Austrian Hussars Organisation

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Composition and Organisation

At the end of the War of the Austrian Succession, the Austrian Army counted 11 hussar regiments.

In February 1748, a military commission assembled under the supervision of Prince Charles of Lorraine to reform the army. This commission also included Prince Wenzel von Liechtenstein, the president of the War Council Field-marshal Count Joseph Harrach, FZM Count Leopold Daun and GdC Count Salaburg.

One hussar regiment was disbanded thus reducing the number of hussar regiments to 10. For reasons of economy, after 1748, Austrian regulations settled each regiment on an peacetime establishment of 10 so-called ‘Ordinari’ companies with an authorised strength of 615 men and only 366 horses. It was believed that the hussars could be augmented to full strength much easier and faster than the heavier cuirassiers and dragoons. A hussar regiment was organised as follows:

  • Regimental staff
    • 1 Obrist-Inhaber (colonel-proprietor)
    • 1 Obrist-Kommandant
    • 1 Obrist-Lieutenant
    • 1 Obrist-Wachtmeister (major)
    • 15 lower staff (including 1 kettle-drummer and 6 field-surgeons)
  • 5 hussar squadrons, each of:
    • 2 Ordinari companies, each of 3 officers and 107 troopers, more precisely:
      • 1 captain
      • 1 lieutenant
      • 1 cornet (officer standard bearer)
      • 7 NCOs
      • 1 trumpeter
      • 1 saddler
      • 1 farrier
      • 97 troopers
  • train
    • 4 x 4-horses provision wagons
    • 1 x 4-horses field-forge
    • 2 large wagons for the colonel
    • 1 large wagon for each staff officer
    • 1 small wagon for each other officer

N.B.: as with the cavalry, the 4 staff officers of a regiment each held a position within their own company, thus reducing 4 companies by 1.

At the end of March 1756, most hussar regiments were not at full strength. This was particularly true for those stationed in Italy (including Paul Anton Esterházy Hussars) who still required 500 additional men and 2,500 horses.

Wartime Organisation

Several regiments entered the war much below strength in 1756, being augmented to full establishment in the first months of the conflict. Starting with an average 400 men in 1756, size gradually increased to some 800 during 1757. Book strength of a 5 squadrons / 10 companies regiment was 1,115 men.

During the Spring of 1758, each regiment was augmented by 1 squadron, except for the newly raised Palatinal Hussars, in order to establish a regimental 'depository' as well as a garrison company, similar to the German cavalry of the Austrian Army. A regiment then comprised 6 squadrons, for a total of 1,335 men.

In 1759, the staff companies Rittmeister position (captain-proprietor) was assigned to a lieutenant-captain, and the cornet’s position to a designated standard bearer of NCO rank, while the cornet would now serve as second lieutenant (Unterlieutenant).

In the Winter of 1761-62 overall strength of a regiment (1,335 men) was reduced to some 1,000 men as a result of Austria’s dwindling financial resources.


  • Großer Generalstab, Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II (Publisher). Die Kriege Friedrichs des Großen. Dritter Teil: Der Siebenjährige Krieg 1756–1763.
    • Vol. 1 Pirna und Lobositz, Berlin, 1901, pp. 130-134, 151; App. 2
    • Vol. 2 to 13, Berlin 1901 - 1914
  • Kessel, Eberhard: Das Ende des Siebenjährigen Krieges 1760-1763, comissioned by the (German Army) Research Departement of Military History [Militärgeschichtliches Forschungsamt – MGFA], edited by Thomas Lindner, Paderborn 2007 – the recent reedit of the missing volumes of the early 20th c. Großer Generalstab publications above
  • Duffy, Chrisopher:, The Army of Maria Theresia, Doncaster 1990