Austrian Miners

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Austrian Army >> Austrian Miners

Origin and History

Miners were the oldest technical troops in the Austrian Army. As soon as 1716, Prince Eugène de Savoie established the first first permanent miner company. This company soon proved its value during the sieges of several Turkish fortresses.

During the reign of Maria Theresa, miners formed two companies attached to the Deutsche Feldartillerie. Each company consisted of 119 officers and men:

  • 4 officers including:
    • 1 major
    • 1 captain
  • 12 NCOs including:
    • 4 sergeants
  • 2 musicians
  • 101 miners

Each company was commanded by a major and a captain, assisted by 3 to 4 sergeants. Requirements to be accepted in these companies were very high: soldiers must come from the mines and be in robust health while officers must possess a good knowledge of mathematics, especially those having to do with mining and fortifications.

It is interesting to note the ethnic origins of the technical troops of the Austrian Army: about 25% came from Bohemia and Krain; about 10% from the Empire; the rest from Moravia, Styria, Silesia, Hungary and the Austrian Netherlands. Most NCOs came from Bohemia (25%), the Empire (22,5%) and Hungary (12,5%). The median age was 25 years old.

Service during the War

At the outbreak of the Seven Years' War, there were 2 companies of miners for a total of 238 men. Their quarters were in Bohemia and they were subordinated to the general-director of artillery.

Between August 4 and October 9 1762, miners took part in the defence of Schweidnitz and acquired an unforgettable reputation. During this siege, the commander of the detachment of miners was Captain Joseph Pabliczek. By laying mines and counter-mines under the glacis of the fortress, he led a busy mine warfare and made a significant contribution to the long and stubborn defence of the fortress who finally capitulated after the explosion of a powder magazine in Fort Jauernik. Pabliczek was later received in the Maria Theresa Order, in the eighth promotion of this military, for his conduct at Schweidnitz.



Austrian Miner - Copyright: Harald Skala
Headgear plain black leather cap
Neckstock black
Coat light blue-grey with 14 brass buttons on the right side and 12 unlaced buttonholes on the left side and 1 brass button in the small of the back on each side
Collar yellow
Shoulder Straps light blue-grey fastened by a brass button (left shoulder only)
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 brass buttons
Cuffs yellow without button
Turnbacks yellow
Waistcoat light blue-grey with one row of small brass buttons and with horizontal pockets, each with 3 brass buttons
Breeches buff leather
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt none
Waistbelt white with a brass buckle
Cartridge Box none
Bayonet Scabbard none
Scabbard brown with brass fittings
Footgear black boots with white knee covers

Each miner was armed with a sabre.


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Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763, Vol. 1 Pirna und Lobositz, Berlin, 1901, Appendix 4

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Harald Skala for the initial version of this article