Gunther Lutjens Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1889 - 1941 *** Full Name: Johann Gunther Lutjens*** Nickname:- Pee Ontgens *** Occupation: German Admiral during World War I and World War II *** Date of Birth: Gunther Lutjens was born on May 25th 1889 *** Place of Birth: Gunther Lutjens was born in Wiesbaden, Hesse-Nassau, Kingdom of Prussia *** Family background: His father was a merchant called Johannes Lutjens and his mother was Luise Volz *** Early life and childhood: He grew up in Freiburg im Breisgau *** Education: Gunther Lutjens graduated from Berthold-Gymnasium with a diploma ***
Gunther Lutjens Fact 1: Gunther Lutjens was born on May 25th 1889 and during the late 19th century period in history when many empires across the globe collapsed, the Spanish, first and second French, Holy Roman, Mughal and Chinese but the British and Russian Empires, the United States and German Empire where on the rise.
Gunther Lutjens Fact 2: On April 3rd 1907 he joined the Imperial German Naval Academy in Kiel where he began his training.
Gunther Lutjens Fact 3: Once he had completed his basic training he attended an officers course at Murwik Naval Academy.
Gunther Lutjens Fact 4: In April of 1909 he began naval artillery training and then undertook a course in torpedo training.
Gunther Lutjens Fact 5: In 1910 he received his commission as second lieutenant on board the Konig Wilhelm. This vessel was used as a training vessel.
Gunther Lutjens Fact 6: Just after World War I broke out he would be transferred to the Harbor Flotilla and shortly thereafter awarded his first torpedo boat command.
Gunther Lutjens Fact 7: He would continue in the Torpedo division until the war ended.
Gunther Lutjens Fact 8: Lutjens would be awarded the Knight's Cross of the House Order of Hohenzollern with Swords and the Iron Cross 2nd and 1st Class.
Gunther Lutjens Fact 9: Post war he took a job with the Warnemunde and Lubeck Sea Transportation Agency before being ordered back to the German Imperial Naval Office in March of 1919.
Gunther Lutjens Fact 10: Having returned to the Sea Transportation Agency briefly he was part of the downsizing of the Navy which was renamed from the German Imperial Navy to Reichsmarine and he would be posted to the Coastal Defense Department III and after that IV as company leader.
Gunther Lutjens Fact 11: During 1933 when the Nazi Party came to power under Adolf Hitler, the navy began rearming and was again renamed, this time to Kriegsmarine.
Gunther Lutjens Fact 12: In June of 1935 Lutjens first became acquainted with Karl Donitz who would become the future Commander-in-Chief of the Kriegsmarine and would also be responsible for building U-Boats.
Gunther Lutjens Fact 13: When World War II broke out he would be Commander of Scouting Forces, largely made up of destroyers, cruisers and torpedo boats.
Gunther Lutjens Fact 14: In September of 1939 as Germany invaded Poland, Lutjens took part in the attack on Polish ships.
Gunther Lutjens Fact 15: In 1940 he also took part in the invasion of Norway and Denmark during Operation Weserubung.
Gunther Lutjens Fact 16: By the middle of 1940 he was made Commander of Battleships and Fleet Commander of the Kriegsmarine, a position equal to that of a British Commander-in-Chief.Gunther Lutjens Fact 20: Admiral Erich Raeder was eager to start operations and Lutjens tried, without success, to persuade him to wait for the other ships to be available but he refused. He did however give Lutjens freedom of action, which meant if he could not avoid direct conflict, he was to act with the full force at his disposal.
Gunther Lutjens Fact 17: Lutjens was responsible for planning the invasions of England between Deal and Hastings and Hastings and Worthing, although the invasion was postponed as Hitler redirected attention to the Soviet Union.
Gunther Lutjens Fact 18: Gunther Lutjens sent his daughters, Virginia and Maria, to a convent as he considered them unmarriageable due to their illegitimate births. They became Sister Maria Celeste and Sister Arcangela.
Gunther Lutjens Fact 19: It would transpire that of the four ships chosen for this mission only the Bismarck and a heavy cruiser, Prinz Eugen were available and so they proceeded under Helmuth Brinkmann’s command.
Gunther Lutjens Fact 21: Lütjens began to address his crew as follows: “Seamen of the battleship Bismarck! You have covered yourself with glory! The sinking of the battle cruiser Hood has not only military, but psychological value, for she was the pride of Great Britain. Henceforth the enemy will try to concentrate his forces and bring them into action against us. I therefore released Prinz Eugen at noon yesterday so that she could conduct commerce warfare on her own. She has managed to evade the enemy. We, on the other hand, because of the hits we have received, have been ordered to proceed to a French port. On our way there the enemy will gather and give us battle. The German people are with you, and we will fight until our gun barrels glow red-hot and the last shell has left the barrels. For us, seamen, the question is victory or death.”
Gunther Lutjens Fact 22: Heading for a friendly port the British spotted them from the air and dropped a torpedo, which did not cause catastrophic damage, it did however jam the Bismarck’s rudders. Before too long the Bismarck was surrounded by HMS Cossack, Maori, Zulu, Sikh and ORP Piorun, to be soon joined by Norfolk, HMS Rodney and HMS Dorsetshire and HMS Edinburgh
Gunther Lutjens Fact 23: The Bismarck last sounded her alarm on the morning of May 27th 1941 at 8.00. By 10.36 having been hit by three torpedoes, the Bismarck sank, together with the majority of her crew, including Gunther Lutjens.
Influence & Legacy of Gunther Lutjens: Conrad Patzig would say of him "one of the ablest officers in the service, very logical and shrewd, incorruptible in his opinions and an engaging personality when you got to know him." Several ships have also been named in his honor, not as a Nazi supporter, but as a brave and worthy solider.
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