Austrian High Command Organization

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Introductory Remarks

This is not the place to report on the total 'Austrian Command structure', but a few remarks on 'expressions' and existing pre-conceptions seem in order..

The German word Kriegsrat (or Kriegsrath in spelling of the time) has differing meanings:

  • it can be used for an ad-hoc 'council of war' called by the Commander-in-Chief at his discretion (a council one calls if one needs an excuse for not fighting, according to a cynical remark by Prince Eugène de Savoie);
  • it also is used as a title or post description for a member of an established office dealing with war matters;
  • in the Austrian case there is an important office working for the court in Vienna called the Hof-Kriegsrat (Court-War-Council or Court-War-Office; also called the Aulic-War-Council). It was a permanent institution, with the remit to counsel the monarch in matters of preparation for war and to perform and administer actions to that effect. The Hof-Kriegsrat (abbrev. 'HKR') has acquired a bad reputation ("Over 4 1/2 centuries every misfortune in war is the HKR's fault; everything positive happening during the same timespan was done in spite of it" – stated by Angeli ref.01). It was easily used as a scape-goat (less dangerous than pointing fingers at the monarch and his coterie). For an apologia of the Hof-Kriegsrat refer to Regeleref.02.

The Hof-Kriegsrat did not give orders to the Commander-in-Chief of an army; it did make proposals on what might be accomplished in a year's campaign, but the final decision depended fully on the monarch (who was free to consult other bodies (the Konferenz or Geheime Konference) or persons (e.g. notable military commanders in the field) as Maria Theresia did regularly (note: while this may read rather logical and abstract, it should be pointed out that commanders did well in having their own direct champions at the Vienna court).

The 'HKR' was not free in its proposals because it was just one Court Office; its main contender was the Hof-Kammer, which was responsible to the Empress in matters of finance: None of the most obvious and best proposals by the HKR could be accepted if they could not be afforded. The same applied to manning: while the HKR was responsible for personnel requirements and organization, recruiting was left to the regiments (reimbursed via the financial authorities) or recruits had to be delivered by the provincial Stände according to demands by the monarch. The situation was similar in other areas of the HKR's purvue.

Direct influence of Vienna on the actual pursuit of a campaign also was impossible due to the time lag introduced by bringing written information and orders back and forth.

In addition, Maria Theresia understood quite well that her generals (after they had received her views on the direction of a campaign) needed free hands. She held on to the men she had selected for command, even in cases when she might better have acted differently. Reasons for cautious proceeding by the armies in the field (not to say slow or sluggish activities) may be found in other factors: Maria Theresia's influence on the conduct of campaigns was more in the other direction: prodding.

Army Command

A Commander-in-Chief or C-in-C (normally a 'Feldmarschall') was considered deputy of the monarch in the field; his power extended even to the 'ius gladii et aggratiandi' (i.e. over life and death) over every person in his army or following it. This sounds very impressive, but even in legal matters he could not infringe on rights of regimental Inhaber or provincial bodies of nobility. And the situation was similar in other areas of his responsibilities also: habits died slowly in the Habsburg domains; rank and seniority were extremely important and watched closely (an example: only in the Generalsreglement of 1769ref.03 was it laid down that the C-in-C did not have to follow the ranking of regiments in establishing his Order of Battle and up to then allocation of posts in the battle command organisation was found by considering seniority of generals, meaning it could change from one day to the next).

The C-in-C's Adjutanten (Aides de Camp) were considered part of his Military Family; they did not rank with any other corpssee ref.04 for a list of kk Generaladjutanten.

The C-in-C in 'matters of importance and great consequences' was expected to consider the opinion of a Kriegsrat of his ranking generals.

There were any number of generals in the army headquarter willing (and able...) to offer advice. At the time it was still usual to call this assembly the Generalstab, even though they were not organized as such: they actually were more of a pool, a Generals-Reserve (in January 1760 even Maria Theresia , who was well-known to care about her army, for financial reasons politely asked FM Daun to agree to a reduction of the number of generals in the HQref.05. These must have had good amounts of leisure time to themselves (note: hunting was forbidden by the Militär-Feld-Reglement; a privilege of the local nobility...). As was only to be expected this could be used for infighting and intrigues - Old War-Horses against Young Upstarts and against one another. The presence of a gaggle of Volunteer Gentlemen and observers from friendly states must have made the situation even more interesting and untransparent.

For most of the time of the Seven Years' War (from 1758 onward) the Commander-in-Chief of the kk Main Army was FM Leopold Daun. He was picked by Maria Theresia after she had succeeded in overcoming her own reluctance (and that of her husband) to make clear to her brother-in-law Prince Charles of Lorraine that after Leuthen (and following Prague) he could not continue as 'General-Lieutenant' (This was the highest rank in the kk Army, even above Feldmarschall. The title was to be taken verbally, as 'General in lieu (of the monarch)'. Charles was the only man holding this rank during the Seven Years' War).

When FM Daun had to stay away from army command after being wounded at Torgau in November 1760 there was an intensive and ugly struggle over who should take his place (FZM Lacy being the court's favourite, but he might have had to face a strike by the 'war-horses'). Finally O'Donnel had to step in as interim C-in-C until Daun could come back again (it was time for winter quarters anyway).

Supporting Staff

It was usual at the time to let wither away military war establishments during peace as unnecessary and unaffordable.

When the perspective of war took on form in 1756 (the Vienna court having expected to wait till next year) the kk forces were quite unprepared; there had been a partial slow concentration towards west and north (Bohemia and Moravia) but nothing that could not be explained away as totally innocuous.

The commanding officer in Bohemia was FM Browne. Having been warned of possible moves by Prussia, on June 24ref.06 he asked Vienna for officers for his future General-Quartiermeister-Stab; he needed these 'such that the Prussians would not know the area better' than his own command. This throws a spotlight at one of the most important requirement of all armies at the time: Maps! Even those that might be available were mostly inaccurate and outdated and unfit for military purposes. So in order to prepare for marches to the next possible camp sites it was often necessary to send out reconnaissance parties (under escort), map the route and improve roads to possible camp locations (thus the French expression 'quartier' contributed to the title 'General-Quartiermeister'; which should not be confused with 'Quartermaster-General' in English language usage).

Of course there were additional tasks for the supporting personnel: collecting enemy intelligence, providing guards for and policing the headquarters, allocating resources, etc. and these were recognized and performed in armies of the time, but rather haphazardly. What lacked was organizing them in a logical and effective way: Who would be regularly responsible for a particular function, to whom would he report, who would collate the received information into a complete and concise picture of the situation for the C-in-C and who was to transform his ensuing general orders into specifics and be responsible for distributing these to the commands and units concerned. Apart from these operational requirements additional tasks related to the internal running of the headquarter needed attention.

Bilimek in his 'Beiträge zur Geschichte des Generalstabs'ref.07 states that the French army was among the first to make progress in this area. In the kk military there are early attempts to staff organization to be found under Prince Eugène, but after the demise of this strong person not much was accomplished and most of his accomplishments slowly were lost under gathering dust.

There was no continuity because in the 18th century it was the usual policy to reduce war-time structures which were not directly necessary during peace for reasons of cost.

Development in the kk Army during the Seven Years' War

Remark on filling the post of General-Quartiermeister in 1757
There is a discrepancy with the mention in Angeli's history in 'Vedette'ref.08 when showing the situation at the end of the 1757 campaign; there is 'Generalmajor von Gramlich' General-Quartiermeister for the 'I. Armee (Duke Charles of Lorraine)' and also 'II. Armee (FM Daun) General-Quartiermeister Generalmajor Graf Quasco'. The problem arises from the two previously separated armies being combined in the follow-up to the relief of Prague: there was only one C-in-C, so (logically) there should have been only a single General-Quartiermeister.

Little could be found about Gramlich. Colonel N.von Gramlich served as General-Quartiermeister in 1741 in Bohemia and was promoted to Generalmajor the same year. In 1756, he was part of the convoy of k.k. troops on their slow march from the Netherlands towards Bohemia. Gramlich seems to have performed some kind of Quartiermeister function there; he was in touch with the HKR on December 3, 1756 concerning problems with the Circle of the Upper-Rhine.

So it could very well have been that Prince Charles (Governor of the k.k. Niederlands and as such being acquainted with Gramlich) would have wanted that general to become his General-Quartiermeister.

But, all sources dealing with Gramlich state (or imply) that he died in 1756. He does not appear in any later contexts. Furthermore, no indication has been found that would show a separation of the army into two separate organizations at the end ot 1757 (after Leuthen...). It seems as if Angeli had misinterpreted his sources somewhere (perhaps a planning for the beginning of 1757?).

Note: The following is based largely on Angeli and following him Zeinarrefs.08 , 09

In 1756, in the Bohemian part of the army under FM Browne, GFW Franz Guasco performed the functions of General-Quartiermeister. Guasco, born 1711 in Piedmont; had served in the Russian army before joining the kk army in 1752 as GFM. Before the outbreak of hostilities Guasco had inspected the border area towards Silesia (he should not be confused with his younger brother Peter). It was Franz Guasco who drew up the encampment before Lobositzref.10. He himself in his memorandum of July 1757 (to be treated later), after the Battle of Kolin and the relief of Prague, presents himself as being in the post of Generalquartiermeister der k.k. Armee (please note the remark in the accompanying inset).

After the junction of Prince Charles' and Daun's armies, GFW Guasco must have felt very uncomfortable in his role of servant to two masters (each with his own coterie) who not always were of one mind.

He put his signature on July 27 to a memorandum he must have worked on earlier. It is quoted in ref.09 quite extensively. Trying to untangle the baroque syntax and translate his main complaint: the Generalquartiermeister had no real (accepted) authority over his subordinates; the flow of orders and reports was not definitely fixed, but seems to have been handled by habit and occasion. Specific examples are given by Guasco.

It must be doubted that this memorandum had much influence in the immediate future. As an aside: there is a report on the Kriegsrat called by Prince Charles before Leuthen; significantly there is no indication that the General-Quartiermeister was allowed to take part, much less that he as the most junior would have been asked to give his opinion.

Leuthen seems to have been the decisive event; after this disaster it was clear (to most; not to Prince Charles!) that things had to change. FM Daun reached Vienna long before his C-in-C and had opportunity on December 21 to make a submission to his Queen-Empress concerning the necessity for an appropriate organization (defining rights and responsibilities) of the support necessary to the future Commander-in-Chief (who it turned out would be Daun himself). His written script for the audience has come down to usref.08 and clearly Guasco's memorandum influenced this submission.

In the end, Maria Theresia agreed to practically all of Daun's proposals; in some respects she even was more generous in her resolution, which established the first (what would be called later) Generalstab.

Organization of the General-Quartiermeisterstab

This organization took effect early in 1758.

Probably the most significant change versus the previous situation was that the General-Quartiermeister was to be directly subordinated to the C-in-C and no longer by way of some General-Adjutant. The General-Quartiermeisterstab also assumed additional responsibilities and was fitted out with its own supporting elements (such that it did not have to take recourse to levies from regular fighting troops).

It was to consist of a Großer (Feld-)Generalstab which contained the officers for the 'real' staff work and a Kleiner (Feld-)Generalstab collecting the supporting units.

Großer General-Stab

The tasks set to this body were related to collecting accurate geographic information (mapping), ordering of marches of all troops and trains, creating communications and choosing camps (for which always 3 to 4 choices were to be available), locations for magazines and hospitals. The General-Quartiermeister was to be responsible for Ordres de Bataille and fighting dispositions; he had to have drawn thorough plans and maps of all movements and arrange dispositions for winter-quarters. He was to be chief of policing the headquarters as well as the entire army. He had to look out for the replenishment of food stocks in his army and regulate suttlers. And the General-Quartiermeister was in charge of collecting enemy information using spies, deserters, turncoats and prisoners of war.

The initial complement of the Großer General-Stab:

  • 1 Feldmarschall-Lieutenant now heading it - earlier the post was for a GFM. Promoted into this post: Moritz, Count Lacy ('the only possible choice' according to the wish expressed by Daun to his monarch)
    • Note: The previous holder - Guasco - reverted to line duty; he also was promoted to FML, served in the negotiation leading to the capitulation and later in the defence of Dresden and is remembered principally for the defence of Schweidnitz in 1762
  • 1 General-Major, 'ad latus to the General-Quartiermeister': (Baron v. Tillier)
  • 1 Obrist - military commander of the corps - (Preiß)
  • 2 Obrist-Lieutenants (Nugent, Schröder)
  • 8 Majore
  • 8 Hauptleute
  • 8 Oberlieutenante
  • 9 Unterlieutenante

There was a realignment of posts at the end of 1758: according to a submission by Lacy the Lieutenant-billets were abolished (they could not live so close to the headquarter on their remunerations), the number of Obrist-Lieutenants was increased to 3 and there were to be 10 Hauptleute.

Also part of the Großer Generalstab was the Feld-Ingenieur-Corps: 1 Obrist, 1 Obrist-Lieutenant, 2 Majore and 12 officers (Hauptleute and lower ranks).

Furthermore, 4 'Flügel-Adjutanten' (2 of infantry and 2 for cavalry) were included in the numbers for Großer Generalstab, even though they were not actual members.

Finally, 400 horses were allowed for the mobility of this Großer Generalstab.

Kleiner Generalstab

Composed of 3 'Divisionen'

I. Division

  • 4 companies of 'Pioniere' known as the Pionier Korps (for a total of: 1 Major, 12 officers, 34 prima plana and NCOs, 304 workers and 100 attached 'Jäger').
  • a pontoon detachment, known as the Pontonier Korps of 3 officers,12 prima plana and NCOs and 150 specialists of all kinds.
  • a messenger detachment of 14 messengers

II. Division

  • Stabs-(Infanterie-)Regiment with a total of 1Obristlieutenent 31 officers, 709 Prima plana and NCOs, 1,992 privates (for a total of 2,733 soldiers)
  • a Stabsquartiermeisteramt with a total of 6 soldiers; responsible for the quartering of the Headquarter itself

III. Division

  • Stabs-Dragoner-Regiment (1 Obristlieutenant plus 12 officers, 52 prima plana and NCOs, 400 common soldiers) total 469 soldiers
  • 1 Stabs-Wagenmeister with 4 people
  • 2 Padres (to provide moral support)
  • 2 Auditors (for expertise in legal matters)
  • 1 General-Gewaltiger (Provost-Marshal) with 6 subordinates (provosts and executioners)

Note: other participants in the headquarter but not subordinated to the General-Quartiermeister were : the Generaladjutanten, the Kriegs-Kanzlei, the Landes-und-Kriegscommissariat – more information on this further down in this article -, the Cassa, the Stabs-Medici, surgeons and apothecaries.

Implementation of the new Feld-Generalstab

Note: It should not be assumed that just because Austria was only then starting to organize its staff workings, there had not been all kinds of rules and regulaments. As an example there are the orders of Czaslau, given by FM Daun in May 1757, titled Camp Order, Ordre de Bataille and General-Battleorder / Behaviour in a occurring Action; all very useful as a basis for the futureref.11.

The new Feld-Generalstab is closely connected with the person of Count Lacy. He may not have been involved intimately with its initiation (for which Daun and also Guasco were responsible). Up to December 1757, Lacy had the reputation of an up-coming fighting general. Kotasekref.12 mentions that Lacy during the fall of 1757 campaign had been ordered by FM Daun to work out a plan of attack for the battle of Breslau (if so: not a 'vote of confidence' in Guasco!); he was in command of a brigade in the centre of the front line at Leuthen and distinguished himself in covering the retreat of the army, when he was severely wounded once again. Disgruntled with the passive attitude of the Army command, he had to recover his health in Bohemia. It can be doubted that he had much opportunity to influence Daun's submission to Maria Theresia.

But once he came into the post of General-Quartiermeister, it was Lacy who took charge. He drew up the regulations for the internal workings of his staff and was responsible for filling the newly created posts: He put his stamp on the Stab, and for this his reputation is well-earned. As was only to be expected the newfangled organization had to overcome the usual more-or-less passive resistance of old-timers. It first had to make its reputation in the army. Promises that being placed on the staff would influence favourably promotion prospects may have helped to attract candidates; but already the eternal animosity between staff and line started to rear its head. Apart from this it was a matter of priorities: Should not have been the primary concern to fill up the fighting units, especially in the infantry; which had suffered terribly at the end of the last campaign and during the following sickly winter?

There were only a few officers with earlier experience of staff work (commander of the Stabs-(Infanterie-) Regiment, Otl Pracht, had been Quartiermeister-Lieutenant earlier; among the Lieutenants of the Großer Generalstab there were a few who had worked as Dessinateurs, but the majority were without previous experience; even youngsters from the Wiener Neustadt military academy were used to fill up the Lieutenants' billets.

Internal workings of the staff

The requirements on officers for the staff were stated as follows : ' They must be of best age. Healthy and resilient, best conduct, no gamblers or drunkards and even less prone to other vices. They have to direct their main attention to the service and, by diligent reading and application, consolidate themselves. They must be firm in geometry, trigonometry and geography; in in the four main areas: the art of encampment, tactics, field fortificatioon and attack and defense of fortifications they must be experienced or at least assiduous to learn always more. One must be able to depend on the accuracy of their performance and reports.' (In the beginning it surely was more a matter of willingness than experience...).

Initially, the method was 'learning by doing'; there was no chance for theoretical discussions, no systematic training 'course'; the war had to be carried on.

The staff worked under strictest instructions for secrecy: Quite naturally discusions of results and work assignmets outside the staff was forbidden, but even inside the staff this was not allowed. Reports went only to the Chief (or his deputy), copying reconnaisance maps or sketches was severely forbidden.

Angeli gives an overview of personnell assignments at the start of the new establishment. As before the first priority was territorial reconnaissace which rarely exceded a day's march from the actual position. He also shows the arrangements for a march into an area not previously reconnoitred.

Other remarks on the Feld-Generalstab's organization:

  • As it was not part of the fighting line it was not included in the main camp, but had to make arrangements close with the Headquarter's village (no tents of their own provided);
  • As was usual at the time, members had to provide themselves their means for work (eg. papers, colours, etc) from their own remunerations;
  • On days of battle, Feld-Generalstab-officers were to assemble close to the C-in-C and wear their sashes diagonally from right shoulder to left hip (just like aides-de-camp did);
  • Small parties of officers of the staff were sent out with sizeable detachments of troops; they were required to report regularly on eg. Marches, troop strengths, enemy intelligence and send in sketches and maps drawn during the detachment's undertakings;
  • There does not seem to have been a strict division between Feld-Generalstab-officers and Engineers ('Ingenieur-Corps'): There is a letter in Thaddenref.12 which as (only!) possible Generalquartiermeister mentions Guasco and Bohm, deputy director of Geniewesen; and General Giannini of the genie corps was asked for by Loudon for his Quartiermeister, a post he filled to fullest satisfaction.

Some remarkable occurrences in the Seven Years' War

Obviously, the Feld-Generalstab in fulfilling its task was involved in all major actions during this war. But some occurrences are particularly worthy of mention here.

When in 1758 it had become clear to FM Daun that the major effort of the Prussian army was centred on Olmütz and that his own army had been augmented and trained sufficiently to be able to face the enemy, he set out to the relief of Olmütz at the beginning of May. The main body marched from Skalitz via Leitomischel in slow movements towards Dobramilitz (south of Olmütz). For this march, FML Lacy led the Grenadier-and Carabinier-Corps as advance guard; in effect the functions of advance guard to the army and of camp reconnaissance and route preparation by the Quartermaster-General were effectively combined. The same happened when the Prussian army after the attacks on the Domstadls convoy had to raise the siege and withdraw towards the north-west in the direction of Königgrätz and Glatz: Lacy with the same corps followed as advance guard for the main body of Daun's Army. No reason for these proceedings has been found.

Later in 1758, the plan for the surprise attack at Hochkirch was drawn up by Lacy; he did not sit back then, but actively engaged in the fighting by leading supporting cavalry units into the fray in person.

In March 1759, a new Militär Feldregulamentref. 14 was signed off by Maria Theresia and published, which had been drawn up by the General-Quartiermeister-Stab, based on the experiences of fighting of the previous year.

A short story of the then still existing chivalrous age
During campaigning in summer 1760, FML Lacy (by then commander of a corps), suffered the misfortune to have his complete baggage captured by the Prussian Möhring Hussars. All of it (including a pretty Tyrolean kitchen maid) was promptly returned to him on order of Frederick II, except for Lacy's collection of maps. We do not know if Lacy gnashed his teeth or ripped his periwig; it has been documented that he did write a very polite (not to call it: submissive) letter to the King asking for the return of these precious maps; to which he received an also very polite response promising this as soon as the Prussian staff dessinateure would have had the leisure to copy the drawings after the winding down of the campaign.copies of these letters are in ref.05

Remarks / questions:

  • Highest secrecy in the staff goes for nothing if the result of the staff work gets taken by the enemy
  • Once the C-in-C had given his orders these had to be distributed and all regulations concerning secrecy internal to the staff were futile if the headquarter as a total was insecure (compare the situation before Liegnitz)
  • From the wording of Lacy's request it can be concluded that these were the actual maps he had collected during his tenure as General-Quartiermeister. Did these become his personal property?
  • One would think that copies would be produced during winter quarters for safe-keeping and /or distribution to other commands. Or did Siskovics have to start again from a blank sheet?

1759 brought the high time in the cooperation between Daun and Lacy with the encounter of Maxen. Lacy is said by contemporaries to have 'pleaded on knees' with Daun not to withdraw but to attack instead. He, with some justification after Finck's capitulation, could expect to be sent to Vienna with the fantastically good news; but Daun would not let him go, sending General Siskovics instead. Whereupon Lacy went into 'one of his moods' and made it clear that he did not want to continue in his post. The fact that his proposal for the next year's campaign (which actually had Daun's support) was not accepted in Vienna (it was considered as not active enough) may have contributed to Lacy's frustration; it was Loudon's idea which was accepted and Lacy in his felt competition with Loudon surely saw better chances to enhance his own reputation as a (more or less) independent corps commander. So (at least officially) the Daun/Lacy close cooperation was ended, a cooperation judged very successful e.g. by King Frederick who in a conversation with Prince Ligne stated: "The whole time he (i.e. Lacy) was General-Quartiermeister... I could not gain the slightest advantage. Remember the two campaigns of 1758 and 1759; you succeeded in everything. Will I never be rid of this man I often asked myself..."ref. 15

The newly promoted FML Siskovics took over as General-Quartiermeister, at least for routine daily business. For special tasks Daun still called on Lacy. Thus the plan for the proposed surprise at Liegnitz was entrusted to him. Another example: In the confrontation in the Silesian hills near Schweidnitz in September 1760, Daun under pressure from Vienna to move against Frederick responded that he had asked Lacy to propose a plan, but before anything could be set in motion the king had started his own march to Bögendorf and Hochgiersdorf.

Significantly, after the Peace of Hubertusburg in 1763, it was FZM Lacy who was charged with demobilizing the army, to put it on peace footing and distribute units to their peacetime garrisons.

Lacy accomplished this daunting task in short time and efficiently, too. He was rightly considered the 'brains of the army'.

(Quasi-)Dissolution of the (Feld-)Generalstab

When it was learned in the army that Vienna planned to completely dissolve the by then accepted General-Stab, loud protests (just as at the time of the army reduction in 1761) were voiced (to the tenor of 'if this is not necessary in peace, why not do away with the army at all?').

This time protests were heeded and a small remnant Generalstab was kept on the books:

  • Obrist Fabris the Tomiotti was to head a group of 2 Otl, 3 Majors, 8 Hauptleute who had the main task of mapping the kk homelands (first priority Bohemia and Moravia), in order to have available useable map materiel in case of another war (never far beyond the northern horizon...). These officers were to be supported by personnel at attachment from the line troops. The result of this effort is the justly lauded Josephinische Landesaufnahme (now available on the Mapire - Historic Maps of the Habsburg Empire website).

But the Kleine Generalstab was dissolved, personnel reverting to their original units or being released to civilian employment. The units of the Kleine Generalstab re-appeared only again (on paper) in the 1769 Generalsreglement and on the field, newly established for the War of Bavarian Succession.

Kriegs-Kommissariat (or 'Commissariat')

Logistics in the broad sense was not part of the General-Quartiermeister's responsibilities; whilst he had to point out the direction of coming actions and thus possible locations of magazines and supply depots, the care for the actual positioning, filling and transport was left to the Kriegs-Kommissariat.

Its responsibilities were to supervise the establishment, economy and discipline of the military personnel for the common good. Kommissare held muster to see that men, horses and equipment were present in official numbers and state issued uniforms, arms and equipment; supplied the army with basic victuals, accepted recruits and remounts. Muster lists and pay also came under their purview. The Generals-Reglementref.03 is dated from 1769, but the responsibilities as given in its Instruction für einen bei einer Armee angestellten Obristen-Kriegs-Commissarium would have applied during Seven Years' War as well see p.77ff.

This was a civilian organization; its embedding in the tangle of Vienna's Räthe, Conferencen, Commissionen, Directorien changed at least twice during Seven Years' War.

Here are the General-Kriegs-Commissarii of the time:

  • since 1745: Salaburg (also: Salburg), Franz Ludwig (had to resign from his post in the fall of 1757)
  • from 1758: Wilczek, Joseph (resigned in 1762)
  • from 1762: Chotek, Johann

Interestingly these gentlemen also had (honorary?) military rank, Salaburg was a FM, while the other two had to contend themselves with Feldzeugmeister. Duffyrefs.16 and 17) has extensive coverage of logistics of the kk army of the time; lecture is warmly recommended.

In the field, every detachment of some size contained a Commissar (ranked from Ober-Kriegs-Commissarius downwards), who was responsible on the one hand to the commander and on the other to his civilian superiors (always a temptation to play one against the other). Civilian control ('meddling') has seldom been welcomed by the military. While the military naturally felt entitled to a smoothly running supply organization, they did not care for the oversight function of the Kommissar when it came to mustering the troops, materiel and books. Kommissariat personnel in general had a bad reputation; the Austrian may not have been any worse than all the others.

They appear seldom in publicly available records (mostly only named in capitulations of fortresses or in complaints in chronicles). Nonetheless they played a major role in the war; as Daun is quoted to have writtenref.17: ...the commanding general is effectively subordinate to the Commissariat and 'military operations can proceed only as the General-Kriegs-Commissarius sees fit'.


Informations concerning uniforms of members of the Headquarters are sparse. No depictions of the exact time frame have been found. It can only be hoped that inferences from later sources are not far from reality.


Uniforms of a General-Adjutant – Source: adapted from an illustration of the Vinkhuijzen Collection
Headgear black tricorne with straight broad golden band and golden fastening for cockade
Stock black, white lace cravate
Coat (indigo?) blue with crimson lining, no info on any embellishments at the back
Collar none
Shoulder Straps golden braided string on right shoulder and underarm
Lapels crimson, each with 8 gilt buttons; straight braids on buttonholes on both sides
Pockets horizontal pockets
Cuffs crimson edged with a straight braid on top, each with (2?) gilt buttons with straight braids on buttonholes
Turnbacks no turnbacks as such, but coat would be hooked back when riding
Waistcoat crimson edged with a golden straight lace along the front and bottom; pocket flaps edged with a straight golden braid; a series of buttonhole braids for gilt buttons (7?) on both sides
Breeches white (crimson also possible; maybe for gala or earlier usage)
Sash the usual black and gold officer's sash would be worn on duty
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt none
Waistbelt white
Scabbard black
Footgear black shoes on foot service, high cavalry boots when mounted

General-adjutants carried the usual equipment for officers.

Note: quite possibly embellishments might have been less brilliant for Flügel-Adjutanten.

Großer General-Stab

Uniforms of a member of the Großer General-Stab – Source: adapted from an illustration of the Vinkhuijzen Collection
Headgear black tricorne with straight golden band and golden fastening for cockade; golden tassels on both sides
Stock black, white lace cravate
Coat (indigo?) blue with crimson lining, (8?) golden buttons on the right side, buttonholes on the left side with golden seams; one button on each side in the small of the back
Collar red edged with a golden seam
Shoulder Straps none
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 seamed buttonholes
Cuffs crimson edged with a braid (or without braid but then instead: 3 gilt buttons) depictions disagree
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat crimson edged with a golden straight lace along the front and bottom; pocket flaps edged with a straight golden braid; a single row of gilt buttons
Breeches crimson
Sash the usual black and gold officer's sash would be worn on duty
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt none
Waistbelt white
Scabbard black
Footgear black shoes on foot service, high cavalry boots when mounted

The members of the Großer General-Stab carried the usual equipment for officers.

Note: quite possibly embellishments might have been less brilliant for lower ranking officers


It is unclear if members of the Kriegs-Kommissariat wore (civilian!) uniforms to show their importance and rank and how these might have looked.

Even if attired in civilian garb, as a gentleman of some standing he would have carried a sword but he would not have been entitled to golden portepee nor Feldbinde.


not applicable


ref.01 Angeli, Moriz von: Marginalien zu dem Aufsatz..., in: Mittheilungen des k.k. Kriegsarchivs (1881), Wien 1881
ref.02 Regele, Oskar : Der österreichische Hofkriegsrat 1556-1848. Wien: 1949 (Mitteilungen des Österreichischen Staatsarchivs: Ergänzungsband, 1/1)
ref.03 Generals-Reglement, Trattner, Wien 1769
ref.04 Annalen der k.k. Österreichischen Armee ... welcher mehrere interessante Gegenstände enthält; Cath. Graeffer u. Comp, Wien 1812
ref.05 Arneth, Alfred von: Geschichte Maria Theresias, Sechster Band, Braumüller, Wien 1875
ref.07 Bilimek Edler von Waissolm, Hugo: Beiträge zur Geschichte des Generalstabes, Wien 1876
ref.08 ( Angeli, Moriz von) Zur Geschichte des k.k.Generalstabes, in: Oesterreichisch-ungarische Militär-Zeitung "Vedette", Wien 1876, starting February 25
ref.09 Zeinar, Hubert: Geschichte des österreichischen Generalstabes, Böhlau, Wien 2006
ref.10 Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II, Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763, Vol. 1, Berlin, 190, p.253
ref.11 Bilimek Edler von Waissolm, Hugo: Beiträge zur Geschichte des österreichischen Heerwesens, Erstes Heft... Wien 1872 (this also contains useful information on e.g. Artillery distribution '57-'68, marches (including examples of 'Marschzettel'), Militär-Feld-Reglement)
ref.12 Kotasek, Edith: Feldmarschall Graf Lacy, Berger, Horn 1956 (commercial edition of dissertation, without academic apparatus of notes and index)
ref.13 Thadden, Franz-Lorenz von: Feldmarschall Daun, ...Herold, Wien 1967
ref.14 Militär Feldregulament, Wien 1759
ref.15 Ligne, Charles-Joseph de: Mélanges militaires, littéraires et sentimentaires, Tome VI, Dresde 1804
ref.16 Duffy, Christopher: The Army of Maria Theresia, The armed Forces of Imperial Austria 1740-1780, David&Charles, North Pomfret 1977
ref. 17 Duffy, Christopher: Instrument of War, Vol.1 of The Austrian Army in the Seven Years War, The Emperor's Press, Rosemont 2000
ref.18 Geschichte derer Kayserlich Königlichen Regimenter, darinnen deren ....Franckfurt am Mayn, 1762


Dieter Müller for the initial version of this article