While SS-Panzergrenadier-Division Leibstandarte SS, Das Reich and Totenkopf were striking back at the Soviet spearheads south of Kharkov, on the right flank of the German front the SS-Panzergrenadier-Division Wiking, serving with 1.Panzer Armee, was involved in a series of brutal skirmishes to hold back the enemy advance. A powerful Soviet tank force, led by 3rd and 4th Tank Corps and supported by hundreds of ski troops, was pushing south into the German line. Wiking had great difficulty dealing with the armour-heavy Soviet formation. The SS-Panzergrenadiers of the division fought fanatically, suffering heavy losses, but was still able to take the offensive and defeat superior odds. Surrender to the Red Army meant summary execution at best and brutal interrogation and torture to death at worst. The SS-Panzergrenadier Regiments of Wiking were exhausted and understrength from the fighting in the Caucasus, and the SS-Panzer Battalion lacked sufficient armour to counter the Soviet armoured force. Despite this, the division held off the Soviet assault, protecting the vital rail line and helping bring about the destruction of Soviet Mobile Group Popov. Image: Wiking ski trooper 1943. Fair use.