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July 23, 2024He was born 1876 in Vienna, in a military family. He graduated from the cadet school in Vienna in 1897, and was assigned to the 25th Infantry Regiment as a lieutenant. He graduated from the military school in 1903 and was then moved to the general staff with the rank of major. In 1914, he was the Chief of Staff of the 34th Division in Temesvár. On July 3, 1916, he became the commander of the 65th Infantry Regiment until the end of the war. Among his awards, he received the Order of the Iron Crown III. class and the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Leopold with war decorations and swords. The commemorative album fondly remembers the commander, as in general all those who have served continuously for a long time in the same regiment in command positions. At the beginning of the Brusilov offensive, he was assigned to the 65th Infantry Regiment and was immediately in charge of major combat operations. The regiment also later served on the Eastern Front, already in Ukraine in 1918 as an occupying unit. At the end of 1918, he led his regiment home to Munkács, where he organized the defense of the highlands against the invading Czech legionnaires. A small addition is that my great-grandfather, who returned home from Russian captivity in March 1919, was also able to escape because there was still Hungarian administration in the Munkács area, so he was allowed to return home. After the Great War, he settled in Banat, Romania, and assumed a political role for the German nationality of Banat. He became a senator in the upper house of the Bucharest parliament. He was also the founder of the cultural association of the Banat Germans. He continued his political career as an enforcer of German National Socialism in Banat from the beginning of the 1930s. He applied to the German Wehrmacht, but was not accepted due to his age. He died of a stroke in 1943. The soldiers of the 65th regiment were called “Ludwig Bucks” after the first name of the regiment’s owner, Archduke Viktor Ludwig of Habsburg. This can be read on the attached badge, which is also decorated with the coats of arms of the three counties of Bereg, Szabolcs and Ugocsa located in the regiment’s supplementary area [...] Read more...
July 19, 2024Airplanes were the cutting edge technology of the time. After all, even in the early 1910s, it was a sensation if aviators held a show in the city park. People flocked to the performances. Admittedly, it took courage to defy death for someone, especially a layman, to get into a machine of that time. Seen through today’s eyes, this “high-end technology” looked extremely rudimentary, suspiciously unreliable. Of course, today’s cutting-edge technology, let’s say, if we stay in the sky, space vehicles do not seem safe at all either. Even today, it takes a lot of courage to undertake space travel. Did the astronauts stranded on the International Space Station not think what would happen if they couldn’t get them down from there? Because the spaceship launched for them simply broke down. A pilot might have felt something similar when, say, the propeller of his plane stopped at 500 meters altitude. It is interesting that the depictions of aircraft on the cap badges were mostly stylized, and often depicted vehicles seen at shows before the Great War. A photo showed that small airplane badges were also popular among soldiers. We can only guess why the models used in combat were not depicted. Maybe the badge makers didn’t have access to photos of “modern” machines (maybe they were trying to hide information about military machines?). This is how the photographs taken at the shows before the events of the Great War remained for use. These served as a model for making the Kappenabzeichen. We can see three such badges in the post. [...] Read more...
July 15, 2024This huge and gorgeously enamelled badge has always caught my fancy. Which regiment did the special and expensive badge belong to (the 22nd), what can we find out about them? It was a Dalmatian regiment, its command was in Sinj. The settlement is not located on the coast, it should not be confused with the resort town of Senj. It is 50 km from Split in the mountains. Information about the history of the 22nd Infantry Regiment is described in the correspondence card used for this post. The regiment was founded in 1709, its hereditary regimental owner was field marshal Count Lacy, who was also the president of the court council of war in the 1770s. The attached beautiful, colorful card could have been made before the war, just like the letter seals that immortalized regimental owners or the events of the regimental days. Paper antiquities of this type can still be found today in such large numbers and for so many units, which suggests that they were produced in a systematic and coordinated manner. There are postcard versions on which essentially only the regimental number and the inscription differ, the motifs are the same. It is questionable whether they were still used in the Great War. The copies I saw were not in circulation, they were unwritten postcards [...] Read more...
July 13, 2024There are times when the author’s job is easier. The badge speaks. This is also the case with the Kappenabzeichen of the 103rd Infantry Regiment. All the information necessary for its interpretation is on the badge. It should be known that at the outbreak of the war there were 102 “joint” infantry regiments. As the war dragged on, the Monarchy established new infantry regiments with the development of the army. Such was the case of the 103rd Infantry Regiment, which was the first newly formed regiment according to the numbering. This is also indicated by the year 1915: that’s when the regiment was founded. In peacetime, each regiment had recruitment territories, which covered the entire territory of the Monarchy. The crew were from roughly the same region, they were all relatives and friends. Family and kinship relationships mattered a lot in terms of the unity and cohesion of the regiments. With the new regiments, it was no longer possible to designate new areas that had not been “occupied” until then, so the new regiments received crews from the staff of several other units that already existed. Later, the marching battalions sent to replace the losses showed a completely random territorial arrangement. The badge of the 103rd regiment also nicely presents the mother regiments. The number of these can be read in the fields around the central round disc. As you can see, the “founders” were mostly Transylvanian regiments (2, 51, 62, 63, 64). But the district of the 85th regiment the county of Máramaros also borders Transylvania. In the wearing photo, the badge is clearly visible on the field cap, in the middle. [...] Read more...
July 11, 2024As a Hungarian author, I mainly come into contact with Hungarian materials. Therefore, it is difficult to get information and collect material about a unit that was not organized in the territory of the Hungarian Kingdom. With one exception, all Ulan regiments are like this. Cap badges are even easier to get, but photos, postcards, and written background materials hardly. That’s why it’s not easy to find an accompanying photo or other old paper next to the beautiful Ulan badges. So, for lack of a better option, I attached a 11th Ulan regiment field correspondence card to the Kappenabzeichen of the 5th Ulans. The situation is improved by the four letter seals, which in turn are the issue of the invalid fund of the 5th regiment. The 5th Ulan Regiment was recruited from Croatia and was headquartered in Steinamanger, Austria. They were assigned to the 2nd Cavalry Division. The larger part of the cavalry was divided into smaller troop units, often in the strength of a company, and assigned to the infantry divisions. A division of the 5th Ulans was thus divided into 5 sections and stationed at 5 mountain brigades. The bulk of the regiment, however, remained together as part of the 2nd Cavalry Division, although from 1915 onwards they fought more as dismounted cavalry riflemen in various sections of the Eastern Front. [...] Read more...
July 9, 2024It is not likely that the propaganda machine of the Monarchy was still roaring in the summer of 1918 as shown by the postcard and badge in the post. The 42 cm mortar, of which, in addition to Germany, the Monarchy also produced a few pieces, was of course a very impressive sight. The huge gun, the almost human-sized projectile, testified to enormous destructive power. According to eyewitness reports, the few shots that were fired on the various front sections had a demoralizing effect on the enemy. Of course, this is only an assumption, since the few large-caliber artillery devices obviously could not turn the tide of the war. The inspiring effect of the 42 and 30 and a half guns may have been much more important in the hinterland, but even among those fighting on the fronts. It is no coincidence that they were depicted on so many badges: they were in high demand. I have already presented some 42 badges in a previous post (here). This simpler plate badge was not included then. There was also a great variety of anti-Italian propaganda postcards. Here, the message was combined with the 42 projectile. “The dirty Italian boot should be polished with the 42 paste!” [...] Read more...
July 8, 2024After the failed Piave Offensive, the Monarchy was once again on the defensive on the Italian front. The victories on the eastern fronts made it possible to redeploy many units, but the exhausted Austro-Hungarian forces were increasingly at a disadvantage against the Italian and British forces reinforced by the Americans. This was manifested in all areas, including in the air. The Monarchy’s military industry was unable to expand its fleet of aircraft at such a pace as to counterbalance the enemy’s aircraft fleet, which was already numerically superior. Air superiority took its toll: the most experienced pilots were shot down one after the other. Thus, the pilot pool was also getting smaller and weaker. The Hungarian pilot Josef Kiss who achieved the most aerial victories (19) was shot down by Canadian fighters in May 1918. The current post commemorates Frank Linke-Crawford’s death in combat on July 30, 1918. Linke-Crawford was the fourth most successful Austro-Hungarian pilot with 27 aerial victories. Linke-Crawford came from a Galician family and first served as a dragoon officer. In February 1916, he completed his retraining as an aviation officer and was assigned to the 22nd Flight Squadron. Here, as an observer, he achieved 6 aerial victories with two-seater Brandenburg planes. From 1917, he continued to serve as a leading fighter pilot in the 12th and 41st squadrons on the Isonzo front. In December 1917, he became the commander of the 60th flying squadron. On July 30, 1918, he led a formation of four planes with his Aviatik-Berg D-1 fighter, 115+32. Several machines of the 115 series had technical faults due to the weakness of the steel wires securing the wings. Linke-Crawford’s plane broke away from the formation of four before they could turn to the emerging Italian planes. He still managed to get the plane that was holding to the ground out of the fall, but in the meantime one of the Italian fighters got behind it and shot down the slowed down plane. The death of Linke-Crawford shows well the military situation of the Monarchy in the summer of 1918. Due to the declining quality of supplies, armaments, and the death of experienced soldiers, the force became increasingly weak, until in the fall it could no longer withstand the attacks of the intensifying Entente. I’m attaching one of the nice generic “aircraft” badges to the post, “Gut land!” (Happy landing!). The final landing was unsuccessful for Linke-Crawford. [...] Read more...
July 1, 2024It was a Dalmatian regiment, its supplementary area was around Sebenico (now Sibenik), and its command was in Zadar. Contrary to custom, the entire regiment, not just one battalion, was assigned to the 5th Mountain Brigade as part of the 58th Division. After the opening of the Italian front, they fought in positions along the Isonzo. The lower part of the badge shows the coat of arms of Dalmatia, above it the inscription Görz, the city where they fought for a long time in 1915-16. The inscription “zajcica”, which in Slovenian (and in other Slavic languages ​​as well) means rabbit, bunny, is a little puzzling to me. There is a mountain with this name in southwestern Slovenia, but there is also one in Serbia. In short, I have not seen any report referring to a significant settlement or landscape unit with this name. I don’t think that the sarcastic nickname used for infantry in the late Hungarian army “bush jumping bunny” is behind the name, the Great War is too gloomy a background for such jokes [...] Read more...
June 27, 2024The 25th infantry regiment was organized in the central areas of the Upper Lands of Hungary, its command was in Losonc. The regiment was assigned to the 53rd Infantry Brigade and the 27th Division. They fought on the fronts of Galicia and Bukovina, and from February 1918 on the Italian front in Tyrol. In the June offensive, the division broke through the Brenta valley and reached the Italian lowlands past Belluno, but as the surrounding mountains remained in Italian hands, they had to retreat. Thus, they made their way through the narrow valley twice between the Italian troops firing from the surrounding heights. The division was practically destroyed completely. The detached battalion fought in the 7th Mountain Brigade under no less difficult conditions. The subject of this post is the titular owners’ persons. On the attached letter seal, we see the portrait of the first owner of the regiment. He was Field Marshal Károly János Serényi, who contributed his wealth to the establishment of the regiment founded in 1672. Although the family had a Hungarian name and origin, this mattered little, as was typical in the Habsburg Empire. In the service of the ruler, the Serényis received estates in German and Moravian territory. Károly János became the president of the Vienna War Council for a while. He distinguished himself at the Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683, and then at the recapture of Buda in 1686. The title of titular owner was transferred to various persons as a kind of royal favor. After Serényi’s death, a member of another family received the honorary title. After a while, the owners did not even had to contribute to the financial burden of maintaining the regiments. According to the Kappenabzeichen of the post, the last owner of the 25th regiment was Colonel-General Hermann von Pokorny. In Hungary, his son with the same name is better known, as he held important positions in the Hungarian army between the two world wars. [...] Read more...
June 24, 2024The Great War developed new forms and tools of warfare. Driving a car was still in its infancy at that time, but the importance of motorization was recognized even earlier. And the armies were supplied with an increasing number of motorized transport vehicles. The most important of these was the truck, followed by the car. We see the latter applied to a cap badge and a postcard in this post. Looking through the memories of the time, I got the impression that the use of cars in the army of the Monarchy was very limited. Cars were perhaps used by regimental commanders, but they were most likely transported by vehicles sent from the brigade or division, the infantry regiments did not have their own fleet of vehicles. This could be due to the limited number of units available, the special needs of operation and maintenance, which were difficult to provide under field conditions. The same applied to trucks. They were mainly used to transport materials and the njured, not to move troops. At that time, the category of “mobilized infanterist” living in the memories of my youth had not yet been born. In my readings about the Monarchy’s involvement in the Holy Land, the transport troop sent there is often mentioned. Trucks were used to transport the most important supplies, ammunition, weapons, and fuel for the own troops from the supply centers. On the way back, the wounded and sick were taken to the hospitals of the centers. It was exciting to read how much invention and professional skill was needed in order the mechanics could keep the vehicles operational in the rudimentary conditions despite the intermittent supply of spare parts. I don’t think that the task would have been significantly easier at the European fronts, but of course due to the relative proximity of the vehicle manufacturing factories, the replacement of vehicles was more regular. I previously presented the other insignia of the motorized troops in a wearing photo here. [...] Read more...

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July 23, 2024He was born 1876 in Vienna, in a military family. He graduated from the cadet school in Vienna in 1897, and was assigned to the 25th Infantry Regiment as a lieutenant. He graduated from the military school in 1903 and was then moved to the general staff with the rank of major. In 1914, he was the Chief of Staff of the 34th Division in Temesvár. On July 3, 1916, he became the commander of the 65th Infantry Regiment until the end of the war. Among his awards, he received the Order of the Iron Crown III. class and the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Leopold with war decorations and swords. The commemorative album fondly remembers the commander, as in general all those who have served continuously for a long time in the same regiment in command positions. At the beginning of the Brusilov offensive, he was assigned to the 65th Infantry Regiment and was immediately in charge of major combat operations. The regiment also later served on the Eastern Front, already in Ukraine in 1918 as an occupying unit. At the end of 1918, he led his regiment home to Munkács, where he organized the defense of the highlands against the invading Czech legionnaires. A small addition is that my great-grandfather, who returned home from Russian captivity in March 1919, was also able to escape because there was still Hungarian administration in the Munkács area, so he was allowed to return home. After the Great War, he settled in Banat, Romania, and assumed a political role for the German nationality of Banat. He became a senator in the upper house of the Bucharest parliament. He was also the founder of the cultural association of the Banat Germans. He continued his political career as an enforcer of German National Socialism in Banat from the beginning of the 1930s. He applied to the German Wehrmacht, but was not accepted due to his age. He died of a stroke in 1943. The soldiers of the 65th regiment were called “Ludwig Bucks” after the first name of the regiment’s owner, Archduke Viktor Ludwig of Habsburg. This can be read on the attached badge, which is also decorated with the coats of arms of the three counties of Bereg, Szabolcs and Ugocsa located in the regiment’s supplementary area [...] Read more...
July 19, 2024Airplanes were the cutting edge technology of the time. After all, even in the early 1910s, it was a sensation if aviators held a show in the city park. People flocked to the performances. Admittedly, it took courage to defy death for someone, especially a layman, to get into a machine of that time. Seen through today’s eyes, this “high-end technology” looked extremely rudimentary, suspiciously unreliable. Of course, today’s cutting-edge technology, let’s say, if we stay in the sky, space vehicles do not seem safe at all either. Even today, it takes a lot of courage to undertake space travel. Did the astronauts stranded on the International Space Station not think what would happen if they couldn’t get them down from there? Because the spaceship launched for them simply broke down. A pilot might have felt something similar when, say, the propeller of his plane stopped at 500 meters altitude. It is interesting that the depictions of aircraft on the cap badges were mostly stylized, and often depicted vehicles seen at shows before the Great War. A photo showed that small airplane badges were also popular among soldiers. We can only guess why the models used in combat were not depicted. Maybe the badge makers didn’t have access to photos of “modern” machines (maybe they were trying to hide information about military machines?). This is how the photographs taken at the shows before the events of the Great War remained for use. These served as a model for making the Kappenabzeichen. We can see three such badges in the post. [...] Read more...
July 15, 2024This huge and gorgeously enamelled badge has always caught my fancy. Which regiment did the special and expensive badge belong to (the 22nd), what can we find out about them? It was a Dalmatian regiment, its command was in Sinj. The settlement is not located on the coast, it should not be confused with the resort town of Senj. It is 50 km from Split in the mountains. Information about the history of the 22nd Infantry Regiment is described in the correspondence card used for this post. The regiment was founded in 1709, its hereditary regimental owner was field marshal Count Lacy, who was also the president of the court council of war in the 1770s. The attached beautiful, colorful card could have been made before the war, just like the letter seals that immortalized regimental owners or the events of the regimental days. Paper antiquities of this type can still be found today in such large numbers and for so many units, which suggests that they were produced in a systematic and coordinated manner. There are postcard versions on which essentially only the regimental number and the inscription differ, the motifs are the same. It is questionable whether they were still used in the Great War. The copies I saw were not in circulation, they were unwritten postcards [...] Read more...
July 13, 2024There are times when the author’s job is easier. The badge speaks. This is also the case with the Kappenabzeichen of the 103rd Infantry Regiment. All the information necessary for its interpretation is on the badge. It should be known that at the outbreak of the war there were 102 “joint” infantry regiments. As the war dragged on, the Monarchy established new infantry regiments with the development of the army. Such was the case of the 103rd Infantry Regiment, which was the first newly formed regiment according to the numbering. This is also indicated by the year 1915: that’s when the regiment was founded. In peacetime, each regiment had recruitment territories, which covered the entire territory of the Monarchy. The crew were from roughly the same region, they were all relatives and friends. Family and kinship relationships mattered a lot in terms of the unity and cohesion of the regiments. With the new regiments, it was no longer possible to designate new areas that had not been “occupied” until then, so the new regiments received crews from the staff of several other units that already existed. Later, the marching battalions sent to replace the losses showed a completely random territorial arrangement. The badge of the 103rd regiment also nicely presents the mother regiments. The number of these can be read in the fields around the central round disc. As you can see, the “founders” were mostly Transylvanian regiments (2, 51, 62, 63, 64). But the district of the 85th regiment the county of Máramaros also borders Transylvania. In the wearing photo, the badge is clearly visible on the field cap, in the middle. [...] Read more...
July 11, 2024As a Hungarian author, I mainly come into contact with Hungarian materials. Therefore, it is difficult to get information and collect material about a unit that was not organized in the territory of the Hungarian Kingdom. With one exception, all Ulan regiments are like this. Cap badges are even easier to get, but photos, postcards, and written background materials hardly. That’s why it’s not easy to find an accompanying photo or other old paper next to the beautiful Ulan badges. So, for lack of a better option, I attached a 11th Ulan regiment field correspondence card to the Kappenabzeichen of the 5th Ulans. The situation is improved by the four letter seals, which in turn are the issue of the invalid fund of the 5th regiment. The 5th Ulan Regiment was recruited from Croatia and was headquartered in Steinamanger, Austria. They were assigned to the 2nd Cavalry Division. The larger part of the cavalry was divided into smaller troop units, often in the strength of a company, and assigned to the infantry divisions. A division of the 5th Ulans was thus divided into 5 sections and stationed at 5 mountain brigades. The bulk of the regiment, however, remained together as part of the 2nd Cavalry Division, although from 1915 onwards they fought more as dismounted cavalry riflemen in various sections of the Eastern Front. [...] Read more...
July 9, 2024It is not likely that the propaganda machine of the Monarchy was still roaring in the summer of 1918 as shown by the postcard and badge in the post. The 42 cm mortar, of which, in addition to Germany, the Monarchy also produced a few pieces, was of course a very impressive sight. The huge gun, the almost human-sized projectile, testified to enormous destructive power. According to eyewitness reports, the few shots that were fired on the various front sections had a demoralizing effect on the enemy. Of course, this is only an assumption, since the few large-caliber artillery devices obviously could not turn the tide of the war. The inspiring effect of the 42 and 30 and a half guns may have been much more important in the hinterland, but even among those fighting on the fronts. It is no coincidence that they were depicted on so many badges: they were in high demand. I have already presented some 42 badges in a previous post (here). This simpler plate badge was not included then. There was also a great variety of anti-Italian propaganda postcards. Here, the message was combined with the 42 projectile. “The dirty Italian boot should be polished with the 42 paste!” [...] Read more...
July 8, 2024After the failed Piave Offensive, the Monarchy was once again on the defensive on the Italian front. The victories on the eastern fronts made it possible to redeploy many units, but the exhausted Austro-Hungarian forces were increasingly at a disadvantage against the Italian and British forces reinforced by the Americans. This was manifested in all areas, including in the air. The Monarchy’s military industry was unable to expand its fleet of aircraft at such a pace as to counterbalance the enemy’s aircraft fleet, which was already numerically superior. Air superiority took its toll: the most experienced pilots were shot down one after the other. Thus, the pilot pool was also getting smaller and weaker. The Hungarian pilot Josef Kiss who achieved the most aerial victories (19) was shot down by Canadian fighters in May 1918. The current post commemorates Frank Linke-Crawford’s death in combat on July 30, 1918. Linke-Crawford was the fourth most successful Austro-Hungarian pilot with 27 aerial victories. Linke-Crawford came from a Galician family and first served as a dragoon officer. In February 1916, he completed his retraining as an aviation officer and was assigned to the 22nd Flight Squadron. Here, as an observer, he achieved 6 aerial victories with two-seater Brandenburg planes. From 1917, he continued to serve as a leading fighter pilot in the 12th and 41st squadrons on the Isonzo front. In December 1917, he became the commander of the 60th flying squadron. On July 30, 1918, he led a formation of four planes with his Aviatik-Berg D-1 fighter, 115+32. Several machines of the 115 series had technical faults due to the weakness of the steel wires securing the wings. Linke-Crawford’s plane broke away from the formation of four before they could turn to the emerging Italian planes. He still managed to get the plane that was holding to the ground out of the fall, but in the meantime one of the Italian fighters got behind it and shot down the slowed down plane. The death of Linke-Crawford shows well the military situation of the Monarchy in the summer of 1918. Due to the declining quality of supplies, armaments, and the death of experienced soldiers, the force became increasingly weak, until in the fall it could no longer withstand the attacks of the intensifying Entente. I’m attaching one of the nice generic “aircraft” badges to the post, “Gut land!” (Happy landing!). The final landing was unsuccessful for Linke-Crawford. [...] Read more...
July 1, 2024It was a Dalmatian regiment, its supplementary area was around Sebenico (now Sibenik), and its command was in Zadar. Contrary to custom, the entire regiment, not just one battalion, was assigned to the 5th Mountain Brigade as part of the 58th Division. After the opening of the Italian front, they fought in positions along the Isonzo. The lower part of the badge shows the coat of arms of Dalmatia, above it the inscription Görz, the city where they fought for a long time in 1915-16. The inscription “zajcica”, which in Slovenian (and in other Slavic languages ​​as well) means rabbit, bunny, is a little puzzling to me. There is a mountain with this name in southwestern Slovenia, but there is also one in Serbia. In short, I have not seen any report referring to a significant settlement or landscape unit with this name. I don’t think that the sarcastic nickname used for infantry in the late Hungarian army “bush jumping bunny” is behind the name, the Great War is too gloomy a background for such jokes [...] Read more...
June 27, 2024The 25th infantry regiment was organized in the central areas of the Upper Lands of Hungary, its command was in Losonc. The regiment was assigned to the 53rd Infantry Brigade and the 27th Division. They fought on the fronts of Galicia and Bukovina, and from February 1918 on the Italian front in Tyrol. In the June offensive, the division broke through the Brenta valley and reached the Italian lowlands past Belluno, but as the surrounding mountains remained in Italian hands, they had to retreat. Thus, they made their way through the narrow valley twice between the Italian troops firing from the surrounding heights. The division was practically destroyed completely. The detached battalion fought in the 7th Mountain Brigade under no less difficult conditions. The subject of this post is the titular owners’ persons. On the attached letter seal, we see the portrait of the first owner of the regiment. He was Field Marshal Károly János Serényi, who contributed his wealth to the establishment of the regiment founded in 1672. Although the family had a Hungarian name and origin, this mattered little, as was typical in the Habsburg Empire. In the service of the ruler, the Serényis received estates in German and Moravian territory. Károly János became the president of the Vienna War Council for a while. He distinguished himself at the Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683, and then at the recapture of Buda in 1686. The title of titular owner was transferred to various persons as a kind of royal favor. After Serényi’s death, a member of another family received the honorary title. After a while, the owners did not even had to contribute to the financial burden of maintaining the regiments. According to the Kappenabzeichen of the post, the last owner of the 25th regiment was Colonel-General Hermann von Pokorny. In Hungary, his son with the same name is better known, as he held important positions in the Hungarian army between the two world wars. [...] Read more...
June 24, 2024The Great War developed new forms and tools of warfare. Driving a car was still in its infancy at that time, but the importance of motorization was recognized even earlier. And the armies were supplied with an increasing number of motorized transport vehicles. The most important of these was the truck, followed by the car. We see the latter applied to a cap badge and a postcard in this post. Looking through the memories of the time, I got the impression that the use of cars in the army of the Monarchy was very limited. Cars were perhaps used by regimental commanders, but they were most likely transported by vehicles sent from the brigade or division, the infantry regiments did not have their own fleet of vehicles. This could be due to the limited number of units available, the special needs of operation and maintenance, which were difficult to provide under field conditions. The same applied to trucks. They were mainly used to transport materials and the njured, not to move troops. At that time, the category of “mobilized infanterist” living in the memories of my youth had not yet been born. In my readings about the Monarchy’s involvement in the Holy Land, the transport troop sent there is often mentioned. Trucks were used to transport the most important supplies, ammunition, weapons, and fuel for the own troops from the supply centers. On the way back, the wounded and sick were taken to the hospitals of the centers. It was exciting to read how much invention and professional skill was needed in order the mechanics could keep the vehicles operational in the rudimentary conditions despite the intermittent supply of spare parts. I don’t think that the task would have been significantly easier at the European fronts, but of course due to the relative proximity of the vehicle manufacturing factories, the replacement of vehicles was more regular. I previously presented the other insignia of the motorized troops in a wearing photo here. [...] Read more...
June 21, 2024The 61st Infantry Regiment of Temesvár was one of the regiments of the 17th Division, which suffered a lot. After the opening of the Italian front, this division was continuously deployed in the most dangerous sections of this front until the end of the war. Two of the division’s four regiments had mostly Romanian-speaking crews. Most of the 43rd in Karánsebes were Romanian, in the 61st, a third were Romanian, a third Hungarian, and a third German, as expected according to the patchwork-like nationalities map of Bánát. Due to the huge casualties suffered on the Karst, the regiments had to support many orphans and widows. For this purpose, disabled and orphan funds were created, which collected donations for relief. The badge in the post was already mentioned (here) when I wrote about the Segeti camp, which was used for recuperation and resting. The badge is an issue of the 61st disabled fund, as shown by the wearing photo in the other post, it was also purchased by soldiers. Many copies of this beautiful enamel badge have survived until today. The ribbon of the laurel wreath encircling the coats of arms is dark green, the same color as the lapel of the regiment. As a background, there is a postcard with one of the stamps of the regiment [...] Read more...
June 18, 2024German general Viktor Kühne fought mainly in France as a corps commander. In October 1916, he became the commander of the newly formed 54th Corps, and was then transferred to Hungary, Transylvania. He took part in the counter-attack following the Romanian invasion in South Transylvania. At that time, his corps was reinforced and the Kühne group was created, which repulsed the invading Romanians in the vicinity of Petrozsény and the Vulkán Gorge, and then pursued them until the capture of Bucharest. He was awarded the German Order of Merit for the operation on December 11, 1916. He returned to the French front in March 1917. After defeating the Romanian troops, German General Falkenhayn’s 9th Army made it out of the Carpathians to Havasalföld. The breakthrough took place partly through the previously occupied Vöröstornyi Strait and partly through the Szurduk Strait between the Vulkán and A Páring mountains. The latter connects the Petrozsény basin with Oltenia, in the Zsil river valley. The operations of this area were linked to Battle Group Kühne. The Romanian troops stationed here were able to slow down the German attacks until mid-November. At that time, fresh troops (three new divisions) arriving to reinforce the 54th Corps decided the fate of the battle. The commander of the Romanian troops, Ioan Dragalina, was himself wounded here, who later died of his injuries. The badge captures this attack. In addition to the German soldier, the badge also shows an Austro-Hungarian fighter, which indicates actual participation. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find which troops of the Monarchy were under Kühne’s command. Colonel Szívó’s group advanced along the Danube from the west, perhaps coming into contact with the German troops after the final collapse of the Romanian resistance here during November. [...] Read more...
June 16, 2024Some of the patriotic badges show the friendship of arms of the Monarchy and Germany and the common fight against many enemies. The accompanying card mockingly shows everyone defeated or fleeing. It is interesting that even Japan is listed, but not Italy. Rather, Japan participated in the Great War only with arms shipments on the side of the Entente. And Italy had obviously not yet declared war when the cartoon was made. The interesting thing about the badge is that, apart from the usual enemy countries (including Japan), it also lists Egypt. Egypt’s status was uncertain. Before the war, it belonged to the Turkish Empire, but the Suez Canal Zone was under British control. Of course, after the outbreak of the war, Turkish sovereignty did not survive in the areas west of the canal either. In 1914, the Sultanate of Egypt was established under the British protectorate and lasted until 1922. Presumably, local soldiers could have fought in the British Egyptian Corps, but the bulk came from the countries of the British Empire. So, it is a bit of an exaggeration to include Egypt among the enemies, along with England and France. Like Japan, of course. [...] Read more...
June 14, 2024The 7th hussar regiment received its crew from Pest County. His barracks and headquarters were in Debrecen. The buildings of the hussar are still there for the most part, the quarters of the command and the two hussar divisions, and even the tattersall. The latter is now an event center, the other buildings are used by the University of Debrecen. I also had an office in one of the rooms on the ground floor: I could feel like the heir of the 7th Hussars. The regimental cap badge is very early. It appeared in newspapers published in 1915 as the new military fashion. The blue decoration of the insignia base (W II) is modeled after the initials of the name of the regiment’s owner, Kaiser Wilhelm II. The oval disc showing the regimental number is placed on top of this. There were also specimens on which these two parts were pressed together in one. In the wearing photo, the shape of the badge is most reminiscent of this badge, although you can’t really make out the details on it. Many oval cavalry insignia closed with a crown were made, but their shape and curves were not the same. Thus, I see the insignia shown in this picture most reminiscent of the insignia of the 7th Hussars. [...] Read more...
June 12, 2024The inscription on most artillery insignia shows the numbers of the divisions where they were assigned to. I have written many times about how the numbering of artillery units and the units themselves changed many times during the Great War. Numbers taken over from the divisions were in use the longest. This was the system from 1916, and in most cases the divisional artillery regiments survived until the end of the war. Among them were the field howitzer regiments. The 31st Field Howitzer Regiment belonged to the artillery brigade of the 31st Infantry Division in Pozsony. It was formed in the summer of 1916 from the 1st division of the former 4th field howitzer regiment. It was assigned to this division throughout the war. Among the pics taken of the artillery troops, the picture showing the towing gear is rarer. I managed to find one, since the badge depicts a more spectacular and moving parade from an artistic point of view. Each gun had a gun carriage. Three gunners sat on it, and three pairs of horses pulled the cart in front, to which the cannon was also attached during the march. Two gunners were traveling on the gun mount. This train was accompanied by several “national vehicles” (chariots) carrying equipment and ammunition. This is also clearly visible in the attached photo. The photo and the badge are complemented by a field correspondence letter with the regiment’s stamp. [...] Read more...
June 10, 2024Among the many military innovations of the Great War, one of the most horrific was the use of chemical weapons (gas). The use of poisonous gases appeared on all fronts. It could be blown out of pre-installed tanks or fired with projectiles and used against the enemy’s forces located further away. The gas mask, a means of protection against gas attacks, soon appeared on the front lines. Until 1916, only rudimentary textile masks covering the nose and mouth were used in the army of the Monarchy. This multi-layered textile was impregnated with gas-neutralizing liquid, its effective use was limited in time and it did not protect the eyes. In 1916, the more modern, full-face gas mask with a filter was introduced. During the war, the most modern leather gas mask of the 1917M pattern was developed. It was placed in a metal case and could be stored and carried around among the soldiers’ equipment. The filter of the gas mask consisted of a material (diatomite) impregnated with a liquid (calcium or potassium carbonate) that binds phosgene and chlorine and active carbon. The mask was first made of rubber material and later of leather. An important aspect was the tight fit on the skin of the face. The attached picture shows the latter 1917M gas mask made of leather. Unfortunately, among the badges, I did not find one depicting the gas mask. However, many wearing photos show the mask. Therefore I chose the picture of a stormtrooper, with this gas mask hanging around his neck. And as supplementary cap badge, I have included a rarely seen stormtrooper badge. [...] Read more...
June 8, 2024Ever wondered why relatively many badges were made in different sizes? The two (sometimes three) sizes can be easily compared on the display cartons of the Gurschner company (one is shown here). If I think about it, perhaps the badges of only this Viennese company were manufactured in the miniature size, suddenly I can’t think of any other manufacturer. Yet, it needs to be explained why two sizes were needed? This is not an accessory like a jacket or pants, which are produced in several sizes according to body size. Just as the awards and decorations were basically the same (of course, the different tools of the several manufacturers resulted in minimal size differences. But for the cap badges, the reduction is roughly 50%. Alternative solutions: usage on collar lapel, buttonhole, ornamental appliqué, etc. still seem possible, but this wearing photo to be presented now shows the original, simple reason. There were those who liked the smaller badge better, found it more comfortable and practical. Of course, if there was just one size, it was put on the cap, like the Christmas badge in our case. By the way, the insignia of the Böhm-Ermolli army group had many versions: enameled and unenamelled, war metal and gold-plated, and there were two sizes. The two copies attached to the post are two gold-plated pieces. The larger one is enamelled, the smaller one is without enamel. [...] Read more...
June 4, 2024The most important event for the Monarchy this month was the long-planned last major offensive in Italy. The best divisions, tried troops attacked. However, contemporary data and subsequent analyzes showed that the crews of the experienced battalions were practically starving and in a physically degraded state. Their performance was not the same as even half a year earlier. It is also customary to mention as a reason for the failure of this offensive that the war plan was not adequate due to the internal disputes of the military leadership. Forces capable of striking only on paper were deployed in a scattered manner, neglecting the necessary concentration of forces. The offensive that began on June 15 achieved some results in the middle reaches of the Piave. The strategic point on the west side of the river, large part of the Montello hill, fell into the possession of the four divisions attacking there. Desperate attacks to the north and to the south at the foot of the mountain did not lead to success. The regiments of the 17th division, the heroes of the Karst, fought street battles in the settlement of Nervesa, but they could not completely dislodge the Italian defenders from there. The 31st and 13th divisions, on the other hand, successfully reached the ridge of Montello, where the 32nd division also arrived as reinforcements to continue the attack. The crossings of the Piave in the lower reaches of the river were successful in some places, but the pontoon bridges helping the crossing were swept away by the flooding river and effectively destroyed by enemy artillery and air force. Elsewhere, it was therefore not possible to create a permanent bridgehead. In the north, in Tyrol, the attack stalled on the first day. The attackers suffered huge losses in the valleys between the mountains in the effective fire of the Italians and the British. Attacks launched against artillery emplacements, e.g. on Mt Grappa were also unsuccessful. Many people explained the effective functioning of the artillery countermeasures, which covered the attack directions well, with betrayal and the leaking of the attack plans. I don’t believe this was the case. In mountainous terrain, attack directions can be easily calculated. And the material superiority of the Entente, which was also reflected in artillery equipment, made it possible to close all potential attack directions. There was less opportunity for this along the Piave, since there the Monarchy essentially tried to cross the sections of all the attacking divisions, which they succeeded in doing. In this part, the bridges were subsequently attacked and destroyed by the defenders where they were found. The military history documents also emphasize the sudden flooding of the Piave, which also made the crossing very difficult. The attack on the 15th June therefore led to significant result only at Montello. But the bridgehead created here could not be widened either, so a few days later the Monarchy command ordered the troops that crossed here back to their starting positions. The opening picture was probably taken during the first days of the offensive and shows the river crossing. The second attached photo, on the other hand, depicts troops already demoralized by the retreat in the cover behind the Piave embankment. The map shows the middle section of the Piave at the time of the attack. You can see the breakthrough achieved in Montello, and to the south the settlement of Nervesa, where the 17th Division fought. The badge attached to the post is a nice badge of the 13th Rifle Division. The patron saint of these troops leads the charging private to the bridge at the crossing point and then up to Montello. The Austrian regiments of the division, the 1st, 14th, 24th and 25th rifle regiments, were selected troops, but their results did not change the fate of the operation. [...] Read more...
May 31, 2024Very few artillery cap badges have surviving wear photos. Especially with the Kappenabzeichen of the various divisions or batteries. There could be several reasons for this. On the one hand, the personnel of the artillery was less stationary than that of the infantry regiments. In the Great War, many artillery divisions and regiments were broken up and often used as separate batteries. Transfers were also common. The core of the new regiments raised during the war was always provided by a battery of one of the previously raised units. Therefore, cohesion within the troop often could not develop. Thus, the cap badges that support cohesion were not made either. Of course, there were refreshing exceptions, fortunately. One such exception is the 1st Heavy Howitzer Battery of the 28th Heavy Artillery Regiment. This unit fought in the Artillery Brigade of the 28th Division in Tyrol. It was originally a battery of the 26th howitzer division in 1914-15. During the development of heavy artillery, they were transferred to the heavy artillery regiment of the 28th division in 1915. The basic gun type of the heavy artillery was the same 15 cm field howitzer as that of the howitzer divisions and later regiments. These were supplemented by larger caliber guns, e.g. the 30.5 cm mortar. From the summer of 1915, the division and its artillery brigade were deployed on the Italian front. According to the sources, the battery in question was originally formed in Tyrol and was also used there. This may be one of the reasons why this nice badge was made. The old M 99 type gun, which I wrote about here, was also depicted on the badge. [...] Read more...
May 29, 2024I have already written about the 1st Landwehr Infantry Regiment in Vienna here. At that time the focus was on the small horns worn by Jäger and Landwehr. But there was another badge that might have been associated with this regiment. It shows only a large number in a laurel wreath decorated with white pearls, held together by a red ribbon below. The red ribbon with the white pearls gives the Austrian red-white color combination, hence it can be associated with the 1st Landwehr. Although the identification of the insignia leaves much room for doubt, the field correspondence card and letter seal attached to the post belong to the 1st Landwehr Regiment. Particularly interesting is the motif of the seal, which appears on the cap badge of the 1st Landsturm Regiment. The Landwehr and Landsturm were the Austrian counterparts of the Hungarian Honvéd and Insurgent Regiments, with a common cadre. Thus, overlaps were common between regiments with the same number. There were badges that were manufactured mentioning both regiments. In addition to the letterhead, I am also attaching a photo of the Landsturm regiment’s Kappenabzeichen. [...] Read more...
May 25, 2024One of the wonderful cavalry Kappenabzeichen is that of the 4th Mounted Riflemen. The identification of the troop is a bit difficult by the fact that it was renamed during the war, which was not uncommon in the Monarchy. From 1917, the name of the former Landwehr units was changed to rifle (Schützen-). Thus, the name of the 4th Landwehr Ulan Regiment also changed, they became the 4th Mounted Riflemen. The command of the unit was in Olmütz, and it received its personnel from the vicinity of Kraków. Like most units of the cavalry, this regiment was split into companies and used for courier duties in the infantry divisions. This regiment supported the 5th, 12th and 46th Divisions. [...] Read more...
May 22, 2024I came across a rare badge recently. The portrait of general major von Altrosenburg with the cityscape of Lemberg in the background and the inscription Lwów can be seen on it. It was not easy to look up the general major, since he had no serious military deeds attached to his name. He was born in 1867 and died in 1945. From 1911, as a colonel he was chief of staff of the XI corps. He served as commander of the 26th Infantry Brigade during the Great War. From July 1916, he became the city commander of the recaptured Lemberg. He later joined the general staff in Vienna, from 1918 he became a lieutenant general. He was retired on January 1, 1919. The sources repeatedly mention one thing in connection with him, referring to Russian sources. As Chief of Staff of the XI. Corps, he made anti-Russian statements and called for the elimination of the Russophile population of Galicia. His badge was probably made during his position as city commander. [...] Read more...
May 20, 2024Each of the hunter battalions had a large numbered horn badge that could be pinned to the hat and a smaller numbered horn badge that could be applied to a field cap or an officer’s headgear. I have already presented some of these. There was also an entry where the numbered horn decorated a field correspondence sheet. Now we can see the insignia of the 18th Battalion in a wearing photo. This battalion has no other Kappenabzeichen. It was a Galician troop, the cadre was in Lemberg, the garrison was in Trient. Its staff consisted of Poles and Ruthenians. He was assigned to the Galician 11th Corps. [...] Read more...
May 16, 2024By the fifth year of the Great War, the warring parties were tired of fighting.Deprivation took on enormous proportions both at the front and in the hinterlands.Emperor and King Charles was looking for an opportunity to end the war.This was obviously encouraged by the fact that disciplining the troops and maintaining the tranquility of the hinterland also required serious efforts.The many fugitives gathered in certain places and supported themselves by robbery and looting.But the supply of food and equipment for the troops also ran into more and more obstacles.Mainly because the economy was also on the verge of collapse, production was halted due to the lack of raw materials and labor.Thus, troops had to be withdrawn from the fronts to carry out law enforcement activities in the hinterland or to requisition food. The 16th Honvéd Infantry Regiment was also used for such tasks. The regimental history briefly mentions this activity, mainly dating it to April and May 1918. The compulsory service was carried out by the civil authorities, and the honvéd soldiers helped by closing the roads of the commandeered settlement. The house-to-house going officials were accompanied by 3-4 soldiers. The regiment mainly helped in the collection of grain in the countryside of Szabadka, Zombor and Szolnok. According to the descriptions, the peasants usually voluntarily handed over their surpluses, and treated the accompanying soldiers. Later, in June, they tried to round up the military fugitives wandering the Great Plains, soldiers who had returned home from Russian captivity and had not been drafted. Although the history of the regiment does not write about atrocities, serious clashes did take place in other parts of the country. It was more difficult to gather and disarm those hiding in the forested and mountainous regions. Armed combat took place, for example, in Fruska Gora, which closes the southern border of the Great Plain, and in Southern Transylvania. However, these problems occurred in all belligerent countries except for the newly arrived American troops. Mutinies of French and Italian teams are also known. The image used for this post was added to the Fortepan collection through Noémi Saly. The badge is the 1917 badge of the 16th honvéd infantry regiment. [...] Read more...
May 8, 2024The training of the assault troops took place in several phases. The selection of people was already carried out according to such criteria that the soldiers were suitable for carrying out complex operations in difficult combat conditions. A variety of skills were practiced in the special assault training. Perhaps the most important of these were throwing hand grenades and practicing close combat. Knowledge of weapons was equally important, as the raiding party often used captured weapons during its deployment, especially when an occupied enemy trench had to be turned around to face the opposite direction. But beyond the basic training, undertalings were always preceded by careful planning, and the details of the actions were worked out in advance. A rehearsal was also held for more significant operations. This is how it happened in the case of the occupation of the Magyaros roof. Far from the scene of the action, the raiders attacked the replica of the enemy lines using sharp ammunition. The photographs of assault action were mostly taken in the practice, not in live situations. The picture posted here could also be like this. Here three swarms are just leaving their own trenches and advancing through the wire barriers towards the enemy lines. The Kappenabzeichen attached to the post depicts the soldiers of the 10th Honvéd infantry regiment during the exercise before the attack on Magyaros, in Csíkzsögöd. The stony terrain of the photo suggests the picture was taken on the Karst plateau. Assault troops must have practiced here as well. [...] Read more...
May 4, 2024Heinrich von Hess 19th century Austrian general was the owner of the 49th infantry regiment. I wrote about him and the beautiful fire enamel regimental insignia decorated with his coat of arms once here. The current entry is also related to the regiment’s Kappenabzeichen and regiment owner. Both can be seen on a thin plaque the size of a cap badge. I believe it may have been a jubilee badge. I also uploaded a letter seal with the general’s portrait, which can be seen below. [...] Read more...
April 25, 2024The 43rd infantry regiment was part of the 17th division, which was commanded by Archduke Joseph as part of the VII. corps during the most difficult period of the war on the Italian front. Between 1915 and 1917, they participated in repelling all Italian attacks (11 in total) launched on the Karst. It was one of the regiments that suffered the greatest blood loss. Most of its crew were of Romanian nationality, from the south-eastern part of Banat and the county of Krassó-Szörény. The regiment command was located in Karánsebes, and most of the battalions were located in Fehértemplom. The idea behind this post is related to the flag. The regiment had a lapel colored flag Kappenabzeichen. There was also a letter seal that displayed the regimental flag. As an addition, we can see the stamp of the regiment’s machine gun company on a field correspondence card. [...] Read more...
April 22, 2024The fortress artillery regiments of the Monarchy were originally the units providing the heavy artillery. Armies designed for mobile warfare did not need heavy artillery. The high destructive power of large-caliber guns was designed to be used against fortifications or armored ships. During the siege of the fortresses, one could count on the fact that enemy technical troops of the besiegers would build protected shelters for their own defense, which the heavy guns could destroy. Heavy artillery was also installed in the fortifications built to protect the two major seaports. Fortress artillery regiments were stationed at larger forts, and battalions were stationed at smaller forts. The 6th Fortress Artillery Regiment secured the second largest fortress system in the Monarchy, Komárom. As early as 1914, the fortress artillery gunners were sent to the fronts, where there was a great shortage of artillery equipment. Independent heavy artillery did not even exist at first. The battle, which soon turned into a standing war, made it necessary to destroy the covers and the enemy artillery devices set up further away. At first, only the fortress artillery had guns suitable for these tasks. In view of the great needs, the regiments were disbanded and deployed in batteries to the infantry divisions. This also happened with regiment No. 6. The batteries were commanded individually and used on all active fronts. The correspondence sheet behind the entry is marked with the stamp of the ammunition column belonging to the heavy howitzer battery No. 18 of the regiment. The badge is the regiment’s only known cap badge from the Great War. I was also able to attach a letter seal of the 6th fortress artillery regiment. [...] Read more...
April 19, 2024Corps’ Kappenabzeichen were not too rare and there are a good number of them on wearing photos. The interesting thing about this post is the wearer, in addition to the badge, which is beautiful in its simplicity. He is none other than First Lieutenant Dr. Kálmán Pogány, the company commander of the 19th insurgent infantry regiment in Székesfehérvár. A doctor of arts, he was the director of the Museum of Fine Arts before the Great War. In the 1919 communist commune, he was the president of the Art and Museum Directorate and the head of the committee for socializing museal artefacts. From 1914 to February 1916, the 19th Insurgent Infantry Regiment was deployed on the Serbian front and then on the Russian front. It was placed on the Italian battlefield from August 1917 until the end of the war. They were assigned to the 17th (later 127th) Insurgent Infantry Brigade, which was part of the 53rd Infantry Division (64th Division from June 1918). The regimental history describes the combat events in detail, but nowhere does it mention the VI. corps as a superior command. Wearing the badge is therefore strange. According to the note on the back of the photograph, the picture was taken at a company commander’s position in South Tyrol. This could be possible, since the regiment fought on the Italian front, but first on the Karst plateu and then on the middle course of the Piave, so not in Tyrol. Based on the description, the VIII. Kaposvár battalion of the 19th insurgents could be his battalion. This was originally the insurgent supply battalion of the 19th regiment, but during the war it developed into a unit performing combat tasks. Its commander was the retired hussar major István Szegfy. From June 1916 to September 1917, they were deployed in the front section of the Italian front around Zugna Torta. They were then transferred to Transylvania, from where they returned to the Italian front in April 1918. Yet, this unit had no ties to the VI. to corps either, the puzzle remains unsolved… [...] Read more...
April 12, 2024There are many posts on the site that depict members of the Sturmtruppe. We usually see them with equipment, helmets, grenades, and short carbines on their backs. This picture is very different. The young lieutenant can only be considered a member of the assault troop because of his helmet, and perhaps because of his age. The one-year volunteers who graduated took part in officer training. At first, they were assigned as NCO ensigns in the crew, and later many reached the rank of lieutenant. This was already towards the end of the war, they could have been 20-22 years old. Most of them, as platoon commanders, were entrusted with the execution of the roughest operational tasks. The young lieutenant in the picture is almost a child. The bulky pioneer boots on his feet and the helmet on his head seem not to be tailored to his body size. What is most striking and tragic in the picture, however, is the gaze. As a youngster, he could go through terrible shocks as the commander of the assault platoon. I have already written about the thousand yards stare here once. This picture is even sadder, as it reflects the suffering of an extremely young person. For the post, in connection with the helmet, I uploaded the general Sturmtruppe badge, the main motif of which is the helmet. But it also includes the skull and leg bone that express the horrors. [...] Read more...