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The following glossary is a direct translation from German of the glossary located at the end of the book titled:


By Klaus-Ulrich Keubke and Manfred Kunz





The following explanations are descriptions of clothing and equipment items, as well as corresponding concepts that are associated with the uniforming of the NVA. On the basis of the constant metamorphosis in regards to the naming, shaping and also the measurements, a repeated, complete depiction of the historical development of these details is not possible and is also not intended.


(Insignia for special training for sailors and mates)

Red embroidery on blue or white cloth underlay; until 1965, the diameter was 6cm, then it became 7cm; worn by sailors and mates of the Volksmarine after passing a test; insignia was worn beneath the service career insignia; up to two insignia were permitted.

ACSELSCHNUR: Figure 2 and 3 –

(Shoulder Cord)

Decorative wickerwork (Entwining) of two heavy cord coils and two narrow cords of silver or gold-colored spun metal, worn by male officers, generals and admirals since 1976 on the parade and walking-out uniforms, as well as on the Great Social Outfit of the social uniform.

ANKER, KLARER UND UNKLARER: Figure 4, 5 and 6 –

(Anchor, clear and obscured)

Symbolic of the Volksmarine; especially used in the formation of the service career insignia.

ARABESKE: Figure 7 -


Climbing tendril adornment of gold-colored textile fabric; worn in pairs on the sleeve cuffs of the walking-out uniforms for generals (until 1981) and on the parade uniforms for generals (until 1986), either embroidered or imprinted.

ARMELABZEICHEN: Figure 8, 9, and 10 –

(Sleeve Insignia)

  1. Indicator of service rank in the Volksmarine; also called sleeve stripes; since 1983 a clear separation in the sleeve insignia for sailors, NCO students (not career officer students) and mates in gold-colored construction for the white uniform; placed in the middle of the left sleeve of the Kieler shirt and topcoat, as well as in gold-colored sleeve stripes for male Fähnrich, officers and admirals on both lower sleeves of the uniform jackets. (Fig 8 and 9)

  2. Indicator of the Fähnrich in the NVA in addition to the service rank insignia; woven from uniform material and features the state emblem of the DDR; additionally, until 1979 one to three stars for 10, 15, or 20 years’ service time were worn; sewn on the upper left sleeve of the uniform jackets and overcoats. (Fig 10)


ARMELPATTEN: Figure 11 and 12 –

(Sleeve flaps, bars)

An adornment in pairs; worn by the Land and LSK/LV Forces (from 1961) on the sleeve cuffs of the parade/walking-out jackets until 1981; for soldiers, they were made of silver-colors embroidery with a middle stripe in the service color (Waffenfarbe); since 1980, they generally were white in the Land Forces and orange for paratroopers, mounted on uniform cloth; for Fähnrich and officers, they were made of silver-color embroidery with a fine, spire woven thread (Kantille) in the service color: from 1977, white for Land Forces and orange for paratroopers.

ARMELSTEIFEN: Figure 13 and 14 –

(Sleeve Stripes)

  1. Indicator for the Hauptfelbwebel, signifying NCO and Master status (since 1974 also the Fähnrich) ; made of 15mm wide aluminum or gold thread; until 1960, they were 10cm away from the sleeve seam on both lower sleeves of the uniform jackets and overcoats; later they were 13cm away. (Fig 13)

  2. Indicator of members of the NVA Guard Regiments and the Erich-Weinert-Ensemble, as well as the military musician students; made from 3cm wide basic weave, embroidered laces and appropriate inscriptions; placed 13cm away from the sleeve seam on the left lower sleeve of the uniform jackets and overcoats. (Fig 14)


(Asculapean Staff)

In ancient times, Asculap (Asklepios), god of the healing skills, was portrayed with a large knotted staff, around which a snake was wrapped; symbol of the service career insignia for the members of the medical service of the NVA.

BASKENMUTZE: Figure 16 –


Head covering of female army members until 1962 (since 1963, in an up-dated form it belongs again with the field service uniform); and of the paratroopers; accordingly constructed in varying forms and colors.


(Clothing and Equipment, Service of the NVA)

Part of the Behind-the Line Service of the NVA, which outfits the troops with uniforms, billet clothing, tents including furniture, office machines and material, as well as ships and boats with flags.


(On-Board kepi)

Head covering of the members of the Volksmarine in the form of a field hat. (see Fig 27)

DIENSTGRADABZEICHEN: Figure 17, 18, and 19 –

(Service Rank Insignia)

Woven, stamped or embroidered indicators of the uniform that signifies the military rank of the wearer in the form of sleeve insignia, shoulder straps and boards’ also as a system of stripes in lace form, primarily seen on the combat outfit in Flachendruck (Camouflage), on the special or sports clothing, as well as in silver and gold-colored construction on the chest of the pilot and technical outfits.

DIENSTLAUFBAHNZEICHEN: Figure 20, 21, 22, and 23 –

(Service Career Insignia)

Since 1957, special indicator primarily for NCOs and soldiers, but to a certain degree also for Fähnrich and officers who had acquired a special training and have been used in that capacity; in the Land and LSK/LV Forces until 1965 in colored construction, then in silver-colored embroidery on stone-gray cloth underlay; partially also on the shoulder straps and boards (music and medical orderly services); in both branches of service until 1986 greatly reduced in number; also unchanged in the Volksmarine in blue or gold-colored construction.

EHRENDOLCH: Figure 24 –

(Honor Dagger)

Representative edged weapon introduced in 1961 among male officers, as well as for the generals and admirals in varying material and color constructions; carried while wearing the walking-out , parade, and social uniforms.


(Paratrooper laced-boots)

Special footwear for paratroopers; intended to reduce strain incurred during a jump.


(Fashion, style)

Description for (a) ther universal cut of an item of clothing, or (b) the front side of the uniform jacket, consisting of collar and lapels.

FELDBINDE: Figure 26 –

(Officers Brocade Belt)

Wide, lace band worn around the hip area with the parade uniform; silver-colored construction for male officers, gold-colored for generals and admirals.


(Field Service Uniform) - See KAMPFANZUG


FELDMUTZE: Figure 27 –

(Field Hat)

Light, low-profile head covering made of uniform weave for all services grades of all the branches of service. (Volksmarine called an on-board kepi)


(no translation)

Description for polyester fiber cloth.



(Mid-calf boot)

Leather footwear for soldiers and NCOs with the service, drill, field service, and parade uniforms.



The refinement of textiles by means to give a special water-repellent impregnation.


(Interims Metal Bar)

A rectangular form band of distinctions; until 1973 made of textile weave; after that , art paper protected by a plastic covering; intended for on-board, service, staff service, walking-out, and social uniform (Little Social Outfit).


(Combed Thread Material)

Fine, smooth long fiber wool thread that differs from Streichgarn by its greater uniformity and smoother surface; primarily used as material for officer uniform.


(Combat Outfit)

Called the field service outfit since 1965; the determining part of the field service uniform in a varying construction for Summer, transition period (since 1983) and the Winter wearing periods; until the middle of the 1960’s it was intended for wearing during combat training, but later was also worn by soldiers and NCOs in short-term service daily duty.


(No direct translation)

Fine, spirally-twisted thread; used for preparing the sleeve cuff flaps (bars) and on the collar tabs.

KAPPE: Figure 29 –


Introduced in 1962, the cap is the head covering of female members for the service, staff service, walking-out, and social uniforms in color appropriate to the branch of service.

KIELER HEMD: Figure 30 –

(Kieler Shirt)

In commemoration of the Kiel Sailors Revolt on November 3, 1918; it’s chosen description of the specific uniform blouse of the sailors and mates in a blue form; worn with the silk neckerchief (liner) and Kieler collar with service, walking-out, and parade uniforms.

KOKARDE: Figure 31 and 32 –


Round insignia found on the head coverings, which signifies membership to a branch of the service or other armed organization of the country; in the NVA it was originally black-red-gold; since 1963 it is completed by the state emblem of the DDR.

KOPPEL: Figure 33 and 34 –


For soldiers and NCOs in short-term service; made of black leather (or girth belt with field service uniform, then also for the career soldiers) with belt buckle; brown leather for career soldiers, with clasp.


(Collar liner, neckerchief)

For protection of the collar on the uniform  jackets or jackets of the combat/field service outfits; buttons in place; made of cloth strips.

KRAGENSPIEGEL: Figure 35, 36, and 37 –

(Collar Tabs)

Primarily found on the uniform jacket of all uniform types of the Land and LSK/LV Forces (except on the combat/field service outfits) as well as to a degree among the Volksmarine; it’s a adornment of varying construction:

  1. For the marshalls and generals, made of piping cloth in the service color with embroidery in the form of arabesques; also worn with uniform overcoats (fig 35).

  2. For admirls, made of gold-colored, formed oak leaf;

  3. For Fähnrich and officers of the Land and Air Defense Forces, made of stone-gray uniform weave with silver-colred formed double Litzen and white (until 1977 in service color) or light-gray Kantille filling; for paratroopers since 1970 of orange-colored piping material with silver-colored coed border, symbolic parachute and propeller; until 1986 also worn on the uniform overcoat (fig 36);

  4. For Fähnrich and officers of the Air Force, made of light-blue piping cloth with silver-colored cord border, silver-colored propeller and open or as the case may be, closed oak leaf wreath (staff officers only); until 1986 also worn on the uniform overcoat.

  5. For soldiers, NCOs, NCO-, Fähnrich-, and officer students of the Land and Air Defense, made of stone-gray uniform weave with silver-colored double Litzen, white (until 1980 in service color) or as the case may be, light-gray middle stripes and two outer stripes; for paratroopers since 1970, same as for officers (fig 37).

  6. For those mentioned in (a) service ranks of the Air Force, made of light-blue piping cloth with silver-colored propeller; until 1986 also worn on the uniform overcoat;

  7. For sailors, NCO students and mates, made of cornflower blue piping material for the topcoats.



Polyurethane-impregnated material used to make uniform overcoats of career soldiers.

LAMPASSEN: Figure 38 –

(Wide Stripes)

Red or light-blue cloth stripes on the generals’ uniform pants; originally borrowed from the civilian men’s fashion at the beginning of the 1900’s.

LYRA: Figure 39 –


Ancient Greek plucking instrument; symbol used on the service career insignia for the members of the music service of the NVA; also worn on the shoulder straps and boards, for military musian students on the collar of the uniform jackets.


(Sailors Hat)

Also known as the flat-peaked hat; head covering of the sailors of the Volksmarine with service, parade, and walking-out uniform; according to the wearing period, fitted with a white or blue hat cover.

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