Günter Hessler

Fregattenkapitän (Crew 27)


Successes
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


Günther Hessler

Ranks

1 Oct 1927 Seekadett
1 Apr 1929 Fähnrich zur See
1 Jun 1931 Oberfähnrich zur See
1 Oct 1931 Leutnant zur See
1 Jul 1933 Oberleutnant zur See
1 Oct 1936 Kapitänleutnant
1 Sep 1941 Korvettenkapitän
1 Dec 1944 Fregattenkapitän

Decorations

18 Nov 1939 Iron Cross 2nd Class
1 Mar 1941 Iron Cross 1st Class
24 Jun 1941 Knights Cross
3 Jul 1941 U-boat War Badge 1939
9 Nov 1944 German Cross in Gold

U-boat Commands

U-boatFromTo
U-107 8 Oct 1940 1 Dec 1941   3 patrols (200 days) 


Kptlt. Günther Hessler after his second patrol

Günther Hessler joined the Navy in April 1927. After completing officer training he served some years on torpedo boats and on the line ship Schlesien.

In April 1940 he transferred to the U-boat force and six months later commissioned the Type IX B U-boat U-107. It was rare for an officer to take command of a U-boat without previous experience as a watch officer or a commander-in-training (Kommandanten- Schüler), but Hessler was an experienced Navy officer and he soon demonstrated that it was a correct decision to give him a combat U-boat right away, as during his first patrol he sank four ships with a total of 18,514 tons.

But he became famous with his second patrol on U-107. Kptlt. Günther Hessler put out from Lorient, France at 19:30 on 29 March, 1941 for what would become the most successful patrol of the entire war against Allied merchant shipping. She left the base along with U-94 commanded by Kptlt. Kuppisch, but then U-107 headed southwards. Her operational area was around the Canary Islands and near Freetown, where she sank 14 ships with a total of 86,699 tons, starting with the British merchant SS Eskdene which required two torpedoes and 104 rounds from the heavy 105mm fast-firing deck cannon. The largest ship sunk on that patrol was the British Calchas of 10,305 tons. On 1 June, 1941 they sank the British U-boat trap Alfred Jones of 5,013 tons. U-107 returned to Lorient on 2 July 1941. Before Günther Hessler left U-107 in November 1941 he made a third patrol, during which he sank three ships with a total of 13,641 tons.

He then served to the end of the war on the BdU op staff as first naval staff officer (1. Asto).


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.

(By the way, Admiral Dönitz had only one daughter, so the story told in some books, that Adi Schnee also married a daughter of Dönitz, is not true.)

Because Hessler was his son-in-law, Dönitz had some reservations about giving Hessler his deserved Knights Cross, but eventually Grand Admiral Raeder signed the papers.

After the war Hessler spent more then 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 also a staff member of the BdU op.

Sources

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


 U-boat Departure Arrival  
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

Date U-boat Commander Name of ship Tons Nat. Convoy
3 Feb 1941U-107Günter Hessler Empire Citizen4,683brOB-279
3 Feb 1941U-107Günter Hessler HMS Crispin5,051brOB-280
6 Feb 1941U-107Günter Hessler Maplecourt3,388caSC-20
23 Feb 1941U-107Günter Hessler HMS Manistee (F 104)5,360brOB-288
8 Apr 1941U-107Günter Hessler Eskdene3,829brOG-57
8 Apr 1941U-107Günter Hessler Helena Margareta3,316brOG-57
9 Apr 1941U-107Günter Hessler Harpathian4,671brOG-57
9 Apr 1941U-107Günter Hessler Duffield8,516br
21 Apr 1941U-107Günter Hessler Calchas10,305br
30 Apr 1941U-107Günter Hessler Lassell7,417brOB-309
17 May 1941U-107Günter Hessler Marisa8,029nl
18 May 1941U-107Günter Hessler Piako8,286br
27 May 1941U-107Günter Hessler Colonial5,108brOB-318
28 May 1941U-107Günter Hessler Papalemos3,748gr
31 May 1941U-107Günter Hessler Sire5,664brOB-320
1 Jun 1941U-107Günter Hessler Alfred Jones5,013brOB-320
8 Jun 1941U-107Günter Hessler Adda7,816brOB-323
13 Jun 1941U-107Günter Hessler Pandias4,981gr
24 Sep 1941U-107Günter Hessler John Holt4,975brSL-87
24 Sep 1941U-107Günter Hessler Dixcove3,790brSL-87
24 Sep 1941U-107Günter Hessler Lafian4,876brSL-87
 118,822

21 ships sunk (118,822 tons).

Legend
We have a picture of this vessel.

Media links


German U-boat Commanders of World War II

Busch, Rainer and Röll, Hans-Joachim

Listing of all U-boat commanders