Ottenfeld showing German fusiliers in the 1798-1809
uniform. Although the helmet was officially replaced with
a shako in 1806, many German regiments retained their
helmets until Wagram (1809). Note - German troops wore
white breeches and black gaiters.
Austrian Line Infantry Regts were termed either
"German" or "Hungarian"
depending on where the Regt drew its recruits
Between 1798 and 1805, each German Line
Regt was organised into:
- 2 field battalions of 6 fusilier coys each
- 2 coys of grenadiers
- 1 depot battalion of 4 coys
Nominal strength of each coy was 4 officers and
230 men. However on campaign, the average coy was
about 150 men strong - giving a battalion
strength of around 900 men.
Hungarian Regts were organised along the same
lines as the German Regts. However, Hungarian
Regts had 3 field battalions.
Close-up of Austrian
infantry helmet (Funcken)
Close-up of Austrian
1806 shako (Funcken)
In 1805, just before the Austerlitz
campaign, hasty reforms were pushed through.
Each Line Regt was reorganised into:
- 1 grenadier battalion - of 4 coys
- 4 fusilier battalions - of 4 coys each
Nominal coy strength was reduced to 160 men. Each
coy probably averaged 100-120 men on campaign -
giving a battalion strength of around 400-500
However, it is uncertain if many Regts actually
implemented the new regulations. There is
evidence to show that Archduke Charles did not
apply the new regulations as it was likely to
cause confusion - coming into force just before a
In 1807, these regulations were abolished
and Regimental organisation reverted to the
After the defeat at Wagram, 1809, loss of
recruiting grounds resulted in the disbanding of
the 13th, 23rd, 38th,43rd, 45th, 46th, 50th and
55th Regts. All 3rd battalions were reduced to
cadres, and coy strength was reduced to 60 men in
German regts, and 100 men in Hungarian ones.
Close-up of braid on
Hungarian pants. Note also the pointed cuff (Funcken).
Fusiliers and grenadiers of both German and
Hungarian Line infantry Regts wore the same white
coat during the Napoleonic wars. Each regt had
its own distinct facing colour which appeared on
the collar, cuffs and turnbacks. (Note - in 1806,
the turnbacks were made wider, so as to reveal
turnback facing colour on the front of the coat
From 1798-1806, fusiliers wore a distinctive
helmet (see title graphic). Although the helmet
was officially replaced by a double peaked shako
in 1806, most German regts retained their helmets
until the defeat at Wagram in 1809.
Grenadiers wore a bearskin hat. Because of its
distinct shape, it was nicknamed fauteuil
or "armchair" by the French.
German troops wore white breeches. Black gaiters
extended to just below the knee.
Hungarian troops wore light or middle blue
breeches with a decorated with yellow and black
braided loops at the top of the thigh, and
running down the seams. The breeches were tucked
into ankle boots (no gaiters). Hungarian infantry
coats were virtually identical to the German ones
- except that the Hungarians had pointed cuffs.