After its defeat in the Second World War, Germany was occupied by the victorious Allied Powers. The Soviet Union controlled the part to the east of the Elbe River, while Britain, France and the United States occupied the part to the west and the responsibility for the security of Germany was left to the four occupying powers. The relationship between the democratic West (the United States, Britain, and France) and the communist East (the Soviet Union) soon broke down and an ‘Iron Curtain’ was drawn across central Europe. Germany was divided in two.
In 1949, in western Germany, the Federal Republic of Germany (Bundesrepublik Deutschland) was formed from the zones occupied by the United States, Britain, and France, and in eastern Germany the German Democratic Republic (Deutsche Demokratische Republik) was formed from the Soviet occupied zone. Both republics claimed to be the legitimate government of the whole of Germany, not even recognising each other’s existence until the 1970s.
The East Germany’s path to statehood was not always smooth. Hundreds of thousands of Germans fled to the west before the border was closed in 1952. Then, in 1953, amidst post-war shortages, a strike over work quotas quickly spread to a nation-wide protest. The Communist government, fearing a counter-revolution, called in the Soviet Army to restore order. These disturbances left the Soviet leadership suspicious of the German Democratic Republic’s loyalty and concerned about the power of a reunited Germany.
The East German National People’s Army Both East and West Germany established their post-war armed forces in 1956, with East Germany forming theNationale Volksarmee(NVA, National People’s Army).
Like West Germany’s Bundeswehr, the leadership of the NVA was initially composed of soldiers who had served in the Wehrmacht under Nazi Germany. As soon as replacements loyal to the new regime could be trained, the Wehrmacht soldiers were retired. Despite their short period of leadership, they left a lasting legacy as the NVA combined Communist ideology with older German traditions.
TheNationale Volksarmeeuniforms were a traditional stone grey rather than the Soviet khaki, while the helmets were subtly different, being based on a German design from 1945. Ranks, insignia, and other details followed traditional German forms as well.
The strong core of professional officers and non-commissioned officers was another traditional feature of German armed forces. Although most of the rank and file were short-service conscripts, half of the army were long-service professionals. This contrasts with the Soviet Army where only the officers were professionals, and particularly in combat units, non-commissioned officers were usually selected from amongst each batch of conscripts.
Despite the suspicions of the Soviet leadership, the NVA was staunchly loyal to the Communist regime. When Czechoslovak reforms went too far, the NVA prepared to invade the country along with their Soviet allies. Concerns over international opinion about German troops serving outside Germany limited their assistance to supporting roles.
Likewise in 1981, the NVA prepared to assist the Soviet Army in re-establishing order in Poland, though this was not needed when the Polish government declared martial law.
Organisation and Equipment Like the rest of the Warsaw Pact armed forces, the NVA followed Soviet doctrine and organisation. Their two Panzer (tank) divisions and nineMotorisierte Schützen(motorised rifle) divisions were essentially similar to those of the Soviet army, although their equipment tended to be older, with relatively little of the very latest equipment.
The Volksarmee in Team Yankee The newest book for Team Yankee covers theVolksarmee, the armed forces of East Germany. Volksarmee is a 32-page hardback book that features four Formations from which to field the East Germans in World War III.
Inside you will find background on the East German Volksarmee,9. Panzerdivision, andPanzer Bataillon 2.From it you can field a T-55AM2 Panzer Bataillon, a T-72M Panzer Bataillon, a BMP Mot-Schützen Bataillon and a BTR-60 Mot-Schützen Bataillon. These Formation come with a few new Units and vehicles that are new to Team Yankee such as the BRDM-2 scout car, the Spandrel anti-tank vehicle (based on the BRDM-2), the SA-9 Gaskin anti-aircraft vehicle (also based on the BRDM-2), and the BTR-60PB, or Schutzenpanzerwagen-60 as the Germans call it, 8-wheeled armoured personnel carrier. You can also field two types of tanks as part of the East German forces, the T-72M export model as well as the modernised T-55, known as the T-55AM2.
Volksarmee, East Germans in World War IIIis a 32-page hardback book that tells the story of Oberleutnant Fritz Fischer’s battalion of T-72M tanks and their attack on Northern Germany against the West German Defenders.
Volksarmee provides players with Army lists for a T-55 AM2 Panzer Bataillon, T-72M Panzer Bataillon, BMP Mot-Schützen Bataillon, and BTR-60 Mot-Schützen Bataillon, as well as card pack containing 17 unit cards, history of the East German Army leading into the Cold War, painting guides and scenarios for theTeam Yankeegame.