Infantry weapons of the Austrian countries of the 19th century

Autor: Radek Havelka / Admin 🕔︎︎ 👁︎ 3.119

Austria went through several conflicts in the 19th century, and the armament of the C-K army took a big step forward, just like in other countries. In the early 19th century, during the Napoleonic Wars, handguns were equipped with flintlocks. In the 1960s percussion locks were front-loading, which backfired badly in the war with Prussia. By the end of the century, they were rearmament to cartridge rifles - Mannlicher rifles with a straight breech or the legendary Mauser breech.


The M 1798 flintlock rifle


After the war of the first anti-French coalition, Austria set up a commission chaired by Marshal Leopold Freiherr von Unterberger. This commission worked on the design of modern small arms based on French models. An example is the French flintlock. However, it took a long time to produce a sufficient number of weapons of this pattern, so these weapons remained in service until the mid-19th century after a number of modernizations.


M 1798 Infantry Rifle

The M 1798 infantry rifle surpassed the infantry rifles of other armies of its time in reliability, accuracy and range. It was loaded with twelve grams of black powder and a spherical bullet. The powder per pan was 1g. This rifle weighed about 5kg, depending on the workmanship or whether it had a stabber attached. A riding pistol of the same design had a very similar system.



Percussion weapons

Percussion weapons are more reliable than flintlock weapons. Front-loading guns were prevalent in the Austrian army, but unlike flintlock guns, the percussion primer initiated the ignition by passing through the piston, where it ignited the powder. The most common percussion weapons in the C-K army were the Lorenz system.

1854 Lorenz

Unfortunately, Lorenz rifles didn't come into the world until the end of the era of front-loading rifles. Although the rate of fire was not as fast as the rear-loading rifles, it had better accuracy, range, and reliability. Therefore, when it is claimed that Austria was defeated at Hradec only because of the use of front rifles against Prussian rear rifles, it is not entirely true. Apart from such accurate rifles, Austria had the best cavalry and artillery.


1860 Lorenz

The 1860 Lorenz and 1862 Lorenz pistols followed the same pattern as the 1854 Lorenz (infantry, hunting and special forces rifles). These differed slightly in the safety. In the 19th century, short guns were mostly used by cavalry units or officers



Although the 1854 Lorenz rifle abounded in reliability and accuracy, rate of fire was already becoming crucial in modern warfare. That's why Austria began to rearm with rear-loading rifles. One such system was the Werndl - the Pigeon system with a rotating block breech.

Wänzl M1866

The Wänzl M 1866 was a conversion system for the Lorenz 1854 rifles. By rebuilding these rifles, the C-K Army was able to cope with the production of Werndl rifles for a long time. It was a rifle where the slide was tilted upwards. This rifle already used a single cartridge with a rimfire.



Werndl - Pigeon M1867

The Werndl - Holub 1867 was a single-shot buttplate chambered for a single cartridge. It replaced the Wänzl rifles, which had only a brief era in the armoury. Its designers were the Austrian factory Josef Werndl and the Czech rifle maker Karel Holub. But because Josef Werndl bought the patent for this rifle from Karel Holub, it was designated the Werndl System in the army.


C-K Army Assault Weapons

Since technological progress was really rushing in the 19th century, it did not escape the Austrian lands and the C-K Army. Legends named Kropatschek, Mannlicherka and the legendary and unsurpassed Mauser bolt mechanism and its equipped Comision Gewehr 88 came to the fore. Please note, these are no longer necessarily historic guns up to 1890, so a ZP is required for collecting purposes as well.


Steyr Kropatschek 1886

Alfred von Kropatschek was inspired by the Mauser system, which is most evident in the breech design. This rifle was found in the C-K armed forces, as well as the French armed forces, where it was the model for the production of the Lebel 1886 rifle.




The Mannlicher straight breech rifle system came in several models The M 1885 did not enter service due to the complexity of the cartridge case. The new M 1886 model did enter the arsenal, the cartridge frame was inserted from the top and fell out from the bottom after the bullets were fired. The Mannlicher M 1890 and M 1895 already had an improved breech and were used by the first Austrian troops during World War I and after the war by Czechoslovak soldiers.



Revolver M98

The M98 revolver (Rast-Gasser) was one of the most common short guns available in both the military and civilian market. This revolver had a hinged sidearm that could be used to expose the trigger mechanism, which simplified cleaning. No tools were needed for routine maintenance.



Mauser C96

Mauser C96 is one of the first self-loading pistols. It is a German-made weapon, but was also produced under license in other countries. The cartridge box was located in front of the gun's bow and was loaded from above with cartridge strips. A holster could be attached to it, which also served as a holster.



Mauser rifles

Mauser rifles is a collective term for rifles using Mauser's patented slide release, which is still used in rifles and small-bore rifles today. These are German rather than Austrian weapons. The Mauser 1871 chambered for the black powder cartridge did not make it into the arsenal of the German army, but the legendary Kommission Gewehr 88 did. Austria produced Gewehr 98 rifles under license, which replaced Mannlichers. But beware, these are no longer historic weapons.



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