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...

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Generalmajor Landstreitkräfte Dienstuniform - German Democratic Republic

The uniform displayed here is the Dienstuniform or Service Uniform of a Generalmajor or ‘Major General’ of the East German Landstreitkräfte, the land forces of the East German armed forces. The rank of Generalmajor in eastern militaries is equivalent to that of an American one star Brigadier General or in British rank equivalents a Brigadier.  The uniform jacket is the standard stone grey color of all Nationale Volksarmee uniforms with the red colored piping of the shoulder insignia and collar bars known as kragenspielen denoting the wearer's affiliation as a General Officer of the East German armed forces. Generals in the East German armed forces were signified by the wearing of the color gold in their uniform insignias. Gold denoted a General, and silver a commissioned officer. The pants are also the standard stone gray color as well with the reflecting red striping running along the length of the pant leg.

As members of  the 'Parteiarmee" or Army of the Party tasked with defending the people and the Party, all officers were required to be members of the ruling SED communist party in East Germany. Political officers charged with indoctrination of the troops on subjects reflecting ideological, military, and global affairs formed an essential part of Nationale Volksarmee daily routine. These courses were known as Politische Hauptverwaltung or 'Political Main Administration'. Like the Communist parties of other allied socialist states, the Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands  known in English as the 'Socialist Unity Party of Germany', or SED, assured complete control over the ranks by appointing loyal party members to top positions and organizing intensive political education for all ranks. The proportion of SED members in the officer corps rose steadily after the early 1960s, eventually reaching almost 95 percent of the total officer corps.

The tunic would be worn with a white dress shirt or standard grey issue service shirt along with a dark gray tie. During periods of warm weather, officers were presented the option of omitting the tunic, or in authorized adaptation omitting dress shirt and tie with only the jacket being worn over service trousers with the Dienstuniform.  The winter service uniform featured a tunic with four large buttoned-down patch pockets, a gold brockade belt, the service cap, riding breeches, shirt, tie, and pants belt along with high boots. A long, heavy, belted greatcoat was also part of the winter uniform.

The jacket also has a hidden loop on the interior lining for mounting the hangers for the General officer's parade dagger for certain events.

Here is a picture of the stone grey pants with the red General officer's striping along the leg.

The visor cap is made of the same gabardine material of all East German uniforms. Unlike West German uniforms denoting branch as the central insignia and then flanked by the national roundel, East German visor caps used the East German national insignia as the centerpiece with the national insignia of a hammer and compass surrounded by wreaths of wheat and German flags. Surrounding the roundel on this example are laurel wreaths and applied with a felt background against the face of the hat. This is unique to all General officer hats as other officers junior in rank wore silver metal insignia. Rather than wear wreaths on the visor like the West German's, East German officer's wore braided cords around the cap reminiscent of styles of previous German armies. The gold coloring of the braid and national insignia specify the wearers status as a General officer.

Shown here is the gold metal Kragenspiegeln or collar insignia of the General Officer Corps. They are nearly identical to the types of Kragenspiegeln worn by General officers of the earlier Nazi Wehrmacht of 1935 - 1945. The East German armed forces borrowed heavily from the previous regime in terms of uniform style and influence all while maintaining a sense of embracing Germanic tradition in the heavy usage of  the Prussian influence.

This picture depicts the shoulder board insignia of a Generalmajor of the Landstreitkräfte. The Generalmajor rank is denoted by a single five pointed silver star mounted on a gold and silver braided shoulder cord set against a bright red base. East German officer ranks were modelled heavily on the existing Soviet rank structure. In German military doctrine, the rank of Generalmajor was generally that awarded to a junior divisional commander.  

The picture shown here displays the intricate design of the  gold buttons of a General officer in the Nationale Volksarmee, bearing the national hammer and compass insignia of the Deutsche Demokratische Republik.  The Dienstuniform consisted primarily of a single breasted tunic with four buttons along the centerline and corresponding buttons mounted on the pockets.

A picture of the General Officer Corps red waffenfarbe stripe embroidered around the cuff of the uniform sleeve.

On the right side of the chest is an Academy badge denoting the officer school that the General attended. The Nationale Volksarmee maintained an extensive network of schools and academies focused on improving the technical expertise of its commissioned officers. One of the main areas of focus with increasing responsibility was increased focus on political reliability and the teachings of Karl Marx. Officers becoming Generals in the East German rank structure were often sent to educational institutions in the Soviet Union for enhanced training and language training to become fluent in the Soviet Cyrillic language. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you very much for those references!