Richard Delingpole

32. Oberleutnant 1st KK

Austria-Hungary 1915

Landesschützen Regiment. K.K. were the Austrian Landwehr, which in this case meant the Austrian home Army, the common army or k.u.k. (Kaiserlich und Koniglich) being the army of both the Austrian and Hungarian parts of the empire.

They were essentially mountain troops, hence the edelweiss on the collar.

Despite this, they were sent to the eastern front and Galicia in the early war to fight the Russians, before the entry of the Italians into the war in 1915, from when they spent most of their war fighting them in the Dolomites.

The officer pictured is wearing the early war uniform in Hechtgrau or (pike grey). Good for mountains, but not the open plains! It was replaced by field grey in 1916.

The feather in the cap is another mountain reference and is feathers from the black grouse.

The uniform for the Landesschützen was cut boxy and square for more freedom of movement, for climbing and scrabbling about, hence the pleated back, buttoned pockets, to stop stuff falling out, and the knee breeches with stockings. Much easier to change if they get wet in snow or bad weather than puttees or gaiters.

The blue snow strips over the boots are to stop stones etc getting in the boots.

He is armed with the unique Gebirgstruppen (mountain troops) pattern officers sabre, shortened so as to be of more practical use in confined spaces, and again, not clattering against rocks etc.

The gold bullion trimmed officer’s portepee was also worn in the field early war.

The pistol in the large holster is the Roth Steyr M12 automatic pistol. This was stripper clip fed, hence the odd shape of the holster, to contain extra clips.

Finally he is carrying a private purchase water bottle and binoculars.

Richard Delingpole