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35: Army and Navy

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Army. - The military system of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy is similar in both states, and rests since 1868 upon the principle of the universal and personal obligation of the citizen to bear arms. Its military force is composed of the common army (K. und K.); the special armies, namely the Austrian (K.K.) Landwehr, and the Hungarian Honvéds, which are separate national institutions, and the Landsturm or levy-in-mass. As stated above, the common army stands under the administration of the joint minister of war, while the special armies are under the administration of the respective ministries of national defence. The yearly contingent of recruits for the army is fixed by the military bills voted by the Austrian and Hungarian parliaments, and is generally determined on the basis of the population, according to the last census returns. It amounted in 1905 to 103,100 men, of which Austria furnished 59,211 men, and Hungary 43,889. Besides 10,000 men are annually allotted to the Austrian Landwehr, add 12,500 to the Hungarian Honvéds. The term of service is 2 years (3 years in the cavalry) with the colours, 7 or 8 in the reserve and 2 in the Landwehr; in the case of men not drafted to the active army the same total period of service is spent in various special reserves.

For the military and administrative service of the army the Dual Monarchy is divided into 16 military territorial districts (15 of which correspond to the 15 army corps) and 108 supplementary districts (105 for the army, and 3 for the navy). In 1902, since which year no material change was made in the formal organization of the army, there were 5 cavalry divisions and 31 infantry divisions, formed in 15 army corps, which are located as follows: - I. Cracow, II. Vienna, III. Graz, IV. Budapest, V. Pressburg, VI. Kaschau, VII. Temesvár, VIII. Prague, IX. Josefstadt, X. Przemysl, XI. Lemberg, XII. Herrmannstadt, XIII. Agram, XIV. Innsbruck, XV. Serajewo. In addition there is the military district of Zara. The usual strength of the corps is, 2 infantry divisions (4 brigades, 8 or 9 regiments, 32 or 36 battalions), 1 cavalry brigade (18 squadrons), and 1 artillery brigade (16-18 batteries or 128-144 field-guns), besides technical and departmental units and in some cases fortress artillery regiments. The infantry is organized into line regiments, Jäger and Tirolese regiments, the cavalry into dragoons, lancers, Uhlans and hussars, the artillery into regiments. The Austrian Landwehr (which retains the old designation K.K., formerly applied to the Austrian regular army) is organized in 8 divisions of varying strength, the "Royal Hungarian" Landwehr or Honvéds in 7 divisions, both Austrian and Hungarian Landwehr having in addition cavalry (Uhlans and hussars) and artillery. It is probable that a Landwehr or Honvéds division will, in war, form part of each army corps except in the case of the Vienna corps, which has 3 divisions in peace. The remaining men of military age (up to 42) as usual form the Landsturm. It is to be noted that this Landsturm comprises many men who would elsewhere be classed as Landwehr.

The strength of the Austro-Hungarian army on a peace footing was as follows in 1905:

Officers. Men. Horses. Guns.
Infantry -
Common Army
Austrian Landwehr
Hungarian Honvéds




Cavalry -
Common Army
Austrian Landwehr
Hungarian Honvéds




Field Artillery
Fortress Artillery
Technical troops
(Pioneers, and Railway and
Telegraph Regiment)
Transport Service
Sanitary Service




Total 20,564 336,818 64,887 1048
Belonging to the
Common Army
Austrian Landwehr
Hungarian Honvéds





The troops stationed in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1905 (376 officers and 6372 men) are included in the total for the common army.

The peace strength of the active army la combatants is thus about 350,000 officers and men, inclusive of the two Landwehrs and of the Austrian "K.K." guards, the Hungarian crown guards, the gendarmerie. &c. The numbers of the Landsturm and the war strength of the whole armed forces are not published. It is estimated that the first line army in war would consist of 460,000 infantry, 49,000 cavalry, 78,000 artillery, 21,000 engineers &c., beside train and non-combatant soldiers. The Landwehr and Honvéd would yield 219,000 infantry and 18,000 cavalry, and other reserves 223,000 men. These figures give an approximate total strength of 1,147,000, not inclusive of Landsturm.

The new army bill, which met with strenuous opposition both in the Austrian and the Hungarian parliament, became law in July 1912. By its provisions the annual contingent for the common army was increased from 103,100 to 159,500 men, of which Austria would provide 91,313 and Hungary 68,187 men. The term of active service was reduced from 3 to 2 years except for cavalry and horse artillery, so that of the yearly recruits 134,500 would be enrolled for two years, 19,000 for three years, and 6000, who would serve in the navy, for four years. The peace strength of the common army therefore was raised from 295,000 men (in 1911) to 350,000, and the war strength from 900,000 to 1,500,000 men. The yearly contingents for the Austrian Landwehr and for the Hungarian Honvéd were also increased, and the latter thoroughly reorganized. In 1911 the Austrian Landwehr numbered 43,178 men and 4877 officers and staff, and the Hungarian Honvéd 28,443 men and 4327 officers and staff. These changes were calculated to raise the number of recruits for the whole army from 135,750 to 212,500 men, or an annual increase of 76,930. The duration of this act is for 12 years, and the additional cost of the army during that period was calculated at £35,625,000. The non-recurring expenditure to introduce these changes amounted to £3,125,000, of which Austria would contribute £2,000,000 and Hungary £1,125,000, and the permanent expenditure was raised by £3.100,000 yearly. Serajevo the capital of Bosnia, was to be strongly fortified. In October 1912 the Minister of War asked for an extraordinary credit of £10,000,000 for war material and the rearmament of the artillery.

Fortifications. - The principal fortifications in Austria-Hungary are: Cracow and Przemysl in Galicia, Komárom, the centre of the inland fortifications, Pétervárad, Arad and Temesvár in Hungary, Serajewo, Mostar and Bilek in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Alpine frontiers, especially those in Tirol, have numerous fortifications, whose centre is formed by Trent and Franzensfeste; while all the military roads leading into Carinthia have been provided with strong defensive works, as at Malborgeth, Predil Pass, &c. The two capitals, Vienna and Budapest, are not fortified. On the Adriatic coast, the naval harbour of Pola is strongly fortified with sea and land defences; then come Trieste, and several places in Dalmatia, notably Zara and Cattaro.

Navy. - The Austro-Hungarian navy is mainly a coast defence force, and includes also a flotilla of monitors for the Danube. It is administered by the naval department of the ministry of war. It consisted in 1905 of 9 modern battleships, 3 armoured cruisers, 5 cruisers, 4 torpedo gunboats, 20 destroyers and 26 torpedo boats. There was in hand at the same time a naval programme to build 12 armourclads, 5 second-class cruisers, 6 third class cruisers, and a number of torpedo boats. The headquarters of the fleet are at Pola which is the principal naval arsenal and harbour of Austria; while another great naval station is Trieste.

In 1911 a new shipbuilding programme was adopted, which included the building of 4 "Dreadnoughts" of about 20,000 tons displacement each (to be ready at the end of 1914); 3 cruisers of about 3500 tons; 6 torpedo destroyers of about 800 tons, 12 torpedo boats, and 6 submarines. The cost was estimated at £13,016,666, to be spread in instalments over the six years 1911-16. The instalment spent in 1911 was £2,291,667, and that in 1912 was £2,800,000.

At the end of 1912 the effective navy consisted of 1 "Dreadnought"; 12 battleships of which the three newest have a displacement of 14,268 tons each; 3 armoured cruisers 6 cruisers, 7 torpedo gunboats; 12 destroyers; 69 torpedo boats; and 7 submarines In the autumn of 1912 the Admiralty obtained an additional credit in order to replace the three oldest battleships, laid down in 1893, by three "Dreadnoughts" (to be ready for use in 1915), and for the immediate building of three fast destroyers. This was an addition to the programme adopted in 1911, and the naval estimates for 1913 showed a further increase. The active personnel amounted to 17,500 men, and it was intended to bring up the non-commissioned rank to a total of 20,000 within a year. A new fortified naval base is being prepared at Selenico, on the Dalmatian coast.

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