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James K
10-03-2012, 10:12 PM
Hi, guys.

I am a newbie here so maybe the question has been answered; if not maybe Peter U. can reply. My question is why the German Soldbuch contained so much information. It is not just a pay book and ID but contains the soldier's unit, previous units, hospital stays, weapons issue, etc.. etc., in effect, his whole personnel file. Surely it was convenient to have all that in one place, especially if the soldier was moving around, but as a former security type, it gives me the willies; what a bonanza those books must have been for Allied intelligence! I tend to compare this to an American soldier's ID card and dog tags, which have little else but name, rank, serial number, religion and blood type.

I have to wonder if the Germans might have harmed their cause simply because their soldiers carried too much information around with them.

Jim

mrfarb
10-04-2012, 08:33 AM
If I'm not mistaken, I've heard the Soldbuch would not have been carried into combat in most cases.

Peter U
10-04-2012, 03:02 PM
Hi Jim,

It is indeed weird that a German WW2 Soldbuch had so much information in it, allied intelligence could indeed read them to, for example when they checked POW's they must have got lots of information out of them.
The German army had a lots of strange rules and regulations; just before the war broke out soldiers had to remove the unit numbers from their uniform jacket but on the other hand they allowed cuff tittles like Grossdeutschland, Leibstandarte, Germania, Fallschirmjägerregiment 1,....etc.


Cheers,
Peter

Peter U
10-04-2012, 03:12 PM
If I'm not mistaken, I've heard the Soldbuch would not have been carried into combat in most cases.


Alas you are a bit mistaken, the large majority of German soldiers carried their Soldbuch on them also in combat conditions but their are exceptions.
In the case a soldier was flying over or sailing in enemy territory it was forbidden to carry the Soldbuch; in the case of pilots and aircrew, paratroopers on a jump mission and sailors the unit administration would collect the Soldbucher and keep them until the soldier returned from his mission.
But like I said in all the other cases soldiers kept their Soldbuch and wore it in their breast pocket and that is why their are lots of bloodstained and shot through examples kept in collections all over the world.


They aren't only full of information they also were close to the soldiers heart in battle. ;-)


Cheers,
Peter

mrfarb
10-04-2012, 07:03 PM
Thanks Peter, this information must be what I have heard about that gave me that idea.

Hambone
10-06-2012, 03:19 PM
The Wehrpass was kept in records at the unit level, soldbuch was carried by the soldier. I've wondered the same this as James K. For the same reason we enjoy all the detail in SBs, and the background as supplied by Peter U., so too G2 must have appreciated them!

James K
10-09-2012, 10:23 PM
The main thing, IMHO, is not so much the order-of-battle info, but the numerous "hooks" Soldbuch info would give an interrogator. Imagine this conversation (in German, of course):

Interrogator: Sit down, Heinrich.
Prisoner: I refuse to tell you anything, Ami schwein!
I: Of course you feel that way; I would too in your position. I see you were in the hospital. Were you wounded or just ill?
P: I was hit by one of your verdammt mortars.
I: Sorry about that, nothing personal. I know how you feel, though; I was shot in the leg with an MP.40 so they gave me this damned desk job. Still hurts when it rains.
P: So you Yankees are not bulletproof. Good! We will shoot lots more of you!
I: I hope not. But I do know you guys in Panzer Lehr are tough fighters, and you will be even tougher when you get the new G.43's. Not as good as our M1, but we hear they are plenty good.
P: We haven't gotten them yet, but they say we will get them next week before we move south.
....

So, a little sympathy, a "fromme Lüge" or two, plus some info from the Soldbuch, and Heinrich gives away some interesting military info to his new Ami "freund".

Jim

buick8
01-04-2013, 07:57 PM
James , Very Good ! Best Chuckle this evening . Joe B.

mauser202
01-06-2013, 11:36 AM
The main thing, IMHO, is not so much the order-of-battle info, but the numerous "hooks" Soldbuch info would give an interrogator. Imagine this conversation (in German, of course):

Interrogator: Sit down, Heinrich.
Prisoner: I refuse to tell you anything, Ami schwein!
I: Of course you feel that way; I would too in your position. I see you were in the hospital. Were you wounded or just ill?
P: I was hit by one of your verdammt mortars.
I: Sorry about that, nothing personal. I know how you feel, though; I was shot in the leg with an MP.40 so they gave me this damned desk job. Still hurts when it rains.
P: So you Yankees are not bulletproof. Good! We will shoot lots more of you!
I: I hope not. But I do know you guys in Panzer Lehr are tough fighters, and you will be even tougher when you get the new G.43's. Not as good as our M1, but we hear they are plenty good.
P: We haven't gotten them yet, but they say we will get them next week before we move south.
....

So, a little sympathy, a "fromme Lüge" or two, plus some info from the Soldbuch, and Heinrich gives away some interesting military info to his new Ami "freund".

Jim

That sounds very plausable, you can realy put ones gaurd down when you know some personal information and can sympathize with them.