The Felix Dzerzhinsky Guards Regiment (German: Wachregiment "Feliks E. Dzierzynski") was an elite motorized rifles regiment under the command of the Ministry for State Security of the German Democratic Republic (GDR). It was named in honor of Felix Dzerzhinsky, founder of the Soviet Cheka. Being the only highly visible part of the feared Stasi, it was very unpopular within the population.
Its major task was the protection of the party, especially its buildings in the GDR capital of East Berlin as well as the security of the party leaders' residential compound in Wandlitz, near Berlin. Per Soviet practice, the regiment was a politically reliable internal security force that could be deployed to suppress rebellion and unrest.
- Personnel: At full strength, the regiment consisted of over 11,200 personnel, including 2,500 officers, 8,735 NCOs and enlisted men, and nine civil staff. Its commander was a Major General after 1956.
- Subunits: It comprised the following:
- Three combat groups with six motorized rifle battalions and three training battalions,
- an artillery battalion and
- engineer, medical, support and reconnaissance companies.
The Regiment was subdivided into the following commands from 1980 to 1989:
- Kommando 1 – Standort Adlershof, Standorte in den Bezirken Command 1 - Location Adlershof, locations in the districts
- Kommando 2 – Standort Erkner - Erkner
- Kommando 3 – Standort Teupitz - Teupitz
- Kommando 4 – Standort in Eberswalde-Finow later (mid 1980s) in Erkner, Prenden and Biesenthal
- Kommando 5 – Standort Berlin until 1982, then Freienbrink Ahrensfelde
The sites were inherited by the Ahrensfelde guard regiment in mid-January 1989. Until then they had formed accommodation facilities for UAV units of the Ministry for State Security (e.g., backup units of VRD, BDL, HA VI, AGMS). These units were the uniformed as well as the guard and security units of the units of the Stasi (BV), not a subdivision of the guards regiment. Part of these units were merged in January 1989 into the guard regiment, which is why the site was taken over by the Ahrensfelde guard regiment. Until 1989, the guard regiment had no locations in the districts. The service objects there were guarded by the WSE, which were placed under the respective BV.
The personnel strength of the regiment:
- 1955: 1.475
- 1960: 4.372
- 1965: 5,121
- 1970: 7,924
- 1975: 9,245
- 1980: 10,082
- 1985: 10,192
- 1989: 11,426
Commanders of the guards regiment were:
- 1962 to 1972: Major-General Heinz Gronau (provisional)
- 1972 to 1987: Colonel (Major General since 1976) Bernhard Elsner
- 1987 to 1990: Major-General Manfred Döring
Recruitment and training
Military service in the Guard regiment was completed as WED (abbr. Wehrersatzdienst, alternative military service). The term of service for conscripts was three years. In contrast to the National People's Army, recruits were inducted in April and September / October, a month earlier.
Recruits were selected from particularly politically reliable families and the express wishes of the conscripts only played a role in some cases. Recruits were pre-selected by MfS county and district offices and then recommended by the district military command as possible contenders for the guard regiment in Berlin. The recruits took place in the majority of cases no preliminary, but they were relevant to the Stasi-circuit or district office ordered, where all subjects were tested for their political reliability, and to them a three-year military service was proposed. This selection for "Three-year" always had its beginnings in the military district headquarters of the districts which had the leading survey of all vintages to be recovered within the GDR. Against the elitist preselected by the Stasi could not defend or county. Military district denied. The Stasi inspected in principle, all conscripts who had agreed to a three-year military service, and selected out of this stock its recruits. The guard regiment no reservists were deployed, which means that soldiers who had completed their service in the WR was recovered is usually not returned to the WR.
Many conscripts in Adlershof traditionally decorated the fence of the building next door to them (Deutscher Fernsehfunk; East German TV broadcasting) with the padlocks from their lockers when they were dismissed. These locks were removed every year.
It received the same training and equipment as the Alert Police and some of its personnel were paratroopers. It was also equipped with modern armored fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers, anti-tank guns, anti-aircraft weapons and mortars.
The guard regiment was equipped with small arms (pistol Makarov, Walther PP, PM-63 RAK, Kalashnikov AKM, AK-74, LMG, RPG-7) to light armored personnel carriers (SPW 60 PB, SPW, 70, PSH).
Stationed in the command 3 (on military Teupitz - cones), there was also a battalion of special weapons. It consisted of a company, which was armed with heavy anti-tank recoilless gun SPG-9 (in 1987, was reorganized into a rifle company), a company which is an essential weapon, the heavy machine gun (HMG-company) and had the 70mm - anti-aircraft missile armed "Strela-2 'Company. Until 1982 there was also an artillery detachment armed with 122mm howitzer D30. Previously they had 85-mm PaK D-44, and 82mm mortars and 120 mm in the stock.
Regulators company RSK was additionally can be equipped with the AKS74 around the shoulder stock to collapse. At least in the 1970s, the former intelligence battalion, the mortar batteries and the I-battalion with Kalashnikovs in the S version were equipped. Specialized units such as the honor companies (28. and 29 MSK of the 10th MSB) were fitted in addition to the above-mentioned weapons, rifles and sabers.
The paratrooper company, located in the reconnaissance battalion also used the small Skorpion machine pistol from Czechoslovakia.
For large events, there were as accessories batons (flexible), down from 1989 shields and helmets and chains.
Its uniforms were nearly identical to those of the National People's Army (NVA) and were distinguished primarily by the dark red MfS service color of its insignia and by an honorary cuffband on the left sleeve bearing the regiment's name. Other Stasi officers wore a similar uniform, but without the cuffband. Members were selected from among the most reliable volunteer recruits and had to perform a three-year minimum service tour.
The service or dress uniform of the regiment was an army uniform made of high quality (of officers) with claret fabric collar and brown (officer) leather belt. The left sleeve was fitted with a cuffband and the words "wachregiment F. Dzerzhinsky".
Soldiers of the MOS units typically had the following personal uniforms:
- 1x service uniform (cap, tunic, trousers Parade (breeches), gray shirt, tie, officer boots grained, brown belt)
- 1x semi-dress uniform (cap, tunic, output pants, gray shirt, tie, shoes, brown belt)
- 1x summer field service uniform ( "one line, no line," Steel Helmet ( "eggshell") / cap, gray Gurtkoppel, officer boots grained)
- 1x Field Service Uniform Winter ( "one line, no line")
- 1x special service uniform – tunic, parade trousers (breeches), gray shirt, tie, an officer in plain boots, belts, NCO Professional version (with at least Corporal epaulets, even if the soldier in question was only temporary soldiers and rank only a soldier) (not in the personal cabinet)
- 1x Drillich (Arbeitsuniform) fatigues (work uniform)
- 1x Winter Service Uniform
- 1x sport suit "SV Dynamo" in burgundy, white sneakers
In command 4 - Eberswalde-Finow in Bernau contributed UAZ, professional officers and professional officers uniforms of the regular army with weapons Color black (pioneers) and (white Motorized Rifle) to camouflage the Wachregimentseinsatzes. The UAZ wore the army uniform from the rough cloth.
Other guard units
The regiment was one of three guards regiments in the GDR. The other two were units of the regular army:
- 1. Wachregiment "Friedrich Engels" (WR-1) guarded the Memorial to the Victims of Fascism and Militarism on Berlin's Unter den Linden and performed other honorary duties, including the welcoming ceremony for state visitors.
- 2. Wachregiment "Hugo Eberlein" (WR-2) guarded the Ministry for National Defense command center in Strausberg, near Berlin.
- Forester, Thomas M., The East German Army; Second in the Warsaw Pact, George Allen & Unwin Ltd, London, 1980
- Hagen Koch, Peter Joachim Lapp: Die Garde des Erich Mielke - Der militärisch-operative Arm des MfS - Das Berliner Wachregiment "Feliks Dzierzynski", Helios-Verlag Aachen 2008, ISBN 978-3-938208-72-4
- Pickard, Ralph (2007). STASI Decorations and Memorabilia, A Collector's Guide. Frontline Historical Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9797199-0-5.
- Pickard, Ralph (2012). STASI Decorations and Memorabilia Volume II. Frontline Historical Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9797199-2-9.