Walther von Hünersdorff

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Walther von Hünersdorff
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-2005-0047, Walther von Hünersdorff.jpg
Born (1898-11-28)28 November 1898
Cairo, Egypt
Died 17 July 1943(1943-07-17) (aged 44)
field hospital at Charkow
Buried at German War Cemetery, Charkow
Allegiance German Empire German Empire (to 1918)
Germany Weimar Republic (to 1933)
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Service/branch Heer
Years of service 1915–1943
Rank Generalleutnant
Commands held 6. Panzer-Division
Battles/wars

World War I
World War II

Awards Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves

Walther von Hünersdorff (28 November 1898 – 17 July 1943) was a German Generalleutnant serving during World War II. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.

Career[edit]

During the First World War von Hünersdorff entered the German army in 1915 and fought on the Western front. He was promoted to lieutenant in October 1916. After the German capitulation, he remained in the Reichswehr. Von Hünersdorff was promoted to first lieutenant in 1925, captain in 1933, major in 1936 and lieutenant-colonel in 1938. At the start of the Second World War von Hünersdorff served on the staff of the 253rd Infantry Division but on October 25, 1939 he was transferred to the staff of the II Army Corps. On September 12, 1940 he was made chief of staff of the XV Army Corps. With XV Army Corps part of Panzergruppe 3, von Hünersdorff served during Operation Barbarossa. Hünersdorff was promoted to colonel on July 1, 1941. A year later he took command of Panzer-Regiment 11, the panzer regiment of the 6th Panzer Division. With 6th Panzer he served with distinction during 4th Panzer Army's attempts to relieve the encircled Sixth Army at Stalingrad. In February 1943 von Hünersdorff was promoted to overall command of the 6th Panzer Division. In May 1943 he was promoted to major general.

Following the climax of the Battle of Kursk Hünersdorff and a number of his staff were attacked by a group of Heinkel He 111s which had mistakenly targeted them while attempting to support the division. The wounded staff members were taken off to a field hospital. Though wounded, Hünersdorff remained. A little later that same day he was struck in the head by a sniper's round. His steel helmet partially protected him, but a fragment of it was pushed back into his skull, penetrating into his brain. The surgeon Oberstabsarzt of the Reserves Tönnis of the Luftwaffe attempted to save his life, but he succumbed to his injuries on 17 July 1943. He was buried at the Military Cemetery at Charkow. The eulogy was attended by his wife, who was serving in Kharkov as a nurse. A large number of the upper officer corps also attended, including 4th Panzer Army commander Hermann Hoth and Army Group South commander Erich von Manstein. Hünersdorff was posthumously promoted to lieutenant general.

Awards[edit]

General Hünersdorff directing 6th Panzer Division at the outset of the Battle of Kursk
The wife of Walther Hünersdorff (with flowers) at the funeral of her husband

References[edit]

Citations
  1. ^ a b Thomas 1997, p. 311.
  2. ^ a b Scherzer 2007, p. 409.
Bibliography
  • Fellgiebel, Walther-Peer (2000). Die Träger des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939–1945 – Die Inhaber der höchsten Auszeichnung des Zweiten Weltkrieges aller Wehrmachtsteile [The Bearers of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939–1945 — The Owners of the Highest Award of the Second World War of all Wehrmacht Branches] (in German). Friedberg, Germany: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 978-3-7909-0284-6. 
  • Patzwall, Klaus D.; Scherzer, Veit (2001). Das Deutsche Kreuz 1941 – 1945 Geschichte und Inhaber Band II [The German Cross 1941 – 1945 History and Recipients Volume 2] (in German). Norderstedt, Germany: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall. ISBN 978-3-931533-45-8. 
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger 1939–1945 Die Inhaber des Ritterkreuzes des Eisernen Kreuzes 1939 von Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm sowie mit Deutschland verbündeter Streitkräfte nach den Unterlagen des Bundesarchives [The Knight's Cross Bearers 1939–1945 The Holders of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross 1939 by Army, Air Force, Navy, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Allied Forces with Germany According to the Documents of the Federal Archives] (in German). Jena, Germany: Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2. 
  • Thomas, Franz (1997). Die Eichenlaubträger 1939–1945 Band 1: A–K [The Oak Leaves Bearers 1939–1945 Volume 1: A–K] (in German). Osnabrück, Germany: Biblio-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-7648-2299-6. 

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Generalleutnant Erhard Raus
Commander of 6. Panzer Division
7 February 1943 – 17 July 1943
Succeeded by
Generalmajor Wilhelm Crisolli