Fregattenkapitän (Crew 27)
19 ships sunk, total tonnage 108,411 GRT
2 auxiliary warships sunk, total tonnage 10,411 GRT
|Born||14 Jun 1909||Beerfelde, Lebus|
|Died||4 Apr 1968||(58)||Bochum-Laer, Westphalia, Germany|
|U-107||8 Oct 1940||1 Dec 1941||3 patrols (200 days)|
Kptlt. Günther Hessler after his second patrol
Günther Hessler joined the Kriegsmarine in April 1927. Prior to being assigned to the U-Boot-Waffe (U-boat arm) he served on torpedo boats and the battleship Schlesien.
In April 1940 he transferred to the U-boat force and six months later commissioned U-107. It was rare for an officer to take command of a U-boat without previous experience as a watch officer or Kommandanten-Schüler (Commander-in-training), but Hessler was an experienced Navy officer and he soon demonstrated that this was a correct decision: during his first patrol he sank four ships totalling 18,514 tons.
But it was the second patrol in U-107 that was to make him famous. Kptlt. Günther Hessler put out from Lorient at 19:30 on 29 March 1941 to sink the highest tonnage of Allied merchant ships of any U-boat patrol of the entire war. U-107 left base in company with U-94 (Kuppisch), but U-107 then headed south. Her operational area was around the Canary Islands and near Freetown, where she sank 14 ships totalling 86,699 tons, starting with the British merchant SS Eskdene which required two torpedoes and 104 rounds from the 105mm fast-firing deck gun. The largest ship sunk was the British Calchas of 10,305 tons. On 1 June 1941 Hessler sank what he assumed was a 'Q ship' (decoy vessel), the British Alfred Jones (wrongly, Q-ships having been withdrawn from service in March).
After leaving U-107 Hessler spent the rest of the war as 1.Asto (1st naval staff officer) on BdU op. (U-boat High Command, operations)
Günther Hessler and his wife Ursula.
Kptlt. Hessler married Karl Dönitz's daughter Ursula in November 1937. At that time Hessler was serving on torpedo boats.
After the war Hessler spent over a year in Allied captivity. From 1947 to 1951 he was commissioned by the Royal Navy to write The U-Boat War in the Atlantic in three volumes, with the assistance of Korvkpt. Alfred Hoschatt, former commander of U-378 and later, on the staff of BdU op with Hessler.
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.
Patrol info for Günter Hessler
|1.||U-107||24 Jan 1941||Wilhelmshaven||1 Mar 1941||Lorient||Patrol 1,||37 days|
|2.||U-107||29 Mar 1941||Lorient||2 Jul 1941||Lorient||Patrol 2,||96 days|
|3.||U-107||6 Sep 1941||Lorient||11 Nov 1941||Lorient||Patrol 3,||67 days|
|3 patrols, 200 days at sea|
Ships hit by Günter Hessler