Sunday, November 25, 2012

Major East German Luftstreitkräfte units positioned for war against NATO units in West Germany during the Cold War

The Air Force of the East German National Volksarmee posed a formidable threat to NATO forces positioned in Western Europe during the Cold War. Although small, it was one of the most technologically sophisticated air arms of all the Warsaw Pact nations. Being positioned on the border of the ‘Iron Curtain’ the Luftstreitkräfte operated a number of aircraft of equivalent to the Soviet Air Force rather than downgraded export models often flown by other Warsaw Pact air forces. With 35,000 soldiers spread across two air divisions responsible for defending the northern and southern approaches of East Germany, the Luftstreitkräfte was to serve as an initial strike force leading the way for heavier Soviet strike aircraft. The Luftstreitkräfte's units carried on a tradition of Warsaw Pact nations under Soviet control by naming it's units after prominent figures in the Communist struggle.

1st Luftverteidigungsdivision (1st LVD) – Cottibus, East Germany

The 1st LVD was responsible for operations in southern parts of East Germany. With the Air Force and the Air Defense Units consolidated it maintained a vast number of airfields and gun batteries reflective of Soviet Air Defense doctrine. The following list of units is the major subordinate units assigned under the 1st LVD. Each unit was then broken down further into smaller units.

Jagdfliegergeschwader 1 (JG-1) „Fritz Schmenkel“ - Holzdorf
Jagdfliegergeschwader 3 (JG-3) „Wladimir Komarow“ - Preschen
Jagdfliegergeschwader 7 (JG-7) „Wilhelm Pieck“ -  Drewitz
Jagdfliegergeschwader 8 (JG-8) „Hermann Matern“ - Marxwalde
41. Fla-Raketenbrigade (41. FRBr) „Hermann Dunker“ - Ladeburg
51. Fla-Raketenbrigade (51. FRBr) „Werner Lamberz“ - Sprötau
Fla-Raketenregiment 31 (FRR-31) „Jaroslaw Dombrowski“ - Straßgräbchen
Funktechnisches Bataillon 31 (FuTB 31) - Döbern
Funktechnisches Bataillon 41 (FuTB-41) „Arvid Harnack“ - Holzdorf
Funktechnisches Bataillon 51 (FuTB-51) „Paul Schäfer“ - Sprötau
Funktechnisches Bataillon 61 (FuTB-61) - Müncheberg
Nachrichtenbataillon 31 (NB-31) „August Willich“ - Cottibus

3rd Luftverteidigungsdivision (3rd LVD) - Trollenhagen, East Germany

The 3rd LVD was responsible for operations in the northern part of East Germany.

Musikkorps der LSK/LV -  Trollenhagen
Jagdfliegergeschwader 2 (JG-2) „Juri Gagarin“ - Trollenhagen
Jagdfliegergeschwader 9 (JG-9) „Heinrich Rau“ - Peenemünde
Fliegertechnisches Bataillon 9 (FTB-9) „Käthe Niederkirchner“ - Peenemünde
43. Fla-Raketenbrigade (43. FRBr) „Erich Weinert“ - Sanitz
Fla-Raketenregiment 13 (FRR-13) „Etkar André“ - Parchim
Fla-Raketenregiment 23 (FRR-23) „Rudolf Breitscheid“ - Stallberg
Funktechnisches Bataillon 23 (FuTB-23) „Liselotte Herrmann“ - Pragsdorf
Funktechnisches Bataillon 33 (FuTB-33) „Fritz Behn“ - Pudagla
Funktechnisches Bataillon 43 (FuTB-43) - Parchim
Nachrichtenbataillon 33 (NB-33) „Max Christiansen-Clausen“ - Trollenhagen

The East German Air Force was essentially an extension of the Soviet Air Force’s 16th Air Army and was to be the frontline strike force for offensive operations into the West. With such a critical mission at its heart, this also resulted in less autonomy from the Soviet Union as opposed to the operating leniency granted to other Warsaw Pact nations.

The Luftstreitkräfte operated many of the USSR’s most advanced fighter designs but it’s offensive capacities were relegated to air defense and army support roles. It had no strategic bombers and had no long range capacity. Its weaponry was employed in mostly a purely defensive nature to counteract penetration by Western Air Forces.

In the event that the Cold War would have gone hot, the offensive capacity of the East German Luftstreitkräfte would be transferred under the control of an organization known as the Führungsorgan der Front- und Militärtransportfliegerkräfte which translates into the Command of the Frontal & Military Air Units. Under this unit all fighters, fighter-bombers, reconnaissance, transport and military helicopters would be realigned for offensive operations. This would not only include Luftstreitkräfte units but also Naval Aviation units as well. In the event of war, the structure of the FO FMTFK would look like this:

Jagdbombenfliegergeschwader 37 (JBG-37) „Klement Gottwald“ - Drewitz
Jagdbombenfliegergeschwader 77 (JBG-77) „Gebhardt Leberecht von Blücher“ - Laage
Marinefliegergeschwader 28 (MFG-28) „Paul Wieczorek“ - Laage
Transporthubschraubergeschwader 34 (THG-34) „Werner Seelenbinder“ - Brandenburg-Briest
Verbindungsfliegerstaffel 14 (VS-14) - Strausberg
Transportfliegerstaffel 24 (TFS-24) - Dresden-Klotzsche
Taktische Aufklärungsfliegerstaffel 47 (tAFS-47) - Preschen
Taktische Aufklärungsfliegerstaffel 87 (tAFS-87) - Drewitz

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Update 24 November 2012

Greetings Readers & History Enthusiasts,

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, as I have been traveling I haven't had a chance to update the blog so I thought I would take this moment to post a quick update to the site. Thanks to everyone who has visited my site over the past several months of operation and allowed me to reach over 10,000 views! That's a phenomenal achievement in my eyes and its all thanks to you all who visit regularly and read my posts and check for updates. 

I have received confirmation of several new additions in the past several days to include several items of paramilitary organizations such as the West German Bundesgrenzschutz and the East German Volkspolizei. These items should be of interest to those who were or are currently Military Police or have any affiliation to Law Enforcement and judicial agencies. The Bundesgrenzschutz and the Volkspolizei or VoPos are as much of a cornerstone in the story of the Cold War in Germany as the military units of all sides because in many cases they also saw confrontation both official and unofficial. 

I will be traveling again tomorrow and in the coming week you should see more posts here relating to military uniforms and exhibits. I already have begun planning my next several series of posts for the coming several weeks so thanks for coming by and please continue to do so. There's no shortage of interesting and exciting pieces to be shared with the World. 
10,000+ Views! Simply Amazing!

Thanks again ladies & gentlemen and of course Horrido!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Major East German Landstreitkräfte Units positioned for war against NATO units in West Germany during the Cold War

At the height of the Cold War, the East German Ground Forces maintained a personnel strength of 180,000 soldiers spread across ten combat ready divisions. Eight of those were motorized infantry regiments supported by two armored divisions. There were six primary combat divisions divided into two military districts reflecting their area of operations. Military District North was headquartered in Neubrandenburg, East Germany and was comprised of the following combat divisions:

Military District North – Neubrandenburg, East Germany

1st Motorisierte-Schützen-Division – Potsdam
8th Motorisierte-Schützen-Division – Schwerin
9th Panzerdivision – Eggesin

The Military District South was headquartered in Leipzig and was comprised of the following combat ready divisions:

Military District South – Leipzig, East Germany

4th Motorisierte-Schützen-Division – Erfurt
11th Motorisierte-Schützen-Division – Halle
7th Panzerdivision – Dresden

Each Motorisierte-Schützen-Division, the equivalent of a Mechanized Infantry Division was on average comprised of three motorized infantry regiments, an artillery regiment, armored regiment, two command & control regiments, a rocket artillery regiment, anti-aircraft missile regiment, heavy mortar regiment, reconnaissance regiment, engineer regiment, anti-tank regiment, signals regiment, security regiment, repair regiment, chemical regiment, medical regiment & a regiment of replacements assigned to them.

The difference with a Panzerdivision or Armored Division was its concentration on armor. Where a motorized infantry unit was comprised of three infantry regiments, an armored division maintained three armored regiments with a single regiment of motorized infantry, an artillery regiment, two command & control regiments, an anti-aircraft missile regiment, rocket artillery regiment, heavy mortar regiment, reconnaissance regiment, engineer regiment, signals regiment, security regiment, repair regiment, chemical regiment, medical regiment as well as a regiment of replacements.

The northern military district would have most likely been the East German units that would cross the north German plains and face off against the British Army of the Rhine and NATO’s Northern Army Group (NAG) comprising of forces from West Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and the United States positioned across Lower Saxony, western Schleswig-Holstein and North Rhine Westphalia.

The North German Plain is where NATO commanders expected the main thrust of a Warsaw Pact invasion of Western Europe led by the Soviet Army's Third Shock Army, a force the size of four Corps with two independent regiments attached to it remaining positioned in East Germany since the Soviet victory at the end of the Second World War. The composition of the North German Plain proved excellent in theory for the deployment of armored forces and mechanized maneuver warfare.

The southern military district would have been the group facing off against U.S. military personnel in southern Germany poised to press into western Germany through the Fulda Gap or in a rather unlikely move in an armored thrust through the Danube in Austria.

The Fulda Gap was the secondary most likely invasion route but it's significance was not ignored by NATO's commanders. The composition of the Fulda Gap was a far less likely arena for mechanized warfare but it provided the Soviets and the East Germans with a direct route of attack for which to advance directly on the heart of American military forces in West Germany located at Frankfurt am Main. This would have proved a devastating blow for West Germany as Frankfurt am Main, was West Germany's financial center and by seizing this location, Soviet & Warsaw Pact forces could effectively stem the flow of American reinforcements which would arrive through large airfields such as Rhein-Main Airbase.

The Southern military district would have been supported by elements of the Soviet Army's 8th Guards Army of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany and followed by a subordinate Soviet Army Group through the Fulda Gap into the West.

Behind these primary units were four units with a fifth ready for battle as well in the event of full mobilization for war. These were all motorized rifle regiments:

6th Motorisierte-Schützen-Division – Königswartha
10th Motorisierte-Schützen-Division – Ronneburg
17th Motorisierte-Schützen-Division – Petersroda
19th Motorisierte-Schützen-Division – Wulkow
20th Motorisierte-Schützen-Division – Bredenfelde

East German combats units were also supported by specialized units of the Kommando Landstreitkräfte such as the 40th Fallschirmjägerbataillon Willi Sänger, an airborne unit of battalion strength maintaining about 500 elite paratroopers trained in subversion, sabotage and other disruptive tactics. The 40th Fallschirmjägerbataillon Willi Sänger was the only airborne unit of the East German armed forces and was headquartered originally in Prora, Rügen Island and towards the latter stages of the Cold War near Potsdam.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Cold War Room: 18 November 2012

Consider this as an interim post before I jump back into the detailed posts for uniforms and various other artifacts. The previous several months has seen a number of acquisitions arrive from Europe ranging from British military items to represent the British Forces in Germany (both BAOR and RAFG) as well as Soviet military items and other pieces of interest. I will also be including areas of interests as I've been contacted and been lucky enough to meet other collectors as well as veterans of the Cold War and those interested in preserving this period in world history. I'm particularly excited about a new museum in the works in Schwäbisch Gmünd former home to the U.S. Army's Pershing missile units in West Germany. A significant deterrence to Soviet SS-12 missiles positioned to strike targets in western Europe.

As displayed in the pictures below you will see the current state of the 'War Room' as I call it which currently houses my collection of Cold War memorabilia and artifacts. As you will see I have a lot of catching up to do and updates will follow soon as well as several other areas of interest that I have been researching as of late such as Warsaw Pact battle tactics, possible scenarios in which the Cold War would have gone 'hot' as well as other areas of interest. Again thanks to all for showing interest in this area of world history, for visiting my blog and supporting the efforts to preserve our history.

The collection is continually growing and new pieces will arrive regularly and the room as you see it now will evolve and change to meet the growing number of acquisitions, displays and references as they arrive from around the world. Again, my thanks can not be expressed enough.


British Forces in Germany display in the works
Military Aviation display including a U.S. Army helicopter pilots helmet and a Soviet MiG pilots helmet with a picture of a U.S. Air Force F-15 intercepting a Soviet Tupelov Tu-95 Bear bomber 

East German and Soviet military books and reference manuals
The main display of U.S. Army, West German Bundeswehr, East German NVA and Soviet Armed Forces artifacts
A wall map courtesy of National Geographic displaying the divided Germany as well as an assortment of NVA parade wimpels and service caps
My display case showing a number of West & East German military items, several commemorative plates, models, badges and medals
Some Berlin Wall and Inner German Border Zone items, pieces of the wall, barbed wire clippings, Communist commemorative plates 
A British Union Jack flag and several West & East German as well as Soviet military displays
A display of East German & Soviet items including a Stasi flag, East German award documents and Soviet military medals
Entering the vault: An assortment of West German, American and British military headgear and field equipment
West German, British & American military uniforms
East German & Soviet military headgear 
East German & Soviet military uniforms
Various East German medals and award as well as other documents

Update 18 November 2012

Okay, well it's been a lengthy hiatus. I apologize for my absence over the last couple of months but I have added several new pieces to my collection so expect updates coming soon. I have completed several other displays and I would especially like to thank those that showed interest in my collection and visited regularly and left comments. It is the love of history not only shown by myself but also shared with others that makes me have a deeper enjoyment for this hobby. 

I am also looking to establish greater links with fellow collectors and enthusiasts to create a sort of history network for this Cold War era. 

Thanks again and Horrido!