Military Subjects: Organization, Strategy & Tactics

The Austrian Imperial-Royal Army (Kaiserliche-Königliche Heer) 1805 – 1809:






1805 – 1809

By Enrico Acerbi


The Military Border

From the Duchy of Bukowina (East) till the italian frontiers of Friuli (Küstenland) Austria had a group of militarized territories, which had the task to defend its borders mainly against the Turks. These lands, while being part of the geographical hungarian regions, were autonomous regions, not part of the hungarian Crown.

These Grenze (Gränze or Confinien) [1] comprised lands of rumanian peoples (Walakians), hungarian (Széklers), german (Banat), serbian – slovenian and croatian (Vojna Granica). The Border consisted of Croatian (from 1578), slavonian (from 1702), german and hungarian Banat (from 1742) and Transylvanian (from 1764) military frontier.

The military Border stood under own military administration for a whole area of 33.422 sq. kms (1.750 km in length). It was settled with free farmers (from Serbia, Croatia, Romania) who were, however, militarily ruled. The borderlands remained a military possession, however, territory was largely tax-free (Steuerfrei).

In 1807 the border areas were divided in 4 Generalate and had parallel regular army commands for the nearby lands.

The Militär-Grenze from 1800 till 1810

Uncomfortable conditions in the administration led to a drastic reorganization, by regulation of Nov. 1, 1800. Till 1800 the Leader had been the regimental commander (Leiter), while the Area Commander was merely a military employee or an administration chief. From 1800 also the administration was subordinated to the regimental commander. All became again an absolute dominion of the armed forces. 

In 1807 was remitted a new "Grundgesetz" (basic law) for the military border and one of the most important regulations concerned the treatment of the Corps. Fundamentally the new regulation did not change so much the former rules. The Grenzers (military Border troopers) got countryland as a loan. This meant actually the military authority did not have more arbitrarily control over troops and lands, in contrast to early rules.

The long Cordon was divided in 17 regimental areas, one Székler Hussar district and one Danube boatmen district (the Czajkisten).

The Carlstädter Generalat was the closest to the Adriatic coasts and had four regiments. The Banal Gränzbezirk had two regimental areas, the Warasdiner Generalat had two regiments, the General Commando in Slawonien had three regiments, the General Commando of the Temes Banat had two regiments and the General Commando of Siebenbürgen had five regiments (2 Széklers, 2 Valachians and 1 Székler hussars). All these general Commandos were subordinated to the Hofkriegsrat in Vienna. The former separate military authorities, Militär Appellations Behörden of Agram, Peterwardein and Hermannstadt, from September 1, 1810, were merged into a one Militär Appellations Behörde in Peterwardein, which commanded also the boatmen Czajkisten (town of Titel) recruited in a territory of 5 companies (Kapitanate), around 19463 inhabitants.

Military border dwellers were spread in the countryland and were catalogued as having various degree of ground assignments, borrowing from regiment the property of cultivable terrain. Only men received land, so there were also, probably, the most “active” widows of the Empire; in effect they could mantain the property for two years, during which period they had to marry another man fit for service (Dienstfahig), or they risked the confiscation, with the forced restitution of the loan. So the properties were not heritables, if there were no heirs (they inherited the loan, not the lands), they also were not to be sold away, other than in special occurrences, whenever other Grenzers could buy them.  

The Militär Grenze (without Siebenbürgen) had 777.406 inhabitants in 1807. After 1809 Austria did lose about 288.562 men (under French rule) [2]. Counting one sixth of men (males) as fit for military Duty, the austrian Empire could have about 80.000 men ready for the army, even having lost six of its former regiments.

It was a respectable army [3], which did not cost anything in peacetime, in war feared nobody, sturdily suffering pain and lack of food, had no deserters, was not so worried by illnesses and had always ready its reserve of younger men, trained as soldiers since their teen-ages.

The Austrian Border Regiments in 1809 and Beyond

After the 1805 campaign, Napoleon concluded peace with the Austrians signing the Treaty of Pressburg. This treaty ceded to France control of northern Italy as well as Friuli, Istria, Dalmatia and the Cattaro Islands. With this transfer of territory, a French administration was established on July 7, 1806 when General Marmont was assigned as Commander-in-Chief of Dalmatia.

This transfer of "Austrian" territory was amongst the most hated clauses of the treaty and one of the main causes of the 1809 campaign. Though the Austrians threatened this territory in 1809, it remained in French hands and the battle of Deutsch-Wagram eliminated any possibility of a military threat to the French possess on the area.

When the dust of the 1809 campaign settled down, further territories were ceded to France, including the home districts of six of Austria's "Grenz" regiments.

When their territories were transferred to France, so were some of the grenz regiments too. These regiments were organized along Austrian lines. Each “French-Croatian” regiment had two battalions of six companies. There were no elite companies and, unlike regular Austrian infantry regiments, no grenadier companies. However, they did have regimental artillery companies.


SIEBENBÜRGEN (Transylvania) commander FML Graf Vinzenz Kolowrat-Liebsteinsky

KARLSBURG (Gyulafehérvár) – KK Feldzeugamt klein Post
KARLSBURG (Gyulafehérvár) – KK 4th Artillerie regiment Unterberger – 1 company

Divisionskommando FML baron Wunibald von Löwenberg

Brigadekommando GM Johann von Branovacky

CSIKSZEREDA – 1st Székler Grenzer – 2 battalions (6 companies)
KÉZDIVÁSÁRHELY – 2nd Székler Grenzer – 2 battalions (6 companies)

Brigadekommando GM Ignaz von Novak

ORLÁTH – 1st Walachen Grenzer -  2 battalions (6 companies)
NASZÓD – 2nd Walachen Grenzer -  2 battalions (6 companies)

Divisionskommando FML baron Johann de Szent-Kereszty

Brigadekommando GM Gabriel Geringer von Ödenburg

SEPSI-SZENTGYÖRGYI – Székler Hussars n. 11 – 6 squadrons


Brigadekommando GM Paul von Radivojevich

PANCSOVA – Deutsch Banater Grenzer – 2 battalions (6 companies)
KARÁNSEBES – Wallachisch Illyrische Grenzer – 2 battalions (6 companies)

Resident brigade GM baron Lippe

TEMESVÁR –KK IR 62 Franz Jellacich - – 2 depot companies
TEMESVÁR –KK IR 61 Saint Julien - – 2 depot companies
GROSSWARDEIN – KK IR 37 Weidenfeld -  – 2 depot companies

BANAL-GRENZE – Ban (Banus) FML Graf Ignaz Gyulai

Brigadekommando GM Josef von Wetzl

GLINA – 1st Banal Grenzer Regiment n.10 -  2 battalions (6 companies)
PETRINJA – 2nd Banal Grenzer Regiment n.11 -  2 battalions (6 companies)

SLAVONIAN GRENZE FML baron Johann von Simbschen

Divisionkommando FML baron Christoph von Lattermann


Brigadekommando GM Peter von Lutz

VINKOVCE – 7th Grenzregiment Brod -  2 battalions (6 companies)
GRADISKA – 8th Grenzregiment Gradiska  -  2 battalions (6 companies)

Brigadekommando GM Josef von Pfanzelter

MITROVITZ – 9th Grenzregiment Peterwardein -  2 battalions (6 companies)

CARLSTÄDTER – WARASDINER  GRENZE FML baron Franz Jellacich de Buzim

CARLSTADT– KK Feldzeugamt klein Post

Warasdiner generalät Brigadekommando GM baron Gustav von Roschovsky

BELOVÁR – 5th Grenzregiment Warasdiner – Kreuzer -  2 battalions (6 companies) – to Pest
BELOVÁR – 6th Grenzregiment Warasdiner – StGeorger - 2 battalions (6 companies) – to Pest

Brigadekommando GM Johann Kálnássy von Kálnás

OGULIN – 3rd Grenzregiment Oguliner -  2 battalions (6 companies)
CARLSTADT - 4th Grenzregiment Szluiner-  2 battalions (6 companies)

Brigadekommando GM Andreas von Stojchevich

GOSPIĆ – 1st Grenzregiment Liccaner   -  2 battalions (6 companies)
OTOČAC – 2nd Grenzregiment Otoschaner   -  2 battalions (6 companies)

TRANSYLVANIA – Siebenbürgen [4] 1809

Transylvania (Siebenbürgen, Hung. Erdely; Rumanian, Ardeal) in 1765 was raised to Grand Principality status (Großfürstentum) by the empress Maria Theresia, as one government quite independent from other crowns. The State had, sometimes incidentally in union with its Regions, the power to do laws and to raise taxes, while the Empire exercised only all other Imperial rights. The Landtag become Hermannstadt, a royal free city, (in addition with Cronstadt, Carlsburg, Clausenburg etc.).

Until 1848 the chief influence and privileges, as well as the only political rights, were divided among the three " privileged nations "of the Hungarians, Szeklers and Saxons”. The first are the descendants of the Magyar conquerors. The Szeklers are of disputed origin, but closely akin to the Magyars (see after) The Saxons are the posterity of the German immigrants brought by King Geza II. (1141-1161) from Flanders and the lower Rhine  to cultivate and repeople his desolated territories. However, by far, the most numerous element of dwellers, though long excluded from power and political equality, was formed by Rumanians. The efforts of the Rumanian inhabitants to secure recognition as a fourth "nation," and the opposition of the non-Magyar population to a closer union with Hungary, led to troubles early in the 19th century, culminating in 1848.

The bourgeois population of the main towns, mainly of german language, had, as “national” regiment the IR 31 Benjowski, rather than the n. 51 Splenyi, which was especially recruited in the rural outskirts.

Brassó (Ger. Kronstadt; Rumanian, Brasov) was one of the most populous town of Transylvania, and its population was composed in about equal numbers of Germans, Magyars and Rumanians.

Hermannstadt (Ung. Nagyszeben, Rum. Sibiu) for many years was the siege of the local Government (Landstag). The larger part of its inhabitants was of german origins and traditions.

Gyulafehérvár (Ger. Carlsburg, Rom. Alba Julia) After the reversion of Transylvania in 1713 to the Habsburg monarchy the actual strong fortress was built in 1716-1735 by the emperor Charles VI, whence the German name of the town.

Koloszvár(Ger. Klausenburg, Rum. Cluj) Kolozsvar is believed to occupy the site of a Roman settlement named Napoca. Colonized by Saxons in 1178, it then received its German name of Klausenburg, from the old word Klause, signifying a "mountain pass." Between the years 1545 and 1570 large numbers of the Saxon population left the town in consequence of the introduction of Unitarian doctrines. In 1798 the town was to a great extent destroyed by fire. From 1830 it became the capital of Transylvania and the seat of the Transylvanian diets.

Maros-Vásárhely(Ger. Neumarkt) was the ancient capital town of the Szeklers lands.




Stuhl – Szék – (County)

IR Regular Army






2nd Szekler




1st Walachen









2nd Walachen




1st Szekler
part 2nd Walachen




2nd Walachen





1st Walachen




1st – 2nd Szekler


K.K. (Kaiserliche königliche) Ungarischen Infanterie Regimenter

K.K. IR 31 – FML Johann Benjowski (Benjovszky) von Benjov  – 3 battalions
der Siebenbürger Regiment [5]

Recruitment: 1 Depot comp. at Ofen, Div. baron Karl Weidenfeld, Brig. baron András von Szörenyi.       

Alsó-Fehér (Unt.Weissenburg)















Depot Kader


Peterwardein - Hermannstadt

Commander oberst

Franz Splényi von Mihaldy

later GM

Anton Stephan Hirsch then

Paul Maria Joseph Senitzer (after Aspern)


count Georg Bánffy

Josef Odelga


Mathias von Ivanka

Adam Retsey von Retsee

Johann Mécsey

Johann von Meiller

before Aspern: Assigned to the army of Germany, VI Corps FM von Hiller, Div. Jellacich then was in the Div. Vincent, Brig. Hofmeister.

At Abensberg 2 comp. were with the Détachement Rittmeister Spannagel, other 2 comp. with the Avant-garde brigade GM Armand von Nordmann, the regiment with Brigade GM Hoffmeister von Hoffeneck, Division FML comte Friedrich baron von Kottulinsky. During the retreat it returned in the Div. FML Vincent in the rearguard fighting at Rohr and finally at Landshut (April 21). At Landshut the 1st battalion was detached from the rear-guard of baron Carl Vincent. During the two battles the regiment lost 41 dead, 60 wounded and 345 prisoners. At Neumarkt it was in the 3rd Column (Left), Brig. GM Josef Hofmeister von Hoffenegg.

At Ebelsberg the Brig. Hofmeister was always under Div. Vincent but in a rearguard sector led together with the Div. FML Emmanuel von Schustekh. Vincent deployed the Brig. Hofmeister with the Chevaulegers at Klein-München in order to support the extreme rearguard retreating under the French fire (Brig. Bianchi). The brigade Hofmeister found the new positions full of all sort of carriages and material. So was forced to deploy north of the village. They were attacked by the French cavalry and retreated till the bridge (Traun river) repulsing the advancing enemies with bravery. However when the French guns began to bombard the situation becam critical and they withdrew on the opposite river bank. There the regiment lost around 598 men in total, of which, it was referred, 189 sunk in the cold river waters.

It followed the retreat in Austria, the passage of Danube at Mautern (May 8) and the rest at Grafenwörth camp.The regiment was reorganized in the Division GM baron Carl Vincent under the provisional brigade oberst baron Franz Splényi de Miháldy.

at Aspern: Brig. Hoffmeister, Div. Vincent, VI Corps with 3 battalions (1130 men). The 1st battalion was ordered to do a flank attack against the Kirchhof positions (Aspern), under the command of General Staff-Oberleutnant Josef von Ehrenstein. The rest of the regiment supported the assault and lost, in total: 38 dead, 166 wounded, 5 prisoners.

between Aspern and Wagram: After the battle the weak 1st battalion was disbanded and the regiment remained only with the 2nd and 3rd battalions with the new colonel Stefan Hirsch. Meiller and Bánffy left the regiment and the new oberstleutnant was Mathias Ivanka. On June 22, however, Hirsch returned to IR 32, and the new colonel was Paul Maria Joseph Senitzer. Ivanka retreated from service and the new oberstleutnant was Josef Odelga (majors Johann Mécsey prisoner, Baumgartten and Déak).

at Wagram: the 2 battalions were with Brig. baron Franz Splényi de Miháldy, Div. FML baron Kottulinsky, VI corps Klenau. They followed the retreat of the VI Corps losing: 9 dead, 54 prisoners. During the retreat they fought at Korneuburg (3 dead, 23 wounded and 87 prisoners), Stockerau (1 dead and 10 wounded). Always acting as rearguard it was ordered by GM Mariássy to stop at Hollabrunn, together with the twin regiment Splényi and some companies of IR 60. They lost there (July 10) 46 dead and 543 wounded. It was not at Znaim.

K.K. IR 51 – FML baron Gabriel Splényi von Miháldy – 3 battalions [6]

Recruitment: the 1st Depot comp. at Carlsburg, the 2nd at Klausenburg. Later the 2 Depot Compagnien at Pest, Div. baron Carl Weidenfeld, brig. GM Andreas von Szörényi.














Depot Kader

Klausenburg (Koloszvár)


Commander oberst

Michael von Scharlach

Franz von Scharlach


baron Johann Rechenberg (transf.)
Franz Seyringer (dead at Ebelsberg)

Franz von Scharlach Dimitri Radosevich von Radosch


Franz Seyringer

Peter Businelli

Franz von Scharlach

Johann Böhm

before Aspern: twin of IR 31, it was assigned to the army of Germany, VI Corps FM von Hiller, Div. Jellacich then Div. Vincent, Brig. Hofmeister.

At Abensberg the regiment was with Brigade GM Hoffmeister von Hoffeneck, Division FML comte Friedrich baron von Kottulinsky. Then returned in the Div. FML Vincent. During the retreat they fought some rearguard clashes losing 17 dead, 40 wounded and 12 prisoners. At Landshut the regiment was employed to delay the French cavalry. Its losses were severe: 22 dead, 66 wounded, 157 prisoners and 86 missing.

At Neumarkt it was in the 3rd ColumnGM Josef Hoffmeister von Hoffenegg with two companies in the avant-garde and the rest in the main column.

At Ebelsberg the Brig. Hofmeister was always under Div. Vincent but in a rearguard sector led by the Div. FML Emmanuel von Schustekh. Vincent deployed the Brig. Hofmeister with the Chevaulegers at Klein-München in order to support the extreme rearguard retreating under the French fire (Brig. Bianchi). The brigade Hofmeister found the new positions full of all sort of carriages and material. So was forced to deploy north of the village. They were attacked by the French cavalry and retreated till the bridge (Traun river) repulsing the advancing enemies with bravery. However when the French guns began to bombard the situation becam critical and they withdrew on the opposite river bank. Oberstleutnant Franz Seyringer was severely wounded and then died. The regiment lost 93 men dead, 236 wounded and prisoners, 102 prisoners not wounded, 425 missing men of which 236 surely drowned in the Traun waters.

It followed the retreat in Austria with only 799 men, the passage of Danube at Mautern (May 8) and the rest at Florisdorf camp.The regiment was reorganized in the Division GM baron Carl Vincent under the provisional brigade oberst baron Franz Splényi de Miháldy. The regiment received there around 800 men from Transylvania (with 300 green recruits).

at Aspern: it was in the Brig. Hoffmeister, Div. Vincent, VI Corps with 2 battalions (938 men). During the second day of the battle the 2nd battalions had orders to support the attack against Aspern led by colonel Scharlach, soon followed also by the 1st battalion. There the regiment lost (grenadiers comp. included) 146 dead, 83 wounded, 38 prisoners and 32 missing. 

at Wagram: the battalions were with Brig. baron Franz Splényi de Miháldy, Div. FML baron Kottulinsky, VI corps Klenau with tasks to cover the Corps retreat. During the retreat the regiment met its new 3rd battalion at Hirschstetten. On July 7 they fought at Korneuburg (18 dead, 13 wounded, 112 prisoners and 12 missing), Stockerau with the Brig. Mariássy, Div. Wallmoden (2 battalions). One battalion was in the Brig. Vécsey. The Brig. Mariássy engaged the enemies at Hollabrunn (July 9) (69 dead, 92 wounded, 62 prisoners and 8 missing). Finally the 24 Officers and 719 men of IR Splényi withdrew to Leitomischl, without taking part at the Znaim battle. 

Banat and Vojvodship (Vojvodschaft) of Serbia - (Vajdaság or Vojvodina)

The territory of the Banat is presently part of the Romanian counties Timiş, Caraş-Severin, Arad and Mehedinţi, the Serbian autonomous province of Vojvodina and Belgrade City District, and the Hungarian Csongrád County.

In the 17th century, parts of the Banat were incorporated into the Habsburg Monarchy of Austria. In 1716, Prince Eugene of Savoy took the last parts of the Banat from the Ottomans. It remained a separate province in the Habsburg Monarchy under military administration until 1751, when Empress Maria Theresa of Austria  introduced a civil administration. The Banat of Temeswar province was abolished in 1778. The southern part of the Banat region remained within the Military Frontier (Banat Krajina) until the Frontier was abolished in 1871.

Maria Theresa also took a great interest in the Banat; she colonized the region with large numbers of German  peasants, encouraged the exploitation of the mineral wealth of the country, and generally developed the measures introduced by Mercy. German settlers arrived from Swabia, Alsace and Bavaria, as well as people from Austria. The ethnic Germans in the Banat region became known as the Danube Swabians, or Donauschwaben. Some of them, coming from French-speaking or linguistically mixed communes in Lorraine, maintained the French language for several generations. Hungarians were not allowed to settle in the Banat during this colonization period.

In 1779, the Banat region was incorporated back into Habsburg Kingdom of Hungary, and the three counties Torontál, Temes and Krassó were created.

The “german” speaking Banater served expecially in the Grenzregiment n. 12 with HQ in Pancsova, but the reference units of the Banat was the 61st regiment (actually St. Julien).

Main town


Hung. Counties (Vármegye)


regular army

I. Grenzregiment



Bacs – Bodrog South


n. 9 Petrovaradin (Peterwardein)



Bacs-Bodrog center



Bacs-Bodrog north






n. 12 Deutsch Banater




n. 12 Deutsch Banater




n. 13


K.K. IR 61 – FML Graf Franz St Julien Waldsee – 3 battalions [7]

Recruitment: 2 Depot Companies Brig. baron Lippe in Temesvár under Alvinczy     










Depot Kader


HQ Peterwardein - Graz

Commander oberst

Johann von Longueville



Stephan Rétsey von Retsee

Anton Janusch


Johann Szent-Iványi

Anton Janusch (grenadier)

Josef von Herdlizka


before Aspern: assigned to Inner Austria army. In the VIII Armeekorps FML Marquis Chasteler, 1st Truppendivision FML count Albert Gyulai, Brig. GM count Colloredo-Mansfeld. After the advance in Italy the regiment was at Sacile, supporting the avant-garde. It assaulted the village of Porcia and lost 184 men dead or wounded (the wounded mainly made prisoners) and 61 prisoners. On April 28-29 they fought at Soave near Verona, the regiment engaged in the village defence. There were 26 men dead, 18 prisoners and 10 missing, with a larger number of wounded. At the Piave battle the regiment supported the austrian cavalry attempt to stop the French, but general Wolfskehl was overrun by enemy cavalry and they were forced to put the units in Squares losing still 182 men. Brigade Colloredo was sent till Venzone where it was attacked (May 12). In the defence of the village the regiment lost 312 men with its Oberstlieutenant Stephan Rétsey.

between Aspern and Wagram: when GM Colloredo had the divisional command the regiment came under Brig. De Vaux, Div. Colloredo, VIII Corps (Juni 7). At the battle of Raab the regiment was in first line, behing the village of Kis-Megyer with the Div. Colloredo and with 2 comp. detached on the Maierhof under Oberstleutnant Kummel. During the battle the whole 1st battalion was isolated near the Maierhof with Kummel. The regiment lost 604 men, the main part (wounded) fallen prisoner. The regiment Oberstlieutenant was now Anton Janusch, former grenadier commander.

After Raab the regiment took part in the Pressburg defence. There Colonel Longueville was severely wounded and the command passed to Janusch. Actually the regiment had only 500 men in total!

at Wagram: the regiment was in the Brig. De Vaux, Div. Colloredo. But they arrived too late to help the Emperor at Wagram. After the armistice the regiment camped in the Zala county (Hungary) and waited for the end of the war.         

K.K. IR 62 – FML Baron Franz Jellachich de Buzim - 3 battalions [8]

Recruitment: 2 Depot Companies at Temesvár, Brig. Lippe under Alvinczy. It was assigned to Inner Austria army; in the VIII Armeekorps FML Marquis Chasteler, 1st Truppendivision FML count Albert Gyulai, Brig. GM von Gajoli.   









Bács-Bodrog. Szabadka

Maria Theresiopel

Bács-Bodrog. Zombor


Depot Kader


HQ Temesvár

Commander oberst

Joseph Papp



baron Franz Stutterheim



Franz Ghequier de Melly-Nádasd


Johann De la Hamaide


before Aspern: on April 15 they were at Pordenone with the 1st battalion in the GM Wetzel column. The day after (Sacile) Brig. Gajoli with the 2nd and the 3rd battalions were deployed on the right. The 1st battalions was at Porcia in skirmish order. In the two days the regiment lost 70 dead, 114 wounded. On April 29-30 the regiment attacked at Monte (Castel) Cerino against the div. Severoli, in the second line behind IR 53.

The regiment had there many losses, 3 officers dead and many soldiers, with over 200 wounded. At the Piave the regiment supported the Brig. Colloredo and had other hard fights at San Daniele and Venzone (May 12). From 16 till 17 May they defended the Tarvis pass fortifications under FM Gyulai command. The 1st battalions (only 200 men under Ghequier) was in a redoubt, the 2nd and 3rd battalions were defending the Schlitzbach bridges with Gajoli. The French attack was fierce and the regiment surrounded losing 8 Staff officers prisoners, among whom was colonel Papp; many died or were wounded and captured. Only two columns under majors Ghequier and De la Hamaide escaped.    

- between Aspern and Wagram: the regiment was reorganized under the new interim commander Franz Stutterheim, who raised two new battalions with 840 recruits. It was attached to the Brig. GM Marziani, Div. Colloredo, VIII Corps. At Raab the two battalions deployed between Szabadhegy and Kis-Megyer in the second line. After the loss of Szabadhegy village the two battalions were ordered to counterattack. In the battle the regiment lost 442 men (57 dead, 159 wounded, 190 prisoners, 36 missing).

- at Wagram: the regiment marched with 1083 men marched with the column De Vaux, Div. Colloredo, Inner Austria army but arrived too late in oder to participate at the battle. The 1st battalion (De la Hamaide) was then order to reach Pressburg defences. The 2nd battalion and the staff retreated to Komorn.

Croatia and Slavonia

Croatian soldiers served in many European armies since the seventeenth century. So in the French army in the 17th century, during the reign of Louis XIII, there was a cavalry composed exclusively of the Croats, called Royal - Cravate, which existed in the period of 1664-1789. These soldiers gave the world something that is today unavoidable in fashion: the tie, called la cravate by the French and by the Germans die Krawatte - the expression was coined from the Croatian name, and mentioned for the first time in 1651.

The economic policies pursued by the Viennese administration under Maria Theresia (1740-1780) and Joseph II (1780-1790) had less of an impact on Croatia-Slavonia, because of their location on the fringe of the Habsburg possessions. The fact that Croatia-Slavonia was split in areas under civilian and areas under military administration provided another obstacle. The many new regulations passed by the Viennese administration frequently caused unrest. In 1715 the customs border separating Habsburg Croatia from Habsburg Inner Austria was lifted; in 1719 Fiume was declared a free port. Beginning in 1732, the river Sava was regulated, in order to facilitate river navigation. A road was constructed to connect Fiume with the Croatian and Hungarian interior, the Karolina (1726). The fortress city of Carlstadt developed into an important junction, attracted business and settlers.

Ethnic Germans immigrated into the cities of Croatia; German language gained in importance, in education as well as in the administration. In 1781 Joseph II decreed the Patent of Religious Toleration which permitted both protestants and Jews to permanently settle in Croatia, applied since 1783; it also permitted for the establishment of Orthodox communities in Croatia-Slavonia under civil administration. Serfdom was abolished in 1785.

In 1783 Joseph II decreed that Germans and other non-Croatians were to be admitted to public office (thus abolishing the indigenate). An administrative reform implemented in 1785 abolished Croatia-Slavonia as a territorial unit, replacing it by the districts of Pecs (Fünfkirchen) and Zagreb (Agram). In 1784 Joseph II decreed German to be introduced as the official language of administration, jurisdiction and education in 1786; judges, administrative officials etc. given a period of 3 years to learn the new language (German replaced Latin). This reform served to create national Croatian consciousness; the reform was rejected outside the German-speaking community. In 1789 Croatia-Slavonia and her Sabor were reestablished, most of the unpopular Josephinian reforms cancelled.

The 1st and 2nd national Croatian regiments, the ownership of which was direct matter of the higher croatian authority, the Ban, were the two Banal Grenz (Gränz) regiments of Glina and Petrinja. The Ban was FML baron Ignjat (Ignatius) Đulaj (Gyulai) de Maros-Nemeth and Nádaska, in command from 1806 till 1831.

The third national regiment was the 53rd infantry, entitled to FML Jellacich (Jellačić od Buzim).

Main town


Counties (Vármegye)

IR Regular Army

I. Grenzregiment





n. 5 Warasdin-Kreuzer









n. 6 Warasdin-St.Georg







Szérem (Syrmia)

n. 9 Peterwardeiner



Carlstadt-Modruš Fiume




Modruš Fiume


Grenze – Military Border





n. 1 Liccaner




n. 2 Otochaner




n. 3 Oguliner




n. 4 Szluiner



Banal Grenze

n. 10 1st Banal



Banal Grenze

n. 11 2nd Banal




n. 7 Brooder




n. 8 Gradiscaner

K.K. IR 53 – FML –Johann Jellachich de Buzim (Jellačić de Buzim) 3 battalions

National Croatian regiment [9]

Recruitment: 2 Depot Companies in Esseg, Brig. Weidenfeld in Ofen unter Alvinczy – also Reserve Div. of Inner Austria army. Regiment in Temesvár with Fünfkirchen Div. FML Franz Görupp von Besanez, later in Brig. GM Ludwig von Daniel in Neusatz (Neusandec). One battalion was in Esseg. 

Zágráb (Agram)






Esseg (Osijek)

Szerém (Syrmien)




Depot Kader

Esseg (Osijek)

HQ Esseg

Commander oberst

Chev. Ludwig Papp de Vezprém

Anton von Volkmann


Anton von Volkmann

Carl Van der Mühlen gren.


Emerich Marx

baron Franz Hundt

Johann von Lutter


before Aspern: assigned to Inner Austria army. In the VIII Armeekorps FML. Marquis Chasteler, 1st Truppendivision FML count Albert Gyulai, Brig. GM von Gajoli. On April 9 it was at Tarvis where Volkmann took command for an illness of colonel Papp. Gyulai ordered Volkmann [10] to create a Mobile Column for the invasion of the Kingdom of Italy territories, avoiding the main road, driving through mountains toward Pontafel and Chiusa. On April 11 Volkmann reached the village of Venzone and the Tagliamento river, defended by French general Broussier. The Volkmann’s attack was a true surprise and after some hard fire volley, the French abandoned their positions, having fear to be forced to engage an Austrian corps behind that vanguards. So 3 austrian battalions and 3 guns repulsed a French division. The IR 53 battalion lost only 17 men wounded and 2 prisoners during the affair. The other two battalions led by major Marx marched through Flitsch (It. Plezzo, Sl. Bovec) and touched Karfreit (It. Caporetto, Sl. Kobarid), reachin on April 12 Udine.

On April 16 the Brig. Gajoli had orders to seize Vigonovo and to get a link with Volkmann. Having reunited the forces the 1st and 3rd battalions under Volkmann advanced to Fontanafredda, while the 2nd battalions (major Lutter) supported the attack. The assault was quick and bloody. It had success but the Austrians did penetrate too deeply into the enemy lines and were counterattacked by French cavalry. The regiment lost: 61 dead, 254 wounded (major Lutter had severe wounds), 265 prisoners. Volkmann was promoted to 2nd colonel and maintained the command till June 16 when colonel Papp returned from the period of recovery. 

The new colonel was then ordered to cover the right army flank, trying the contact with the troops in Tirol with his Column (1st battalions IR 53, one battalions Banal, 4 sqns. Hohenzollern Chevaulegers and 2 brigade batteries). He marched through Asolo till Bassano, covering the hills of the valleys north of Vicenza. At Montebello Volkmann restituted the 1st battalions to Marx and took command of the other two battalions marching to Montorso and being now part of the avant-garde Div. Frimont. He engaged the French at Villanova near San Bonifacio. On April 29 the Viceroy Eugene counterattacked Frimont; Volkmann was in the right austrian wing at Soave. The 1st battalion was with Brig. Gajoli, Div. Colloredo, VIII Corps with support orders. The day after the French renewed the attack on the hills (monte Cerino). The croatian regiment was sent till Castel Cerino to help the defenders there deployed. In two days the regiment lost 17 men, 159 wounded and 51 prisoners.

Finally came the withdrawal order. On May 2 the regiment was attached to the brig. Schmidt and sent to Bassano to defend the valley of the Brenta river (road to Tirol). After an hard artillery bombardment against the town of Bassano, Schmidt retreated through Feltre and Belluno, reaching the Tirol. Ther the 1st battalion (Marx) remained with Brig. Schmidt, the 2nd battalions (Lutter) was sent to Sterzing (It. Vipiteno) and the 3rd battalion (Volkmann) to Trento; the colonel himself was made commander of South Tirol. The regiment was then under Corps Chasteler. Volkmann had to march till Bozen (It. Bolzano) and the same order was sent to the 2nd battalions The 1st battalion was with Schmidt in the defence of the Pustertal. On May 17 the 1st and 2nd battalions were in the Brig. Fenner, Corps Chasteler at Toblach (It. Dobbiaco) for the defence of the Pustertal; the 3rd remained at Bozen. On May 19 the two battalions returned under Schmidt at Sillian. The column Volkmann marched till Schabs.

at Aspern: on May 21 Chasteler charged GM Marschal with the task to gather the imperial troops at Lienz, in order to support the battered Inner Austria army. The 1st battalion remained in the Brig. Schmidt, the other two units in the Brig. Marschal. The regiment had some combats in Carinthia while trying to get in touch with the army (Div. Jellacich). The 1st division (comp. 1 and 2) under captain Vauquez remained in Tirol with the brig. Buol. The whole Corps Chasteler advanced and, on June 6, reached Klagenfurt and attacked the town. The combats lasted an complete day mainly in the Calvarienhöhe position. Volkmann was soon isolated from the rest of the Brig. Schmidt and remained in his position. Chasteler had given order to withdraw, but looking at the Calvarienhöhe, authorized a last assault, in order to try Volkmann’s rescue. They surprised the French, who were sent back in the town and the regiment went out of the dangerous pocket.

- between Aspern and Wagram: on June 9 the retreating Corps Chasteler met the Banus Gyulai at Gonowitz and followed his way to Croatia. The regiment was at Varasdin on June 16.

- at and after Wagram: 2 comp. remained detached with the Brig. Buol in Tirol, while the regiment marched through southern-west Hungary in garrison duties.     

Note: the Reserve division marched in May from Esseg till Raab where it stood as garrison till June (battle of Raab) Brigade Oberst Pétschy of Div. FZM Davidovich.


[1]The German word "grenz" means border and these "grenzers" were the border guards of Austria. They were formed into military colonies and were held in a constant state of military preparedness because they were the first line of defense against incursions of the dreaded Turks.

[2] January 1807 Census:

Liccaner Regiment 52734 souls
Ottochaner Regiment: 46131
Oguliner Regiment: 44940
Szluiner Regiment: 45730
Zeng 2800
Carlopago 1600
1st Banal 47313
2nd Banal 43933
Petrinja 2853
Costanizza 1108

[3]In the Europäischen Annalen St. 5, 1810, the strength of a Croatian-slavonian or Banat regiment was 2723 men, while a Transylvanian regiment had 2482 men. They had actually two fusiliers battalions and two Scharfschützen companies. The remaining 11 Grenz regiments had a strength of 28989 soldiers (without the Csajkisten battalion, which had 1068 men).

[4]About the name and its origin there is no yet agreement: some wanted it to derive from the Seven Castles of the Saxon nation, or Johanniter in Burzelland; others believe that this word did come only after the arrival of the Saxons in the countryland.

[5]Blazekovich von, K. : Chronik des K. K. 31. LinienInfanterie Regimentes. Wien: 1867/69.

[6]Maendl, Maximilian : Geschichte des K. und K. Infanterie-Regiments Nr. 51. Klausenburg: 1897-99.

[7]Hoffmann von Donnersberg, August: Geschichte des k. u. k. Infanterie-Regiments Nr. 61. 1798 -1892. Wien: 1892.

[8]Bichlmann Wilhelm: Chronik des Infanterie-Regimentes Nr. 62 dermalen Ludwig Prinz von Bayern von seiner Errichtung 1798 bis 1880. Wien: 1880.

[9]Gebauer, Karl Edler von; Ulrich, Heinrich: Geschichte des k. k. 53. Infanterie-Regimentes Erzherzog Leopold Ludwig. Tulln: 1881

[10]Gruppe Volkmann was formed by: IR 53 3rd battalion under Volkmann himself, one battalion of the 2nd Banal regiment, 2 squadrons of n. 5 Ott Hussars and half brigade battery. Practically it served as the army avant-garde. During the advance Volkmann got also the 1st battalions of IR 52 Franz Carl.


Placed on the Napoleon Series: January 2011


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