Hans-Günther Kuhlmann

Oberleutnant zur See (Crew 36)

4 ships sunk, total tonnage 7,593 GRT

Born  12 Nov 1913 Cologne-Sülz
Died  30 Jul 1942(28)Gulf of Mexico

Kriegsmarine crew book photo


14 May 1937 Fähnrich zur See
1 Oct 1938 Leutnant zur See
1 Oct 1940 Oberleutnant zur See


U-boat Commands

U-7 30 Mar 1941 16 Jun 1941   No war patrols 
U-580 24 Jul 1941 11 Nov 1941   No war patrols 
U-166 23 Mar 1942 30 Jul 1942  (+)  2 patrols (54 days) 

Hans-Günther Kuhlmann joined the Kriegsmarine in 1936. From Sept 1939 to Jan 1940 Kuhlmann served as the Second Torpedo Officer on the heavy cruiser Blücher (sunk in Oslofjord during invasion of Norway 3 months later).

He joined the U-boat U-37 in Jan 1940 and served as the Third Watch officer (3WO) to June 1940 when he became the boat's Second Watch Officer. In Oct 1940 Kuhlmann was again promoted within the boat, now becoming its First Watch Officer (1WO) until Feb 1941. He spend 193 days at sea on 8 patrols with the boat, getting valuable U-boat experience under capable officers.

Kuhlmann went through U-boat Commander training with the 21st (Training) Flotilla from Nov 1941 to March 1941.

On 30 March 1941 Oblt. Kuhlmann took command of the small "duck" training boat U-7, leaving the boat on 16 June 1941 when he began his U-boat familiarization (Baubelehrung) for his new command.

The small training U-boat U-7

Accidental loss of U-boat U-580

Oblt. Hans-Günther Kuhlmann commissioned the new type VIIC boat U-580 on 24 Jul 1941 at Hamburg. He took the boat into Baltic for training. On 11 Nov 1941 the boat, still undergoing trials, was rammed and sunk by the target ship Angelburg. 32 survived and 12 men died in the accident.

Kuhlmann was sent to the 5th flotilla at Kiel from Nov 1941 to Jan 1942 when he began another U-boat familiarization (Baubelehrung), this time for the larger type IXC boats.

U-166 and patrol to Gulf of Mexico

On 23 Mar 1942 Oblt. Hans-Günther Kuhlmann commissioned the new U-166 at Bremen. After very brief training in the Baltic, with the surviving crew of U-580 on board, Kuhlmann took boat first from Kiel, Germany on 30 May 1942 to Kristiansand, Norway. Then to Lorient, France, arriving on 10 June 1942.

U-166 sailed on its first, and ultimately only, war patrol from Lorient on 17 June 1942, heading for the Gulf of Mexico. Kuhlmann sank 4 ships and then the boat seemingly disappeared. It was not until 2001 that her wreck as finally found and it became apparent that she was sunk by US Navy escort vessel PC-566 shortly after sinking the its last victim, the American steam passenger ship Robert E. Lee on 30 July 1942.

The American steam passenger ship Robert E. Lee sunk by U-166 on 30 July 1942.

Patrol info for Hans-Günther Kuhlmann

 U-boat Departure Arrival  
1. U-166 30 May 1942  Kiel  31 May 1942  Kristiansand   2 days
2. U-166 1 Jun 1942  Kristiansand  10 Jun 1942  Lorient  Patrol 1,10 days
3. U-166 17 Jun 1942  Lorient  30 Jul 1942  Sunk  Patrol 2,44 days
2 patrols, 54 days at sea

Ships hit by Hans-Günther Kuhlmann

Date U-boat Name of ship Tons Nat. Convoy
11 Jul 1942U-166 Carmen84do
13 Jul 1942U-166 Oneida2,309am
16 Jul 1942U-166 Gertrude16am
30 Jul 1942U-166 Robert E. Lee5,184amTAW-7

4 ships sunk (7,593 tons).

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

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