Military Subjects: Organization, Strategy & Tactics

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

By Enrico Acerbi


The following table explains why the year 1809 (Anno Neun in Austria) was chosen in order to present one of the most powerful armies of the Napoleonic Era. In that disgraceful year (for Austria) the Habsburg Empire launched a campaign with the greatest military contingent, of about 630.000 men. This powerful army, however, was stopped by one of the more brilliant and hazardous campaign of Napoléon, was battered and weakened till the following years.

Year

Emperor

Event

Contingent (men)

1650

 

Thirty Years War

150000

1673

Leopold I

 

60000

1690

97000

1706

Joseph I

Erzherzog Eugen

130000

1735

Carl III

 

150000

 

Maria Theresia

Seven Years War

200000

1777

 

244000

1788

Joseph II

Turks War

364000

1792

Peacetime

290000

1792-1796

Revolutionary Wars

314000-500000

1800

Franz I

 

495000

1802

 

462000

1803

 

310000

1804

 

355000

1806

 

345000

1808

 

390000

1809

 

630000 [1]

1810

 

290000

1811

 

233000

Source: Neue Statistisch-Geographische Beschreibung des Königreichs Ungarn,

Croatien, Slavonien und der ungarischen Militär Grenze, Weygand, Leipzig 1832

The Austrian Military Reforms

Evolution of the Infantry Units 1802-1816 (source Wrede) [2]

Date

Stand

Bat.

# Companies Each

Grenadier

Companies

Regiment Total

Companies

German Regiments companies

Hungarian Regiments Companies

Grenadier

companies

Regiment

Staff

Line

Reserve Depot

Line

Reserve Depot

1802

1805

Peace

3

6

2

20

167

4 companies

207

 

142

46

War

3

6

24

192

233

212

212

143

53

1805

1806

Peace

4

4

4 *

20

120

 

129

 

129

46

War

5

4

24

201

215

201

212

201

51

1807

1809

Peace

2

6

2

18

186

4 companies

206

4 companies

136

70

War

3

6

20

198

219

145

75

1809

1816

Peace

3

6

2

20

186

440

206

Res.Depot

***

136

70

War

30 (22) **

218

208

238

145

75

* independent battalions - ** included two Landwehr battalions (only for Erbländer or Imperial hereditary provinces) each with 6 companies - *** Hungarian Reserve Depot (one division) had two companies (440 men in peace and 208 in war)

Authorized Strength Numbers for Regiments

Date

Stand

German Regiments

Hungarian Regiments

Grenadier

Battalions

Landwehr

Battalions

Grenzer

Battalions

notes

line

line

1802

1805

Peace

3348

4068

852

--

1242

 

War

4838

5198

858

--

1272

 

1805

1806

Peace

2884

2884

516 *

--

774

 

War

4163

4163

804 *

--

1206

 

1807

1809

Peace

3318

3638

816

--

1236

After 1809 regiment’s Artillery (service or  “bedienung” of 97 men) was lost

War

4053

4401

870

--

1314

1809

1816

Peace

3318

3638

816

--

1236

Hungarian line regiments. Had one Reserve division as Depot

War

5160

5063

870

1308

1428

* With 4 companies each – two veteran, old or Alt-Grenadiere companies (with the fur cap)  - two young or Jung Grenadiere companies (with shako)

The nominal number of the Gemeinen (common troopers) of a company was 160. After the 1809 disaster the numbers of the soldiers went down to 60 in the German regiments and 100 in the Hungarian regiments.

The nominal number of the grenadiers of a company was 120 in the German regiments and 150-160 in the Hungarian regiments

These numbers was not always rigid. In Octobere 1805,  for example, in Italy the Austrian army was noticeably reinforced. There, the Infantry regiments had 4 fusiliers battalions plus one Grenadier’s battalion, which remained by its regiment. Two Infantry regiments formed a brigade.

On October 18, 1805, as regular order of battle, every Infantry brigade had a 3 pdr battery (no artillery for cavalry brigades). The regiments moved with their own artillery and, for this, was formed a special support reserve of 180 2-horse drawn carriages (Karren) and 33 4-horse drawn ammunition wagons (Leiterwagen). The artillery park was, as in the previous campaigns, at Palmanova in Friuli.

Austrian Army 1807-1812 Schemes[3]

After 1800 and the first army reorganization, the Austrian army or K.K. Österreichisches Heer improved its organization with a new recruiting system and the widening of the duty services, created new units and enlarged the Hungarian troops (probably either for having lost a large amount of crown lands, either under the direct French threats). As said, the great test for this new army completely failed in 1809. At the end of 1807 the forces (“Stande”) of the Austrian army was the following:

Infantry: 63 Line Infantry regiments -- 1 Jäger Infantry regiment -- 17 National-Grenzregimenter or Military Border regiments.

Cavalry: 8 Cuirassier regiments -- 6 Dragoon regiments -- 6 Chevaulégers regiments -- 12 Hussars regiments -- 3 Uhlans regiments

Artillery: 4 Feldartillerie regiments.

Staff:  (see the following dictionary of army ranks for details upon Austrian names)

Engineers: (Geniedirektor or Engineers commander: Archduke John)

Engineers Corps or Ingenieur Korps: 4 FML, 5 GM, 6 colonels, 8 Lieut.colonels, 12 majors, 64 captains, 47 lieutenants

Miners or Mineur Korps: 1 Colonel, 1 Lieut.Colonel, 1 major, 4 captains, 4 lieutenants, 4 Second lieutenant, 1 adjutant, 4 companies of  100 men.

Generalquartiermeister Staff: (GM Mayer), 4 colonels, 6 lieutenant colonels, 14 majors, 23 captains, 13 lieutenants scattered in the territory, fortresses, major cities, the military border, and sometimes named when needed.

Pontooners (Battalion Czaikisten): 1 colonel, 5 captains, 6 lieutenants, 6 second lieutenant, 11 Oberbrückenmeister (a kind of sergeant major), 6 companies each with 100 men.

Military Train (Militärfuhrwesens Korps): 1 colonel, 1 lieutenant colonel, 1 major, 6 Premier-rittmeister (first captain), 9 second-rittmeister (2nd captain), 26 lieutenants, 34 second lieutenant, 11 adjutanten scattered in the train (Fuhrwesens) divisions of the major cities.

Remountierung-Beschälswesens (horse breeding and horse replacements providers): 2 colonels, 2 lieutenant colonels, 2 majors, 3 rittmeister (scattered among the stations of Mezöhegyés, Meskowitz, Brandeis, Olmütz, Kolnitz, Vienna and Wels).

Kriegskommissariat (War Commissioner): 22 Oberkriegskommissäre, 72 Feldkriegskommissäre, 74 Kriegskommissariat officers (scattered in countryland, provinces).

Militär-Ökonomie-Commissionen and Depots (Commissioners for Military Economy and Depots): at Stockerau, Prague, Alt-Ofen (now Budapest), Brünn, Podgorze, Jaroslaw, Marburg, Karlsburg and Vienna (each with 1 Staff officer, 1 captain and 2 lieutenants).

Invalidenhäuser (Hospitals for Invalids): Vienna, Prague, Turnau, Pettau (each with a commander, a Staff officer, 1 Auditor, 1 Rechnungsführer, 1 adjutant, 1 arzt (surgeon), 1 kaplan (priest), 1 Kriegscommissär).

Military academies: Vienna (Engineers), Wiener-Neustadt (Cadets), Joseph-Akademie of Vienna (medical service), Thierarznei-und Thierspital-Institutof Vienna (veterinary).

Military Police (Wiener Militär-Polizeiwache): at Vienna. Mounted and foot “gendarmes”. (2 captains, 1 lieutenant and 1 second lieutenant, 1 adjutant and 300 policemen.

Imperial Guard (Leibgarde)

Adelige erste Arcieren Leibgarde

1

Hauptmann (captain)

2

Kapitän-leutnant (lieutenant-captains)

2

Oberlieutenant

1

Unterlieutenant

1

Premier-Wachtmeister

5

Second-Wachtmeister

3

Vize-Second Wachtmeister

60

Garden (guards)

1

Kaplan (priest)

1

Auditor

1

Kasseverwalter

1

Adjutant

1

Oberarzt

   

Ungarische adelige Leibgarde

1

Käpitan (captain)

1

Kapitän-leutnant (Lieut-captains)

2

Premier-Wachtmeister

4

Second-Wachtmeister

1

Kaplan (priest)

52

Garden (guards)

1

Rechnungsführer

1

Auditor

1

Arzt

1

Adjutant

Trabanten Leibgarde

1

Hauptmann (captain)

1

Kapitän-leutnant (Lieutenant-captains)

2

Oberlieutenant

1

Premier-Wachtmeister

Hofburgwache

1

Hauptmann (captain)

1

Oberlieutenant

1

Unterlieutenant

2

Feldwebel

10

Korporale

154

gemeine


The German Line Infantry [4]

The line infantry had regiments with 2 grenadier  companies and 16 fusilier  companies. The regiment was split in three battalions: the 1st or Leibbattalion, the 2nd or Oberstbattalion (both with 6 companies), the 3rd or Oberstlieutenantsbattalion with 4 companies.

An Infantry company had:

Staff

German Regiment Fusilier Company – 186 men

1

Hauptmann or Capitain-Lieutenant

1

Oberlieutenant

1

Unterlieutenant

1

Fähnrich or Führer (Ensign)

1

Feldwebel

2

Gefreyte

6

Corporalen

1

Fourierschützen

2

Tambouren

1

Zimmermann

3

Privatdiener

160

Gemeine

German Infantry Grenadier Company (end of 1807)

Staff

German Regiment Grenadier Company

1

Hauptmann or Capitain-Lieutenant

1

Oberlieutenant

1

Unterlieutenant

1

Feldwebel

6

Corporalen

1

Fourierschützen

2

Tambouren

1

Zimmermann

3

Privatdiener

140

Grenadiere

The German regiments or Deutsch infanterie Regiments- (those from the Erbländer or hereditary lands and regions) in peacetime: as under August 7, 1810, Emperor Franz Order, diffused by Hofkriegsrat compared with the new layout of August 10, 1811. The German Infantry regiments of the Austrian army had: 2 grenadier companies and 12 fusilier companies. Each fusilier company could have roughly 180 men (160 after 1805 and only 60 after the disaster of 1809).

 

Line German Infantry Regiment Staff

1

Oberst  superior and Regiments Inhaber (Owner)

1

Oberst and Regiments Commandant

1

Oberstlieutenant

2

Majors

1

Regiments Caplan (priest)

1

Regiments Auditor

1

Regiments Adjutant

(oberlieutenants or Fähnriche)

3

Bataillonsadjutanten

(unterlieutenants or Fähnriche)

1

Regiments Rechnungsführer

6

K.k. ordinäre Cadetten

1

Regimentsarzt

1

Profoß

4

Ober-Ärzte

6

Unter-Ärzte

9

Führer

9

Fourieren

4

Fourierschützen

1

Regiments Tambour

5

Privatdienern [5]

   

Each battalion had one flag, which remained in the middle or in the wing (first line) of an attacking platoon. It was carried by a Führer, who was at his officers side. Companies had four platoons (Züge) and no sections. In peacetime there were 7 Vize-Korporalen, who were helped, in campaign, by 1 Feldwebel and 6 Korporalen.

The Hungarian and the Siebenbürgisches (Transylvania) Line Infantry regiments of the Austrian army had: 2 grenadier companies and 16 fusilier companies.  Hungarian companies could have around 200 men. The situation of the Hungarian Infantry regiments will be described in the Hungarian section.

After the 1809 disaster this was the evolution of the Austrian “German” units:

German Infantry Regiments after 1811

 

Line German Infantry Regiment Staff

1

Oberst superior and Regiments Inhaber

1

Oberst and Regiments Commandant

1

Oberstlieutenant

2

Majore

1

Regiments Caplan

1

Regiments Auditor

1

Regiments Feldarzt

1

Regiments Rechnungsführer

1

Regiments Adjutant

6

K.k. ordn. Cadetten

3

Ober-Ärtze

9

Unter-Arzte

9

Fourieren

1

Regiments Tambour

4

Fourierschützen

8

Hautboisten (Hoboisten) [6]

1

Profoß

5

Privatdienern

 

total

56

 

 

Line German Infantry Regiment

 

Officers and NCOs from the

Disbanded 3rd Battalions

3

Hauptleute

1

Capitan-Lieutenant

4

Oberlieutenants

4

Unterlieutenants

2

Fähnriche

4

Feldwebeln

2

Führern

24

Corporalen

4

Fourierschützen

8

Tambouren

32

Grefreiten

10

Privatdienern

 

Total

98

 

German Infantry Company after 1811

 

German Grenadier Company Staff

1

Hauptmann

1

Oberlieutenant

1

Unterlieutenant

1

Feldwebel

6

Corporalen

1

Fourierschützen

2

Tambouren

1

Zimmermann (carpenter)

2

Privatdiener

?

Grenadiere (in the stated number)


 

German Fusilier Company Staff

1

Hauptmann or Capitain-Lieutenant

1

Oberlieutenant

1

Unterlieutenant

1

Fähnrich or Führer (Ensign)

1

Feldwebel

8

Gefreyten

6

Corporalen

1

Fourierschützen

2

Tambouren

1

Zimmermann

2

Privatdiener [7]

?

Gemeine (in the stated number)

Wishing to present the Austrian army in detail, I decided to order the various units in branch of services, leaving only Infantry in a recruitment areas form, in an attempt to explain the Austrian system of raising regiments by areas (Werbergänzung) or regions of the same nationality. The following table is a numerical index of the infantry regiments with the appropriate section to look for them. Finally I enclosed a small dictionary of the Austrian ranks, for people who wants to enter more details.

Inhaber (Owner)

Former/Situation

Nationality

H=Hung

G=Germ

Facings

Colour

Buttons

1

Kaiser Franz

 

Moravia

G

pompadour red

gold

2

Hiller

 

Hungary-slovak

H

kaiser yellow

gold

3

Archduke Charles

 

Lower Austria

G

sky blue

white

4

Hoch u.Deutschmeister

 

Lower Austria (Vienna)

G

sky blue

gold

5

1st Garrison

disbanded 1807

into 1st – 2nd Batt.

   

dark blue

white

6

2nd Garrison

disbanded 1807

into 3rd – 4th Batt.

   

black

white

7

Schröder

 

Moravia

G

dark brown

white

8

Arch. Louis

 

Moravia

G

poppy red

gold

9

Czartoryski

Dutch

Galicia

G

apple green

gold

10

Anton Mittrowski

 

Moravia

G

bright green

white

11

Erzherzog Rainer

 

Bohemia

G

rose

white

12

Manfredini

 

Moravia

G

dark brown

gold

13

Reisky

Italy-Friaul disbanded 1809

Küstenland

G

grass green

gold

14

Klebeck

 

Upper Austria

G

black

gold

15

Zach

 

Moravia

G

madder red

gold

16

Lusignan

 

Styria

G

violet

gold

17

Reuss-Plauen

 

Bohemia

G

light brown

white

18

Stuart

 

Bohemia

G

pompadour red

white

19

Alvinczy

 

Central Hungary

H

sky blue

white

20

Kaunitz

 

Moravia

G

crab red

white

21

Rohan

 

Bohemia

G

sea green

gold

22

Coburg

 

Moravia

G

kaiser yellow

white

23

Würzburg

disbanded 1809

Poland

G

poppy red

white

24

Strauch

 

Galicia

G

dark blue

white

25

Zedwitz

 

Bohemia

G

sea green

white

26

Hohenlohe

 

Carinthia

G

bright green

gold

27

Strassoldo

 

Styria

G

kaiser yellow

gold

28

Frelich

 

Bohemia

G

grass green

white

29

Lindenau

 

Moravia

G

bleumorant (l.blue)

white

30

De Ligne

Dutch

Galicia

G

light grey

gold

31

Benjowsky

 

Transylvania

H

kaiser yellow

white

32

Eszterhazy

 

Central Hungary

H

sky blue

gold

33

Sztáray / Colloredo Mansfeld

 

Northern Hungary

H

dark blue

white

34

Davidovich

 

Northern Hungary

H

madder red

white

35

Arch. John Nepomuk [8]

Argenteau

 

Bohemia

G

madder red

gold

36

Kolowrat

 

Bohemia

G

gris de lin (mauve)

white

37

Weidenfeld

 

Eastern Hungary

H

poppy red

gold

38

Württemberg

Dutch

disbanded 1809

Poland

G

rose

gold

39

Duka

 

Eastern hungary

H

poppy red

white

40

Josef Mittrowsky

 

Moravia

G

crimson

white

41

Kottulinsky

Vorder Österreich

Galicia

G

yellow

white

42

Erbach

 

Bohemia

G

orange

white

43

Simbschen

disbanded 1809

Krain

G

yellow

gold

44

Bellegarde

Lombardia - Italy

Galicia

G

madder red

white

45

De Vaux

disbanded 1809

Salzburg

G

crimson

gold

46

Chasteler

Italy- Tyrol disbanded 1809

Galicia

G

dark blue

gold

47

Vogelsang

 

Bohemia

G

steel green

white

48

Vukassovich

Lombardia - Italy

Southern Hungary

H

steel green

gold

49

Kerpen

 

Lower Austria

G

pike  grey

white

50

Stain

disbanded 1809

Poland

G

violet

white

51

Splény

 

Transylvania

H

dark blue

gold

52

Arch. Franz Carl

 

Southern Hungary

H

pompadour red

gold

53

Jellacic

 

Croatia

H

pompadour red

white

54

Froon

 

Bohemia

G

apple green

white

55

Reuss-Greitz

Dutch

disbanded 1809

Poland

G

bleumorant

gold

56

Wenzel Colloredo

 

Silesia

G

steel green

gold

57

Josef Colloredo

 

Moravia

G

grisdelin (mauve)

gold

58

Beaulieu

Dutch

Galicia

G

black

white

59

Jordis

 

Upper Austria

G

orange

gold

60

Gyulai

 

Eastern Hungary

H

steel green

white

61

St.  Julien

 

Banat

H

grass green

gold

62

Franz Jellacic

 

Banat

H

grass green

white

63

Baillet

Dutch - Italy

Galicia

G

light brown

gold




Notes:

[1] Including Landwehr, Insurrectio (40000) and volunteers.

[2] Wrede Alphons Frhr. von: “Geschichte der K. und K. Wehrmacht”, I. Band, Wien 1898.

[3] Source: Carl Edler von Bundschuh bearb.v. „Uibersicht (sic) der bey der k.k. Oesterreichischen Armee bestehenden Militär-Oekonomie-Systems und allen dahin Bezug nehmenden Gesetze“, Erster Band, Prag 1812. Some numbers are very hard to read in the tables, so my apologies if few mistakes could have occurred.

[4] In addition to what previously explained we can say that, in 1807, the term “german”, according to the original language of people, is quite unappropriate. In effect among the so called “german” units (which wore white trousers) there were bohemian, moravian, silesian, galician units. Otherwise among the “hungarian” infantry there were the Transilvanian (Siebenbürgische) and Banater units, some of which actually spoke German.

[5] Soldiers who served as personal waiters (orderly).

[6] Music band NCOs with the Feldwebel’s rank.

[7] Three in the case of the presence of a Fähnrich.

[8] Archduke John Nepomuk died on February 19, 1909. The regiment was taken by graf Eugen Argenteau.

 

Placed on the Napoleon Series: February 2010 - February 2011; updated January 2013

 

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