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Original German WWII Russian Don Cossacks German Foreign Volunteers Sleeve Shield - Донские казаки

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Item Description

Original Items: Very Few Available. These are very nice unissued examples of the Don Cossacks Volunteer Sleeve Shields. This is the printed type, with Cyrillic letters, introduced in July 1944. The lettering stands for Voysko Donskoye, meaning Don Clan. The Don Cossacks served as part of the 1. Kosaken-Kavallerie-Division and were known for their ruthless fighting on the Eastern Front. After the war, most of the survivors of this unit were executed.

These Don Cossacks volunteer sleeve shields are printed on a thin, white fabric. The printing is textbook period type, with the ink visible on the reverse. These have never been sewn on a uniform or even folded.

Each purchase includes (1) 3” x 5 ½” sheet featuring a Pair of Shields. We have a very limited quantity so be sure to get one quick before they’re gone!

Comes ready to display.

The Cossacks are a predominantly East Slavic Orthodox Christian people group originating in the steppes of Eastern Europe. They were a semi-nomadic and semi-militarized people, who, while under the nominal suzerainty of various Eastern European states at the time, such as the Russian Empire or the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, were allowed a great degree of self-governance in exchange for military service. The Cossacks were particularly noted for holding democratic traditions.

They inhabited sparsely populated areas in the Dnieper, Don, Terek, and Ural river basins, and played an important role in the historical and cultural development of both Ukraine and Russia. The various Cossack groups were organized along military lines, with large autonomous groups called hosts. Each host had a territory consisting of affiliated villages called stanitsa. The Cossack way of life persisted into the twentieth century, though the sweeping societal changes of the Russian Revolution disrupted Cossack society as much as any other part of Russia; many Cossacks migrated to other parts of Europe following the establishment of the Soviet Union, while others remained and assimilated into the Communist state. Cohesive Cossack-based units were organized and fought for both Germany and the Soviet Union during World War II.

Don Cossacks
Don Cossacks or Donians, are Cossacks who settled along the middle and lower Don. Historically, they have been located within what was the Don Cossack Host, which was either an independent or an autonomous democratic republic in the present-day Southern Russia and the Donbas region of Ukraine, from the end of the 16th century until 1918. As of 1992, by the presidential decree of the Russian Federation, Cossacks can be enrolled on a special register. A number of Cossack communities have been reconstituted to further the Cossack cultural traditions, including those of the Don Cossack Host.

Don Cossacks have had a rich military tradition, playing an important part in the historical development of the Russian Empire and participating in most of its major wars.

Don Cossacks in World War II
On 20 April 1936 the previous ban on Cossacks serving in the Red Army was lifted. Later the same year two existing Red Army cavalry divisions were re-designated as Don Cossacks. By 1939 a number of these regiments had been issued with traditional Cossack uniforms in ceremonial and field service versions. The dress of the Don Cossack units included the broad red stripes on dark-blue breeches, which had been their distinguishing feature prior to the Revolution. The Don Cossack Cavalry Corps saw extensive active service until 1943, after which its role diminished (as did that of the other remaining horse-mounted units in the Red Army). However Don Cossack cavalry was still in existence in 1945 and participated in the Victory Parade in Moscow.

During World War II, the Don Cossacks mustered the largest single concentration of Cossacks within the German Army, the XVth SS Cossack Cavalry Corps. A great part of the Cossacks were former Russian citizens who elected to fight not so much for Germany as against the Soviet Union. The XVth SS Cossack Cavalry Corps included the 1st Cossack Division and the 2nd Cossack Division.
The majority of the Cossacks remained loyal to the Red Army. In the earliest battles, particularly the encirclement of Belostok Cossack units such as the 94th Beloglisnky, 152nd Rostovsky and 48th Belorechensky regiments fought to their death.

In the opening phase of the war, during the German advance towards Moscow, Cossacks became extensively used for the raids behind enemy lines. The most famous of these took place during the Battle of Smolensk under the command of Lev Dovator, whose 3rd Cavalry Corps consisted of the 50th and 53rd Cavalry divisions from the Kuban and Terek Cossacks, which were mobilized from the Northern Caucasus. The raid, which in ten days covered 300 km and destroyed the hinterlands of the 9th German Army, before successfully breaking out. Whilst units under the command of General Pavel Belov, the 2nd Cavalry Corps made from Don, Kuban and Stavropol Cossacks spearheaded the counter-attack onto the right flank of the 6th German Army delaying its advance towards Moscow.

The high professionalism that the Cossacks under Dovator and Belov (both generals would later be granted the title Hero of the Soviet Union and their units raised to a Guards (elite) status) ensured that many new units would be formed. In the end, the Germans during the whole war only managed to form two Cossack Corps, while the Red Army in 1942 alone had 17. Many of the newly formed units were filled with ethnically Cossack volunteers. The Kuban Cossacks were allocated to the 10th, 12th and 13th Corps. However, the most famous Kuban Cossack unit would be the 17th Cossack Corps under the command of general Nikolay Kirichenko.

During one particular attack, Cossacks destroyed up to 1,800 enemy soldiers and officers, they took 300 prisoners, seized 18 artillery pieces and 25 mortars. The 5th and 9th Romanian Cavalry divisions fled in panic, and the 198th German Infantry division, carrying large losses, hastily departed to the left bank of the river Ei.

During the opening phase of the Battle of Stalingrad, when the Germans overran the Kuban, the majority of the Cossack population, long before the Germans began their agitation with Krasnov and Shkuro, became involved in Partisan activity. Raids onto the German positions from the Caucasus mountains became commonplace. After the German defeat at Stalingrad, the 4th Guards Kuban Cossack Corps, strengthened by tanks and artillery, broke through the German lines and liberated Mineralnye Vody, and Stavropol.

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