Tag Archive | Austro-Hungarian

Now that is Tyrolean

The great combined Austro-Hungarian Army of Emperor Franz Josef– as well as its two national reserve forces, the Royal Hungarian Honvéd and Imperial Austrian Landwehr–fielded the enbloc clip-fed Mannlicher M1895 rifle for the last few decades of its existence.

Chambered in 8x50mmR, some 3.5 million(ish) of these were made by FEG in Hungary and Steyr in Austria as well as by CZ/Brno (the latter just starting in 1918.)

The straight-pull bolt action typically used a 30-inch barrel to produce a very hefty 50-inch rifle.

Thus. Also, great overshoes.

However, one of the rarer variants, sniper rifles which used telescopic sights made by Reichert, Kahles, Suss, Fuess, and Oigee, saw much lower production numbers, with just 13,000 made. Luckily Austria was home to the lion-share of optics makers at the time!

An even rarer subset of these was the M95 sniper carbine. Yes, sniper carbine.

And, as the Italians took most of these for war reparations in 1919-20, which Rome subsequently scrapped, they are one of the rarest of all sniper breeds.

A WWI-era Steyr M95 sniper rifle with a 20-inch barrel and a three post-C. Reichert Wein-marked 3x optic. It carries a “Wn-18” acceptance mark. (Photos: RIA)

The optic uses a three-post European style reticle and a very…peculiar mount.

My homie Ian has details on such a rifle, below.

With uniforms this snazzy, how could they lose?

The below image shows a  great selection of Soldiers of various units of the polyglot Austro-Hungarian army in 1914 (click to big up).

From left to right:
Austrian Landwehr ulan cavalrymen,
Austrian Landwehr (infantryman),
Bosnian Jäger,
Austrian Jäger,
Austrian infantryman,
Hungarian infantryman,
Tyrolean and Imperial Jäger,
Bosnian infantryman,
Hungarian honvéd infantryman,
Common, or joint (közös) Hussar in a new camp uniform,
Common, or joint (közös) hussar,
Common, or joint (közös) Jäger,
Common, or joint (közös) dragoon.

Note the Austro-Hungarian bluejacket at the far right, dressed for shore duty.

And it doesn’t even include such exotic units as the Albanians:

or ski troops…

Or crazy weapon systems like the water-cooled Standschütze Hellriegel Submachine Gun

While they looked good in photos and on paper, the Austrian forces were so poorly led, confusingly staffed and shallow in depth that German warlord Gen. Erich von Ludendorff said that to fight alongside old Franz Josef’s army was like being “shackled to a corpse.”

Of course, the uniforms would become much more practical as the Great War’s modern combat left the quaint 19th Century stylings behind in the mud of trench warfare– especially on the horrors of the Italian front, where the Austrians gave a better account of themselves than against the Serbs and Russians in the opening stages of the conflict.

Austro-Hungarian assault troops k.u.k. Sturmbatallione. They’ re-equipped with Austrian zeitzunderhandgranates, wire cutters and a variety of small arms.

You do know the Standschutze Hellriegel, don’t you?

Historical Firearms has a good piece on the the Austro-Hungarian Standschutze Hellriegel submachine gun. Apparently this mad bulky water cooled (!) burp gun was developed during 1915 and blended pistol caliber ammunition with the firepower of a machine gun making it one of the first weapons which could be considered an SMG.

When you think SMG, you don't really think something with the same portability as a Vickers Maxim with 1/10th the range

When you think SMG, you don’t really think something with the same portability as a Vickers Maxim with 1/10th the range

Dig the assistant gunner with the leather and wood frame spare mag carrier

Dig the assistant gunner waiting patently with the leather and wood frame spare mag carrier

That looks easy to load

That looks easy to load

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