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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.


(Service Color)

Color distinction of the branches of service, weapons formations, special troops and services of the NVA; primarily used on shoulder straps, boards and collar tabs, but also on visored hats and for a long time on the cuff flaps (bars); modified often in the course of the NVA’s development.


(Flat Peaked Hat) - (See Matroenmutze)



Copper-zink alloy, very easy to form; used as a gold imitation for constructing effects.



Narrow, continuously woven silver or gold-colored band or strip; used in many ways on uniforms; for example, om the shoulder straps of the NCOs.


WENKEL: Figure 66 and 67 –


Variable distinction for the length of service to the NVA, or since 1965 a service relationship; worn by the soldier and NCOs; varying colors in the branches of service; always sewn-on the left lower sleeve of the uniform jacket or overcoat.

WINTERMUTZE: Figure 68, 69, and 70 –

(Winter Hat)

Description for many different special head coverings of the army members within the winter wearing period.


(No direct translation)

Fiber weave with equal strengths and durability characteristics in all directions; the fibers lie randomly among each other.



(No direct translation)

Designation for Polyacrylicnitrofiber material.


(Random Cloth)

Manufactured of short, uneven fibers (wool, cotton or chemical fibers), weak, twisted thread; more full and rougher than the Kammgarn; material primarily used for the uniforms of the soldiers and NCOs in short-term service.



Also called piping; sewn into the seams, its narrow cloth strips noticeable by its different color from the uniform; usually found in the service color.

PUMPS: Figure 41 –

(Pump shoes)

Women’s shoe with cut-outs; middle to high heal; no straps or laces.


(Representative Cord)

Decorative mesh of silver-colored cords for members of honor companies, Central Orchestra of the NVA, Staff Music Corps Berlin and its bandsmen squads; since 1977, worn to military ceremonies (except by officers, who wear the shoulder cord).

RINGSGURT: Figure 43 –

(Belt with holes)

Belt of the summer overcoat of the career NCOs, Fähnrich, officers, generals and admirals; (come from “Rinken”, an expression meaning buckle in place).


(Knee Boots)

Footwear primarily of the career NCOs, Fähnrich, officers, and generals, as well as of the female army members (to a degree also with zipper).

SCHIFFCHEN: Figure 45 –

(Forage Hat)

Introduced in 1962 and used until the beginning of the 1980’s, it’s a cap head covering worn by the female army members in the color of their respective branch of service.

SHULTERKLAPPEN: Figure 49, 50, 51, 52, and 53 –

(Shoulder Straps)

Specific form of rank insignia; material flaps attached in the shoulder seams of the uniform, which denotes the rank of the soldier and NCOs, as well as NCO-, Fahnrich-, and officer students; membership to a branch of service, weapons group, special troops or to a service is also denoted by the piping on the shoulder strap.

SHULTERSTRUCKE: Figure 54, 55, 56 and 57 –

(Shoulder Boards)

Specific form of rank insignia in the shoulder area of the uniform; they’re braid trimming or attached interwoven cords; serve as the signifier of service rank for fahnrich, officers, generals, admirals, and marschalle.

SCHWALBENNESTER: Figure 58 and 59 –

(Swallow’s Nests)

Specific distinction worn by members of the Central Orshestra of the NVA as well as the Staff Music Corps (with attached silver-colored fringe) and the music corps of the Land and LSK/LV Forces; historically they originated as humps in the shoulder area (A reinforcement of the upper sleeve); attaching on the upper sleeves of the uniform jacket.

SCHIRMMUTZE: Figure 46, 47, and 48 –

(Visored Hat)

Head covering of male army members from almost all uniform types; varying constructions for service rank groups and branches of service.


(Serge Material)

Liner and clothing material of many fibers.

STIEFELHOSE: Figure 63 and 64 –


Specially-made pants of the career NCOs, Fähnrich, officers, and generals of the Land and LSK/LV Forces for the service and parade uniforms.

SPORTA: Figure 62 –

(Casual Shoe)

Women’s slip-on lace shoe.

SLINGPUMPS: Figure 61 –

(Women’s Shoe)

Wide cut-out women’s footwear (as opposed to the Pumps) with heel straps.

UBERZIEHER: Figure 65 –


Uniform jacket of the sailors and mates.

ZUGSTIEFEL: Figure 71 –

(Elastic-sided Boots)

Footwear of the Fähnrich, officers, generals, and admirals with the service, staff service, and walking-out uniforms.

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