Waffen-SS Italian volunteer's sleeve shield.
German manufactured, Italian sleeve shield consists of a roughly, 65mm tall, 60mm wide, flat topped, rounded bottom, black wool construction, shield shaped base which features a machine embroidered, golden yellow fasces bordered in red threads and encompassed by a golden yellow shield shaped border.
Excellent, unissued, condition.
As early as 1938 Reichsführer-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 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. 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. With the arrest and imprisonment of Italy’s Duce Benito Mussolini on July 25TH 1943, Italy immediately became embroiled in a virtual civil war between the pro and anti-fascist elements within the country. On September 8TH 1943 Italy officially ended hostilities with the allies and four days later Mussolini was rescued by the German’s and set up the puppet Republica Sociale Italiana, (Italian Social Republic), government in northern Italy. In October and November of 1943 the Germans began to enlist pro-fascist Italians and formed the 1. Italienische Freiwillingen Sturmbrigade Milizia Armata, (1ST Italian Volunteer Assault Brigade of the Armed Militia), in southern Germany. In January 1944 the Brigade returned to Italy and participated in the battle of the Anzio beachhead in the spring of that year. In September 1944 the Brigade was upgraded to divisional status and eventually evolved into the 29. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS (italienische Nr.1). As with other foreign volunteer units the Germans devised and produced a national sleeve shield for wear by the divisional personnel. Of Note: Although produced during the war it is questionable weather these Italian sleeve shield were ever issued or worn.