Austrian Infantry Units

The army of the Holy Roman Empire/Austrian Empire was known as the Imperial-Royal Army, the “Royal” referring to the Kingdom of Hungary which was under Habsburg rule but not part of the Holy Roman Empire.

At its largest in 1809 it contained 261,000 infantry, 59,000 cavalry and 12,000 artillerymen, however due to a lack in funds the army in the field was often much smaller.

I’m going to run through each type of infantry unit in the Austrian army and then summarise there attributes and special rules at the end of their respective sections.

All of the unit cards given in this article are assuming a full strength unit of roughly 1,200 men. The Austrian units were often thought to be unwieldly, and therefore all infantry units have had the number of combat dice reduced by one.

LINE INFANTRY

Austrian Line Infantry

Austrian infantry were divided into two groups; ‘German’ and ‘Hungarian’. Hungarian regiments were known for their fierce fighting spirit, while the German regiments were known for their training and discipline.

In March 1809 there were 46 ‘German’ regiments and 15 ‘Hungarian’ regiments, Grenadiers of these regiments were detached to form their own battalions. In the case of all Austrian regiments, and not only the line infantry they were often referred to by their Colonels name and not their regiment number. For example the 1st Line Infantry Regiment was known as Infantry Regiment ‘Kaiser Franz I’ Nr. 1.

Austrian line regiments were armed with Muskets, and the third rank of the line regiments were able to be deployed as skirmishers in battle.

Unit Attributes

UnitTypeCombat Dice‘Steady’CC v FootCC v MountedBase MoraleSaveWeapons
‘German’ Line InfantryFoot55+5+6+7Muskets
‘Hungarian’ Line InfantryFoot55+5+6+6Muskets
Line Infantry Unit Attributes

Special Rules

  • Skirmishers Line infantry are able to deploy skirmishing troops in front of the main battle line. When doing so they can only be attacked by cavalry or opposition skirmishers.

LANDWEHR (1808-1809) (1813-1814)

“Only provinces in Germany were allowed to form landwehr battalions, as the territory of Galicia, heavily populated with Poles and sympathetic towards Napoleon, were forbidden to raise such formations.”

– John Stallaert (The Austrian Army)

Landwehr battalions were each roughly 1,200 men spread between 4-6 fusilier companies and 2 Jaeger companies. These Jaeger companies were armed with Jägerstutzen which were primarily used as hunting rifles and were accurate up to 300 paces. The rest of the battalion would often be armed with what ever muskets could be found. Often these would be 1754, 1774 or 1784 pattern muskets.

150 battalions of Landwehr were initially going to be raised, but by the point that war broke out with France in April 1809 only 70 had been raised.

When war broke out in 1809 the Landwehr battalions were used as garrison troops freeing up the regular infantry for field combat. Some battalions were used in the field – 12,200 Landwehr were deployed in upper Austria but when the French approached close to three quarters of these troops deserted.

Upon Napoleon’s victory he decommissioned the Landwehr battalions. They were reinstated when war broke out once more in 1813.

Unit Attributes

UnitTypeCombat Dice‘Steady’CC v FootCC v MountedBase MoraleSaveWeapons
LandwehrFoot55+5+6+5Muskets and Rifles
Landwehr Unit Attributes

Special Rules

  • Jaeger Company – One firing dice per firing action can be rolled using the ranges of Rifles (8cm Long/4cm Effective).

GRENZERS

Austrian Grenzers

The Grenzers were light infantry troops originally raised to defend the border from the neighbouring Ottoman Empire. These troops were trained in skirmishing, marksmanship and the basics of linear tactics. Although the troops were effective Skirmishers, they were found lacking when it came to combat in line they were less effective than their line infantry counterparts. At the start of the conflict with Napoleon there were 18 Grenzer regiments raised which formed roughly a quarter of the army.

Although the Austrian command did not hold Grenzers in high regard, following the battles of Austerlitz and Marengo they had earned a level of respect from the French. Napoleon considered them the most effective troops in the Austrian army, so much so that once his victory over the Austrian Empire was confirmed he employed some of these troops in his own army, where they continued to serve until his abdication in 1814.

Unit Attributes

UnitTypeCombat Dice‘Steady’CC v FootCC v MountedBase MoraleSaveWeapons
GrenzerFoot55+5+6+7Muskets
Grenzer Unit Attributes

Special Rules

  • Deployment Marker – Units of Grenzers allows the owning player to use an additional deployment marker in the scouting phase.
  • Skirmishers – Grenzers are able to fight as skirmishing troops in front of the main battle line. When doing so they can only be attacked by cavalry or opposition skirmishers.
  • Marksmen – Grenzers are able to re-roll one failed ‘Fire!’ dice per shooting attack.

GRENADIERS

Austrian Grenadiers

“The first Austrian grenadiers came into being in 1700, at the height of the European vogue for grenade-throwing heavyweight infantry. The fashion passed soon enough, for the grenades were cumbersome, tricky to ignite, and only marginally less perilous to the thrower than to the target. However the grenadiers themselves survived in virtue of being elite troops in their own right, and they were marked out by their stature, their swarthy complexions, their bristling moustaches, their arrogant demeanour, their grenadier marches (characterised by alternate passages on the rim and the skin of the drum), and their grenadier caps …”

Duffy – “Instrument of War” Vol I p 234

The Grenadiers were the elite soldiers of the Austrian army. The men that made up the Grenadiers were taller and more experienced than most (due to the joining requirements). The Grenadiers were primarily used at critical moments to break through the enemy lines and were kept in reserve until this moment. Austrian Grenadiers had a reputation for using their bayonets at every available opportunity.

In 1809, at the battle of Aspern-Essling the French Young Guard were ordered to recapture the village of Essling. The young Guard eventually pushed the Grenadiers from the village but paid a large price in doing so, with three of their Generals wounded and roughly a quarter of the rank and file killed or wounded. The Young Guard were so enraged by these losses that they killed or wounded Grenadiers left in the village.

There were twenty-one Grenadier battalions with four or six companies each.

Unit Attributes

UnitTypeCombat Dice‘Steady’CC v FootCC v MountedBase MoraleSaveWeapons
GrenadiersFoot55+4+6+7Muskets
Grenadier Unit Attributes

Special Rules

None

JAEGERS

Austrian Jaeger

“Austrian Generals don’t understand this kind of fighting [Skirmishing].”

General Radetsky

The Jaegers were the Austrian light infantry. The Austrian light infantry units would ofen only send out small amounts of men as skirmish screens in front of the main battalions. This usually consisted of between 60-80 men operating as a skirmish screen. It wasn’t until 1813 that entire battalions of light infantry would form skirmish lines.

The first and second ranks of the unit would be armed with muskets, while the third rank were armed with Rifles.

In 1809 there were nine Jaegar battalions which later increased to 12 in 1813. These battalions were often 6 companies of 200 men each. The quality of the Austrian skirmishers were not as effective as their French counterparts and they would often be found wanting when facing Voltigeurs.

Unit Attributes

UnitTypeCombat Dice‘Steady’CC v FootCC v MountedBase MoraleSaveWeapons
JaegersFoot55+5+6+6Muskets and Rifles
Grenadier Unit Attributes

Special Rules

  • Jaeger Company – One firing dice per firing action can be rolled using the ranges of Rifles (8cm Long/4cm Effective).
  • Skirmishers – Jaegers are able to fight as skirmishing troops in front of the main battle line. When doing so they can only be attacked by cavalry or opposition skirmishers. Skirmishers of Jaegers are armed with Rifles (8cm Long/4cm Effective).
  • Deployment Marker – Units of Jaegers allows the owning player to use an additional deployment marker in the scouting phase.

FULL AUSTRIAN INFANTRY UNIT CARD

UnitTypeCombat Dice‘Steady’CC v FootCC v MountedBase MoraleSaveWeaponsSpecial Rules
‘German’ Line InfantryFoot55+5+6+7MusketsSkirmishers
‘Hungarian’ Line InfantryFoot55+5+6+6MusketsSkirmishers
LandwehrFoot55+5+6+5Muskets & RiflesJaeger Company
GrenzersFoot55+5+6+7MusketsDeployment Marker, Skirmishers, Marksmen
GrenadiersFoot55+4+6+7Muskets
JaegersFoot55+5+6+6Muskets & RiflesJaeger Company, Skirmishers, Deployment Marker
Austrian Infantry Unit Card
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