DDR NVA Turret Numbers

Working on a set of DDR tanks (T-55, T-55AM2B, T-72) What is the rhyme or reason to the turret numbers? Havent found a web site on the subject (plenty on WW2 german) . From photos I see (Period,not models or restored) 3 and 4 digit numbers and more recent ones seem to have no number. Anybody have an idea of meaning (3 digit = Panzer Regt., 4 digit = Reserve?) and time frames (4 digit X year to Y year, 3 digit Y year to Z year, No number Z year to Reunification.)

For the Soviet army (and probably by extension the NVA), the turret numbers were apparently meant to be deliberately misleading - they don’t follow a logical or consistent pattern from unit to unit.

I recall that the 3 digit numbers reflected that of the WW2 methodology - as also used by the Bundeswehr viz (reading the number L to R):

Company, Platoon (Troop), individual vehicle.

I am not sure about the 4 digit numbers; whilst the Soviets used painted canvas/hessian panels over the real numbers underneath this was, as far as I can recall, only used on some exercises to confound the Allied Military Missions; however, it was far too big a job to be done Army-wide.

HQ BAOR maintained a data base of the all vehicle numbers - or as many as they could get hold of - to assist in identifying both the GSFG and NVA ORBATs. This would involve scouring open press pictures, the RAF Chipmunk flights within the air corridor to Berlin, and of course, the previously mentioned Military Missions.

Overall though, not much help in answering the question!


Hey Sluff
I am member of a former NVA Panzer regiment facebook group, I asked them about a model i was building of a T-55AM with BTU55 Dozerblade, The turret number of this tank was 4338, The first 2 number was the secret Regiment number 43, in this case it was Panzer regiment 8 Artur Becker in Goldberg. the next number 3 was the company No. 3 code for the 8 coy. the last number 8 was the
tanks number in the coy. I dont know the regiments codes for the other tank regiments in the NVA, for my T-55AM2B i used a photo from the Tankograd magazine about this type of tank. The tank No 2461 from 4 th.Panzer Bataillon. MSR= Motorized Rifle Regiment 23 Anton Saekow in 1988.

Hey again

I just took a picture of my Takom T-55AM2B, I is not completly finished, i still have to put the wire, and other small items on it. I use Model Air 71.011 (RLM83) and/or A.MIG-0002 (RAL6003) for my NVA tanks. And the turret numbers from Tamiya T-55A decals.
Best regards
Kjeld Pedersen

Turret number 2461 =

2 = 2nd Regiment (of the MSD)
4 = 4th Battalion (i.e. Tank Battalion)
6 = 3rd Company
1 = 3rd Vehicle


2401 K-PB (Motorized Rifle Reg Tank Bn Commander)

2410 I. Kp Chef (10th Company) (Co Commander)
2411 2412 2413 2414 I. Zug
2415 2416 2417 2418 II. Zug
2419 2420 2421 2422 III. Zug

2430 II. Kp Chef (11th Company)
2431 2432 2433 2434 I. Zug (2431 = Plt Leader)
2435 2436 2437 2438 II. Zug (2435 = Plt Leader)
2439 2440 2441 2442 III. Zug (2439 = Plt Leader)

2450 II. Kp Chef (12th Company)
2451 2452 2453 2454 I. Zug
2455 2456 2457 2458 II. Zug
2459 2460 2461 2462 III. Zug

Total: 40 Kampfpanzer T-55

Since 13 tanks per company the 2nd and 3rd companies of the Battalion started with 3 and 5 respectively.

***The other model T-55 show is from the Tank Regiment
If the turret number began with a “4” like 4331 it was part of the Tank Regiment of the Mot-Schut Div

4 = 4th Regiment (not the actual numbering of the regiment but the 4th regiment of the division, the first 3 being the MRR (BTR/BMP), the 5th the Artillery Regiment, 6th the Air Defense, etc.)

3 = 3rd Battalion
3 = 3rd Company
1 = 1st vehicle of 1st platoon or Platoon Commander

*Note like all militaries some numbering is deliberately falsified to mislead.

In a regiment the second number of a four digit tactical numbering system denotes either the battion or separate Company within

For example

1-3 = Mot Schut Bn
4 = Tank Bn
5 = Art Bn
6 = Air Defense
7 = Recce



LTC(R) Stocker, usa

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4th Regiment (Tank Regiment of the Mot-schut Division), 3rd Battalion. 3rd Company, [3rd Platoon … implied by the vehicle number in company], 8th vehicle.

10 vehicles in a Tank Company of a Tank Regiment.

4337 platoon Cdr 3rd plt, 3rd Co, 3rd Bn
4338 usually the Deputy Platoon Leader (Plt Sgt)

3 x Tanks = Platoon

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  1. Panzer Division “Heinz Hoffmann” (equipped solely with T-72 tanks) used both 3 and 4 digit tactical numbers while the 7th PD (mix T-72/T-55) used a solid diamond with 3 numbers for their vehicles.

9th Panzer Div:

21st Panzer Rgt = 1xx
22nd Panzer Rgt = 2xx
23rd Panzer Rgt = 3xx
9th Mot-schut Rgt = 95xx for BMP-1/2* (tank Bn used 9xx)

*Only 3rd and 6 companies had the BMP-2 (Spz-2), ten each (9535 = most photographed NVA BMP-2)

NOTE: the “4th regiment of the Division” was the artillery division and was numbered beginning with “4” (all other NVA divisions considered the 5th Regiment to be the Artillery Regiment).

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