Hans-Georg Hess (6 May 1923 – 29 March 2008) was a German U-boat commander of the Second World War. He commanded a single U-boat from September 1944 until the end of the war, and sank five ships for a total of 2,298 gross register tons (GRT), and caused another to be declared a total loss for 7,176 GRT. For this he received the Knight's Cross.
U-995 Type VIIC at the Laboe Naval Memorial
Hess joined the Kriegsmarine as a volunteer in April 1940, when he was 16. He was initially assigned to the surface fleet, where he spent two years on minesweepers before transferring to the U-boat force in April 1942. He was first assigned to U-466 under the command of Captain Gerhard Thäter and was with her for her last five patrols, which were mostly spent in the North Atlantic. She broke into the Mediterranean during her last patrol, but was caught in Toulon during the Allied invasion of the south of France and was scuttled on 19 August 1944. Hess returned to Germany, having been promoted to Oberleutnant zur See on 1 March 1944.
He was appointed to command U-995 and took command on 10 October 1944. He eventually carried out a total of five patrols with her in the Arctic Sea, sinking a number of Soviet ships and causing one American one to be written off. He was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on 11 February 1945. With the end of the war, U-995 surrendered on 8 May 1945 in Trondheim. Hess was imprisoned in Norway, eventually spending a year in captivity.
After his release he returned to Germany, eventually becoming a lawyer in Hannover. He died on 20 March 2008 in Wunstorf-Idensen at the age of 84, and is buried at the village cemetery.
Summary of career
As commander of U-995 Hans-Georg Hess is credited with the sinking of three merchant ships for a total of 1,560 gross register tons (GRT), an auxiliary warship of 633 GRT, a warship of 105 long tons (107 t) and severely damaging a ship which was later declared a total loss of 7,176 GRT.