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|
|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 German Navy (Reichsmarine) in 1925. He began his U-boat training in May 1937. Upon completing the training in late August he took command of U-32.
During the second patrol of U-32, a mine-laying in Bristol Channel, during Sept 1939 Büchel sank 2 vessels by torpedoes and two large freighters were damaged in the otherwise unproductive minefield.
On completing the third patrol with U-32, a planned mine-laying in the dangerous waters of Firth of Clyde, on 22 Jan 1940 Chief of U-boats Dönitz was unhappy with Korvettenkapitän Paul Büchel's decision to abandon the intended destination just a few miles off and putting his 8 mines in deeper waters (where they did not explode). This mission had been designed to sink a capital ship with the new and powerful TMC mines (Blair, 1996). Dönitz wrote that the explanation from the commander had been "unconvincing" and the mission had been "a difficult one - too difficult for this commanding officer" (BdU War diary).
Büchel was thus relieved of command from U 32 on 11 Feb 1940 and served in several training staff positions until taking command of the larger U-860 on 12 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
|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 1939||U-32||Kensington Court||4,863||br|
|28 Sep 1939||U-32||Jern||875||nw|
|5 Oct 1939||U-32||Marwarri (d.) [Mine]||8,063||br|
|6 Oct 1939||U-32||Lochgoil (d.) [Mine]||9,462||br|
|31 Dec 1939||U-32||Luna||959||nw|
3 ships sunk (6,697 tons) and 2 ships damaged (17,525 tons).
About ranks and decorations
Special thanks to Fernando Almeida for data on ranks and decorations.