Bernhard Zurmühlen

Korvettenkapitän (Crew 33)

5 ships sunk, total tonnage 28,600 GRT
3 ships damaged, total tonnage 19,230 GRT

Born  23 Feb 1909 Bielefeld
Died  25 Nov 1943(34)north of Punta Delgada, Azores

Bernhard Zurmühlen on the left.


11 Apr 1934 Offiziersanwärter
1 Jul 1934 Fähnrich zur See
1 Apr 1936 Oberfähnrich zur See
1 Oct 1936 Leutnant zur See
1 Jun 1938 Oberleutnant zur See
1 Apr 1940 Kapitänleutnant
1 Nov 1943 Korvettenkapitän


1939 Iron Cross 2nd Class
Nov, 1941 Fleet War Badge
23 Sep 1942 U-boat War Badge 1939
Dec, 1942 Iron Cross 1st Class
27 Feb 1943 German Cross in Gold

U-boat Commands

U-600 11 Dec 1941 25 Nov 1943  (+)  6 patrols (278 days) 

Bernhard Zurmühlen joined the Reichsmarine in 1933. He served as a Radio Technical Officer on the old training battleship Schleswig-Holstein Aug 1939 - Aug 1940. From Aug to Nov 1940 he was based at Bruges, after which he became an instructor at the Signals School at Mürwik Naval Academy until March 1941 (Busch & Röll, 1999).

He went through U-boat training from March to July 1941, when he began his U-boat Commander training with the 24th (Training) Flotilla. In Sept 1941 Bernhard Zurmühlen graduated and was assigned as supernumerary Watch Officer (WO) to U-331 (Kptlt. Freiherr Hans-Diedrich von Tiesenhausen). He went on two patrols: on the first they managed to enter the Mediterranean past the heavily defended Straits of Gibraltar, and on the second sank the British battleship HMS Barham on 25 Nov 1941 (Rohwer, 1998).

Bernhard Zurmühlen then attended U-boat construction familiarization (Baubelehrung) to prepare for his own command. He commissioned the type VIIC U-boat U-600 on 11 Dec 1941, andfter training in the Baltic during the winter the boat left for its first war patrol on 14 July 1942 (Busch & Röll, 1999).

Kptlt. Zurmühlen took U-600 on five patrols, sinking five ships (28,600 tons) and damaging three (19,230 tons). In March 1943 he fought in one of the largest convoy battles of the war, as part of Wolfpack Raubgraf, against convoy HX 229. U-600 was one of the most successful boats, with one large ship sunk and two damaged (Rohwer, 1998).

The newly-promoted KrvKpt. Zurmühlen was lost with the entire crew of 54 when U-600 was sunk on 25 Nov 1943 in the North Atlantic north of Ponta Delgada by depth charges from the British frigates HMS Bazely and HMS Blackwood (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 Bernhard Zurmühlen

 U-boat Departure Arrival  
1. U-600 14 Jul 1942  Kiel  22 Sep 1942  La Pallice  Patrol 1,71 days
2. U-600 22 Nov 1942  La Pallice  27 Dec 1942  La Pallice  Patrol 2,36 days
3. U-600 11 Feb 1943  La Pallice  26 Mar 1943  La Pallice  Patrol 3,44 days
4. U-600 25 Apr 1943  La Pallice  11 May 1943  La Pallice  Patrol 4,17 days
5. U-600 12 Jun 1943  La Pallice  10 Sep 1943  Brest  Patrol 5,91 days
6. U-600 7 Nov 1943  Brest  25 Nov 1943  Sunk  Patrol 6,19 days
6 patrols, 278 days at sea

Ships hit by Bernhard Zurmühlen

Date U-boat Name of ship Tons Nat. Convoy
10 Aug 1942U-600 Vivian P. Smith130br
13 Aug 1942U-600 Delmundo5,032amTAW-12
13 Aug 1942U-600 Everelza4,520leTAW-12
8 Dec 1942U-600 James McKay6,762amHX-217
24 Feb 1943U-600 Ingria (d.)4,391nwON-166
17 Mar 1943U-600 Irénée Du Pont (d.)6,125amHX-229
17 Mar 1943U-600 Nariva (d.)8,714brHX-229
17 Mar 1943U-600 Southern Princess12,156brHX-229

5 ships sunk (28,600 tons) and 3 ships damaged (19,230 tons).

We have a picture of this vessel.
(d.) means the ship was damaged.

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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