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
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.
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