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Cossacks in German and Italian Service

Cossacks were among the vast numbers of Soviet Soldiers who deserted to the Axis during 1941-42. In August 1942 a whole Soviet Cossack Regiment complete with officers deserted to the Germans and put themselves at their service.

This unit commanded by Major Kononow became Kosacken Abtielung 102, but they were re-designated Ostlegion Kosacken Abteilung 600, finally they became the 5th Don Cossack Regiment.

German Cossacks
As well as a few big units, smaller Cossack formation were semi-officially organised by local Axis units, both behind the lines for anti-partisan work or in the front lines for mobile scouting.

The Italians were also keen to make use of Cossacks on the Eastern Front. In September 1942 they recruited a Sotnya of Cossacks to serve with the Italian 8th Army. They eventual were attached to the ‘Novaria’ Cavalry Regiment.


Both Italians and German Cossacks retained much of their Soviet dress and equipment, usually with the
addition of Italian or German tunics and bits of more traditional Cossack wear, such as long coats and tall fleece hats.

German Cossacks, like the other Ostlegions, were issued arm patches of various designs depending on the Cossack Host. They also used the Ostlegion rank patches rather than German forms.

Arm Shield Patches: All were on a black background; the shield was diagonally quartered into four triangles. The upper and lower triangles sharing one colour while the left and right triangles shared another.

Cyrillic letter were position on the black background above the shield.

Don Cossack: BA over Red upper/lower, Blue left/right.
Siberian Cossack: nCB over Yellow upper/lower, Blue left/right
Kuban Cossack: KB over Red upper/lower, Black left/right
Terek Cossack: TB over Blue upper/lower, Black left/right

Don Cossaack Shield
 Dismounted Cossacks on Parade

Headdress also depended on the Cossack Host, the Don and Siberian Cossacks wore the tall traditional Tsarist papasha fleece cap, Don Cossacks in black with a red top, Siberian Cossacks in white with a yellow top.

The Kuban and Terek Cossacks wore the shorter Soviet kubanka as worn by the Soviet Cossacks. Both were in black with the white cross on top, blue top for the Kuban and red top for the Terek Cossacks.

The Mounted Kazachiy Company as Axis Support

Mid-War Eastern Front
A German Grenadierkompanie (page 60 Eastern Front), or Schnellschwadron (page 68
Eastern Front) may take a Mounted Kazachiy Company (Page 210 Eastern Front) instead of a Luftewaffe Feld Platoon or Fallschirmjager Platoon Divisional Support choice.

V3 Approved

An Italian Battaglione Fucilieri (page 142 Eastern Front), or Battaglione Alpini (page 146 Eastern Front) may take a Mounted Kazachiy Company (Page 210 Eastern Front) instead of a Fucilieri Company, Alpini Company, Bersaglieri Platoon, or Demolisher Platoon Divisional Support choice.

The Mounted Kazachiy Company retains all its ratings and Soviet special rules.

Eastern Front

Last Updated On Monday, December 16, 2013 by Wayne at Battlefront