5.ϟϟ-Freiwilligen-Sturmbrigade „Wallonien“ (XI.Armeekorps)
At the conclusion of the fighting in the West Caucasus (Russia) in the winter of 1942/1943, the Walloon Legion was returned to Belgium to be reconstituted as a mechanized formation and to recruit new members. The 5.SS-Freiwilligen-Sturm-Brigade Wallonien was declared combat-ready in November 1943 and was rushed to the middle Dneipr River sector on the Eastern Front. Its commander, SS-Obersturmbannführer Lucien Lippert, was a career officer and Lieutenant Colonel in the Belgian Army, who had graduated from the Military School in Brussels at the top of his class. It was placed under the command of 5.SS-Panzer-Division Wiking near Cherkassy by November 19 1943. The day before the Wiking's commander SS-Gruppenführer Herbert Otto Gille ordered Wallonien into action, skeptical Wiking veterans posted signs around the assembly area: The Wallonia Circus. Free Shows tomorrow from 06:00 to 08:00. These Walloon volunteers proved their worth and fitted well into the division. The last act of the Battle of Tscherkassy would soon begin. From December 1943 to February 1944 most of brigade Wallonien and the Wiking, along with a number of Wehrmacht divisions, were surrounded in what has become known as the Korsun-Cherkassy pocket. The Wiking Division's manpower strength was 14,647 men in December 1943. Credit: Peter Straßner: European Volunteers. Image: In the center SS-Unterscharführer Desire Lecocq (in 1945 promoted SS-Untersturmführer in SS-Panzergrenadier Regiment 70). Public domain.