The encirclement of the 6.Armee at Stalingrad meant that the Caucasus was relegated to a secondary theatre, and when the attempt to relieve Stalingrad failed in the face of further Soviet advances, the entire Caucasian position itself began to come under threat. It was not possible to rule out a second, even greater catastrophe after the loss of the 6.Armee at Stalingrad. SS-Panzergrenadier-Division Wiking was ordered to fall back to bolster the retreating 4.Panzer-Armee. On December 30 1942 part of SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment Westland was brought to Simnowniki area by train in order to organize a defensive line. The SS-Panzergrenadiers caused the Soviet mass attacks, which took place two to three times daily, to collapse directly in front of the main battle line. The thermometer showed minus 30 °C on New Year´s Eve 1943. The Westland held Simowniki for seven days. In a series of strongpoints the battlegroups operated near the far southern flank of 4.Panzer-Armee. Image: Commons: Bundesarchiv.