BACKGROUND: As early as 1938 Reichsführer-SS, (National Leader of the SS), Heinrich Himmler and the Allgemeine-SS, (General-SS), began recruiting volunteer "Germanische", (Germanic), personnel who were considered to be suitably "Nordic", to serve in the SS-VT, SS-Verfügungstruppe, (SS-Special Purpose Troops). Originally these Germanic personnel were drawn from Dutch, Belgian, Danes and Norwegians but with only minor success. In March 1940 with the formation of the Waffen-SS, (Armed-SS), recruitment of the Germanic personnel began to increase slightly and with the outbreak of WWII additional Germanic volunteers came forward to join the ranks of the Waffen-SS. The invasion of the Balkans in 1941 brought forward another pool of suitable Volksdeutsche, (Ethnic Germans), personnel available for "voluntary" enlistment in the Waffen-SS. The invasion of Russia on June 22ND 1941 and the war against Bolshevism resulted in the Waffen-SS experiencing another surge in recruits willing to serve with the Germans in the fight against communism. As the war continued and man-power shortages became severe the standard criteria for acceptance into the Waffen-SS was decreased dramatically and numerous personnel who would have been unacceptable in 1939 were readily conscripted into service with the Waffen-SS. By the end of the war more then half of all the personnel serving in the Waffen-SS were non-Germans. In February 1943 the Germans began the formation of a new division to be manned by Latvian volunteers and conscripts. Originally designated, 15. Lettische SS-Freiwilligen-Division, (15TH Latvian SS Volunteer Division), it would eventually evolve into the 15. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS (lettische Nr.1). As with other foreign "volunteer" units an identifying, national, sleeve shield was designed and produced for wear by all divisional personnel with the design being based on the Latvian national flag which dates back to 1279. The Latvian "volunteer" sleeve shield was produced in no less then five, slightly different, variants and this example is the fifth and final, German manufactured, officially sanctioned, sleeve shield for Latvian volunteers serving in the Waffen-SS.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: German manufactured, officially sanctioned, fifth and final pattern, sleeve shield for Latvian volunteers serving in the Waffen-SS. Black wool construction flat topped, rounded, pointed tipped, bottom, shield shape base features a machine embroidered red shield with a pointed bottom tip with a central white diagonal bar and white script, "Latvija" to the top. Perfect, untouched example.

GRADE ****1/2                             PRICE $115.00

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