The 7th Division started the Russian campaign Operation Barbarossa” with 400 officers and 14,000 men. By January 1942, six months from the start of the offensive, the division had suffered 2,055 killed, 5,737 wounded, with 313 missing and another 1,089 sick with frostbite and louse-borne diseases. Total casualties were 9,203. In late winter, the division took up positions along a defensive line running Yukhnov-Gzhatsk-Zubtsov. On 15 March, it took part in fighting against a series of Soviet offensives as part of the Battles of Rzhev. By 4 April, the division was moved to Vyazma. By May 1942, the division was at a strength of 8,589 men and officers, most of whom had not been with the unit at the start of the campaign. As a result, the division was withdrawn to rest and refit in southern France.
On 15-07-1941 “Funck received the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross in recognition of his actions at Vilnius and Bialystok-Minsk-Wjasna. For his role in operations at the Don and Donets basins, on 14-03-1943 he was awarded the German Cross in Gold
and on 01-02-1944 he was promoted to General der Panzertruppe, and appointed as the commanding General of the XXXXVII Panzer Corps,
former commander was Lieutenant General der Panzertruppe, Heinrich Freiherr von Lüttwitz,
known from the surrender of Bastogne, (see General Anthony McAuliffe
) and ( Lieutenant Colonel of the 101st AB Harry William Osborn Kinnard )
On 22-12-1944, von Lüttwitz dispatched a party, consisting of a major, a lieutenant, and two enlisted men under a flag of truce to deliver an ultimatum. Entering the American lines southeast of Bastogne (occupied by Company F, 2nd Battalion, 327th Glider Infantry), the German party delivered the following to Gen. McAuliffe: To the U.S.A. Commander of the encircled town of Bastogne.The fortune of war is changing. This time the U.S.A. forces in and near Bastogne have been encircled by strong German armored units. More German armored units have crossed the river Ourthe near Ortheuville, have taken Marche and reached St. Hubert by passing through Hompre-Sibret-Tillet. Libramont is in German hands.There is only one possibility to save the encircled U.S.A. troops from total annihilation: that is the honorable surrender of the encircled town. In order to think it over a term of two hours will be granted beginning with the presentation of this note.If this proposal should be rejected one German Artillery Corps and six heavy A. A. Battalions are ready to annihilate the U.S.A. troops in and near Bastogne. The order for firing will be given immediately after this two hours term.All the serious civilian losses caused by this artillery fire would not correspond with the well-known American humanity.The German Commander.Brigadier General Anthony Clement McAuliffe
and his staff gathered inside Bastogne’s Heintz Barracks for Christmas dinner 25-12-1944. This military barracks served as the Division Main Command Post during the siege of Bastogne, Belgium during World War II. According to those present when McAuliffe received the German message, he read it, crumpled it into a ball, threw it in a wastepaper basket, and muttered, “Aw, nuts”. The officers in McAuliffe’s command post were trying to find suitable language for an official reply when Lieutenantt Colonel Harry Kinnard
suggested that McAuliffe’s first response summed up the situation pretty well, and the others agreed. The official reply was typed and delivered by Colonel Joseph H “Bud” Harper
, commanding of the 327th Glider Infantry,
to the German delegation. It was as follows: To the German Commander. NUTS! The American Commander. The German Major appeared confused and asked Harper what the message meant. Harper said, “In plain English? Go to hell.” The choice of “Nuts!” rather than something earthier was typical for McAuliffe. Captain Vincent Vicari,
his personal aide at the time, recalled that “General Mac was the only General I ever knew who did not use profane language. ‘Nuts’ was part of his normal vocabulary.”The artillery fire did not materialize, although several infantry and tank assaults were directed at the positions of the 327th Glider Infantry. In addition, the German Luftwaffe attacked the town, bombing it nightly. The 101st held off the Germans until the 4th Armored Division
under command of Major General Hugh Joseph Gaffey
arrived on December 26 to provide reinforcement. Colonel Joseph H “Bud” Harper survived the war and died 08-08-1990, aged 89.
On 04-09-1944 Funck was moved into the Führer Reserve of the OKH (see Adolf Hitler) (did you know). From August 1945 until 09-10-1955 Funck was a prisoner of war in the USSR.
Death and burial ground of Funck, Hans Emil Richard Freiherr von.
Funck here with Oberstleutnant Otto Heinrich Bleicken. who died age 83 on 31-01-1993 in Hamburg.
After his release, ten years later in 1955, he lived in Viersen, where he at the old age of 87 died on 14-02-1979. Funck is buried with his second wife Maria, born von Mirbach, who died age 75 in 1984, on the cemetery “Auf der Löh” in Viersen.