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Men at arms

49th Infantry Regiment

Lower Austria’s high-prestige infantry regiment was the 49th. It was based in St Pölten and founded in 1715. The first owner of the regiment was the founder count Baden-Durlach. In 1870, after the death of field marshal Hess, who was the regiment’s owner at the time the name was changed. In memory of the deceased regiment owner, it was subsequently renamed the Hess Regiment.

Heinrich Hess was a popular Austrian general. He participated in all major campaigns of Austria between 1805 and 1859. He also earned merit in the Napoleonic War. Among others in the Battle of Aspern. This is interesting because the 49th Infantry Regiment’s badge dates back to May 13, 1809, the day of this battle. The regiment also gained outstanding merit at that time. This day became the regiment’s memorial day. It is also the date on the Kappenabzeichen. The cross-shaped badge is called the Hess cross. So far, I haven’t been able to find a connection between the regimental owner’s family and the cross. It would be nice if the readers could help me with that. It certainly adorns the noble coat of arms of the family.

The Hess cross of the 49ers was made in three versions. “Simple” cross, dated cross and the cross with “war decorations”. All enameled. You can find a lot of wearing photos with these badges. This suggests that the nice and not cheap badge could have been distributed to the regiment’s soldiers. In the accompanying photo, the lieutenant wears the badge not on th field cap, but above the right pocket of the tunic. Other images often show the same wear. That must have been the general custom.

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