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
1 Oct 1939 Iron Cross 1st Class
19 Sep 1940 Knights Cross
30 Jan 1944 War Merit Cross 2nd Class with Swords

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 pocket battleship Admiral Scheer, in September 1935 he transferred to the newly-formed U-boat arm and received an intensive prewar U-boat officer training. In October 1938 he took over command of U-28, a Type VIIA boat.

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

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

In January 1942 Günter Kuhnke became commander of the 10th Flotilla, based in Lorient. In August 1944 he took one of the flotilla's last U-boats to Flensburg, arriving in October 1944. There he took command of the 33rd Flotilla, and served in this position to the end of the war.

In 1955 he joined the Bundesmarine (Federal German Navy), commanding the destroyer Z-2, and in 1966 became Chef des Marineamtes (Chief of the Navy Department). He retired in 1972 with the rank of Konteradmiral and decorated with the post-war Stern zum Großen Bundesverdienstkreuz (Knight Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit).


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