H005677 RUSSIAN POA VOLUNTEER'S SLEEVE SHIELD. (Russisch POA Landeschilde)

BACKGROUND: With the German invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22ND 1941 the German army encountered large segments of the non-ethnic Russian populace that greeted them as liberators from the yoke of Bolshevism. Although Hitler was suspicious of the ethnic make-up and loyalty of these personnel the German commanders in the field quickly saw the advantage of utilizing these willing personnel in non-combatant roles. As a result of manpower restrictions the German army began employing non-ethnic Russian POW’s and volunteers as laborers and supply personnel in the rear areas as early as the summer of 1941 against the express wishes of Hitler. By 1943 continuing manpower shortages forced the German army to start accepting ethnic Russians into service although this was still forbidden by Hitler. Hitler did however see the advantage of exploiting any anti-communist feelings amongst the Russian populace and as a result he appointed the captured Soviet General Andrej Vlasov as leader of the newly established Smolensk Committee, in November 1942, that was comprised of Russian exiles and former Soviet army officers solely for propaganda purposes. Vlasov had served as the commander of a Soviet army on the Leningrad front until his capture on July 12TH 1942. As chairman of the Smolensk Committee Vlasov issued a three point proclamation, on December 27TH 1942, that encourage all Russians to overthrow Stalin and the communist regime, peace with Germany and Russian inclusion in the New Europe. The positive Russian response to the proclamation overwhelmed the Germans and resulted in the formation of the Russian Army of Liberation in early 1943 nominally under Vlasov’s command. Hitler, still distrusting the Russians, ordered that Vlasov be incarcerated, although the formation of the Russian Army of Liberation continued. Finally on November 14TH 1944 the Russian Army of Liberation was officially sanctioned by the Germans. Personnel serving with the Russian Army of Liberation were issued with a German approved identifying sleeve shield.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Machine woven, official pattern, identifying sleeve shield consists of a flat topped, rounded bottom, field-grey, shield shape base with a red outer border encompassing a central white field with the blue Cross of St. Andrew, the patron Saint of Russia, to the center. Positioned above the central shield are the golden yellow, Cyrillic letters "ROA", which appear as the Latin letters, "POA", and indicate Russkaia Osvoboditel’ naia Armiia, (Russian Army of Liberation). The shield is still on a piece of its original field-grey rayon factory roll. The shield is in overall excellent, unissued condition..

GRADE ****3/4                             PRICE $99.00

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