|SS-Gruppenführer Herbert Gille|
ϟϟ-Gruppenführer and Generalleutnant der Waffen-SS Gille (Kovel encirclement)
SS-Gruppenführer Herbert Otto Gille, in an observation post during a conference with SS-Standartenführer Mühlenkamp, preparing the attack out of the Kovel encirclement in March 1944. He flew into the encircled city to command its forces while Wiking and Heer units fought to the rescue. In the fortress, Gille reguested assistance from the Luftwaffe, since a lengthy defense of the city would not be possible without supply from the air. These photographs are from a set by SS-Kriegsberichter Alois Jarolim. Gille, Commander of 5.SS-Panzer-Division Wiking and Commander of IV.SS-Panzerkorps, holder of the Knight's Cross with Oakleaves, Swords and Diamonds and of the German Cross in Gold, was highly regarded for his leadership qualities and tactical abilities. He commanded Waffen-SS units at the regiment, division and corps level with distinction during World War II. Gille was popular with his Dutch and Scandinavian men and admired for his personal bravery. When the end of war was clear, SS-Obergruppenführer Gille marched his men towards U.S. troops in order to avoid surrendering to Soviet forces. He was held by the U.S. Army for three years, and released in May 1948. Gille was the founder of the veteran magazine Wiking Ruf. Photo: SS-Kriegsberichter Alois Jarolim. US National Archives and Records Administration. Fair use.