The Heer Soldbuch - What You Got For Doing Your Duty

Page 17

Page 17 was a continuation of page 4, to record the history of soldiers different unit transfers through his military career. When page 4 was full, this page contained further spaces for entries to be made for sections B, C and D as described previously.

Pages 18 and 19
The next four pages actually record pay history for the holder of the Soldbuch. Pages 18 and 19 are part A of the soldiers pay history, recording the holders pay grade. These details would be filled out by an official from the soldiers own unit pay office. The three columns record the date that the pay level recorded was to be effective from, indicated the pay grade level and then finally certified that the details were correct.

The date of the first listed pay grade would coincide with the date the soldier was issued his Soldbuch, with any subsequent entries coinciding with any rank promotions shown on pages 1 and 3. As with the promotions, these dates would often be effective from the first day of the month.

The column for the actual pay grade informed any pay office how much the soldier was authorised to be paid. In first edition books the grades were listed as Stellengruppe, which was the peacetime designation for pay grade. By the time second edition book were produced, the war was in progress and this designation had changed to Wehrsoldgruppe, for the wartime pay group. The pay level itself would range from 1 to 16. The pay grades according to their respective ranks are listed below:

Pages 18 of World War 2 German Army Soldbuch
16. Schütze/Grenadier, Oberschütze/Obergrenadier
15. Gefreiter, Obergefreiter, Stabsgefreiter
14. Unteroffizier
13. Unterfeldwebel/Unterwachtmeister
12. Feldwebel/Wachtmeister
11. Oberfeldwebel/Oberwachtmeister,
10. Leutnant
9. Oberleutnant
8. Hauptmann/Rittmeister
7. Major
6. Obersleutnant
5. Oberst
4. Generalmajor
3. Generalleutnant
2. General
1. Generaloberst, Generalfeldmarschall

The certification required the authorising official’s signature, position and a round unit stamp. Very often the position would be entered using a rubber stamp, with one of these words: Zahlmeisterei, Zahlmeister, Oberzahlmeister, Stabszahlmeister or possibly Oberleutnant u. Komp – Chef or Hauptmann u. Komp – Fuhrer.

Another difference between first and second edition books was the number of entries that could be made. In first editions page 18 had space for five entries and page 19 had space for a further five, which filled the page. Second edition books had spaces for five entries on page 18 and only two on page 19. The bottom half of page 19 the recorded any further war allowances under the heading Kriegsbesoldung. A common entry here is several lines of text for EWGG payments. Other entries could also include any financial family allowances, bonuses or things like soap or tobacco allowances.

Pay entries made on either of these pages may have been made by the same person if they were made while the soldier was serving with the same unit as listed by the previous pay level, but not necessarily always, as his pay office will have had various personnel, some of whom would have changed as the war progressed.

Note: Some references to Soldbuchs claim that the pay grade system actually ranged from 1 to 25, however every Soldbuch I have encountered to date fails to show any evidence of this. The majority of Soldbuchs seen are for the lower ranks, with a large proportion starting from Schützen, Grenadier or Soldaten. All of these examples support the 16 grade pay system, which is why it is probably more commonly accepted to be correct.


Page 20 of World War 2 German Army SoldbuchPages 20 and 21
Pages 20 and 21 are part B of the soldiers pay history and were used to record pay drawn from pay offices of units other than the soldiers own pay office. This would possibly be when on leave, on detached service, in military hospital or with a transit unit.

The first column was for the date that the payment was made. The second column was for the time period that this was to cover. After that the larger column was to show the reason why the payment was made. The final two columns were to show the amount paid to the soldier in Reichmark and Reichpfennig.

It is likely that any entries on these pages would have each been made by different officials.

Page 22 of World War 2 German Army SoldbuchPage 22
This is another page that differs between first and second pattern Soldbuchs. In first pattern books, page 22 was exactly the same as page 21, used to record pay from other unit pay offices. In practice however it was not used for this purpose, instead it was used to record any medals and decorations awarded to the owner, with the printed text at the top crossed through and Auszeichnungen (Honours Awarded) written in by hand.

For this reason page 22 in second pattern books was changed specifically to record medals and decorations and was headed Auszeichnungen. The first column was to record the date that the award was granted, followed by the next column which recorded the type of award bestowed. Quite often this could be written in the abbreviated form of the award. After that was a column titled Verleihungsurkunde. This actually translates as ‘Charter’, a term meaning the grant of authority and was used to show the awarding body, which would often be the soldiers unit at the time. The last column was for the confirmation of the commander who was authorising the award, showing the signature, rank and/or position. The entry would then be stamped with the unit seal of the awarding body. Where there were multiple entries for awards, the unit stamps would be placed so as not to obscure one another. Some awards that may regularly be seen in the Soldbuch are listed below along with some examples of how they may be entered:

Iron Cross 2nd class Eisernes Kreuz II klasse, E.K.II.kl
Iron Cross 1st class Eisernes Kreuz I klasse, E.K.I.kl
Infantry Assault Badge in silver Infanterie Sturmabzeichen im silber, Inf.-Sturmabz.-silber
Infantry Assault Badge in bronze Infanterie Sturmabzeichen im bronze, Inf.-Sturmabz.-bronze
General Assault Badge Allgemeines Sturmabzeichen, Sturmabzeichen, Sturmabz.-Allg
Panzer Assault Badge in bronze Panzerkampfabzeichen - bronze, Pz.Kpf.Abz (bronze), Panz.-Kampf.-Abz.bronze
Panzer Assault Badge in silver Panzerkampfabzeichen - silber, Pz.Kpf.Abz (silber), Panz.-Kampf.-Abz.silber
War Merit Cross 2nd class with Swords Kriegsverdienstkreuz II klasse mit schwertern, Kriegsverd.Kr.II.kl mit schwertern,
K.V.K.II.kl mit schwertern
Russian Front Medal Medaille Winterschlacht im Osten, Ostmedaille 1941/42
Wound Badge in black Verwundetenabzeichen im Schwarz, Verw.-Abz “Schwarz”
Tank Destruction Badge Panzervernichtungsabzeichen, Armelstreifen für Panzervernichtung

The list shown contains some of the more commonly found awards that re-enactment groups have in their award systems. It is not intended to be exhaustive in how they were recorded or cover awards that are considered to be rare, prestigious or exclusive.


Page 23 of World War 2 German Army SoldbuchPages 23 and 24
The last information recorded in the Soldbuch is that referring to periods of authorised leave that were greater than 5 days. It was important that this information was completed before the soldier actually went on his leave.

There were spaces for up to eight periods of leave over the two pages, with each space being identical, but extra pages for leave could be added to the book and were numbered 24a, 24b and so on.

The first line showed the dates ‘from’ and ‘until’ to state the period of leave. It then stated ‘to’ showing the place where the leave was to be taken. Underneath this the reason for the leave was stated and then below that was the date that the leave was authorised. The last line in the space was for the signature and rank of the authorising officer. The unit stamp would be placed on the left of the page where marked.

There were various reasons given for leave, which are listed below:



Erholungsurlaub Recovery leave, often referred to as rest and relaxation. This is normal earned leave and is sometimes referred to as Heimatsurlaub (home leave).
Genesungsurlaub Convalescence leave following serious illness or injury.
Einsatzurlaub Employment leave, usually for soldiers reaching the end of their military service, also referred to as Arbeitsurlaub (working leave).
Sonderurlaub Special leave, which could be to visit injured family, to partake in sports competitions, for criminal investigation or for a soldier to marry.
Weihnachten Christmas, which although not an official type of leave, numerous examples have been seen recorded.


Types of leave that were not meant to be recorded in this section, as they were for less than 5 days, were Nachturlaub (night leave or a night-pass), Wochenendurlaub (weekend leave) or Festtagsurlaub (holiday leave) which was for public holidays or festival celebrations.

Inside cover of World War 2 German Army SoldbuchBack Cover
The back cover incorporated two small folding flaps to the top and bottom of the cover and a full page size flap to the outer edge. When folded inwards these flaps created a pocket which was intended to be used to store any further papers, certificates, passes or other documents of importance. The large flap when folded inwards displayed a list of regulations regarding the Soldbuch which were to be observed and adhered to. The text displayed reads:

Read Carefully!

1. The Paybook serves the soldier in war as his personal identification and authorises the receipt of pay from his own or other pay offices. It also identifies him to receive mail, for rail travel, when under command or while on leave.
2. The Paybook must always be carried by the soldier in his tunic pocket. Leaving it in baggage, in quarters etc is not permitted. Careful retention is in the interest of the owner.
3. The Paybook must be kept in order. The owner himself is to ensure that all changes to pay grade with transfer or promotion are immediately registered by his commanding unit.
4. The Paybook is an official document. Only entries made by units of the Armed Forces are authorised. Unauthorised changes are punishable as falsification of official documents.
5. The loss of the Paybook is to be reported by the owner to his unit or service location immediately. The issue of a new Paybook is to be requested.

back cover of World War 2 German Army SoldbuchOn the outside of the back cover is a notice stating that the production and issue of Soldbuchs was controlled by the military, as stated:

Paybooks may only be referred by the responsible Military District Command.

Printing and distribution by private businesses is strictly prohibited.

The name of the printing company which has produced the Soldbuch itself is often shown towards the bottom of the outer back cover.

To see the full English translation of a Soldbuch, please click here.

Submitted by Karl Edwards.






Page 1 - An Introduction Page 2 - Soldiers Details Page 3 - Equipment & Medical Records


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