Development

The most outstanding and impressive period in the existence of the airborne infantry service was probably from the year 1981 until well into the 80s. The plan to transfer the branch to another garrison was already looming as an option in the 70s. From an operational/tactical point of view, the garrison location in Prora was more than just inexpedient. Consequently, FJB 40 was gradually relocated  starting in the year 1981  and found a new home in Lehnin.

This was a difficult time, during which the units served for almost two years under Spartan field conditions on a military training ground, before the battalion was able to move into its permanent accommodation in October 1983. This period was marked by stagnation in training and more especially by a drain on excellent instructors, who did not want to leave the island of Rügen. Improvisation was the order of the day in the life, training and existence of the paratroopers amongst the pines on the sandy Mark soil. We paratroopers still mourn our beloved Baltic to this day.

Nevertheless, a completely new existence began for the paratroopers, in 1983, with the move into the freshly renovated accommodation  with an ultra-modern training base for that time. While the company personnel was living and serving on the military training ground in Lehnin, they created a remarkable training base partly with their own bare hands  under the command of the ground forces.

There were adequate classrooms for each company in the accommodation blocks, either for general instruction or purpose-built for specific topics such as tactics or firing practice. The battalion had its‘ own sports hall, a large gym and a hall especially for close combat.

Outside there was a sports ground, an assault course, close combat area, engineer training ground, parachute training ground and a site for practicing combat in built-up areas. Our superiors took great pains at the time to make this base available to us. Both the former Commander-in-Chief of Ground Forces, Full General H. Stechbarth and his second in command for training, Lieutenant General K. Winter (+) gave us the sense that they were concerned about the welfare of the NVA airborne infantry. General Winter, in particular, was not only a demanding superior but also acted like a father figure to the paratroopers.  This new era in the life of the branch focussed on the fulfillment of completely realigned requirements of the NVA paratroopers.