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Gunther Lutjens
Birth: May 25, 1889
Death: May 27, 1941

German Navy Admiral. He was the task force commander of Operation Rheinubung, with his flag onboard, the famed German battleship "Bismarck". He was born in Wiesbaden, Germany and entered the Imperial German Navy in 1907. His early years were spent as a student and teacher onboard the German military vessels SMS Freya, SMS Elsass and SMS Konig Wilhelm. During the First World War he was assigned to France serving as commander of a squadron of torpedo raiders and gunboats. Following the war he served briefly as an officer for the Wernemunde Ship Transportation Agency before returning to the German Navy in 1921, where he rose to the position of fleet commander. During the German invasion of Norway he served as vice admiral commanding the battle cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, sinking 22 British merchant ships totaling over 115,000 tons. Because of his great personal success he was appointed as commander of Operation Rheinubung, a plan designed to send a large battle fleet into the Atlantic Ocean to attack and sink British merchant convoys. The battle group was to consist of the battleships Bismarck, Tirpitz and battle cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, however only the Bismarck was combat operational at the time of the planned exercise. In mid May the Lutjens hoisted his flag aboard Battleship Bismarck which sailed under the command of Capt. Ernst Lindemannwith the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen and broke out into the Atlantic under the cover of fog. The British battleships HMS Hood and HMS Prince of Wales were ordered to find and sink the Bismarck. In the early morning hours of May 24th, the opposing battleships engaged one another on the open seas. In less then ten minutes the pride of the British fleet, the HMS Hood was sunk with the loss of over 1,400 crew members (three survivors) and the Prince of Wales suffered severe damage. The Bismarck suffered some minor damage resulting in a fuel leak that was not considered serious. The decision was made for the Bismarck to head to occupied France for repairs while the Prinz Eugen was released from the Bismarck to begin solo attacks on British merchant shipping. Following the stunning loss of the Hood, the British admiralty ordered all ships operating in the Atlantic theater to locate and sink the Bismarck. Over the next two days the Bismarck was successful in evading pursuing British ships by a series of skillful maneuvers. After breaking free from British warships, Lutjens made a critical error in breaking radio silence against orders. The transmission was intercepted by the British and ultimately led to the Bismarck being spotted by a British reconnaissance aircraft. On the evening of the 26th, British torpedo aircraft operating off the HMS Ark Royal were successful in attacking and damaging the Bismarck's steering and rudder system, making the ship unable to maneuver. On the morning of the 27th the Bismarck was attacked by several ships from the British Royal Navy. Lutjens was killed from the resulting shelling and went down with the ship, two days after his 52nd birthday. (bio by: Nils M. Solsvik Jr.) 
 
Burial:
Body lost at sea
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Nils M. Solsvik Jr.
Record added: Jul 17, 2005
Find A Grave Memorial# 11371307
Gunther Lutjens
Added by: Nils M. Solsvik Jr.
 
Gunther Lutjens
Added by: Nils M. Solsvik Jr.
 
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- Tom A. Hawk
 Added: May. 27, 2014

- MosherSt.Munger
 Added: May. 27, 2014

- Joseph M.Petri
 Added: May. 25, 2014
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