|SS-Untersturmführer of the Wiking during Konrad|
|SS-Kriegsberichter of the Wiking during Konrad|
Operation Konrad I-III - the German-Hungarian attempt to relieve the Soviet siege of Budapest. The 5.SS-Panzer-Division Wiking was committed to action on January 1 1945, fighting alongside the 3.SS-Panzer-Division Totenkopf (IV.SS-Panzerkorps). The Wiking were penetrating deep into the Soviet defenses through the Hungarian forest-steppes near Táta and the advance columns slammed into the Soviet 4th Guards Army. The Soviets maneuvered forces to block the advance, and they barely managed to halt the advance at Bicske, only 28 kilometres from Budapest. The IV.SS-Panzerkorps was doggedly fighting for every meter of ground during the effort to relieve the encircled garrison of Budapest. The Norwegian SS Battalion Norge captured Pettend on January 24 1945 in desperate combat against 180 Soviet tanks. Most of the battalion had become casualties by the time Pettend was abandoned on January 28 1945. The unit's Norwegian surgeon, Dr. Tor Storm, remained behind with the wounded, who could not be evacuated. During a 1988 visit to Pettend, Waffen-SS veterans learned from Hungarian civilians that Storm and the wounded were burned alive by the Soviets after their capture. Left image: an unidentified SS-Untersturmführer of the Wiking division during Konrad. The photo is taken by Wiking's own war correspondent Alois Jarolim. He was a holder of the Infantry Assault Badge and had been with the division since 1943. The right image, also taken during Konrad, is believed to be of the photographer himself with camera, stick grenade and captured Soviet PPSh submachine gun. SS-Kriegsberichter Alois Jarolim was killed in action days later when the division attacked the Soviet 4th Guards Army. US National Archives and Records Administration. Fair use.