Kapitänleutnant (Crew 36)
1 ship sunk, total tonnage 7,173 GRT
|Born||1 Oct 1918||Constantinople, Turkey|
|Died||24 Oct 1943||(25)||North Atlantic|
|U-505||6 Sep 1942||24 Oct 1943 (+)||7 patrols (118 days, * died during this patrol)|
Peter Zschech joined the Kriegsmarine in 1936, and was part of the Olympia Crew. He was a watch officer on the destroyer Z 7 Hermann Schoemann July 1939 - April 1940, and then Z 14 Friedrich Ihn, April - Oct. 1940. He commenced U-boat training in Oct. 1940 and was assigned to U-124 (Mohr) as a Watch Officer in August 1941.
He served on U-124 during Mohr’s first four very successful patrols (22 ships sunk and three damaged). After this valuable experience he underwent Commander Training with the 24th (Training) Flotilla at Memel August – early Sept. 1942 before taking over command of U-505 (Loewe) on 6 Sept. 1942.
Peter Zschech thus had an excellent grounding for U-boat command and great things were expected of him. He failed to live up to these high expectations and was, according to many accounts, not well liked by his crew. Repeated sabotage discovered at the start of the patrol which forced a return to port on several occasions must also have affected his morale.
During almost 14 months in command he spent only 96 days at sea during six patrols (three of which, in August 1943, were abortive one-day attempts). Only the first patrol, of 69 days, proceeded without incident and during it he sank his only ship, the 7,173 ton British merchant Ocean Justice, sunk without casualties off South America.
While outbound east of the Azores on 24 Oct. 1943 U-505 came under heavy depth charge attack. Peter Zschech apparently broke down and took his own life with his service pistol in the control room of the boat. The IWO, Oblt. Paul Mayer (26 years of age), took command, evaded the pursuers and returned the boat to Lorient on 7 Nov. 1943.
Busch, R. & Röll, H. (1999). German U-boat Commanders of World War II.
Patrol info for Peter Zschech
|1.||U-505||4 Oct 1942||Lorient||12 Dec 1942||Sunk||Patrol 1,||70 days|
|2.||U-505||1 Jul 1943||Lorient||13 Jul 1943||Sunk||Patrol 2,||13 days|
|3.||U-505||1 Aug 1943||Lorient||2 Aug 1943||Sunk||Patrol 3,||2 days|
|4.||U-505||14 Aug 1943||Lorient||15 Aug 1943||Sunk||Patrol 4,||2 days|
|5.||U-505||21 Aug 1943||Lorient||22 Aug 1943||Sunk||Patrol 5,||2 days|
|6.||U-505||18 Sep 1943||Lorient||30 Sep 1943||Sunk||Patrol 6,||13 days|
|7.||U-505||9 Oct 1943||Lorient||7 Nov 1943||Sunk||Patrol 7,||16 days||*|
|7 patrols, 118 days at sea|
* Peter Zschech died during this patrol on 24 Oct 1943
Ships hit by Peter Zschech
|Date||U-boat||Name of ship||Tons||Nat.||Convoy|
|7 Nov 1942||U-505||Ocean Justice||7,173||br|
1 ship sunk (7,173 tons).
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.
Special thanks to Fernando Almeida for data on ranks and decorations.