Product Description: This is an unissued, first pattern Bevo Armenien Volunteer Sleeve Shield. This pattern of sleeve shield was worn by volunteers who served in the 812th Armenian Batallion, also known as the Armenian Legion. It was a unit made up mostly of Soviet Armenians, most of whom had served previously in the Red Army before being taken prisoner by the Germans. This unit served in the Crimean Peninsula and the North Caucasus. This Armenien Volunteer Sleeve Shield is textbook Bevo machine woven construction, on a field gray rayon backing. It is in the shape of a shield, emblazoned with the colors of the Independent Armenian Republic that had been in existence from 1918 to 1921. Above the shield is the word “ARMENIEN” (Armenia). The condition of this piece is excellent, it has never been sewn on a uniform. It has a wrinkle and some small holes to the rayon backing that do not affect the woven shield insignia. It’s a great example of a scarce and desirable first pattern Armenien Volunteer Sleeve Shield.
Historical Description: As German military power stretched across Europe, many people in the occupied countries volunteered to fight for the German cause. Some were ideologues, some were opportunists, some probably “volunteered” because they had no other choice. In some areas, the Germans eagerly sought volunteers; in others, the Germans were less trusting, and the formation of volunteer units proceeded slowly. But by the end of the war, approximately one million foreign volunteers and conscripts were among those who had fought under Hitler. To distinguish these from German troops, and as a mark of distinction, the Germans authorized special insignia for wear by these volunteers. The insignia took the form of a cloth shield, either woven, embroidered, or printed, that was to be sewn on the uniform sleeve. Some of the foreign volunteer shields were used by specific units of the German Army or Waffen-SS. Others were worn by members of a variety of units and even paramilitary organizations. The design of each shield was chosen to represent the wearer’s nationality. Some were as simple as a national flag or colors, others had more complex designs.
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