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East Germany Table of Contents

East Germany

Ground Forces

The ground forces in 1987 made up 68 percent of the NVA, having a total strength of 120,000, of whom 60 percent were draftees. Ground forces included two tank divisions, four motorized rifle regiments, two surface-to-surface missile brigades, two artillery regiments and one antiaircraft artillery regiment, eight air defense regiments, one airborne battalion, two antitank battalions, and several support units.

Because East Germany produced primarily military supplies--such as computers, clothing, military vehicles, and communications equipment--rather than arms, major items of weaponry and equipment were obtained from the Soviet Union. Of the equipment used by the ground forces, only some wheeled vehicles were of East German design and manufacture. Some small arms and ammunition were also of local manufacture but were licensed copies of Soviet designs. The NVA had purchased 170 RM-70 122mm multiple rocket launchers and a number of FUG-70 scout cars from Czechoslovakia, but most of its weapons and equipment were of Soviet design and manufacture. In 1985 the tank inventory included an estimated 1,500 T-54s, T-55s, and T-72s assigned to units and approximately 1,600 more armored vehicles, including T-34s, in storage. Reconnaissance units were equipped with 1,000 BRDM-1 and BRDM-2 scout cars. Motorized infantry units had 1,000 BMP infantry combat vehicles, as well as 1,500 BTR-50Ps, BTR-60Ps, and BTR-152s and 200 BTR-70s (armored personnel carriers) and MT-LBs (multipurpose towing and transport vehicles). The artillery inventory included the following guns: 400 D-44s and self-propelled SD-44s (85mm); M-1931s and M-1937s (122mm); and 72 M-46s (130mm). There were also 108 M-1937 gun howitzers and 54 self-propelled M-197 and D-20 (152mm) gun howitzers, as well as various other kinds of howitzers: D-30s, M-1938s (M-30s), and self-propelled M-1974s (122 mm). Other artillery assets were 250 mortars (120mm); 24 FROG-7 and 18 SCUD-B tactical missile launchers; and multiple rocket launchers, which included 108 BM-21s, Czechoslovak RM-70s (122mm), and BM-24s (240mm) (see fig. 14).

The NVA's antitank inventory consisted of 120 T-12 guns (100mm) and various quantities of AT-3 SAGGER (including self-propelled BRDM-2s) and AT-4 SPIGOT antitank guided weapons. In terms of air defense assets, the East German ground forces had ninety-six self-propelled ZSU-23-4 guns, as well as SA-4, SA-6, and SA-9 antiaircraft missiles.

Data as of July 1987