The Communist East German / German Democratic Republic Army of the cold war era was known as the NPA (National People’s Army).
It was established in 1956 and disbanded shortly after the reunification of Germany in 1990.
Whilst it did not see any significant combat, thankfully for Europe, it did serve alongside Soviet and Warsaw Pact units in posturing against NATO Forces throughout the cold war.
It is also widely known that East German military advisors worked with communist African governments during the cold war.
Once Germany reunified, a great deal of NPA militaria hit the market, and it’s still pretty easy to get, although some items are rarer than others. Street vendors and little antique stores in Berlin often have some great items for sale.
So whilst most of it is not considered to be too rare, it is getting harder to get many items due to increasing nostalgia for the 80’s and collecting of cold war era militaria. There are also emerging groups of cold war East German and Warsaw Pact re-enactors who deck themselves out from head to toe in great gear from the era.
We recently acquired a nice batch of East German military uniforms and equipment, mostly in the distinctive raindrop camouflage pattern used by the NPA.
The field service uniform (Felddienstuniform) was for both soldiers and officers, and the distinctive pattern of strait lines and flecks looks like falling rain, hence its common nickname amongst collectors of military uniforms as “rain pattern cammo”.
During WW2 German Wehrmacht units made use of similar camouflage patterns such as the ‘Splittermuster’ and ‘Sumpfmuster’.