Don Cossacks Volunteer Sleeve Shield, 2nd Pattern

Condition: Very Good


Product Description: This is a great and very appealing example of the Don Cossacks Volunteer Sleeve Shield. It is the second pattern, printed type, with Cyrillic letters, introduced in July 1944. This insignia features a blue and red shield, on a field gray background, superimposed with Cyrillic initials that stand for “Voysko Donskoye,” meaning Don Clan. The Don Cossacks served on the Eastern Front as part of the 1. Kosaken-Kavallerie-Division. This Don Cossacks volunteer sleeve shield is printed on a typical, thin, white fabric. The ink bleeds through to the reverse, as one expects to see on these printed Cossack shields. Interestingly, this one has stitch holes on three sides, from having been stitched to something at one time. There is some age toning, as well as some minor fraying that affects the very bottom of the printed shield. The overall condition of this scarce piece of foreign volunteer insignia is very good.



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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