austro hungarian army

An illustration of Austro-Hungarian soldiers from Le Petit Journal, 1893.

By Fortuné-Louis Meaulle after a sketch by Hans Meyer, from the Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection.


The Roth Steyr Model 1907,

An invention of the Czech firearms designer Karl Krnka, the Roth Steyr Model 1907 is famous for being the 2nd semi automatic pistol to be officially issued to any military, and the 1st semi automatic pistol to be issued en masse to the common soldier.  Unlike many pistols, which make use of a recoiling slide, the Model 1907 utilized a retractable bolt.  When the pistol was fired, recoil energy would be transferred from the barrel to the bolt, causing it to retract backward.  The extractor on the bolt would eject an empty casing, then a spring would drive the bolt forward, which would cock the firing pin while stripping a new cartridge from the magazine.  Thus, the Model 1907 was also one of the first striker fired semi automatic pistols developed.  To prevent accidental discharge while a round was chambered the Model 1907 featured a very heavy trigger pull, which tended to effect its accuracy.  Regardless the Model 1907 was not drop safe.  The Model 1907 also lacked a detachable magazine, a common feature of future semi automatic pistols.  To load the pistol the user inserted a ten round stripper clip into the magazine, through the open breech.  It was chambered for a unique cartridge called the 8mm Roth Steyer (8x18mm).

The Model 1907 became standard issue to all cavalry units of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the early 20th century up to the end of World War I.  Between 1908 and 1914, 99,000 were produced for the Austro-Hungarian Army.  Several hundred were also sold on the civilian market.  After the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918, the supply of Roth Steyer pistols was divided up among the successor nations of the empire.  Others were exported to Italy and Poland after the war.  As a result, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Italy, and Poland fielded the M1907 throughout the interwar period and during World War II.


Frommer Patent Pisztoly 12M ‘Stop’ pistol

Manufactured by Fegyver es Gepgyar in Budapest, Hungary c.1917 for the Austro-Hungarian army.
7,65mm/.32ACP, 7-rounds removable box magazine, semi-automatic, long recoil.

Austria and Hungary’s service pistol. That’s at least one thing they did right.

January 21, 1917 - Wilson Calls for Independent Poland, Allies Promise Sovereignty for Hapsburg Subjects

Pictured - A Russian poster asks Czech and Slovak POWs to join the Czech Legion. Formed in 1917 to fight the Hapsburgs, the Legion was caught in the implosion of Russia during the Civil War, where they fought against the Bolsheviks in 1918 while trying to find a way home.

President Wilson spoke to the Senate on January 21. A major point was to call for a national Poland, and early preview of Wilson’s dedication to national sovereignty. A “united Poland”, Wilson declared, must have access to the Baltic Sea. The Tsar would add his support to the declaration in the last week of January.

Other multi-ethnic European empires were also coming under diplomatic attack. Earlier in January, in Rome, an Allied declaration promised the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and independence for its subject peoples. Austria’s Foreign Minister, Count Czernin, warned the new Emperor Karl that a compromise peace must be found if the Hapsburg Empire were to continue. More threateningly, the Russian army had begun recruiting POWs taken prisoner from the Austro-Hungarian army, mainly Romanians, Czechs, and Slovaks who eagerly signed up to fight their former masters.

Foreign Raised Units of the Austro-Hungarian Army, World War One

Soldier, Polish Legion infantry

During the early stages of the Great War the Polish Legion received pike-grey cloth from which the uniforms were tailored in a ’Polish’ cut; later issues also saw Polish Legion soldiers wearing full Austro-Hungarian uniforms. Note the distinctive Polish rogatywka cap, its square crown recalling the historic shape of the czapka. He Is armed with the standard M95 Mannlicher and wears regulation leather equipment.

Ulan, Polish Legion

This uniform is preserved in the Heeresgeschichtliches Museum (Army Museum) in Vienna. It includes the high czapka with brown leather fittings and the Legion’s Polish eagle badge. The Ulanka field blouse is very similar to Austro-Hungarian Ulan cut, but made of a lighter shade of field-grey cloth and with cherry-red piping round the pocket flaps and down the front; the collar patches are the same color. He is armed with an M04 Austro-Hungarian cavalry sabre.

Legions-Zugskommandant, Ukrainian Legion

The Ukrainian volunteers wore standard Austro-Hungarian uniform. The most obvious distinction was the collar patch of light blue with a yellow stripe at the end, and the rank stars arranged in a single line. This first lieutenant is armed with an M98 revolver.

Zugskommandant, Polish Legion

This officer, equivalent to a first lieutenant, is already dressed in field-grey with some ’Polish’ alterations to the Austro-Hungarian cut; his cap is the maciejowka. His equipment is purely Austro-Hungarian, consisting of the M61 officer’s sabre with silver portépée and the M98 Rast & Gasser revolver.


WW2 leaders during ww1 

(From left to right)

Winston Churchill - This Liberal mp for dundee was already a larger than life figure in British Politics, Winston Churchill was first lord of the admiralty and was in charge of the British royal navy during the war. He was one of the engineers of the disastrous gallipoli campaign and the dardenelles,Which cost 100′s of thousands of lives, he was removed from the government in 1915 and went to fight on the western front commanding the 6th royal scots fusiliers, he returned to parliament and switched to the tory party, churchill would go on to become leader of the party and Britains most admired prime minister

Benito Mussolini - Leading italian socialist to staunch fascist, this young italian journalist would initially be opposed to the war but would later write articles that could be classed as anti german. Mussolini was drafted to the front in May 1915 and served in the 11th regiment of the Bersaglieri. He would be promoted to corporal for “merit in war” and would return home after a grenade exploded accidentally in his trench. Mussolini would go on to become an infamous dictator and a member of the Axis powers.

Adolf Hitler - Probably classed among the general western public as the most evil soul in history, this austrian national would join up to avoid joining the Austro hungarian army as the “mixture of races” frightened him. Hitler would instead enlist in the german army as part of the 16th Bavarian reserve regiment. He would recieve an iron cross 2nd class and an iron cross first class for bravery, in the final year of the war he was blinded in a gas attack and spent the final months of ww1 in a field hospital. Hitler would go on to say his time serving on the front was “the best time of his life”.

Harry S. Truman - Harry S. Truman dreamed of attending west point and becoming an officer but was refused due to his poor eyesight. Instead he enlisted in the Missouri army national guard and when world war one broke out he was elected to 1st lieutenant He was posted to france with the american expeditionary force and given command of the Battery D, 129th field artillery. Battery D did not lose a single man under trumans commander. When truman was discharged from the army in 1919 he ventured into politics and would eventually lead America during the final months of ww2 as 33rd president of the united states. 

Franklin D. Roosevelt - The 32nd president of the United states spent world war 1 in washington as assisant secretary of the navy under president Woodrow Wilson. An advocate of submarine warfare. Wilson was given control of demobilisation at the end of the war. 

Charles de gaulle - Pictured here with his brothers (Far left) he Graduated 13th out of 230 of his Military class, De Gaulle joined the 33rd French infantry regiment as a junior officer. When war broke out in 1914 De Gaulle was wounded at the battle of Dinant, he returned to fight at the battle of the Marne only to realise his former comrades where dead. He was made a platoon commander and became resentful of the outdaded french battle tactics. De gaulle suffered numerous casualties at the front and was captured at Verdun in 1916. De Gaulle would make 5 unsuccessful escape attempts. But was returned to france at the end of the war to be reunited with his brothers who had all survived. This bold junior officer would later become leader of the french resistance and president of France.

Joseph Stalin - Joseph Stalin was drafted into the russian imperial army but was declared unfit for service due to his damaged left arm. He returned to Petrograd and became editor of Pravda, the communist party’s offical newspaper. Stalin would then be chosen as a member of the Politubro which would kickstart his rise to power and lead to him becoming leader of the soviet union after Vladmir lenins death.