How do we know about the active service of German soldiers?
A German soldier’s active service was recorded in 3 separate documents:
The Wehrpass was issued to the soldier on recruitment and recorded the details of his active service. Once assigned to a unit the soldier handed in the Wehrpass and was given a Soldbuch in exchange.
The Soldbuch was used as a pay book and as personal identification by the soldier. It was carried with him at all times.
The Wehrstammbuch contained similar information to the Wehrpass but was held by the German authorities. It was used as a back up in case the Soldbuch held by the soldier and the Wehrpass held by the unit were lost or destroyed.
These documents inform us about the active service of Lieutenant Emil Böcher of the 81st Reserve Division and 168th Infantry Regiment. He fought in the battles of Champagne (1914-1915), Verdun (1916-1917) and at Ancre (1918). He survived the First World War and fought as a Major during the Second World War.