Austrian Artillery Corps

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Armies >> Austrian Army >> Austrian Artillery Corps

Origin and History

On June 21 1568, Emperor Maximilian proposed the attachment of the artillery to the infantry, but it was not until 1607 that it took place in all Austrian provinces. In 1602, the tactical infantry unit (the regiment) was called into life and the attached guns were thus called 'regimental guns'. Initially there was one 3-pounder per regiment. The commander of the infantry regiment had administrative responsibility for the gun and the regiment had to pay the Büchsenmeister (gun commander, or master gunner) and his technical crew. These artillery personnel remained under tactical command of the Feldzeugmeister (Master General of the Ordnance) and could be recalled to the main artillery park of the army at any time. At this time, in almost all European armies, gunners were not subject to normal military regulations. They were highly skilled experts, members of a trade guild, who were very highly paid in comparison to the infantry and the cavalry. This unhappy arrangement did not satisfy the infantry, the artillery nor the army, but it remained in being for over 200 years. With lumbering equipment, mediocre teams, unwilling crews with independent minds, full of pride in their guilds, their guns took the field and were sent off to serve with the infantry.

At the time of the War of the Spanish Succession, the Austrian artillery was still not organised as a regular unit. The field artillery corps was in fact an autonomous entity jealously preserving its privileges and reluctantly complying to orders coming from the outside.

There was no permanent establishment for this corps and strength was determined by circumstances. However a staff existed. It consisted of:

  • 1 General-Feldzeugmeister acting as chef of the entire corps
  • 1 Feldmarschall-Lieutenant (not on a permanent basis)
  • 1 major (not on a permanent basis)
  • 1 colonel
  • 1 lieutenant-colonel
  • 1 upper-commissary
  • 1 Zeuglieutenant (lieutenant of the train)
  • 1 upper-captain
  • 1 Stuck-Hauptmann (captain of the artillery pieces)
  • 1 auditor
  • 1 secretary
  • 1 Feld-Zeugwart (manager of the field train)
  • 1 upper-artificer
  • 1 quartermaster
  • 1 chaplain
  • 1 Stuck-Junker-Corporal (???)
  • 1 upper-petardier
  • 1 ingénieur
  • 1 Stuck-Junker
  • 1 master surgeon
  • 1 purser
  • 1 underpetardier
  • 1 Alt-Feuerwerker (senior artificer)
  • 1 Jung-Feuerwerker (junior artificer)
  • 1 pontonier master
  • 1 pioneer
  • 1 farrier
  • 1 assistant farrier
  • 1 train clerk
  • 1 provision clerk
  • 1 assistant surgeon
  • 1 gunner corporal
  • 1 master gunner
  • 1 drummer
  • 1 provost with assistants

The rest of the unit consisted of hired hand workers who did not belong to an organised military unit. These workers came from various fields: armourers, smiths, saddlers, carpenters, henchmen, wheelwrights, cablers, butchers, millers...

This corps included the field artillery, the fortress artillery and the arsenal artillery as well as elements of the ingénieurs.

Service during the War

Throughout the war, the Austrian artillery participated in all campaigns, sieges and battles where the Austrian army was involved.


Clothing was far from being uniform in the artillery. However, the most common characteristics were:

  • slouch hat
  • untied long hair
  • red or white neck cloth
  • wide dark blue knee long waist-less coats with a small standing collar and a row of yellow buttons; short sleeves reaching only the elbow
  • camisole (usually of the same colour as the coat)
  • shirt
  • wide breeches reaching below the knee
  • white stockings
  • Russian leather shoes

The equipment of an artilleryman consisted of a natural leather bandolier to carry a sword and of a narrow strap worn across the left shoulder to carry a powder horn on the right hip.

The artilleryman also carried a 2 m. long linstock (with a double-eagles finial and a pointed iron spear-butt) in his left hand.


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This article is essentially a translated abstract of the texts of the following book which in now in the public domain:

  • Abtheilung für Kriegsgeschichte des k. k. Kriegs-Archives: Feldzüge des Prinzen Eugen von Savoyen, Series 1, Vol. 1, Vienna 1875, pp.228-229

Other sources

Dollaczek, Anton: Geschichte der Österreichischen Artillerie von den frühesten Zeiten bis zur Gegenwart, Vienna, 1887