Austrian arms play a major part in American History as many thousands were imported by the North and South during the Civil War. Many of these were the earlier console tube locks which were easily converted to percussion by adding a drum and nipple. These Console and Augustin locks can be easily fired today by laying a musket cap upside down in the channel and closing the latch around it. The firing anvil will easily set them off. We wish to thank John Hakes, Terry Kirkpatrick, Kurt Gubert, Stephen Weber and John Furman for their help with these weapons.
The history of the Austrian Jagers starts in
the 18th Century, when other European military powers didnâ€™t even think
about havingĹnpecialist troopnĹfor the â€śsmall warâ€ť or â€śguerrillaâ€ť as it
translates in Spanish. The Balkans, with the military (Granitza) between the
West and the Ottoman Empire, provided ample occasion for this kind of
warfare. The vital task was laid upon local militia, soon to be organized in
regiments, the famous â€śGrenzersâ€ť. The system was meant to be autonomous, the
soldiers being farmers and vice versa. Having to defend their own homes
against constant raids by marauding enemy cavalry turned these men into real
specialist. This was their tribute for the farmland they received, but these
regiments also had to provide troops for the regular army in operation
theaters outside their own homeland. The role they played during Austriaâ€™s
wars with Prussia was unanimously regarded as very important, the Grenzers
being able to threaten almost all lines of communication and supply, and
providing a formidable foe on the battlefield itself, by being able to make
the best use of terrain features. The instructions for the Jager Battalions
clearly stated that unnecessary fights should be avoided. The Jagers were
not supposed to do the job of the line infantry.
The uniform of the Jagers was partly based on traditional patterns, as the hunting garments in Austria (also today) were often gray with green ornaments. This combination does not appear to provide much camouflage at first sight, but tests made by the British army during Napoleonic period to show the effects of different colored targets on the number of hits scored by sharpshooters clearly gave the grey color an advantage even over green.