Otto von Bülow

Otto von Bülow
Born (1911-10-16)16 October 1911
Died 5 January 2006(2006-01-05) (aged 94)
Allegiance  Weimar Republic
 Nazi Germany
 West Germany
Service/branch  Reichsmarine
 German Navy
Years of service 1930–45
Rank Kapitän zur See
Commands held 23rd U-boat Flotilla
German Destroyer Z-6
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves

Otto von Bülow (16 October 1911 – 5 January 2006) was a German U-boat commander in World War II, and a captain in the Bundesmarine. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves of Nazi Germany.


Bülow was born in Wilhelmshaven as the son of Captain Otto von Bülow (1874–1930) and Johanna Meyer (1883–1937). He was descended from the Bülow family, an old aristocratic family from Mecklenburg. On June 5, 1937 he married Helga Christiansen (born April 2, 1914 in Rødding, Denmark). Bülow was the chairman (1970–1988) and afterwards honorary chairman of the Bülow Family Association.

Military career

Bülow joined the Kriegsmarine on 1 April 1930, and completed his basic training in Stralsund. His first assignment was on the Niobe, a German training ship, from July until October 1930. He then served on the Light Cruiser Emden until the start of 1932. He then went back to Stralsund for more training, and between 1932 and 1933 he trained at the Naval Academy Mürwik.

In 1933 he was stationed on the battleship Deutschland, where he was Battery commander. He later served on the Emden, the Schleswig-Holstein, and later on a landbased assignment in Pillau until 1940.

In April 1940 Bülow transferred to the U-boat service, and completed his training on 11 November 1940. He was posted as commander of the U-3 in the 21st U-boat Flotilla. On 6 August 1941 he took command of U-404 in the 6th U-boat Flotilla. He sank 15 ships whilst in U-404, including a Royal Navy destroyer (HMS Veteran), and damaged 2 other ships. He received the Knight's Cross on 20 October 1942, and in April, 1943, the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves for the assumed sinking of USS Ranger. On 1 September 1943 he was reassigned as commander of the 23rd U-boat Flotilla based in Danzig.

In May 1945, Bülow was taken prisoner by the British, and was released in August of that year. In 1956 he joined the Bundeswehr and was the garrison chief of Bremerhaven. He received command of the German Destroyer Z-6 in 1962. In 1963, he became commander of the 3rd Destroyer Squadron. Before he retired in 1970 he was the garrison chief of Hamburg for five years. He died in Wohltorf.

Summary of career


Ranks achieved




  • Busch, Rainer; Röll, Hans-Joachim (2003). Der U-Boot-Krieg 1939–1945 — Die Ritterkreuzträger der U-Boot-Waffe von September 1939 bis Mai 1945 [The U-Boat War 1939–1945 — The Knight's Cross Bearers of the U-Boat Force from September 1939 to May 1945] (in German). Hamburg, Berlin, Bonn Germany: Verlag E.S. Mittler & Sohn. ISBN 978-3-8132-0515-2. 
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives] (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Militaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. 
  • Williamson, Gordon; Pavlovic, Darko (1995). U-Boat Crews 1914–45. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-85532-545-6. 
  • Die Wehrmachtberichte 1939–1945 Band 2, 1. Januar 1942 bis 31. Dezember 1943 [The Wehrmacht Reports 1939–1945 Volume 2, 1 January 1942 to 31 December 1943] (in German). München, Germany: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH & Co. KG. 1985. ISBN 978-3-423-05944-2. 
Military offices
Preceded by
Kapitänleutnant Helmut Franzke
Commanding officer, U-3
11 November 1940 – 2 July 1941
Succeeded by
Kapitänleutnant Hans-Hartwig Trojer
First Commanding officer, U-404
11 November 1940 – 2 July 1941
Succeeded by
Kapitänleutnant Adolf Schönberg
First Commanding officer, U-2545
11 November 1940 – 2 July 1941
Succeeded by
Kapitänleutnant Hans-Bruno Freiherr von Müffling
First Commanding officer, Marinesturmbataillon 1
11 November 1940 – 2 July 1941
Preceded by
Commander of German destroyer Z-6 (formerly USS Charles Ausburne)
April 1960 – January 1962
Succeeded by
Fregattenkapitän Reeder
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