Condition: Exc /NM
Product Description: This is a very interesting and desirable variant of the Russian POA Volunteer Sleeve Shield. It’s machine embroidered onto a field gray rayon backing, a construction type that is seldom encountered. The Cyrillic letters “POA” on the shield (ROA, in Latin letters) stand for the Russian Army of Liberation, also known as the Vlasov Army, which was officially formed in Autumn 1944. These were anti-Communist Russian volunteers who fought with the German armed forces. After the war, the survivors of this Army were branded as traitors, and were executed or sentenced to imprisonment. This Russian POA volunteer sleeve shield has never been sewn on a uniform, but it shows age and storage wear. The edges have some fraying, and some of the yellow stitching marking the edge of the shield is missing. There are a few very small stains, as well as typical age toning. It remains a solid, representative example of a tough-to-find pattern of the Russian POA 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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