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A Fähnrich is described a "rank between NCOs and officers; in the National People's Army (NVA) and the border troops (GT) of the GDR (1973 introduced) and is a military technical school cadre (military specialist), who committed himself for at least 15 years of service. This was also the generic term for the Ranking group of the cadets (NVA) or designation for this special career.





Despite the name equality corresponds to the Ensign (NVA), and differed fundamentally from the previous Ensign in the German armed forces. In contrast to the Reichswehr, the Wehrmacht and the Bundeswehr, the officer candidates of the NVA did not wear ensign grades, but officer pupil grades with the current academic year.

With this concept, the NVA leadership followed the example of the USSR, which in 1971 reintroduced the race group Praporschik (navy: Mitschman). There was a similar development in other Warsaw Pact countries, but it was partly due to rank assignments associated with the country's national military traditions.


In the NVA and in the frontier troops of the GDR, in 1974, according to Ministerial Order No. 168/73, the independent grade-grade group of the midshipmen and the rank of ensign were first introduced and settled between the NCOs with Portepee and the officers.

On October 1, 1979, this grade group was extended with the ranks Oberfähnrich, Stabsfähnrich and Stabsoberfähnrich. Thus, an independent ensign career was born.

The general commitment period for midshipmen was 25 years, but was later reduced to 15 years.

The ensign of the NVA was in a special superior relationship, which represents a hybrid position between the careers of the NCOs and the officers (with officer's patent).


The rafting corps, newly formed in the NVA, was to provide highly specialized "long servants" below the officer level and close a skills gap in the technical careers. While profes- sional NCOs were masters graduates, the officers completed their training at the officer colleges with a college diploma as graduate engineers, graduate military scientists, or graduate social scientists. For cadets of the NVA, a specialist school engineer training was aimed at in the medium term.

To cadets moved first senior NCOs, usually in the rank of staff sergeant, even without this had a technical college degree. This could hold specialists who would otherwise have retired after their ten years of service.

Later, only midshipmen could be appointed Ensign if they had successfully completed a two-year training at a military technical school or an officer college of the GDR. This training was carried out partly armed forces, for example, for the NVA Air Forces at the Military Air Force / Air Defense School "Harry Kuhn". During this training, the soldiers wore independent midshipman grades.

From the aforementioned two-year training was deviated in the 1980s in certain fields (eg computer science). By means of a commitment to the ensign career (ensign applicant) studied future Ensigns at a civil engineering school (eg 3 years at the engineering school Görlitz), went through a 3-month basic military training with grade Fähnrichschüler 2nd year of training, for example, at the NCO school "Kurt Bennewitz" Delitzsch, were appointed to the rank of ensign after successful graduation and transferred to their locations (eg LVD command posts). As a rule, their departments became acquainted with their midshipmen during their civil engineering studies, during the last six months of writing the written engineering work on this subject with a practical military technical theme.

With the simultaneous establishment of the new ranks Oberfähnrich, Stabsfähnrich and Stabsoberfähnrich, the Ensign Corps of the NVA finally changed from a grade group to an independent career.

Service Careers

For the NVA Ensign Corps, it was possible to use military and technical services as head of workshops, flight control centers and telecommunications centers. Further applications as a military specialist offered, for example, in logistics, repair or as a border patrol in the border companies. Equally possible was the employment as a sergeant or as deputy of the company commander for technical equipment.

Uniform and Insignia










Ensigns wore officer uniforms and the corresponding officer insignia (collar mirror, silver cap, brown officer belt with pin buckle, etc.), but not the officers parade dress and the parade saber as bare side weapon a participant of an honor formation or the honor dagger.

The epaulets of satin silver cord were similar to those of the officers from subordinate to captain, but the two outer strings were colored gray or blue at the People's Navy and Border Brigade Coast.

Depending on the Fähnrichrang, one to four golden square officer stars were attached in series on the shoulder piece. With the introduction of the first Fähnrichranges in 1974, two silver-colored Feldwebelsterne were first worn to 1979 by the Soviet model. With the introduction of other ensign grades, however, this was abolished again with effect from 6 October 1979.

Another special feature was the seniority designation in the form of a special Ärmelaufnähers (popularly also "bottle label") on the left upper arm of the uniform jacket and the uniform coat. The patch featured the state emblem of the GDR and an embroidered square officer star for more than 10 years of service, two stars for more than 15 years of service and three stars for more than 20 years of service. This type of seniority labeling was superfluous with the introduction of the other ensign grades in 1979 and could be abolished again.

The service career badges were worn in the manner of the NCOs.


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