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In early 1943, the division fell back to Ukraine south of Kharkov, recently abandoned by the II Panzer Corps commanded by Paul Hausser.

In the remaining weeks of February, the Corps, including Wiking, engaged Mobile Group Popov, the major Soviet armoured force named after Markian Popov during the Third Battle of Kharkov. The losses of Popov's Group halted the Soviet offensive which followed the Battle of Stalingrad and stabilized Manstein's front.

In 1943, Herbert Gille was appointed to command the division. The SS Regiment Nordland, along with its commander Fritz von Scholz, were removed from the division and used as the nucleus for the new SS Division Nordland. The Finnish Volunteer Battalion was also withdrawn and they were replaced by the Estonian infantry battalion Narwa.

In the summer of 1943, along with the 23rd Panzer Division, formed the reserve force for Manstein's Army Group for Operation Citadel. Immediately following the German failure in the Battle of Kursk, the Red Army launched counter-offensives, Operation Kutuzov and Operation Rumyantsev. Wiking, together with SS Divisions Totenkopf and Das Reich, was sent to the Mius-Bogodukhov sector. The Soviets took Kharkov on 23 August and began advancing towards the Dnieper.

In October the division was pulled out to a quiet sector of the line just as the Dnieper–Carpathian Offensive overtook Army Group South. In the aftermath of the fall of Kiev in late December 1943, the 1st and 2nd Ukrainian Fronts of the Red Army encircled several German divisions during the Battle of the Korsun–Cherkassy Pocket in January 1944. Over 60,000 soldiers, including the "Wiking" division, were trapped along the Dnieper River in the height of winter. In a battle marked by brutality, heavy losses, and horrific weather, roughly half of German forces broke out of the encirclement, but SS Wiking in particular suffered heavy casualties and losses of nearly all its heavy equipment.