Product Description: This is a textbook example of the second pattern, printed Volga Tartar Volunteer Sleeve Shield. It’s unissued and in near mint condition. This type of Volga Tartar Volunteer Sleeve Shield was worn by foreign volunteers who fought in the German armed forces as part of the Idel-Ural Legion. This unit was formed of volunteers from various ethnic groups including Muslim Volga Bulgarians and other Idel-Ural people. This insignia is printed in the form of a shield with blue and green national colors, superimposed with a sword and arrow, and surmounted with the text “IDEL-URAL.” It is screen printed on a thin white twill fabric. This Volga Tartar Volunteer Sleeve Shield has never been sewn on a uniform or even folded. The colors are strong, there are some minor print flaws but no stains, holes or other damage. It’s an excellent example of the Volga Tartar 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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