Product Description: This is an excellent and really interesting example of the second pattern Terek Cossacks Volunteer Sleeve Shield. This is the printed type, introduced July 1944. It was worn by Cossack volunteers in the 6th (Terek) Cossack Cavalry Regiment of the 2nd Cossack Cavalry Brigade. These were soldiers who were recruited from the occupied territories or from POW camps. This Terek Cossacks volunteer sleeve shield is printed on a thin, white fabric, probably rayon. It has a black and blue shield, surmounted by the letters “T B,” on a field gray background. The printing is textbook period type, with the ink having soaked through the fabric and visible on the reverse. What makes this Terek Cossacks Volunteer Sleeve Shield particularly interesting is the traces of stitching visible on three sides. Ordinarily, if sewn to a uniform, the white part of this badge would be folded under, but period photos show that ordinary norms of insignia attachment were not always followed among the foreign volunteers. Most of the surviving patches from these units found today were never issued, but this one might possibly have been worn on a uniform. This is a scarce patch.
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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