outside the Firth, where they found no victims. The eight mines U-32 was carrying were the new and more powerful TCM model, and it was hoped they would sink a capital ship (Blair, 1996). BdU Dönitz was unimpressed by Büchel's performance of his duty. He noted that the explanation from the commander had been "unconvincing" and that the mission had been "a difficult one - too difficult for this commanding officer" (BdU War diary).

Krvtkpt. Büchel was relieved of his command on 11 Feb 1940, and subsequently served in several staff positions with training units before being given a boat again, the larger long range U-860, in August 1943. On 15 June 1944, 66 days into his first patrol, en route to the Far East as a Monsun boat, the boat was sunk by aircraft from the escort carrier USS Solomons. Büchel and 19 of his men survived, but 42 died.


BdU War diary (22 Jan 1940). 16 - 30 Jan 1940. PG number 30256.
Blair, C. (1996). Hitler’s U-boat War. The Hunters, 1939-1942.
Busch, R and Röll, H-J. (1998). German U-boat commanders of World War II.

Patrol info for Paul Büchel

 U-boat Departure Arrival  
1. U-32 27 Aug 1939  Memel  1 Sep 1939  Kiel  Patrol 1,6 days
2. U-32 5 Sep 1939  Kiel  30 Sep 1939  Wilhelmshaven  Patrol 2,26 days
3. U-32 28 Dec 1939  Wilhelmshaven  22 Jan 1940  Wilhelmshaven  Patrol 3,26 days
4. U-860 11 Apr 1944  Kiel  15 Jun 1944  Sunk  Patrol 4,66 days
4 patrols, 124 days at sea

Ships hit by Paul Büchel

Date U-boat Name of ship Tons Nat. Convoy
18 Sep 1939U-32 Kensington Court4,863br
28 Sep 1939U-32 Jern875nw
5 Oct 1939U-32 Marwarri (d.) [Mine]8,063br
6 Oct 1939U-32 Lochgoil (d.) [Mine]9,462br
31 Dec 1939U-32 Luna959nw

3 ships sunk (6,697 tons) and 2 ships damaged (17,525 tons).

We have a picture of this vessel.
(d.) means the ship was damaged.
[Mine] indicates the vessel was hit by a mine laid by said U-boat.

About ranks and decorations
Special thanks to Fernando Almeida for data on ranks and decorations.

Media links

German U-boat Commanders of World War II

Busch, Rainer and Röll, Hans-Joachim

Listing of all U-boat commanders

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