National People's Army - Appearance - Uniform Categories

Uniform Categories

Basic categories of uniforms were worn:

  • Field Service Uniform (Felddienstuniform) - The summer field uniform for both officers and enlisted consisted of a jacket and trousers in a dark-brown (later a forest green) raindrop camouflage pattern on a stone-gray background; a field cap, service cap, or steel helmet; high black boots; and a leather belt with vertical web shoulder suspenders. In winter, a quilted stone gray padded suit without a camouflage pattern was worn over the service uniform. Later winter uniforms were also of the same camouflage pattern as the summer variant. The winter uniform also included a fur pile cap or a steel helmet, boots, knitted gray gloves, belt, and suspenders.
  • Service Uniform (Dienstuniform) - The summer service uniform for officers was a bloused jacket, called a Hemdbluse, worn without a shirt, trousers, and a visored service cap. The winter service uniform featured a tunic with four large buttoned-down patch pockets, a black waist belt, the service cap, breeches, shirt, tie, and pants belt; high boots were reserved for officers and NCOs. A long, heavy, belted greatcoat was also part of the winter uniform.
  • Semi-Dress/Walking-Out Uniform (Ausgangsuniform) - With a few details, the semi-dress uniform was the same for all ranks and was worn for walking-out purposes (i.e. off-duty and off-post). It consisted of a single-breasted tunic without belt, a silver-gray shirt with dark-gray tie, the service cap, long trousers, and black low-quarter shoes. Officers also wore the tunic with a white shirt. During periods of warm weather, there was the option of omitting the tunic, and furthermore omitting the tie. A double-breasted jacket was optional for officers and warrant officers.
  • Parade Uniform (Paradeuniform) - The parade uniform for officers was the semi-dress/walking-out tunic with all authorized orders, awards and decorations attached, breeches and riding boots, steel helmet, white shirt, dark-gray necktie, and a ceremonial dagger worn on the left side and fastened to a silver-gray parade belt. Officers in guards of honor carried sabers. In winter, a greatcoat, scarf, and gloves were worn.
  • Work Uniform (Arbeitsuniform) - Seasonal considerations and weather governed the kind of work uniforms worn. Generally, reconditioned articles of service uniforms (field, semi-dress, and padded winter uniforms) were dyed black and issued for all types of fatigue and maintenance details. Coveralls are also used by the lower ranks, especially armor and air force personnel. Officers in technical branches supervising fatigue details wore a laboratory-style smock.
  • Other Uniforms — High-ranking officers occasionally wore white uniforms (or white jackets), and staff officers were issued distinctive staff service uniforms. Women wore uniforms consisting of jackets, skirts or slacks, blouses, caps, boots or pumps, and other appropriate items according to season and occasion. Personnel such as paratroopers, motorcyclists, and tank troops wore additional items with their uniforms identifying them as such.

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