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Soldbuch Anatomy Part III
By Bradley R. Hubbard

Pages 6 - 16

The subject of the German Solbuch has been considerably under-researched in recent years.  This article is intended to pick up where Eric Tobey left off in Die Neue Feldpost, Numbers 13 and 14 with the page by page breakdown of the quintessential document of the German Landser.

In the style of the previous installments, this article is not meant to be a definitive work on the subject.  There is simply far too much variation from example to example to make mention of each (especially since many of the entries are inter-related and depended on the individual’s specific circumstances), but certain patterns do exist and the more common are noted here.  When a pattern is so common it could be considered the “norm”, the description will be written in bold type.
  
 

 Pages 6-7

These pages were used to record the Soldier’s equipment issue and is the first point in the Soldbuch where there is a distinction between a “first pattern” and “second pattern” Soldbuch.  First pattern Soldbuchs seem to be pre-1940 production (though the earliest books were only issued in the summer of 1939 upon mobilization) by the notation on p.8a-d of “second pattern” Soldbuchs which reads, “H.M.1940 Nr.205” indicating a 1940 addition.  However, as with so many other items in the German Army, old stocks were almost assuredly used up rather than simply thrown away and these first pattern books have been known to be issued later on.  In fact, one example was found that was issued as late as 17.April 1945!

The distinction that can be made from pages 6-7 between first and second pattern is primarily that the earlier had only a single row of pre-formatted text whereas the latter has a second.  Reading a first pattern book will show that many items necessary to a soldier’s field life are missing which is why the majority of first pattern Soldbuchs have a pre-printed addition that was pasted in later, usually obscuring the last column of page 7.  Some of these are fold out and double sided, some narrower strips, and a few even hand-written and hand-ruled.  There was apparently great variation on how the addition of this could be handled (if at all).  No wonder they eventually switched to the two-column system!

In both first and second pattern books, the first column (Grund in the earlier, Truppenteil in the latter) seems to have been used in a number of ways depending on who was filling the entry out that day.  In many cases a unit designation is simply hand-written in.  About as common is to see a unit designation block stamped in.  This seems to be especially true when hospitals took responsibility for inspecting the equipment where the name of the corresponding hospital is block stamped here.  Other entries include “Geprüft”, “Vorgetragen”, “Versetzung”, and “Abstellung”. 

In first pattern books the next column is labeled “Zeit” and lists the date where second pattern books have this as the last column in the second row combined with the signature line.

The equipment lists were fairly self-explanatory.  A number was written in the corresponding column to show how many of each item was issued or what the soldier was found with at the time of inspection.  When an item an individual had was not listed, it would be hand written in one of the empty boxes in the top row.  “Gemaschen” (gaiters), “Eis.Portion” (iron ration), and “Zweibackbeutel.” (zweiback bag) are common entries.  Older entries were supposed to be cancelled out in red ink as newer ones were made but this did not always happen.  Variations include blue or black ink or no cancellation at all.

The last column was meant for the inspector’s signature (date and signature in second pattern books) which was almost always adhered to.

 

 Page 8

This page was to record any special items of equipment issued to the soldier and was only filled out when applicable.  In first pattern books (without pages 8a-d) this would sometimes be used to record weapon issue.  Other entries include special camouflage or uniform components not commonly found on the previous pages or, less frequently, unusual circumstances surrounding issued clothing (if lost, traded in for an alternate, purchased privately, etc.).

 

 Pages 8a-d

These pages are only found in second pattern books with the 1940 addition.  However, there are documented examples of first pattern books where these pages were inserted, apparently printed separately for just this purpose rather than torn from a later second pattern book.  8a-d records the issuance of weapons and “implements” (as opposed to specifically personal items as in 6-7).  The first column of 8a-B lists in preformatted text the more common entries where 8c-d leaves blank boxes for hand written of stamped additions.  The second column, “Zeichen” is for the “model” or  “type” (such as “K.98” for Gewehr) where applicable.  The third column, “nummer” is for the corresponding serial number, again where applicable.  The fourth, “Tag des Empfangs” is the date of issuance, and the final column, “Namenszeichen des Gerätverwalters” is for the signature of the individual who filled it out.

Older entries were supposed to be cancelled in red ink and quite often are, with the usual sprinkling of odd colors or none at all.

 

 Page 9

This page was used to record inoculations given to the soldier.  In most entries, the top box was used to record the date, with “day.month.” above “year”, and the bottom to record the doseage.  Huge amounts of variations exist on this page and the author is far from fluent in medical terminology, but certain patterns can be noted from studying the frequency of entries in various books:

a)   Pocken Erfolg: *All Soldbücher studied have this entry.  It appears this inoculation was made within the first 3 months of enlistment.  In the top box, the date was entered.  In the bottom box, the lower-case letters “ja” [for “yes” or previously innoculated?] were written or a “+”.  Follow-up inoculations were made roughly every 4 years.

b)   Typhus Paratyphus: *All Soldbücher studied have this entry.  This was given on or very near the date of enlistment in a series of 3.  After the first inoculation, where “0,5” was written in the bottom box, two more follow-ups were given of “1,0” in strict 7 day intervals from the first.  One example has “ccm” written in after the dosages.  In all books, the first 3-week series is written in the same handwriting and sometimes even the same ink.  Follow-ups after the first series of 3 were given roughly yearly at a dosage of “1,0”.  The yearly follow-ups were NOT a series, but a single shot.  Sometime in early 1944 (the earliest I have is April, although I suspect even a month or two earlier may be true), this inoculation was halted in exchange for “T.A.B.”, which was hand-written above the date in many fashions.  It appears to have been often coupled with a shot for “Chol.”, which was written underneath “T.A.B.”, so that the top box would read: “T.A.B.” then “Chol.” underneath, then the date squeezed in under that.  This was given as a one-shot series with a dosage of  “1,0” at the time of the next scheduled “Typhus” follow-up.  Subsequent “T.A.B.” entries are roughly yearly after the first.

c)   Ruhr : Not all books studied had this entry (only 2/3), and of those that did, major differences existed.  In both books, inoculation began in June of 1942, nearly 2 years after their enlistment.  One had a “0,5/1,0/1,0” with shots given one day apart and a follow up roughly a year later of another “0,5/1,0/1,0” series given in 7 day intervals.  The other had a single inoculation with a dosage of “0,5” given in June of 42.  Both books had some sort of writing below the dosage, but unfortunately the script was either obscured or unintelligible.

d)   Cholera: Not all books studied had this entry (only 2/3), and of those that did, considerable differences existed.  Similar to the Ruhr entries, these inoculations begin in April of 1942, nearly 2 years after their enlistment.  One book has a series of “0,5/1,0/1,0” given in roughly one week intervals.  The other book has the same series, but given randomly over a period of 2 years [24.4.42, 17.6.42 and 1.12(?).43(?), but the “2” in the “12” and the “3” in the “43” are, as indicated, extremely difficult to determine].  No follow-ups are recorded but, in the book with the 7 day intervals, additions for “T.A.B. Chol.” are written in this section as opposed to section “b) Typhus”.  It is apparent that the Cholera immunizations were discontinued for some kind of combination inoculation beginning in 1944 (as described earlier).  In this example, the “T.A.B. Chol.” entries are “1,0” dosages and follow-ups were roughly every 6 months.

e)   Sonstige Schutz- und Heilimpfungen: This entry was for previous or extra immunizations.  None of the studied books had this filled out, and the researcher has seen no other examples with this entry marked.

In many cases when the boxes in one row were filled up, a separate piece of hand-ruled paper was pasted in on top of previous entries for more room.  In fewer cases lines were ruled to block out and connect pieces of the upper or lower rows to continue entries. 

 Pages 10-11

These pages were used to record optometry information for the soldier.  The researcher has not seen any books with these pages filled out (including books where the soldier is listed as having worn glasses) so an accurate account of the most common entries cannot be given - other than the fact that it was rarely filled out!  However in some cases it was used as an overflow for page 9 when the boxes there were completely filled.  In this case entries were hastily scribbled in without regard to formatting.

 Pages 12-13

These pages recorded any hospital stays the owner was unlucky enough to have suffered.  This page is often heavily filled out, even for individuals who were never wounded but saw a lot of service time (guess they liked the pretty nurses…).

The first column, labeled simply “Lazarett” recorded the name of the hospital.  More often than not this entry was block line stamped in with inks of various colors.  The second and third columns were for the date, separated by day and month in the first then year in the second.

The third column, which spills onto the next page, was used to describe the problem the soldier was having.  The way this was listed was the preference of the individual filling it out and is split about 50/50.  Half the time the condition is written in with a word or very short description.  In more than one book and more than one entry in each “Angina” was written (guess I buy a lot of Soldbuchs of guys with heart trouble!).  Another has multiple entries of “Magen” (stomach) and compound medical terms involving “Magen”.  Another option was sort of numerical shorthand to describe the infliction.  This is especially true of entries involving actual wounds.  Below is a list of the numbers and the corresponding conditions:

1. Typhus
2. Dysentery
3. Tonsillitis
4. Cholera
5. Smallpox
6. Measles
7. Influenza
8. Spotted fever
9. Malaria
10. Tuberculosis
11. Pleura
12. Other Diseases
13. Gonorrhea
14. Syphilis
15. Other STD
16. Glandular diseases
17. Blood illness
18. Pneumonia
19. Other breathing organ complaints excluding TB
20. Teeth
21. Bowels
22. Digestive
23. Kidneys
24. Non sexually transmitted Genital Problems
25. Skin
26. Nerve/Mental
27. Eye
28. Ear
29. Bone and joint disorders
30. Muscle and joint disorders
31.
Wounds and sickness due to enemy action:
a) Bulletwounds
b) Handgrenade, mortar, artillery (shrapnel)
          c) Burns
d) Bombing or other air attack
  e) Ariel combat
  f)  Tetanus
  g) Sepsis or gangrene
32. Heat
33. Cold
34.
Accident or self mutilation:
  h) Planecrash
  i)  Suicide (including attempt or self inflicted wound)
35. Birth defects and weaknesses
36. Observation for feigning

The fourth and fifth columns were to record the date the patient was released, formatted in the same “day.month” then “year” pattern.  The sixth column was for special notations regarding the patient’s condition or where he was sent next.  The majority have hand written abbreviations including “dfz.E.Truppe”, “zidfg.z.Tr.”, ”Laz.zg.”,
 “verl.mit Laz.Zug”, and simply “kv” which meant “kriegsverwendungsfähig” (fit for use in war).  The final column was for the signature of the doctor or administrator responsible for the patient.

 Pages 14-15

The original intention of these pages was to record the personal effects of a soldier entering the hospital.  Occasionally this was done on page 14 in a similar fashion to page 8.  Page 15 however was in every book studied used for quite a different purpose.

Each branch of service in the Wehrmacht had a way of conducting periodic inspections of the soldier’s documents.  These so-called security checks were noted in different ways.  Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, and SS books had a rectangular stamp separated into quadrants placed on page 1 where roman numerals would be stamped in each quadrant corresponding to a quarter-year interval.  The Heer did not adopt that method and instead used page 15 for security checks.

In all books the text at the top of the page was crossed out in ink using a ruler.  The format of each security entry seems to be consistent.  A circular unit seal is places at left with the words “Kr.St.R.Nr.” or “Tr.St.R.Nr.” which meant either “Kriegs- or Truppen-Stamm Rolle Nummer” either written or stamped on the line beneath it.  This correlates to the information on page 4 in the right hand column and represented the soldier’s roll number within his current unit.  To the right or the circular seal towards the top the date was either hand written or stamped.  Beneath that (usually taking up multiple lines) was an officer’s signature with his rank and position either stamped or hand written directly below.  If the soldier was on duty in a training or Ersatz unit, the location of said unit would be stamped in to the left of the date (often overlapping the seal) with a stamp similar to the one found on page 4 item D or page 2 above the circular seal at the bottom.  Multiple security checks were usually separated by hand ruled lines.

 Page 16

Similar to pages 10-11 this page was rarely if ever filled out.  No books within the author’s collection have a notation here so an accurate account of how it was filled out cannot be given.  One possible explanation as to why this page is often blank despite the common need for dental work is that it only records major dental work performed at a military facility.

 

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