Ulrich Borcherdt

Korvettenkapitän (Crew 33)

4 ships sunk, total tonnage 22,734 GRT
1 auxiliary warship sunk, total tonnage 655 GRT

Born  13 Sep 1909 Görlitz
Died  27 Mar 1942(32)North Atlantic

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1 Apr 1933 Offiziersanwärter
1 Jul 1934 Fähnrich zur See
1 Aug 1936 Oberfähnrich zur See
1 Oct 1936 Leutnant zur See
1 Jun 1938 Oberleutnant zur See
1 Oct 1939 Kapitänleutnant
1 Mar 1942 Korvettenkapitän


1940 Minesweeper War Badge
1942 Iron Cross 2nd Class
1 Feb 1942 U-boat War Badge 1939

U-boat Commands

U-8 26 Apr 1941 22 May 1941   No war patrols 
U-587 11 Sep 1941 27 Mar 1942  (+)  2 patrols (68 days) 

Ulrich Borcherdt joined the Kriegsmarine in 1933. He commanded Schiff 26 from Oct to Nov 1939, then commanded Schiff 47 until March 1940 when he took command of Schiff 111 until April 1940. From April to May 1940 he commanded harbour defences at Bergen, Norway immediately after its capture during the German invasion of Norway. He then moved to Molde in Norway and commanded its Harbour Defences until Oct 1940 (Busch & Röll, 1999).

He went through U-boat training from Oct 1940 to March 1941, then began his U-boat Commander training with the 24th Flotilla lasting until 25 April 1941. Borcherdt briefly commanded the small school boat U-8 with the 22nd Flotilla from 26 Apr 1941 to 22 May 1941 (Busch & Röll, 1999).

Kptlt. Ulrich Borcherdt was with the 7th Flotilla and was sent to the U-553 (Kptlt. Karl Thurmann) as Commander in training from 23 May to 11 August 1941 (Busch & Röll, 1999). He went out on 1 patrol, 43 days, into the North Atlantic. They sank 2 ships with a total of almost 8,000 GRT during the patrol (Rohwer, 1998)

First front-line command

Borcherdt then went through U-boat familiarization (Baubelehrung) programme to prepare for his own new boat from Aug to Sept 1941. On 11 Sept 1941 Kptlt. Ulrich Borcherdt commissioned the brand new U-587 at Hamburg (Busch & Röll, 1999). The boat then went into the Baltic for training and work-up trials.

On 8 Jan 1942 Borcherdt took the U-587 out for its first war patrol. He arrived 24 days later at his new base at St. Nazaire, France on 31 Jan 1942 (Busch & Röll, 1997).

On 12 Feb 1942 Kptlt. Ulrich Borcherdt left St. Nazaire for his second patrol, heading for Canadian waters (Busch & Röll, 1997). On 1 March he was promoted to Korvettenkapitän. He sank 5 ships on this patrol with a total of 23,389 GRT (Rohwer, 1998).

The motor tanker Anadara sunk by U-587 (Borcherdt) on 24 Feb 1942.
Photo Courtesy of Library of Contemporary History, Stuttgart

KrvKpt. Ulrich Borcherdt was lost with his entire crew of 42 men when his inbound U-587 was sunk on 27 March 1942 in the North Atlantic by depth charges from the British escort destroyers HMS Grove and HMS Aldenham, and the British destroyers HMS Volunteer and HMS Leamington (Niestlé, 1998).


Busch, R. and Röll, H-J. (1999). German U-boat commanders of World War II.
Busch, R. and Röll, H-J. (1997). Der U-Bootkrieg 1939-1945 (Band 2).
Niestlé, A. (1998). German U-boat losses during World War II.
Rohwer, J. (1998). Axis Submarine Successes of World War Two.

Patrol info for Ulrich Borcherdt

 U-boat Departure Arrival  
1. U-587 8 Jan 1942  Kiel  31 Jan 1942  St. Nazaire  Patrol 1,24 days
2. U-587 12 Feb 1942  St. Nazaire  27 Mar 1942  Sunk  Patrol 2,44 days
2 patrols, 68 days at sea

Ships hit by Ulrich Borcherdt

Date U-boat Name of ship Tons Nat. Convoy
24 Feb 1942U-587 Anadara8,009brONS-67
6 Mar 1942U-587 Hans Egede900go
8 Mar 1942U-587 HMS Northern Princess (4.06)655br
9 Mar 1942U-587 Lily5,719grON-68
23 Mar 1942U-587 Diala8,106brON-52

5 ships sunk (23,389 tons).

We have a picture of this vessel.

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

Listing of all U-boat commanders

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