Introduction to Foreign Volunteer Insignia

Introduction

During the early 1930s the Fascist and Nazi movements spread all over Europe. Almost each western and later eastern European country formed one type of Fascist or Nazi Party.
These pro-nazi groups made and issued numerous types of cloth insignia that represented their political party.

The purpose of this page is to illustrate some of the types of foreign volunteer legion cloth insignia that existed during those turbulent years. I would not attempt to describe each political party that existed but if your interested in learning more about it then I recommend you read the reference books listed in my "Bibliography" Section.

SS Map

European Waffen-SS Map issued by Amtsgruppe B of the Main Office on 1 February 1945 and designed by Alex Dolezalek.
This map illustrates cloth insignia worn by foreign volunteers in the German Armed Forces.

In late 1940, the first small groups of foreign volunteers who were of "Germanic" or Aryan descent were organized into Legions by the "Waffen-SS" (Armed SS). Most of these men came from Norway, Denmark, Holland and the Dutch speaking Flemish from Belgium; the motives for joining were for ideological reasons.
By spring 1943, all the Legions organized under the Waffen-SS were disbanded to form complete nationality Waffen-SS formations.

By late 1943, Germany's hope for a military victory on the Eastern Front was winding down. The Germans were now on the defensive and losing ground everywhere. As the fighting in Russia continued all efforts to maintain a purely Germanic SS organization was abandoned. Due to the shortage of Nordic manpower cause by the high combat casualties suffered on the Eastern Front, the Waffen-SS became more flexible in their racial standards of recruiting Eastern Europeans.
In addition there was a German recruiting competition between the Wehrmacht (Armed forces) and the Waffen-SS. The position of the Waffen-SS was not very favorable with the German Wehrmacht, which did it's best to discourage Waffen-SS recruiting.

The result was that the Waffen-SS ended up drafting more foreigners, becoming a multinational European force ever to fight under one flag.


Army and SS Insignia

An Order of the German High Command "OKW No. 62/41 g.Kdos. AWA/W Allg. (IIB)" dated 13 August 1941 stated that all uniforms, ranks and national insignia for foreign volunteers be regulated. Volunteer units sent as part of the armed forces of their countries and wearing their national uniforms were to wear German rank insignia. All other volunteers wore standard German uniforms and rank insignia.

FOREIGN VOLUNTEER SS SHIELDS

WAFFEN-SS COLLAR TABS

GERMANIC AWARDS

NORWEGIAN LEGION CUFF TITLE

NORDLAND

Legion Awards

Insignias of the Army and Waffen-SS

PRINZ EUGEN

WIKING, GERMANIA & WESTLAND

CHARLEMAGNE SS COLLECTION

COSSACK SHIELDS New 5th Don Cossack Badge

EASTERN VOLUNTEER INSIGNIA Updated first pattern POA shield.

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