Corps colours (NPA)

Corps colours, or Troop-function colours, (German: "Waffenfarbe(n)") were worn by the National People's Army of the German Democratic Republic from 1956 to 1990.


The GDR NPA uniforms initially bore the corps colours as worn by the Wehrmacht, i.e. as base and filling of the collar and sleeve patches, and as a piping around the shoulder boards/shoulder straps.

Between 1974 and 1979, alongside the introduction of uniforms with open collar and tie, patches of the NPA Landstreitkräfte uniforms were unified across all corps, with a  Steingrau base and a white filling, along with white collar piping; the piping of the shoulder boards/shoulder straps remained the only part carrying Waffenfarbe.

However, Air Forces of the National People's Army, paratroopers and generals as well as the Volksmarine continued to wear their specially designed and coloured patches.[1]

The uniform of the Border Troops was distinguished from that of the NVA ground force and Air Force/Air Defence Force by a green armband with large silver letters identifying the wearer's affiliation, and a green cap band.

The tables below contain the corps colours used by the NPA since 1986.[2])

Land Forces of the National People's Army

⇒ see main article Ranks of the National People's Army

Regiment or Battalion type Colour Insignias Rank
General Officers, ground forces Scarlet
Colonel general
Motorized Infantry


White Gefreiter
Panzers Rose-pink

Chemical service
Motor vehicle service
Military transport service

Black Feldwebel
Signals Yellow Oberleutnant

Legal service
Financial service

Dark green Major
Military bands White Oberstleutnant
Paratroopers[3] Orange Oberfaehnrich
Rocket troops
Rocket and weapon technical service
Army air defence
Mechanization and automation of command and control
Construction soldiers Olive
Steingrau (also: Feldgra) Steingrau basic colour of the uniform

Air Forces of the National People's Army

Regiment or Battalion type Colour Insignias Rank Remarks
General officers Sky blue Lieutenant general Also Generals of the Air defense forces and of the Funktechnische Truppen
Air Force Lieutenant Officers and warrant officers (Fähnriche)
Air Force Stabsgefreiter Rank and file and sergeants
Air Defence Force[4] Light grey Including rank and file, sergeants, warrant officers (comp.) and officers

Border Troops of the German Democratic Republic

Border troop ratings Colour Insignias Rank Remarks
Generale Green Major general Pipings, peaked cap stripe, collar patches, lampasses and stripes in green
warrant officers
Warrant officer of the border troops Pipings, peaked cap stripe, and stripes in green
Sergeants, rank and file Unterfeldwebel Pipings, peaked cap stripe, and stripes in green


Volksmarine ratings Colour Insignias Rank
Flag officers Navy blue Flottenadmiral to Konteradmiral
Officers Kapitän zur See to Unterleutnant (zur See)
Warrant officers
Stabsoberfähnrich to Fähnrich
Petty Officers Stabsobermeister to Maat
Seamen Stabsmatrose to Matrose

Civil defense of the GDR

Civil defense of the GDR

Other users

Waffenfarben were also worn by the troops of the Stasi, "Ministry for State Security", the Ministry of Internal Affairs with several branches of the police, fire brigades, etc.

See also


  1. Klaus-Ulrich Keubke, Manfred Kunz: Uniformen der Nationalen Volksarmee der DDR 1956-1986. Brandenburgisches Verlagshaus, Berlin 1990, p. 159, 175
  2. Keubke/Kunz, ibid. p. 267, 234 ff.
  3. The collar patches of the paratroopers showed an open parachute above a wing.
  4. Klaus-Ulrich Keubke, Manfred Kunz: Militärische Uniformen in der DDR 1949-1990. Mittler & Sohn, Hamburg/Berlin/Bonn 2009, p. 187 ff.
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