The 17th Rifle Battalion was at home in the southern part of Moravia. The centre of the cadre was in Brünn (Brno today). The battalion was stationed in Judenburg. Two-thirds of its crew were native speakers of Czech (Moravians) and one-third German, reflecting the mixed ethnic composition of the area.
The battalion was assigned to the 6th division and the III. corps. This division basically consisted of Styrian and Carinthian regiments, supplemented by two fighter battalions. At the beginning of the war, the division fought in Galicia as part of the 3rd Army. After the Italian entry into the war, the corps was sent to the Italian front. They defended sometimes in Carinthia, sometimes in Tyrol.