The East German Tank Commander (326)

Cold War Conversations

In the mid-1980s Dag was a T72 tank commander in the NVA, the East German Army and is now a volunteer at the Tank Museum at Bovington in

the UK.  

He describes his initial tank commander training, the battle readiness of the NVA, and the challenges of a conscript army as well as a startling revelation about a significant change in doctrine in 1987.

We also dig deep into the technical details of the T72, including the autoloader, deep water wading, radio communication and its advantages and disadvantages versus NATO tanks.

Dag also talks about how Soviet WW2 learnings were applied into the NVA, and his regiment’s role and deployment area in the event of war.

Dag shares a frank view and great insight into life in the NVA as a tank commander and the challenges of life beyond the NVA as the Wall opens and all he has known disappears.  

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0:00 Introduction

10:29 Briefing on NATO armour and perception of NATO as the enemy

18:13 Planning for potential conflict and readiness in the NVA

24:33 Understanding the roles and challenges in a conscript army

33:21 Performance and operational details of the T72 tank

42:20 Training, battlefield strategies and preparations

58:41 East German-Soviet relations and Warsaw Pact exercises

1:13:38 Reflections on service in the NVA and potential conflict with NATO

1:23:59 Reaction to the opening of the Berlin Wall and post-service encounters

1:27:34 Life post-unification: Expectations, reality and personal growth

1:31:28 Podcast extras, appreciation for financial supporters and closing remarks

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