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East Germany Table of Contents

East Germany

The Working-Class Combat Groups

The Working-Class Combat Groups, actually a workers' militia, had over 500,000 members in 1987. Since their creation in 1953, they have increasingly assumed the character of a territorial force of considerable military importance. They consist of volunteer reserve units organized around 100-member companies formed in factories and other enterprises for the purpose of providing local security to the state. For training, equipment, and supplies they are responsible to the Ministry of the Interior, specifically to the Main Administration of the People's Police.

These forces had armored fighting vehicles, including SK-1 armored personnel carriers; 82mm mortars; 76mm antitank guns; and 23mm and 37mm antiaircraft guns. The Combat Groups train after work and on weekends for a total of 136 hours annually. In addition, they take part in monthly exercises and a large annual exercise and occasionally perform labor duties said to benefit the national economy. Further, experienced and politically reliable Combat Group members are active in political instruction in the NVA and in military education in the schools. Finally, the Combat Groups also have been involved in East Germany's program of military aid to Africa, providing training and equipment for militia groups, in Brazzaville, for example.

Data as of July 1987