Günter Kuhnke

Korvettenkapitän (Crew 31)

11 ships sunk, total tonnage 42,252 GRT
1 auxiliary warship sunk, total tonnage 4,443 GRT
2 ships damaged, total tonnage 10,067 GRT
1 ship a total loss, total tonnage 9,577 GRT

Born  7 Sep 1912 Elbing
Died  11 Oct 1990(78)Schortens, Lower Saxony, Germany

Kapitänleutnant Günter Kuhnke.


1 Apr 1931 Offiziersanwärter
1 Apr 1932 Seekadett
1 Apr 1933 Fähnrich zur See
1 Jan 1935 Oberfähnrich zur See
1 Apr 1935 Leutnant zur See
1 Jan 1937 Oberleutnant zur See
1 Oct 1939 Kapitänleutnant
1 Mar 1943 Korvettenkapitän


29 Sep 1939 Iron Cross 2nd Class
19 Sep 1940 Knights Cross

U-boat Commands

U-28 28 Oct 1938 16 Nov 1940   6 patrols (239 days) 
U-125 3 Mar 1941 15 Dec 1941   2 patrols (100 days) 
U-853 24 Aug 1944 15 Oct 1944   1 patrol (49 days) 

Günter Kuhnke joined the Reichsmarine in April 1931. After some months on the cruiser Admiral Scheer, he transferred in September 1935 to the newly formed U-boat arm and received the intensive prewar U-boat officer training. In October 1938 he took command of the Type VIIA U-boat U-28.

After the start of the war in September 1939, he made seven mostly successful patrols including some minelaying operations. He left U-28 in January 1941 and two months later commissioned the Type IXC U-boat U-125. After two patrols he turned the boat over in December 1941 to Kptlt. Ulrich Folkers, who took part with U-125 in operation Paukenschlag a month later.

Kptlt. Günter Kuhnke (left) after patrol. (right Kptlt. Heinrich Liebe)

In January 1942 Günter Kuhnke became the commander of the 10th flotilla based in Lorient. In August 1944 he left Lorient with one of the last flotilla U-boats and headed back to Flensburg, where he arrived in October 1944. In Flensburg he took command of the 33rd flotilla and served in this position to the end of the war.

In 1955 he joined the Bundesmarine, commanding the destroyer Z-2 and in 1966 becoming Chef des Marineamtes (chief of Navy department). He retired in 1972 as Konteradmiral and was highly decorated after the war with the Stern zum Großen Bundesverdienstkreuz (Star of the Great Federal Merit Cross).


Busch, R. and Röll, H-J. (1998). German U-boat commanders of World War II.
Busch, R. and Röll, H-J. (1997). Der U-Bootkrieg 1939-1945 (Band 2).

Patrol info for Günter Kuhnke

 U-boat Departure Arrival  
1. U-28 19 Aug 1939  Wilhelmshaven  29 Sep 1939  Wilhelmshaven  Patrol 1,42 days
2. U-28 8 Nov 1939  Wilhelmshaven  18 Dec 1939  Wilhelmshaven  Patrol 2,41 days
3. U-28 18 Feb 1940  Wilhelmshaven  23 Mar 1940  Wilhelmshaven  Patrol 3,35 days
4. U-28 20 May 1940  Wilhelmshaven  6 Jul 1940  Wilhelmshaven  Patrol 4,48 days
5. U-28 11 Aug 1940  Wilhelmshaven  17 Sep 1940  Lorient  Patrol 5,38 days
6. U-28 4 Oct 1940  Lorient  6 Oct 1940  St. Nazaire   3 days
7. U-28 12 Oct 1940  St. Nazaire  15 Nov 1940  Wilhelmshaven  Patrol 6,35 days
8. U-125 15 Jul 1941  Kiel  28 Jul 1941  Lorient  Patrol 7,14 days
9. U-125 12 Aug 1941  Lorient  5 Nov 1941  Lorient  Patrol 8,86 days
10. U-853 27 Aug 1944  Lorient  14 Oct 1944  Flensburg  Patrol 9,49 days
9 patrols, 388 days at sea

Ships hit by Günter Kuhnke

Date U-boat Commander Name of ship Tons Nat. Convoy
14 Sep 1939U-28Günter Kuhnke Vancouver City4,955br
17 Nov 1939U-28Günter Kuhnke Sliedrecht5,133nl
25 Nov 1939U-28Günter Kuhnke Royston Grange5,144brSL-8B
21 Jan 1940U-28Günter Kuhnke Protesilaus (t.) [Mine]9,577br
9 Mar 1940U-28Günter Kuhnke P. Margaronis4,979gr
11 Mar 1940U-28Günter Kuhnke Eulota6,236nl
18 Jun 1940U-28Günter Kuhnke Sarmatia2,417fi
19 Jun 1940U-28Günter Kuhnke Adamandios Georgandis3,443gr
21 Jun 1940U-28Günter Kuhnke HMS Cape Howe (X 02)4,443br
27 Aug 1940U-28Günter Kuhnke Eva1,599nwSC-1
28 Aug 1940U-28Günter Kuhnke Kyno3,946brHX-66
9 Sep 1940U-28Günter Kuhnke Mardinian2,434brSC-2
11 Sep 1940U-28Günter Kuhnke Harpenden (d.)4,678brOA-210
11 Sep 1940U-28Günter Kuhnke Maas1,966nlOA-210
26 Oct 1940U-28Günter Kuhnke Matina (d.)5,389br

13 ships sunk (56,272 tons) and 2 ships damaged (10,067 tons).

We have a picture of this vessel.
(d.) means the ship was damaged.
(t.) means the ship was a total loss (included in ships & tonnage lost).
[Mine] indicates the vessel was hit by a mine laid by said U-boat.

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.

Media links

German U-boat Commanders of World War II

Busch, Rainer and Röll, Hans-Joachim

In Peril on the Sea

Kane, James S.

Listing of all U-boat commanders