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"Pay of German Army Personnel in Africa" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following report on German military pay for troops serving in North Africa is from Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 20, March 11, 1943.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


For purposes of factual information, a report on the conditions and scales of pay in the German Army personnel in Africa is furnished in the following statement, received from German sources.

The pay is made up of four elements:

(1) Wehrsold                      Army pay
(2) Frontzulage                   Active service allowance
(3) Afrikazulage                  Africa allowance
(4) Kriegsbesoldung (or)          War emoluments
    Friedensgebuehrnisse          Peace emoluments

a. Army Pay

Army pay is disbursed on the 1st, 11th, and 21st of every month, officers and other ranks getting their pay from the same pay clerk, and through the same channels. The following table gives the scales:

Pay group--rank       Pay in lire every 10 days
 16 Pvt 96
 15 Pfc115
 14 Cpl134
 13 Lance Sgt153
 12 Sgt172
 11 1st Sgt191
 10 2d Lt230
  9 Lt258
  8 Capt306

b. Active Service Allowances

Active service allowance amounts to 1 RM (1 Reichsmark = 7.7 lire) per day for each soldier irrespective of rank and is paid out with the Army pay. It must be noted that, although the last period of every month varies from 8 to 11 days, the pay is constant, but the active-service allowance does vary between 61 and 85 lire.

c. Africa Allowances

Africa allowances are reckoned from the date of arrival in Africa, but the money is built up as a credit. When the soldier goes back to Germany on leave or on posting, he takes with him a sort of check which can be cashed at any Pay Office and must be drawn in on payment. The scale is as follows: privates, 2 RM per day; noncommissioned officers, 3 RM; officers, 4 RM.

d. War Emoluments and Peace Emoluments

The difference between these is slight. The former is drawn by noncommissioned officers and officers who in peacetime are civilians; the latter by regular noncommissioned officers and officers of the standing army. In both cases a certain fixed pay is paid in to the banking account of the individual. A lance corporal received between 70 and 90 RM per month, the amount depending on where he lives. He gets more if his home is in a town, because rents are higher than the country.

The soldier in Africa, therefore, amasses quite a large amount of Italian lire. There is not much he can do with them, and little value is attached to them. It is a common thing for high-stake gambling to cause 8,000 lire to change hands without arousing any feeling on either side. For the thriftier, opportunity is given once a month to send money home. It is handed to the Pay Clerk, who gives a stamped receipt to the soldier and remits to the desired banking account in the Fatherland.

Comment: By converting these pay and allowance rates into United States money of current exchange values, we find the total monthly sums received by German Army personnel in Africa, in the grades of private to captain inclusive, are approximately equivalent to:

Pay group--rank         
  16 Pvt$ 51.45
  15 Pfc  94.78
  14 Cpl  97.78
  13 Lance Sgt 100.77
  12 Sgt 103.76
  11 1st Sgt 106.77
  10 2d Lt 125.02
   9 Lt 129.44
   8 Capt 136.92

The above computation is based on 1 Lire = 5.26 cents and 1 Reichsmark = 40.33 cents, rates of exchange published in U.S. Treasury Dept. Circular No. 1, July 1, 1942.

Attention is called to the fact that the pay of German Army personnel in Africa, as shown in this report, is lower than that of American troops in this theater.


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