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What decorations would a GT Major have worn?

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    What decorations would a GT Major have worn?

    I've been assembling a Grenztruppen Major uniform (pre-'86, before most of the big changes) over the last few weeks, but due to the highly personalized nature of awards, I seem to have finally hit a wall.

    Based on the information available online, I've compiled a list including:

    - Einheitliche Qualifizierungsspange (Type 2/bronze square variety)
    - Soviet academy graduation badge (blank; it is my understanding that the varieties with the academy names were only awarded in the 60s? I can't find much info here)

    - Long service up to 20 years (how long would it realistically have taken someone to reach the rank of Major of the GT?)
    - Verdienstmedaille up to silver (I'm not anywhere near certain on this, this is entirely based on a post from years ago stating that bronze would've been plausible for a lower officer rank)

    I currently have in my possession a Leistungsabzeichen der GT which shipped with the tunic; would this be appropriate? If so, how would this have been worn with the Qualifizierungsspange and Absolventenabzeichen?

    With all of that I have two (more) questions:
    - Is any of this implausible or unrealistic?
    - Are there any other badges or awards that would have likely been present that I'm unaware of, or anything that isn't necessarily 'guaranteed' but which would help complete the ensemble?

    Apologies for all of the questions/uncertainties about such a narrow topic. I find military uniforms/insignia/awards incredibly fascinating, but this is the first time I'm actually trying to put together all of that to, in a sense, create a person.

    Hello, I fnd this grouping plausible; I wouldn't even be upset by a VM in gold for a major.


      If you are going to go with an academy badge, I think it would be more appropriate for the "average" mid rank GT officer to have an NVA academy badge as opposed to a Soviet one. Not to say that there weren't any GT Majors with Soviet academy badges, but I think an NVA badge would be much more typical. In fact, many of the period photos that I've seen show mid ranking GT officers not wearing any academy badges at all, so I don't think your tunic would be out of place with or without an academy badge.

      A Qualispange wouldn't be a terrible idea, I've seen photos of officers with and without them........same for the GT leistungabzeichen. If you insist on putting both on your tunic, I was able to find a single photo in the 1981 DDR book "Grenzsoldaten" that showed an officer with both badges and the academy badge was worn on the inside closest to the collar and the leistungabzeichen on the outside closest to the sleeve......both above the right chest pocket of course. Another badge that would be highly likely to be worn by a mid ranking GT officer would be the NVA sports badge, or at the very least an DDR sports badge.

      As for medals, the book "Grenzsoldaten" has a photo of a GT Major standing in formation and he appears to be wearing all four Treue Dienste medals, Vorbildlichen Grenzdienst medal and bronze & silver Verdienstmedaille. I have a Werhdienstausweis for a GT Oberstleutnant in my collection that shows him being awarded the bronze Treue Dienste (1955), silver Treue Dienste (1960), gold Treue Dienste (1964), Vorbildlichen Grenzdienst (1966), XX Jahre gold Treue Dienste (1969), bronze Verdienstmedaille (1969), and silver Verdienstmedaille (1972). He wasn't promoted to Oberstleutnant until 1973 so all the medals listed were awarded to him before that time. Another Wehrdienstausweis in my collection is to a Korventtenkapitan (naval equivalent of a Major in the ground forces) in the Grenzbrigade Kuste who was awarded the bronze Treue Dienste (1953), Vorbildlichen Grenzdienst (1954), GT leistungabzeichen (1954), silver Treue Dienste (1958), Vorbildlichen Grenzdienst (1961), gold Treue Dienste (1961), bronze Verdienstmedaille (1966), XX Jahre gold Treue Dienste (1966), bronze Waffenbruderschaft (1970), silver Verdienstmedaille (1972), Vorbildlichen Grenzdienst (1974). Also remember that beginning in 1977/1978 (I can't remember which right now), the GT began issuing their own GT specific Verdienstmedaille, as opposed to the standard NVA Verdienstmedaille that they had been issuing up until that point. It would be totally acceptable for your tunic to have a bronze NVA Verdienstmedaille and a silver GT Verdienstmedaille.

      As for the years of service, I have the 1987 printed version of Peter Joachim Lapps book entitled "Frontdienst im Frieden - die Grenztruppen der DDR" that was printed in the DDR. In it, it is stated that an officer must serve at least 2 years as Leutnant before being eligible for promotion, 3 years as Oberleutnant before being eligible for promotion, 4 years as a Hauptmann before being eligible for promotion and another 4 years as a Major before being eligible for promotion. Up until 1982/1983, an officer would have also served 3 years at the GT-OHS officer academy, so that would mean that in the absolute best case scenario, an officer would need at least 12 years of total service before being eligible for promotion to the rank of Major. I'm sure the "average" officer took a few extra years to climb the ranks.

      I hope you find the information interesting and helpful!


        For career development I can link to a Stasi group that I own just to get a hint of the length of a career and the kind of medals and badges awarded. Of course for GT it must be the equivalent medals for grenztruppen.



          Thank you all for the feedback and answers to my questions!

          I've acquired most of the medals already, excepting for the 20 year Treue Dienst medal which I intend to obtain later.

          Flash, thank you for the wealth of information you've provided! I think I will end up forgoing the academy badge and only attaching the Leistungsabzeichen. I will need to acquire the sports badge, and the Vorbildlichen Grenzdienst medal certainly seems to be a commonality as well. I also already have a Waffenbruederschaft in bronze that I may end up adding to the grouping.

          I appreciate all of the help, and the information is all both fascinating and useful!