Female uniforms during the eighties


Due to a lack of suitable male officer applicants, the MfNV decided in 1983 to attract more young women officers. From 1984 onwards they were trained at the Offiziershochschule in Zittau  (LaSK) and at the Offiziershochschule of the Air Force in Kamenz. Female cadets that joined the Grenztruppen went to the Offiziershochschule in Suhl. Until 1988 there were about 100 female officers, most of them in medical professions. The most highly decorated  female memeber of the NVA known was Oberst. At the end of the NVA in 1990 there were just 190 female officers in the workforce of the NVA/GT. Just a handful of women in service of the Volksmarine were officers.

Grenztruppen Unteroffizier - Dienstuniform 

Most females that were in service of the NVA were recruited for the medical, adminstrative, communication and juristic branches.


Nachrichten Unteroffizier - Ausgangsuniform

Volksmarine Stabsobermeister Militärjustiz - Ausgangsuniform

Grenztruppen Offiziersschüler 3rd Academic year - Ausgangsuniform

Volksmarine Fähnrich - Dienstuniform

Female Volksmarine Fähnriche and Officers wore no rank insignia on their sleeves, but they did have a Dienstlaufbahnabzeichen on both sleeves just like Offiziersschüler. Within the Volksmarine there was just a handful of uniformed women and all of them didn't have a position on a ship. 

Grenztruppen Leutnant - Ausgangsuniform

Before 1983 jackets did not have flap pockets. There for this set up is a bit anachronistic.

All female officers in service of the NVA before 1988 went to civil colleges or universities visible by the look of their academy badges. It was only in 1984 when the first women were allowed to study at a military academy.

After 4 years, the first cohort of women at the OHS of LASK in Zittau were about to be appointed to lieutenant in 1988. From that moment female officers were given Daggers, which the could add to their parade and gala uniform. 

Rückwärtige Dienste Oberleutnant Medizinische Dienst - Ausgangsuniform

Luftstreitkräfte Major Medizinische Dienst - Dienstuniform



Regulations for female uniforms are somehow hard to find. The 4 button pocket-less jacket was introduced in December 1973. The vest and white pullover were introduced at the same time. The vest had 4 buttons too and was equiped with side pockets. In 1976 the gesellschaftsuniform was introduced. Female officer jackets did not have collar piping but did have officer's collar tabs.


Female volksmarine officers didn't wore rank insignia on their sleeves, they only wore a laufbahnabzeichen. During the seventies and the beginning of the eighties Female officers did not wear an aiguillette or dagger. They wore the skirt together with the gesellschafts jacket. I'm not sure if the gesellschafts jacket had 3 buttons from the beginning but it was the case in the 80's, so I assume it did.

3. In 1978 (1st July) a new female uniform was presented due to a fashion update. The female jackets now had 3 buttons. As far as I can understand these jackets didn't have flap pockets. Also the white pullover was updated with knitted waist- and armbands. The vest was redesigned to, it was fitted some more to the waist. The skirt covered the knees and was closed with a zipper on the left side. The old (pre 1978) uniforms could be worn till 1979 (30 November).

4. In 1980 it was permitted to wear the trousers during the whole year on the stabdienstuniform. It wasn't allowed to wear the collar of the shirt over the collar of the jacket (was it allowed before?!). Females could wear the shirt or pullover underneath the vest combined with the skirt or trousers.

5. In 1983 the skirt was adjusted again to the current fashion and had two folds in the front (don’t know if it also had two folds before). The jacket still had three buttons and two side pockets but from now on also flap pockets.

a. Stabdienstuniform
The stabdienstuniform could be worn in 18 (!) different ways. The summer stabdienstuniform could be worn in three different ways, transitional and winter period in two ways. In summer and transitional periods one would wear a grey or blue hat. In winter the fur cap.

In case of high summer temperatures one would wear the newly introduced bright grey dress with short sleeves. It was allowed to wear a grey or blue (VM) neckerchief together with the dress. During colder summer days uniform jacket and skirt and in exceptional colder summer days the pullover (I think a green one) over the grey shirt with tie. Third possibility during summer would be to wear the skirt, the shirt with open collar (no tie) with shoulder boards.

Transitional period
During this period females could wear the summer / rain coat or the uniform jacket. It was allowed to wear the stone grey or dark blue (VM) dress with long sleeves underneath the summer coat. The dress could be worn with a grey or blue (VM) neckerchief.

A second option during this period would be to wear the skirt, jacket, grey shirt, tie and green pullover if needed. In stead of the skirt one could wear also a pair of unpiped trousers.

During this period females wore the great coat and winter cap and leather gloves. Underneath the coat one could wear the stone grey / dark blue dress or the uniform jacket with shirt and tie combined with the skirt or trousers. Instead of the jacket females could wear the vest inside buildings.

b. Going out uniform

The going out uniform consisted a skirt, jacket, white shirt and tie. During the summer it was allowed to just wear just a shirt with shoulder boards but without tie. The summer (rain) coat could be combined with these two variants. During the summer and transitional period the cap was obligatory.

Transitional period
During this period females could choose to wear the summer/rain coat and/or the uniform jacket.

During the winter winter cap, great coat and black 'leather' gloves were worn.

c. Gesellschaftsuniform

The gesellschafts uniforms were worn without aiguillette or medals. Just a 'interimspange' was worn.

Summer and transitional period
During these periods females could wear just a skirt and white shirt (no tie?!) for a kleiner gesellschaftsanzug and the jacket, shirt and skirt for a grosser gesellschaftsanzug. During the transitional periode one could wear the summer / rain coat or winter great coat but only together with a jacket and tie. The females cap was always worn.

During the winter there was only one variant: jacket, skirt, shirt with tie (combined with the great coat and winter cap).

d. Dienstuniform
There wasn't a dienstuniform for women. One of the combinations that could be made of the stabdienstuniform were used for 'dienst' tasks.

6. Changes of 1986

In 1986 it was allowed to wear the uniform jacket instead of the vest inside buildings.

Going out uniform
Female VM officers wore their white cap or side cap from the 1st of may to the 30th of September on their going out uniform.

Parade uniform
In 1986 a parade uniform for females was constructed. It consisted a uniform jacket, white shirt with tie, skirt, cap and parade boots. In winter the great coat and black leather gloves were added. From 

From 1986 on it was obligatory to wear the gesellschafts jacket on the kleiner gesellschafts uniform. There weren’t any differences between the grosser or kleiner gesellschaftsuniform. Female VM officers wore their white cap or side cap from the 1st of may to the 30th of September on gesellschafts uniform.

Female volksmarine officers or fähnriche didn’t wear any rank striped on the jackets.

7. In 1988 the female winter 'visor' was discontinued and from now on they wore a winter hat like males. From this year on females were allowed to wear the aiguillette and received a officers dagger when they graduated from the OHS. They didn't got a parade belt