Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Latvian Volunteer of Waffen-SS Unit

A Soldier of Waffen SS's Latvian Legion wearing a shield without inscription on his lapel. There was two Latvian divisions in the Waffen-SS: 15. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS (lett. Nr.1) and 19. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS (lett. Nr.2). The soldiers and officers of the Latvian SS legion wore the standard uniform of the SS forces with corresponding insignia. On their sleeve, the Latvian legionaries wore a red-white-red shield, sometimes with the inscription LATVIJA in the upper portion and sometimes without an inscription. The shield also came in a variety of shapes and was worn not only on the left sleeve, as per regulations, but also on the right and even below the elbow. Near the end of the war, a shield with a wide black mounting was introduced in the 15th SS Division (Latvian No. 1), which had been extricated from the Kurland pocket and operated in Pomerania and East Prussia until the end of the war. This wide black mounting was the same as that introduced in the 20th SS Division (Estonian No. 1) and for the same purpose – a reminder of the lost mother country. As with the Estonian legion, the Latvians initially made use of plain black collar tabs or collar tabs with SS runes, despite the fact that use of the latter was permitted for only German service personnel. On 11 March 1943, collar tabs with a swastika were specially introduced for the Latvian legionaries. In the fall of 1944, new collar tabs with a stylized version of the Latvian military emblem – “sun and stars” – was introduced for the personnel of the 15th SS Division (Latvian No. 1). Use of the swastika collar tabs was then limited to the 19th SS Division (Latvian No. 2). In reality, however, swastika collar tabs continued to be worn in the 15th SS Division, until a sufficient number of the new collar tabs had been produced. In addition to all these variants, some of the soldiers of the 19th SS Division also wore collar tabs with a “twinned” swastika, which had been prepared for the 36th SS Panzer-Grenadier Division (Latvian No. 3). [In the event, there was no such division. The 36th SS Waffen-Grenadier Division was commanded by Oskar Dirlewanger and consisted of convicts and criminals – not Latvians– skoblin]. In January 1945, honorific titles and correspondingly inscribed cuff titles were given to the 42nd and 43rd Regiments of the 19th SS Division (Latvian No. 2): Voldemars Veiss (organizer of the first Latvian police units and the first Latvian to earn the Knight’s Cross – died from wounds 17 April 1944) and Hinrich Schuldt (commander of the Latvian Volunteer Brigade – died 15 March 1944). In addition, the troopers of the 19th SS Division were awarded with the cuff title Kurland as had other soldiers who had taken part in any of the three battles of the Kurland pocket. Another distinctive element of the Latvian SS was the use of ribbons on the shoulder boards, which were used in the regiments of the 15th SS Division (Latvian No. 1): white for the 32nd, red for the 33rd and yellow for the 34th.

Source :

No comments:

Post a Comment