Gerd von Pommer-Esche

Oberleutnant zur See (Crew 37a)

No ships sunk or damaged.

Born  22 Jan 1918 Nordhausen, Harz
Died  14 Jul 1943(25)North Atlantic

Kriegsmarine Crew photo


3 Apr 1937 Offiziersanwärter
21 Sep 1937 Seekadett
1 May 1938 Fähnrich zur See
1 Jul 1939 Oberfähnrich zur See
1 Aug 1939 Leutnant zur See
1 Sep 1941 Oberleutnant zur See


U-boat Commands

U-160 15 Jun 1943 14 Jul 1943  (+)  1 patrol (16 days) 

Gerd von Pommer-Esche joined the Kriegsmarine in 1937. He served as a Raümboot commander with the 1st R-Boat Flotilla from March 1940 to Jan 1941 (Busch & Röll, 1999). R-boats were small minesweepers used in various roles in all theatres of war.

Invasion of Norway

During the invasion of Norway Lnt. Gerd von Pommer-Esche's R-21 was in action at Horten in Oslofjord on April 9, following R-17 into the harbour to land German troops at the start of the invasion. R-17 was sunk after landing troops, but R-21 managed to completed the mission and withdraw, despite being twice hit by shellfire (Haarr, 2009).

U-boat service

Von Pommer-Esche went through U-boat training from Jan to July 1941, when he began his U-boat construction familiarization (Baubelehrung) at Bremen for the type IXC U-boat U-159 being built there. On 4 Oct the new boat was commissioned by Kptlt. Helmut Witte who would become one of the most successful commanders of the war. Pommer-Esche was 1st Watch Officer (I WO), and served in that role until Feb 1943 (Busch & Röll, 1999).

Von Pommer-Esche went on three patrols in U-159, 208 days at sea, on the last two patrols going to the Caribbean and South Africa (Busch & Röll, 1997). U-159 was highly successful, and during von Pommer-Esche's service 22 ships (114,235 tons) were sunk and one damaged (Rohwer, 1998). Witte was awarded the Knights Cross for these successes.

Oblt. von Pommer-Esche went through U-boat Commander training with the 24th (Training) Flotilla Feb - June 1943. He took over command of the highly successful U-160 from another U-boat ace, Kptlt. Georg Lassen (Knight's Cross) on 15 June 1943 (Busch & Röll, 1999).

First patrol as U-boat Commander

Oblt. von Pommer-Esche left Bordeaux for his first patrol as commander on 29 June 1943 (Busch & Röll, 1997). 16 days later, on 14 July 1943, the boat was sunk by aerial torpedoes from Avenger and Wildcat aircraft (of VC-29) from the US escort carrier USS Santee south of the Azores. All hands were lost (57) (Niestlé, 1998).


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).
Haarr, G. H. (2009). The German invasion of Norway.
Niestlé, A. (1998). German U-boat losses during World War II.
Rohwer, J. (1998). Axis Submarine Successes of World War Two.

Patrol info for Gerd von Pommer-Esche

 U-boat Departure Arrival  
1. U-160 29 Jun 1943  Bordeaux  14 Jul 1943  Sunk  Patrol 1,16 days

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

Listing of all U-boat commanders

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