Product Description: This is a mint, unissued example of the Bergkaukasien Volunteer Sleeve Shield. This German-made shield insignia was worn on the uniform sleeve of Caucasian volunteers in the Legion Bergkaukasien, which was formed in August 1942 and made up of members of a number of ethnic groups from the Caucasus region, including Muslims and Christians. This is the second pattern of this shield insignia, screen printed on a thin woven fabric. The Bergkaukasien Volunteer Sleeve Shield features the word “Bergkaukasien” over a shield emblem with three stylized horse heads. The condition of this one is essentially perfect. The textbook colors are strong, there are no stains or holes. Traces of the printed lines indicating where the patch was to be trimmed from others it was printed with, are still visible. This Bergkaukasien Volunteer Sleeve Shield is a perfect example of an eye-catching and colorful pattern of Wehrmacht foreign volunteer insignia.
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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