Imperial-Royal Mountain Troops


The Imperial-Royal Mountain Troops German: Kaiserlich-königlich Gebirgstruppe were founded in 1906 as part of the Austrian Landwehr, the territorial army of the Cisleithanian half of the Austro-Hungarian Empire As a result, the abbreviation "kk" for kaiserlich österreichisch, königlich böhmisch or "Imperial Austrian, Royal Bohemian" was used and not "kuk" "Imperial and Royal" which would have implied a connexion with the Hungarian half of the Empire

Proposed in a memorandum by Conrad von Hötzendorf, in February 1906 the War Ministry in Vienna convened a session on Alpine border security Field Marshal Tunk, agreed with him and put forward a concept, the fundamentals of which were then carried out

The existing state rifle regiments were to be trained as mountain troops and, together with the Landsturm border patrol companies and gendarmerie departments were to form the backbone of a territorial defence force with local knowledge on the border of Tyrol

The Commander-in Chief-from 1916,
Emperor Charles I

Contents

  • 1 Formation and deployment on 1 Aug 1914
  • 2 Dress and equipment
  • 3 Badges of rank
  • 4 See also
  • 5 References
  • 6 Sources
  • 7 Literature

Formation and deployment on 1 Aug 1914edit

On 1 May 1906 the two state rifle regiments with their HQs stationed in Bozen and Trient now Bolzano and Trento, both in Italy and the 4th Landwehr Infantry Klagenfurt were nominated as "high mountain troops" Hochgebirgstruppe and, in 1909, a third state rifle regiment, with its HQ stationed in Candido, was added In 1911, the fifth regiment followed: the 27th Imperial-Royal Landwehr Infantry Laibach1

The area of the Carnic ridge in Carinthia and the Julian Alps was assigned to the 4th Landwehr Infantry Klagenfurt and the 27th Landwehr Infantry Ljubljana These two, hitherto standard infantry regiments were given the new uniform of the mountain troops From 11 April 1917 they bore the names 1st and 2nd Mountain Rifles

1st Imperial-Royal State Rifles Trient kk Landesschützenregiment "Trient" Nr I

  • Commanding Officer: Colonel Adolf Sloninka von Holodów
  • HQ / I Battalion in Trient
  • II Battalion in Strigno
  • III Battalion in Ala
  • IV Battalion in Rovereto
Mountain infantryman in marching order 1906-1908

2nd Imperial-Royal State Rifles Bozen kk Landesschützenregiment "Bozen" Nr II

  • Commanding Officer: Colonel Karl Josef Stiller
  • HQ / II Battalion in Bozen
  • I Battalion in Meran
  • III Battalion in Riva del Garda

3rd Imperial-Royal State Rifles Innichen kk Landesschützenregiment "Innichen" Nr III2

  • Commanding Officer: Colonel Hugo Schönherr / Colonel Josef Hadaszczok
  • HQ in Innichen
  • I Battalion in Primör
  • II Battalion in Predazzo
  • III Battalion in Ampezzo

Mounted Tyrolean State Rifle Division

  • Commanding Officer: Lieut Colonel Moritz Srnka
  • Trient
  • 4th Landwehr Infantry Klagenfurt Landwehr Infanterie Regiment "Klagenfurt" Nr 4
44th Infantry Brigade - 22nd Infantry Division - III Army Corps Commanding Officer: Colonel Friedrich Eckhardt von Eckhardtsburg Established: 1889 HQ / III Baon in Klagenfurt I / II Baon in Hermagor Nationalities: 79% German - 21% Other Recruiting district: Klagenfurt
  • 27th Landwehr Infantry Laibach Landwehr Infanterie Regiment "Laibach" Nr 27
44th Infantry Brigade - 22nd Infantry Division - III Army Corps Commanding Officer: Colonel Karl Zahradniczek Established: 1901 HQ / I and III Baon in Laibach II Baon in Görz Nationalities: 86% Slovene - 14% Other Recruiting district: Laibach

The regiments began with high alpine training and moved into so-called summer stations in mountain inns, Alpine Club huts and tented camps, where they carried out intense training The winter stations were naturally located in the valleys, but this did prevent there being a comprehensive programme of winter exercises, alpine skiing course and skiing training in the mountains

Dress and equipmentedit

In 1907, the gamecock spray of white and black feathers that had been worn on the cap until 1887 by the state rifles was re-introduced Together with the edelweiss on the collar, it formed the badge of the Imperial-Royal Mountain Troops Otherwise the uniform was the same as that of the Jäger infantry What was new was the pike gray mountain dress: mountain boots, mountain socks, britches, heavy jacket, cap, coat, cape Officers continued to wear their the previous Landwehr uniform as individual ie not in squads on parade

Officers' cap badge after 1916 State rifleman in mountain dress after 1908

Battalions and companies were given pack animals The rifle was replaced by the shorter 8mm Mannlicher M 95 carbine They were issued with additional equipment adapted to the requirements of mountain warfare; including skis, ropes, crampons and ice axes Regiments were reinforced by a mountain machine gun section of four machine guns which, to improve mobility, could be carried by pack animals or in manportable packs at the highest altitudes The same applied to the take-apart mountain guns Portable field stoves Schwarmöfen and heated tents assisted troops to operate in inhospitable conditions

When skiing the two-stick approach had replaced the single-stick method The Bilgeri binding was a touring binding that could be used with the normal hiking boot

  • Extract from the pamphlet "Mountain Warfare in Winter" Gebirgskrieg im Winter
Produced by the kuk State Defence Command in Tyrol oJ Alpine equipment as follows: A General mountain equipment which is allocated to every soldier in combat units; it comprises: 1 rucksack with 2 breast pockets 1 climbing stick 1 pair of snow shoes Schneereifen 1 pair of snow glasses 1 pair of four-toothed crampons B Equipment of the high Alpine sections: the above equipment and, in addition: 1 pair of ten-toothed crampons with straps 1 complete set of skis Skizeug 1 pair of avalanche cords Lawinenschnüre 1 pair of shoe covers Schuhüberzüge 1 pair of mitten covers 1 windbreaker 1 pair of windproof trousers 1 snow suit in emergencies also a parka for every four men: 1 ice pick with pick sling 1 tin of glacier ointment 1 spirit stove and container A complete set of skis comprises: 1 pair of skis and bindings 1 pair of double sticks 1 pair of carrying straps-Fellersatz 1 pair of Harschteisen Ski wax A pair of skis and bindings consists of: 1 pair of ski planks 1 pair of bindings with spanners and affixing screws 1 pair of sole plates 1 set of ski straps

Badges of rankedit

The rank stars and the edelweiss badge of the officers were made of metal thread The stars of the other ranks were made of celluloid, the edelweiss of metal From 1914, cadets and Staffsoberjäger wore stars of white silk

See alsoedit

  • State Rifles Landesschützen
  • Gebirgsjäger
  • Common Army kuk Armee
  • Imperial-Royal Landwehr
  • Royal Hungarian Landwehr
  • Austro-Hungarian Army
  • The Imperial-Royal Landwehr's mountain troops on the website of the Austrian Bundesheer

Referencesedit

  1. ^ The Landwehr infantry regiments bore the location of their HQ as part of their name
  2. ^ Initially, only the 3rd Rifles had 4 battalions This was transferred to the 1st Regiment before 1914 and moved from Innichen to Rovereto

Sourcesedit

  • Austrian State Archives/War Archives Österreichisches Staatsarchiv/Kriegsarchiv, Vienna
  • Heinz von Lichem: Spielhahnstoß and Edelweiß, Leopold Stocker Verlag, Graz, 1977
  • Heinz von Lichem: Der Tiroler Hochgebirgskrieg 1915 - 1918 Steiger Verlag, Berwang Tirol, 1985
  • Graf Bossi Fedregotti: Kaiserjäger Stocker Verlag, Graz 1977
  • Carl von Bardolff: Soldat im alten Österreich Diederichs Verlag, Jena 1938
  • Rest-Ortner-Ilming: Des Kaisers Rock im 1st Weltkrieg Verlag Militaria, Vienna, 2002
  • Michael Wachtler and Günther Obwegs: Krieg in den Bergen - Dolomiten Athesia Bozen, 2003
  • von Lempruch: Ortlerkämpfe 1915 - 1918 Buchdienst Südtirol, 2005
  • Herman Hinterstoisser, MChristian Ortner, Erwin A Schmidl Die kk Landwehr-Gebirgstruppen Vienna, 2006, ISBN 3-902526-02-5

Literatureedit

  • Hubert Fankhauser: Freiwillige an Kärntens Grenzen Die Regimentsgeschichte der K K Kärntner freiwilligen Schützen 1915 bis 1918th Vehling Verlag ISBN 978-3-85333-150-7


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