Rolf Mützelburg

Kapitänleutnant (Crew 32)

17 ships sunk, total tonnage 79,268 GRT
3 ships damaged, total tonnage 17,052 GRT

Born  23 Jun 1913 Kiel
Died  11 Sep 1942(29)Northern Atlantic

Kapitänleutnant Rolf Mützelburg


1 Apr 1932 Offiziersanwärter
4 Nov 1932 Seekadett
1 Jan 1934 Fähnrich zur See
1 Sep 1935 Oberfähnrich zur See
1 Jan 1936 Leutnant zur See
1 Oct 1937 Oberleutnant zur See
1 Jan 1940 Kapitänleutnant


1 Jul 1941 Iron Cross 2nd Class
1 Jul 1941 Iron Cross 1st Class
1 Jul 1941 U-boat War Badge 1939
17 Nov 1941 Knights Cross
15 Jul 1942 Knights Cross with Oak Leaves

U-boat Commands

U-10 10 Jun 1940 29 Nov 1940   No war patrols 
U-203 18 Feb 1941 11 Sep 1942  (+)  8 patrols (242 days) 

Oblt. Rolf Mützelburg joined the U-boat arm in October 1939, following two years service on minesweepers. After five months on a school boat, he received his first experience of active service on Schepke's U-100. He commissioned U-203 in February 1941. On patrols in the Atlantic, off the US east coast, and the Caribbean, he sank 19 ships and damaged three others (Rohwer, 1998).

Kapitänleutnant Mützelburg onboard U203 with his chief engineer (LI)

Kptlt. Rolf Mützelburg died on 11 September 1942 in a freak accident. Taking the opportunity to go swimming in the Atlantic southwest of the Azores, he dived from the conning tower and struck the deck with his head and shoulder when the boat lurched suddenly in the swell *. The doctor of the milch cow U-462 arrived the next day, but too late, and Rolf Mützelburg was buried at sea on 12 September 1942 in position 36.14N, 31.21W.

On 15 September 1942 the daily Wehrmachtsbericht (Armed Forces Bulletin) announced :

Kapitänleutnant Rolf Mützelburg, Kommandant eines Unterseebootes, Träger des Eichenlaubes zum Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes, ließ auf der Fahrt gegen den Feind sein Leben. In ihm verliert die Unterseebootwaffe einen hervorragender Kommandanten und erfolgreichen Kämpfer. Das Boot setzt unter dem Kommando des ältesten Wachoffiziers die Unternehmung fort.

(Kapitänleutnant Rolf Mützelburg, U-boat commander, recipient of the Knights Cross with Oak Leaves, lost his life on war patrol. The U-boat arm has lost an outstanding commander and a successful fighter. The boat continues her patrol under the command of the senior watch officer.)

* Teddy Suhren in his biography states that Mützelburg struck the saddle tanks, not the deck.


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).
Rohwer, J. (1998). Axis Submarine Successes of World War Two.
Suhren, T. (2006). Teddy Suhren, ace of aces.

Patrol info for Rolf Mützelburg

 U-boat Departure Arrival  
1. U-203 5 Jun 1941  Kiel  29 Jun 1941  St. Nazaire  Patrol 1,25 days
2. U-203 10 Jul 1941  St. Nazaire  31 Jul 1941  St. Nazaire  Patrol 2,22 days
3. U-203 20 Sep 1941  St. Nazaire  30 Sep 1941  Brest  Patrol 3,11 days
4. U-203 18 Oct 1941  Brest  12 Nov 1941  Brest  Patrol 4,26 days
5. U-203 25 Dec 1941  Brest  29 Jan 1942  Brest  Patrol 5,36 days
6. U-203 12 Mar 1942  Brest  30 Apr 1942  Brest  Patrol 6,50 days
7. U-203 3 Jun 1942  Brest  4 Jun 1942  Lorient   2 days
8. U-203 4 Jun 1942  Lorient  29 Jul 1942  Brest  Patrol 7,56 days
9. U-203 27 Aug 1942  Brest  11 Sep 1942  *died at sea*  Patrol 8,16 days
8 patrols, 242 days at sea

Ships hit by Rolf Mützelburg

Date U-boat Commander Name of ship Tons Nat. Convoy
24 Jun 1941U-203Rolf Mützelburg Soløy4,402nwHX-133
24 Jun 1941U-203Rolf Mützelburg Kinross4,956brOB-336
27 Jul 1941U-203Rolf Mützelburg Hawkinge2,475brOG-69
28 Jul 1941U-203Rolf Mützelburg Lapland1,330brOG-69
28 Jul 1941U-203Rolf Mützelburg Norita1,516swOG-69
26 Sep 1941U-203Rolf Mützelburg Avoceta3,442brHG-73
26 Sep 1941U-203Rolf Mützelburg Varangberg2,842nwHG-73
3 Nov 1941U-203Rolf Mützelburg Empire Gemsbuck5,626brSC-52
3 Nov 1941U-203Rolf Mützelburg Everoja4,830brSC-52
15 Jan 1942U-203Rolf Mützelburg Catalina632pt
21 Jan 1942U-203Rolf Mützelburg North Gaspe (d.)888ca
10 Apr 1942U-203Rolf Mützelburg San Delfino8,072br
11 Apr 1942U-203Rolf Mützelburg Harry F. Sinclair, Jr. (d.)6,151am
12 Apr 1942U-203Rolf Mützelburg Stanvac Melbourne (d.)10,013pa
14 Apr 1942U-203Rolf Mützelburg Empire Thrush6,160br
26 Jun 1942U-203Rolf Mützelburg Putney Hill5,216br
26 Jun 1942U-203Rolf Mützelburg Pedrinhas3,666bz
28 Jun 1942U-203Rolf Mützelburg Sam Houston7,176am
9 Jul 1942U-203Rolf Mützelburg Cape Verde6,914br
11 Jul 1942U-203Rolf Mützelburg Stanvac Palembang10,013pa

17 ships sunk (79,268 tons) and 3 ships damaged (17,052 tons).

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

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.

Men who sank over 50,000 tons

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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