Parachute Battalion


The conclusion of the training year 1961 and transition to the year 1962 saw the end of the first phase in the setting up of an airborne unit in the NVA. This was marked by the official renaming of MSB-5 as Parachute Battalion 5 (FJB-5) on 28.02.1962. However, FJB-5 only acquired its colours as a sign of its recognition as a separate unit on the instruction of the minister on 25.03.1963. The unit was later awarded the honorary name “Willi Sänger”.

The renaming of MSB-5 as FJB-5 implied that the branch of paratrooper/airborne troops was now incorporated into the NVA. When the new structure was adopted, it was not dissimilar to that of MSB-5 and the unit had a complement totalling 342 soldiers, 80 non-commissioned officers and 43 officers. Development of the structure and of the operating principles of FJB-5, to FJB-2, FJB-40 and then the Airborne Assault Regiment meant there was a permanent contradiction in the operational/tactical requirements prescribed by the Supreme Command and the actual resources of the NVA. This was the case with regard to personnel reconstitution and also the means of providing the troops with the appropriate aircraft.

But in the early years, the first task was to train the troops so that they were able to fulfil any potential combat mission, on the basis of the existing structure. In the year 1962, FJB-5 consisted of three airborne companies, each divided into three airborne platoons with two airborne squads, making a maximum of 18 task groups (EG). Each EG, with a strength of 1/1/8 or 0/2/8 could be reinforced with three more soldiers in the event of a defence alert. At this time, the EGs were equipped with sub-machine guns, light machine guns and rocket propelled grenades. Furthermore, FJB-5 also had escort battery units.