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ARMY BOOTS OF THE WORLD. REVIEWS

The paratroopers of the GDR, on the contrary, have been officially taking active part in almost all the operations of the Warsaw Pact (particularly in Ethiopia, Syria, Angola, Mozambique and in some other conflicts). They worked as advisors in the airborne and army units in many "Socialism-oriented" developing countries. While East

German airborne troops were created only after the West German counterparts, in 1962, and consisted of a single, 40th Parachute Battalion "Willi Sänger", named in honor of the German anti-fascist Willi Sänger, they were among the attackers and aimed at active operations in the rear side of the potential enemy.

For instance, a special subversive battalion was stationed in the South-West part of GDR. This unit was equipped with trophy American armored vehicles (M48 tanks and M113 armored troop carriers), which had been captured in battle and then handed over to the East Germans by their North Vietnamese comrades. In peacetime, they kept camouflage: the armor vehicles were painted according to the GDR National People's Army regulations, while the personnel of this unit was dressed in typical East German infantry uniform. But in case of war, this battalion was intended for active sabotage operations behind enemy lines under the guise of NATO troops.

The 40th airborne battalion "Willi Sänger", deservedly considered by Western experts as one of the most professional units among the Warsaw Pact troops, was stationed in the town of Proro, on the Baltic island of Ruegen. There the East German paratroopers were trained to conduct subversive operations as an amphibious units, in interaction with the "frogmen" of KSK 18 special groups of the GDR Navy. Although it was never officially recognized, the soldiers of the "Willi Sänger" battalion were classic "commandos", aimed to perform reconnaissance and sabotage tasks deep behind the enemy lines.

The East German "younger brother" of Soviet KGB - the Ministry of State Security of the GDR (Ministerium fur Staatssicherheit, abbreviated - MfS), which is colloquially known as the "Stasi", also had its own paratroopers. The well-known short name "Stasi" is derived from "Staatssicherheit", literally - "State Security".

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