This custom, called Bleigiessen, is still around today.
Still haven't settled for a WW I book. I'll probably start with reading Sleepwalkers first, then go for books about the war. Max Hastings... I've read a couple books by him already. Let's see whether Catastrophe is as anti-British as warspite1 says. Remembering the other books I've read, Hastings likes to point fingers, sometimes justified, and more than sometimes unjustified. I just mention his views about the Australians in the Pacific War, Churchill's strategies and Montgomery. According to one review of Catastropheat Amazon, Hastings calls the assassination of Franz Ferdinand a "quirky little incident". Okay...
"A big butcher's bill is not necessarily evidence of good tactics"
- Wavell's reply to Churchill, after the latter complained about faint-heartedness, as he discovered that British casualties in the evacuation from Somaliland had been only 260 men.