SS-Sturmmann Otto Funk, SS-Aufklärungs Kompanie 15, carrying ammo box for MG 42 of SS-Schütze Klaus Schuh, around 2-30 pm in Rots, Normandy. 9 June 1944.

Otto Funk and his unit in Normandy: Now & Then

You’ve probably seen one of the most famous photographs taken in Normandy, 1944, already that show the young Waffen-SS soldier Otto Funk with a ‘Thousand Yard Stare’. Funk was only 18 years old at that time, had been fighting continuously for days; almost no sleep and Allied planes were interfering with every German move which caused many soldiers to worry.

Here are some interesting Then & Now photographs that show Otto Funk and his comrades like Klaus Schuh in Normandy, 1944.

Otto Funk

Otto Funk fought with the 15. (Aufklärungs ) Kompanie/ SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 25 der 12. SS-Panzer-Division “Hitlerjugend”, which consisted mainly out of 16-18-year-old boys. Although it was merely ‘youngsters’, the division would become infamous for their viciousness. Otto Funk kept on fighting until the end of the war when he was captured by the U.S. Forces. He was born on June 6, 1926, and would pass away on September 11, 2011.

Footage from the 12. SS-Panzer-Division “Hitlerjugend”. Provided by the Sherman Grinberg Film Library. Reel: SR002658.

SS-Sturmmann Otto Funk of the 15. (Aufklärungs ) Kompanie/ SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 25, photographed after an assault, near Rots. They were to follow up on the attack at Norrey-en-Bessin on June 9, 1944. Also seen in the middle is SS-Grenadier Klaus Schuh, who would be killed on June 26, 1944.

SS-Sturmmann Otto Funk of the SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 25, photographed after an assault, near Rots. They were to follow up the attack at Norrey-en-Bessin on June 9, 1944.

SS-Sturmmann Otto Funk of the SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 25, photographed after an assault, near Rots. They were to follow up the attack at Norrey-en-Bessin on June 9, 1944.

SS-Obergrenadier Günther Hamel and SS-Unterscharführer Paul Koslowski, both belonging to SS-Panzergrenadier Regiment 25 of the 12. SS-Panzerdivision ‘Hitlerjugend’, in Rots, northwest of Caen, Normandy. June 9, 1944, after fierce fighting in Norrey-en-Bessin.

SS-Schütze Klaus Schuh and SS-Unterscharführer Koslowski, of SS-Panzergrenadier Regiment 25, 12. SS-Panzerdivision 'Hitlerjugend' after the fierce fightings in Norrey-en-Bessin. Rots, northwest at Caen, Normandy. 9 June 1944.

Soldiers of the SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment 25 resting in a small street in Rots, Normandy.

Soldiers of SS-Panzergrenadier Regiment 25, resting in a small street in Rots, Normandy. 9 June 1944.

Although both wounded, SS-Hauptsturmführer Rudolf von Ribbentrop (sidecar) and SS-Obersturmbannführer Max Wünsche (driving), Regimentskommandeur of SS-Panzer-Regiment 12, are photographed after paying a visit to survivors the 3rd Platoon (III. Zug) of the 15. Kompanie.

SS-Hauptsturmführer Rudolf von Ribbentrop, in the sidecar and driving the motorcycle is SS-Obersturmbannführer Max Wünsche, Rgt. Komm. of SS-PzRgt 12, after visited the survivors of III Zug 15:25 in Rots

Panther of 3. Kompanie/ SS-Panzer-Regiment 12, after a failed attack on Norrey-en-Bessin. “The third tank of the troops was intact, but its commander, Friedrich Eismann had stuck the upper part of his body out of the turret of his ‘326’. That escapade did not last for long and he was cut in two by a shell, emptying his blood onto his gun-layer, Gerd Krieger, a lad known for his very blond hair. The lower part of the tank commander’s body fell onto Krieger who was terrified.” (The Panzer and the Battle of Normandy by George Bernage)

Panther of 3. SS-PzRgt 12, after attack made in the end of morning at Norrey-en-Bessin.

Gert Krieger, cleaning the blood of his commander, SS-Unterscharführer Eismann, who had been sliced in two by a shell, from the interior of the turret.

Panther Ausf. G 326 of 3. SS-PzRgt 12, during attack at Norrey-en-Bessin, is cleaning for crew in the street o

The last two slides were enlarged due to their small size and lost quality. Photographic credits: ‘Profoka Wolf’ (wanting to remain under this nickname) who took the ‘Now’ photographs in Rots and German ‘Bundesarchiv’ for all the ‘Then’ photographs. 

Related articles: Take a look at these Then & Now Photographs from the Omaha Beach Area, Normandy, or these 12 amazing aerial photographs of D-Day.

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8 thoughts on “Otto Funk and his unit in Normandy: Now & Then”

  1. How did the commander of Tank “326” get cut in half? Was it from an enemy shell fired at them or was it from one of their own shells?

  2. Great article. I have been to these locations. Very easy to find. Thank you for the post.

    1. Stupid comment. My family fought the Germans from 1940 in North Africa, Italy and in the skies over Britain, Europe and the Mediterranean, and on the Western Front in the First World War so I probably have even more cause to have something against them than you. I do not agree with the politics of the regime they fought under but I can be impressed by the courage and ferocity with which they fought. It’s an old military saying but honouring those you fight against honours those you fight with.

    2. So based on your comment Sally, anyone who has fought against anyone in the US forces should be saying the same to you about your father and any other US vet? A rather naive viewpoint.

  3. It is delighting to see you are publishing stories about both sides and all fronts in WW II without any bias or prejudice. Highly appreciated attitude.

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