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Waldemar Mehl

German World War II U-boat commander
The basics
About
Occupation Korvettenkapitän Submariner
Country Germany
Date of birth Grävenwiesbach, Hochtaunuskreis, Darmstadt Government Region, Hesse
Date of death Mar 29, 1996 Wiesbaden, Darmstadt Government Region, Hesse, Germany
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, German Cross in Gold, Spanish Cross, U-boat Front Clasp
The details
Biography

Waldemar Mehl (7 September 1914 in Grävenwiesbach, Hesse – 29 March 1996 in Wiesbaden) was a German U-boat commander during World War II, and recipient of the (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes). The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.

Career

Mehl joined the Kriegsmarine on 28 March 1933, and served a tour on SSS Gorch Fock, the light cruisers Karlsruhe, Köln and Nürnberg, and the battleship Schleswig-Holstein. From December 1939 he served as a naval intelligence officer in several positions on shore before transferring to the U-boat force in April 1941.

After the usual training, Mehl sailed on two patrols aboard U-371 between July and October 1941 as Kommandantenschüler ("Commander-in-training"), before taking command of U-62 and then U-72 as part of training unit 21st U-boat Flotilla.

In May 1942 he took command of U-371 and served in the Mediterranean, sailing on 12 successful patrols over the next two years, and sank nine ships (totalling 42,451 tons) and damaged four (28,072 tons). Among the ships sunk were the British minesweepers Jura and Hythe, and the American destroyer Bristol.

Mehl left U-371 in April 1944 and joined the staff of FdU Mittelmeer, joining the staff of the commander of U-boats in the Aegean in August. In October 1944 he was appointed to the Operationsabteilung ("Operations Section") for U-boats. After the war he served for three months in a minesweeper unit.

Summary of career

Ships attacked

Date Name Nationality Tonnage
(GRT)
Fate
7 January 1943 HMS Jura Royal Navy 545 Sunk
7 January 1943 Ville de Strasbourg United Kingdom 7,159 Damaged
23 February 1943 Fintra United Kingdom 2,089 Sunk
28 February 1943 Daniel Carroll United States 7,176 Damaged
27 April 1943 Merope Netherlands 1,162 Sunk
10 July 1943 Gulfprince United States 6,561 Damaged
10 July 1943 Matthew Maury United States 7,176 Damaged
7 August 1943 Contractor United Kingdom 6,004 Sunk
11 October 1943 HMS Hythe Royal Navy 656 Sunk
13 October 1943 USS Bristol United States Navy 1,630 Sunk
15 October 1943 James Russell Lowel United States 7,176 Total loss
17 March 1944 Dempo Netherlands 17,024 Sunk
17 March 1944 Maiden Creek United States 6,165 Total loss

Awards

  • Wehrmacht Long Service Award 4th Class (31 March 1937)
  • Spanish Cross in Bronze (6 June 1939)
  • Iron Cross (1939)
    • 2nd Class (30 April 1940)
    • 1st Class (26 October 1940)
  • U-boat War Badge (1939) (22 September 1942)
  • U-boat Front Clasp in Silver (10 March 1945)
  • German Cross in Gold on 19 November 1943 as Kapitänleutnant on U-371/29. Unterseeboots-Flottille
  • Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 28 March 1944 as Kapitänleutnant and commander of U-371
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