This badge is extremely brutal. Similar badges showing the buck teaching Russian and Italian soldiers are different. There’s no such physical brutality in those. Those are more humorous scenes. This badge radiates vengeance. Well, they finally got what they deserved.
The Monarchy went overconfident into the attack on Serbia in August 1914. Its dominance was due to the difference in size between the two countries. But because of the Russian mobilization, the force against Serbia was halved, and thus the number of troops was far from being so large. Moreover, Serbian forces gained combat experience in the Balkan wars a few years earlier. The Monarchy, on the other hand, could only develop its combat tactics through military exercises. And that was very different from the real conflict situation. The commander-in-chief, General Potiorek, was pushing a very difficult attack strategy. According to this, the country had to be attacked from the north-west in a hilly-mountainous area, which was more in favor of defense. In a word, all these difficulties have led to the Monarchy’s failure with a loss of 100,000, unable to force Serbia to surrender. On the contrary, since the Russian front threatened to collapse in December 1914, a rushed retreat was ordered, giving up all the territory it had occupied.
The badge reflects this painful failure experience. A year after the first fiasco, the second attack on Serbia was supported by German and Bulgarian armies. This multiple outnumber quickly wiped out the Serbian forces, which had already been severely weakened. The remnants of the Serbian army was recovered and rescued in Albania after a very loss-making retreat due to winter conditions. The badge depicts victory after a humiliating defeat as a kind of deserved revenge. I think that’s why the move to kick the first Serbian soldier in the head is so harsh.
It’s not a nice badge, but it’s definitely part of the whole picture. The attached photo shows Serb POWs marching.