Product Description: This is a very nice and desirable Russian POA Volunteer Sleeve Shield. It’s the early Bevo type, machine woven with a medium gray rayon backing. 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, or even folded. It’s tightly woven and textbook in all aspects. The condition is near mint. A desirable piece of foreign volunteer insignia, in nearly perfect condition.
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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