Fregattenkapitän (Crew 27)
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|
|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.
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.
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
|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