Anatomy Part II
following was taken from the Die Neue Feldpost newsletter
& was done so with permission of the publisher.
We would like to thank him for his generosity as well
as thank all those who have contributed to this
article. It is with their efforts, we are able
to share this valuable research with the rest of you.
Pages 3, 4, and 5
from Part 1, this article will describe the entries
made on the above-mentioned pages in the German Army Soldbuch
(paybook). As with the last installment, the
"typical" entry is set in bold,
the following installments are by no means a
definitive work on this subject; it was during the
preparation of this article that we began to fully
realize the impossibility of completely describing
every variation, with the nuances and inter-entry
relationships too numerous to chronicle. This
does not mean that "anything goes" in
Soldbuch contents, there were definite patterns
and methods, and some of the weirder variations must
have really made the Field Police suspicious!
Therefore, we have limited the description of the more
unusual variations, and concentrated on the
"typical" forms of entries. If you
have specific questions regarding Soldbuchs, you can
write to us.
time this article was written, our study group
contained 268 books.
is a record for any changes to pages 1 and 2,
particularly changes in rank. For example, each
entry in the promotion block on page one should have a
corresponding entry here showing the unit in which the
man served and the signature, rank, and position of
the certifying officer. Often, the date on page
3 is a better indication of when the individual was
promoted since the dates on page 1 are always the
first of a month, regardless of when the promotion
two common terms the Germans used for rank changes,
and they had distinctly different meanings. Beforderung
means "promotion" and refers to most rank
changes, for instance to Gefreiter, Unteroffizier, or
Leutnant. Ernennung means
"appointment" and this term was used for
entry into positions that were not strictly
"rank", but rather a "duty
assignment". Such "appointments"
included Oberschütze (Oberpionier,
Obergrenadier, Oberfüsilier, etc...), Fahnrich,
Unteroffizier Bewerber, Hauptfeldwebel, etc...
Sometimes the "change" was simply indicated
by the clerk as Dienstgrad, or with just the
new rank. See illustrations 1 and 2.
Germans were fussy about terminology: in 3 books we
examined, the original clerk had indicated a man's
promotion to Oberschütze or Oberpionier as
a Beforderung. Later, someone else
crossed this word out, wrote Ernennung above
it, and in two cases, an officer initialed the
correction! See illustrations 1 and 2.
entry encountered on this page (4 books in our study)
is a notation for replacement of a dogtag. The
entry in column two will read Erkennungsmarke, E-marke,
or just EK, followed by the data on when
and where the new tag was issued. Not many
replaced dogtags were documented in this way..
1 (Soldbuch Page 3)
book belonged to Leutnant Heinrich
Erhardt of the 8th Panzer Division, who
was killed early in 1945.
column are the laufende Nummern
(consecutive numbers) assigned to each
column is entitled Art der Anderung
(nature of the change), and this book shows
a variety of designations used for rank
changes: items number 1 and 2 pertain to
Erhardt's promotion to Obergefreiter
and Unteroffizier, and use the rather
generic term of "Dienstgrad"
to indicate a rank change. Number
three uses the correct term "Beforderung"
for his promotion to Wachtmeister.
Number four refers to his Ernennung
(appointment) to Reserve Offizier Anwärter
(reserve officer candidate).
Number five records his promotion to
Leutnant and uses Beforderung as this
was a true promotion. Incidentally,
the use of ink-stamps for these terms was
common only to schools; field units would
have written these entries in by hand.
column tells which page the changes pertain
to: rank is on page one, so the number
"1" is entered here.
indicates the date that the change was made.
This is normally closer to the actual date
of promotion, since the dates listed for the
ranks on page one will normally date from
the first of a month.
is the Truppenteil (unit) that made
the change. The last three rank
changes for Erhardt occurred in an officer's
course at an artillery school.
and seven are the Unterschrift
(signature) and Dienstgrad und
Dienststellung (rank and position) of
the official making the change. Number
one was made by Heinrich's battery
commander, while numbers 3 thru 5 were made
by the adjutant of the school he was
is another example of page 3, this time from
a book belonging to a Panzer Pionier
named Wilhelm Stuhlmann.
This is a
typical example of this page -- the main
reason we have included it is because of the
correction to entry number 1, to illustrate
the importance of the two terms for
promotion. On Jan. 30, 1944, Stuhlmann
was appointed to Oberpionier, and the
person who did the entry mistakenly wrote
abbreviations for Beforderung zum
he was promoted to Gefreiter, and of
course the term Beforderung was
correct for this.
In March of
1945, he received a Beforderung to Obergefreiter.
The clerk who entered this one also caught
the mistake made in entry #1, and crossed
out "Bef." and wrote the
correct term Ernennung above the
reason, this last entry was also stamped
with the unit's seal, which was not usually
particular example is very typical in the
amount of ink-stamped versus hand-written
entries. A typical page 3 will have
few stamps on it, except for an occasional
unit name or officer's title.
books used this page to record clerical or procedural
errors corrected on pages 1 and 2, but such entries
are rare. Among such entries are corrected
listings for blood type (1 book), corrected
occupations (2 books), changed birthdate (1 book), and
transfer of unit (1 book).
the most important page for the opposing soldiers who
captured Soldbuchs, and is still one of the most
important pages to collectors and researchers today.
The primary information on this page is the soldier's
current unit and the affiliated replacement unit for
him. If German troops had any time before
surrendering their book, this page was often ripped
out and destroyed; such Soldbuchs can be found today
(and oh, what a bitch to research!).
great number of transfers and unit-renamings that
occurred within the career of a long-service soldier,
this page is often completely full. A notation
at the bottom of the page states that the unit data
could be continued on page 17, which was laid out much
like this page.
is the latest competent Wehrmeldeamt (recording
office, often abbreviated W.M.A.) or the corresponding
Wehrbezirkskommando (recruiting sub-district
office, often abbreviated W.B.K.) that each WMA
controlled. This is often the same one listed in
the first part of the man's Wehrnummer (See
item #8 in Part
1). Here is a list of W.B.K. in the
I (East Prussia)
II (Pommerania, Mecklenberg, & a bit
IV (Saxony, eastern part of Thuringia,
& some of Czechoslovakia)
V (Württemberg, Hohenzollern, southern
Baden, Alsace after 1940)
VI (Westphalia, Lippe, northern part of
Rhine Province, Eupen-Malmedy after 1940)
VII (Upper Bavaria, southern part of
Lower Bavaria, and Schwaben)
VIII (Upper and Lower Silesia, part of
Czech., East-Upper Silesia & Teschen
IX (western part of Thuringia, part of
Hessen, part of Hessen-Nassau)
a. Main I-II
X (Schleswig-Holstein, Oldenburg,
Hamburg, Bremen, Lübeck, & northern
i. Oldenburg I-II
XI (Brunswick, Anhalt, Lower Saxony, and
southern part of Hannover)
XII (southern Rhine Province, part of
Hesse - Nassau, part of Hessen & Saar -
Palatinate, Lorraine & Luxembourg after
XIII (Upper, middle, and lower
Franconia, the upper Palatinate, northern
Lower Bavaria, part of Czechoslovakia)
XVII (Upper & Lower Austria,
Burgenland, Vienna, part of Czech.)
XVIII (Tirol, Voralberg, Salzberg,
Styria, Carinthia, upper Carniola, lower
Styria, & areas of Yugoslavia)
XX (Danzig, the Polish Corridor, the
Elbing area of West Prussia)
XXI (Wartheland, better known as western
Böhmen und Mähren (Bohemia &
three blocks record the military units applying to the
holder. Normally, all but the pertinent
entries in these blocks will be crossed out.
identified as Item #24 in the illustration contains Ersatz
(Replacement) units in which the holder actually
served. The first unit in this block will
normally be the unit that inducted and possibly
provided basic training to the soldier. This
induction unit name is usually stamped in, except in
very early-war books. If there are any
more entries in this block, it usually indicates that
the man received advance training or was transferred
into that particular training unit as an instructor.
In replacement books, this block is often totally
empty. For most books, however, every entry in
this block will be crossed out, unless the man was
actually serving in a training unit when the book
3 (Soldbuch Page 4)
is a good example for an individual whose
book was filled out correctly and who was
not transferred around a great deal.
belonged to Adolf Raas, who died as a
member of the Großdeutschland
division in February of 1945.
Item #23 is
the latest competent Wehrmeldeamt, in
this case Wiener-Neustadt -- Adolf was an
was inducted by Stammkompanie III. Ers.
Btl. Gren. Ers. Reg. Großdeutschland;
this unit was put in the top space in Item
#24 under "Ersatztruppenteil"
(replacement unit). Note how his Stammrollenummer
follows a common pattern, with the last two
digits indicating the date of his entry -
Next, he was
transferred to a "training" unit,
which by regulations was listed under
"field units" in Item #25: 12th
(Combat Engineer) Training Company,
Grenadier Replacement Regiment "GD".
The replacement unit responsible for this
group was now entered on the top line in
Item #26 at the same time: Ers. Brig.
(mot) GD (Replacement Brigade
(motorized) GD) located in Cottbus.
The induction unit would have been crossed
off at the time that these entries were
then sent for special training to the school
listed on line C of Item #24. Since he
was actually part of this unit and
schools were Ersatz organizations, the
school was listed here and the old training
unit in Item #25 was crossed off.
Adolf's own replacement unit was still Ers.
Brig. GD, however, so this entry in Item
#26 was not changed.
sent to the front in 1944 in a transport
pool from the GD training organization
called Marschkp. Pz. Pi. E. u. A. Btl. GD.
The school heading was crossed out, the new
unit written in, but his responsible Ersatz
unit in Item #26 stayed the same.
arrived at the front, Adolf was put into the
1st Kp, Pz. Korps. Pi. Btl. GD. The
Marschkompanie entry was crossed off,
and so was the old responsible Ersatz
unit, since the Ersatz unit
responsible for Adolf's new unit was Pi.
Ers. u. Ausb. Btl. GD. This new Ersatz
unit was written in below the old one.
His new combat unit was also entered on line
B in Item #25. Later, he was
transferred to the Second Company of the
same Engineer battalion, so his previous
unit was crossed off. The Ersatz unit
stayed the same. At this point, anyone
reading this book would know that Adolf was
currently a member of 2./ Pz. Korps. Pi.
Btl. GD, and his affiliated Ersatz
unit was Pz. Pi. Ers. u. Ausb. Btl. GD in
right-hand column contains the Truppenstammrollennummer
(unit roster number) for the soldier. Oftentimes
this number takes the form of two series of digits
separated by a slash, i.e.: 284/44.
For numbers written like this, the first number is the
man's serial number in the unit, or in this example,
the 284th man entered on the muster roll. The
second number is the date of entry, or in this case,
is the block containing units of the Field Army
in which the owner has served (or is serving).
These should be in chronological order, but the man
may have served in Ersatz units for intervening
periods. Entries which are no longer valid
should be crossed out (although this was not always
done), and the last entry gives the holder's present
unit. Ausbildungs (Training) units, even
though they belong to the Ersatz Army, will
usually be found in this block (see the example in
illustration 3), as this is specifically
prescribed by regulations. Much of some
soldiers' actual basic training was received in Reserve
units (especially in the period 1941-1943), which were
also entered here under "Field Units".
The far right-hand column in this block contains the
man's Kriegsstammrollennummer (war roster
number) in each unit. This number is the Field
Army equivalent of the unit roster number detailed
above and is similar in content. Look at the
numbers in this column closely: If this number is
identical in two successive units, it means that the
first unit has changed its name or has been converted.
units had their own unit-name ink-stamp, so the unit
name can be stamped instead of written in.
labeled Item #26 records the units of the Ersatz Army
which are affiliated with the respective field or
certain training units shown in items #24 and #25.
Each entry is made by the field unit when the man
joins it and therefore almost always in the same kind
of ink and the same handwriting as the corresponding
field unit entry in Item #25. Except in the
initial event when this Ersatz unit corresponds with
the inducting unit, these Ersatz names will be
hand-written. After all, it would be illogical
for a field unit to have a unit-name stamp with any
other unit's name on it.
right-hand column contains the Standort
(location) of the Ersatz unit.
is a record of the soldier's next-of-kin. Item
#27 is the soldier's full name. This entry is
often useful if the researcher cannot read the name as
written on pages 1 or 2.
item are three blocks for the names and addresses of
the designated next-of-kin. Normally, only
one block will be filled in, unless the
soldier changed his next of kin after the book
was opened. For instance, if a man got married
after he was drafted, both his parents (entered first)
and his wife (entered after he was married) will be
listed. See illustration 4. If a man was
married when the book was issued, then the entries in
the "wife" block will be the only thing on
#28 is the name and address of the man's
wife (if he has one). The woman's name
was written with her first name, followed by
her maiden name preceded by "geb."
meaning "born", indicating a
maiden name. See illustration 3.
If the man was single, "ledig"
or "led." was written in
this block somewhere.
Item #29 is
the name and address of the soldier's mother
and father, including the father's
occupation. The mother's name was
written in the same fashion as a wife's
would be: first and maiden-name.
with numbers in them are quite useful for
the researcher, especially if he cannot find
the man's hometown on a map. These
numbers are the German equivalent of our zip
code, as the following table describes:
Note on German Addresses:
Wohnort is the town, the Kreis
location was used as a more
specific location in the case of
small villages (See Part
means street and number, so a
typical entry here would read Bahnhofstrasse
Codes", when used, took the
form of numbers in a circle (see
Brandenburg and from Gau Pommern, the urban
regions of Schniedemühl and areas of
Arnswalde, Friedeberg (Neum.) and Netzekreis
3 - Gau
4 - Gau
5a - Gau
Niederschlesien and from Gau Sudetenland (Ost),
the area of Grulich
Gau Sachsen, Gau
Halle-Merseburg and from Gau Thüringen, the
region of Altenburg
Gau Wien, Gau
Niederdonau, Gau Steiermark
Gau Oberdonau, Gau Salzburg, Gau
Bayreuth, Gau Franken, Gau Mainfranken
Gau Schwaben and from Gau Bayreuth, the
district of Niederbayern
15 - Gau
17a - Gau
Parts of Gau Baden: Elsaß
Gau Osthannover, Gau Südhannover-Braunschweig
Gau Westfalen-Nord, Gau Westfalen-Sud
22 - Gau
Düsseldorf, Gau Essen, Gau Köln-Aachen,
Gau Franken, Gau Mainfranken Gau Weser-Ems
and from Gau Osthannover, the regions of
Bremervörde, Wesermünde, Verden (Aller),
Rotenburg (Hannover) and
Osterholz-Scharmbeck as well as from Gau Südhannover-Braunschweig,
the regions of graffschaft, Hoya, and
Gau Hamburg, Gau Schleswig-Holstein and from
Gau Osthannover the regions of Land Hadeln,
Stade, Lüneburg, and Harburg as well as the
city of Cuxhaven
book belonged to Ulrich Kralin, who
served through most of the war as a
paymaster before being retrained as an
infantry officer, commissioned a Leutnant,
and died of shrapnel wounds received in
March 1945 as part of Grenadier Regiment
The top block
on this page is slightly unusual because
they attempted to put the man's rank on the
line (normally just the name appears), and
an attempt was made to upgrade the title
when he was promoted to Oberzahlmeister.
Ulrich was single, so ledig was
written on the second line of block #1, and
his father was listed as the next of kin in
block #2. His father, Julius Kralin,
was a retired teacher (entered under Stand
oder Gewerbe), who originally lived in
Charlottenburg. No mother was listed.
moved at some point in time to Altruppin /
Mark so the Charlottenburg address is
crossed out. Ulrich
got married sometime during the war, so ledig
was crossed out and his new wife's
particulars were written in.
specified "first, maiden-name"
format, Mrs. Erhardt was thus put down as Käthe
geb. (born) Göhlinghorst.
She originally lived in Berlin, but
eventually moved to Number 2 Bülowstraße
in Jüterbog / Alteslager.
is a more typical version of page 5, also
from the book belonging to Wilhelm
Stuhlmann (see illustration 2).
name (written in the wrong order) and
initial rank was written on the top line,
and no attempt was made to change the rank,
even though Stuhlmann was eventually
promoted up to Obergefreiter.
The rank designation was not supposed to be
there, anyway, so it was ignored after it
was initially put in.
single, so his father was picked as
next-of-kin. Wilhelm was named after
his father, who lived at Schlosstrasse 36 in
Wuppertal - Barmen. The clerk who
filled this address in had one of those
silly empty-circle stamps, which he used and
filled with the zip code "22",
which corresponded with a section of Western
Germany that included Wuppertal - Barmen.
unusual things about this page are the
omissions: many times, the term ledig (single)
is found in the block used for entry of a
wife's data, and Stuhlmann's father's
occupation is not listed.
a number of books in which the clerks filling out
these addresses did a rather peculiar thing.
Some of them had a rubber stamp that was nothing more
than an empty circle, which they would stamp in the
book, then handwrite one of the zip-code numbers
inside it. See illustration 5. Talk about
a mania for rubber stamps! Most of the "zip
code" numbers are entirely handwritten, circle
the researcher will notice small "crosses"
drawn in entries on this page. Such crosses
indicate that the person indicated is deceased, and
the cross is often accompanied by a date which
indicates the date of death. Some books record
the death of both parents on the same date, often
corresponding with a recorded bombing raid on the city
mentioned in the address. Not much imagination
is needed to figure out what happened to these
records some other person designated as
"next-of-kin". A note at the bottom of
the page says that this block is only to be used when
neither 1 or 2 (wife or parents) are filled out.
The heading for this block translates as
"Relations or Fiancée". These could
include brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles,
grandparents, legal guardians, or any other person
close to the soldier. For some reason, a man's
fiancée was rarely actually put in this block.
Perhaps the soldier did not want bad news to be
brought directly to her, or perhaps wartime romances
were short! The most plausible explanation for
this is that until a man was actually married, he
would have preferred to keep his family as his
next-of-kin. The only example we have seen of a
fiancée being entered here was in the case of a
soldier who was engaged but whose parents were both
deceased when his book was open. His bride-to-be
was entered as next of kin. Whether her name
would have been moved to the "wife" block
when they were married is unknown: this particular
soldier was killed shortly after reaching the front.
- The Exploitation of German
Documents, Military Intelligence Division, War
Department, Washington, DC. 1944.
- Information or books
provided by: Barry Smith, Rich Clement, Vince
Milano, Marchall Wise, Al Becker, Sal Marmon, and