29 Grenztruppen died in the line of duty. The first three deaths occurred at the time of the Soviet occupation zone, after the founding of the German Democratic Republic in October 1949 until its end of 1990 were a further 26 border policemen and border soldiers were killed. Of these 29, 20 died on the inner-German border, eight in Berlin at the Wall and one on the border with Czechoslovakia. Concrete information on the individual perpetrators and their motives is not possible in all cases. Known perpetrators were persons attempting to flee to the West (either civilian or military), citizens of West Germany assisting such escapes, or members of either West German police/border guard units or NATO armed forces. [ citation needed ]
East Germany decided to upgrade the fortifications in the late 1960s to establish a "modern frontier" that would be far more difficult to cross. Barbed-wire fences were replaced with harder-to-climb expanded metal barriers; directional anti-personnel mines and anti-vehicle ditches blocked the movement of people and vehicles; tripwires and electric signals helped guards to detect escapees; all-weather patrol roads enabled rapid access to any point along the border; and wooden guard towers were replaced with prefabricated concrete towers and observation bunkers.