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Austro-Hungarian Empire: Military Flags

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[Austria-Hungary: Infantry flag Model 1816] by Istvan Molnar, 15 July 2001


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Discussion on the Flag

According to Mell (Die Fahnen des österreichischen Soldalen im Wandel der Zeiten, Vienna, Bergland Verlag 1962, ill.52, opposite p.48) this is an Infantry flag Model 1816, possibly that of the 6 Grenz Infanterie Regiment preserved in the Military Historical Museum in Vienna.

Turning to my uniform file, I found two additional illustrations of the M1816 Infanteriefahne. One (in black and white) on p. 23 of Pavlovic, The Austrian Army 1836-66 (I) Infantry, Men-at-Arms series 323, Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 1999; the other (in color) as plate 53 in Lucas, Fighting Troops of the Austro-Hungarian Army, Tunbridge Wells (Kent): Spellmount Ltd, 1987. In the latter it is not identified by date. In short we can identify the flag as an early to mid- 19th century Infantry Color (probably 1816).

Norman Martin, 15 July 2001

This is certainly an Austrian infantry colour. Though very similar to the imperial standard, the standard was square not rectangular, had a border also on the hoist side, and was not (normally) nailed to a mast but hoisted from a halyard. Particularly the image shows the traditional Austrian system of attaching infantry colours to their masts, with a specific number of nails at given distances along and given angles around the mast, this in turn being painted in the same imperial colours as the triangles on the border (Zackenrand) of the colour.

A very similar flag is shown on Brian L. Davis (1975), "Flags and Standards of the Third Reich 1933-1945", pp. 94 and 115-117, that of the "Hoch- und Deutschmeister Regiment Nr.4", a German regiment (after the 1938 Anschluss) which was invested with the heritage of the Austrian regiment of the same name. Except for the colours of the Zackenrand (which were altered to the German red-white-black instead of the Austrian imperial red-white-black-yellow) the flag was identical to an Austrian colour following the 1868 regulations. The order of the escutcheons is here, from dexter to sinister wing tips:

  1. Hungary
  2. Lombardo-Veneto kingdom (the snake azure of Milan and the lion of St. Mark of Venice)
  3. Illyria (sic, possibly Istria? -- it looks like the 3rd escutcheon on the link reported by István)
  4. Siebenergen (Transylvania)
  5. Moravia impaling Silesia
  6. Tyrol
  7. Austria above the Enns impaling Austria below the Enns
  8. Salzburg
  9. Styria
  10. Esclavonia (sic, actually Galicia and Lodomeria)
  11. Bohemia


Santiago Dotor, 18 July 2001