Kapitänleutnant Günther Pfeffer of both U-170 and U-171 (which was sunk by mine off Lorient)
Kapitänleutnant Günther Pfeffer returned to his second patrol to the region having survived the sinking of his previous command, U-171, by a mine at the entrance to the port of Lorient on October 10th 1942. This patrol began on the 9th of February 1944. On the 17th of March U-170 entered the region midway between Bermuda and Anegada and motored west for a week until at a point only several hundred miles northeast of Eleuthera. The boat patrolled this area, east of the Northeast Providence Channel, between the 22nd and 25th of March without result.
For the next three days Pfeffer motored north, passing to the east of Great Abaco Island and out of the region on the 29th of March, about 150 miles east of Savannah. Several days later, on the 3rd of April, U-170 returned to the region by coming south from near the coast of Georgia and heading southeast for several days. On the 6th of April the boat made a turn to the west, placing itself northeast of Abaco. The following day Pfeffer reported that he had attacked a ship north of the Bahamas. A study of the KTB reveals that the shot was fired from so far away – about two and a half miles – that to have struck the ship would have been luck.
Interestingly, Pfeffer opted to spend ten days patrolling off the northeast Bahamas, just as he had done on his way inbound. As a result the total patrol days in the area amounted to over a month, or 33 days. The 16th of April found U-171 northeast of Harbour Island, Eleuthera, and heading southeast along the island chain about 200 miles offshore.
After passing San Salvador on the 17th the boat turned gradually east, and aside from a dog-leg on the 29th and 20th proceeded due east On the 23rd of April U-170 exited the region, again midway between Bermuda and Anegada. The boat returned to Lorient on the 27th of May 1944. Despite the longevity of the patrol, there is no record of the Type IX/40 submarine, which was commissioned in 1943 with a range of 13,850 kilometers, having refueled en route.
Pfeffer’s career is covered earlier in this study, during his patrol to the region in September, 1942. He was 29 years of age at the time of this patrol and lived until 1966. The photographs of him during the war show a young man with a rakish tilt to his cap, a jagged front right tooth, and an infectious smile framed by large ears. Another photo of him during refueling operations in Norway shows a bearded man with a more serious, inquisitive look. Probably it was taken by a crewman and Pfeffer seems to be inquiring why the photographer was thus engaged during operations.
SOURCES: Gudmundur Helgason, Rainer Kolbicz, www.uboat.net, 2011, Kenneth Wynn, U-boat Operations of the Second World War, Volume 1 and Volume 2, 1997