Product Description: Near mint example of the Don Cossacks Volunteer Sleeve Shield. This is the printed type, with Cyrillic letters, introduced in July 1944. The lettering stands for Voysko Donskoye, meaning Don Clan. The Don Cossacks served as part of the 1. Kosaken-Kavallerie-Division, known for their ruthless conduct on the Eastern Front. After the war, most of the survivors of this unit wewre executed. This Don Cossacks volunteer sleeve shield is printed on a thin, white fabric, probably rayon. The printing is textbook period type, with the ink having soaked through the fabric and visible on the reverse. It has never been sewn on a uniform or even folded. A perfect representative example.
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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