I stood puzzled with the little numbered horns of the Austro-Hungarian Jägers for a while. These are very common among the badges of hunter battalions. It should be noted that the festive uniform included a hunter’s hat, which also had a larger, 5-6 cm numbered horn on the left side under a feather bush. This is now a scaled-down version of this numbered horn. This could be pinned not to the fancy hat, but rather to the field cap. There are also some badges that have a fastening clamp on the back that can be bent in two directions. These could be inserted into the soft fabric material of the cap and then bent on the other side.
The confusion was caused by the fact that most of the numbered horns do not have a bifurcated clamp fixation on their backs, but a contiguous tab. Some tape or strap may be threaded through this tab, but there is no such thing on the field caps. But then where and how were these badges affixed? This wearing photo reveals the solution. The cord ornament on the front of the officer’s cap could be unraveled and passed through the tab on the back of the badge.
Accordingly, did the lots and lots of little horns with tabs all adorn officer hats? No way! 7-8 out of ten are like this, and only 2-3 are the foldable “NCO” versions. It is also revealing that these small numbered horns have generally survived in extremely good condition. Okay, the officer’s extra uniform wasn’t very surprised by the snare of the trenches, yet much of the badges seem unused. Another strange thing is that the same small horns appear on the military headgear of the Hungarian successor state. The Hungarian border hunters wore it in the 1940s as well, also fixed to the officers’ picks. I think a large amount of badges may have survived in the makers ’warehouse. Much more was produced from it than was bought by a few dozen officers of the hunting battalions. Remember that the badges have a unique numbering! The rest was used later by Hungarian military.
The picture shows Major Karl von dem Bussche-Ippenburg, who was the battalion commander after July 1915. You can read more about the 10th Kopal-Jäger here.