Welcome to DECODED, a blog site for those interested in the period of history between the end of the Second World War and the final reunification of Berlin, Germany. This site is maintained by a Cold War history enthusiast, for other Cold War history enthusiasts and will be a source of information from both sides of the Cold War for history enthusiasts, political science fans, researchers, military history collectors and military veterans alike. Please visit the site regularly for updates. This site by no means is to represent or endorse any political agenda or ideology, information contained within is strictly used for the purpose of education and preservation of history for future generations. Thank you for visiting my blog, and welcome to the brink...

Monday, July 1, 2013

A Divided Nation on the Brink: The Bundeswehr versus The Nationale Volksarmee

National Security - The Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany)

(Information taken from U.S. military Area handbook series from 1983, West Germany: A Country Study)

Armed Forces: Federal Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) consists of army, navy and air force, numbering approximately 345,000, 39,000, and 111,000 respectively in early 1982. Conscripts made up almost half of army, about 29 percent of navy, and about 37 percent of air force.

Military Units: Army comprised tow major components: Field Army containing combat elements designated as NATO forces and Territorial Army, home defense force. Basic maneuver elements of Field Army were thirty-six brigades, organized in twelve divisions that made up three Corps. Navy deployed about 200 warships and 165 aircraft from stations on coasts of North Sea and Baltic Sea. Combat aircraft of Air Force divided among ground attack, interceptor, and reconnaissance squadrons. Air Force also deployed surface to surface and surface to air missile units.

Equipment: Principal acquisitions ongoing in early 1980s included Leopard II main battle tanks, Tornado and Alpha Jet aircraft, and missile frigates.

Foreign Armed Forces: United States, Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Canada deploy military forces in West Germany.

Police: Federal police forces included border police and criminal investigation office in addition to specialized small forces concerned with railways, waterways, and shipping. Majority of country's police under control of Länder.

Paramilitary: Border police equipped and trained as light infantry but mission did not include military activities. Each Land maintained units of Readiness Police similarly trained but also with no military mission. Readiness Police can be moved across Land lines if needed for emergency duty, e.g., riot or catastrophe.

National Security - The German Democratic Republic (East Germany)

(Information taken from U.S. military Area handbook series from 1982, East Germany: A Country Study)

Armed Forces: National People's Army in 1981 included ground forces (113,000); People's Navy (16,000); and air force/air defense (38,000); about 59, 63, and 42 percent conscript, respectively.

Military Units: Four motorized rifle divisions and two tank divisions plus support units; all considered combat ready. Combat support provided by two artillery regiments, two anti aircraft regiments, two anti tank battalions, and various engineer units. Group of Soviet Forces in Germany deploys twenty divisions. Frontier Troops (50,000) organized under Ministry for National Defense.

Equipment: Primarily Soviet

Police: All police forces centralized under Ministry of the Interior. People's Police includes Alert Units, Municipal Police, Traffic Police, Criminal Police, and Passport Department. Transport Police and Fire Fighters separately organized.

Paramilitary: Combat groups - about 400,000 strong - receive some military training.

Foreign Military Treaties: Member of the Warsaw Pact, also has bilateral defense treaty with the Soviet Union. 

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