Enter your email address to receive notifications of new posts by email.

The Vault

Vintage Saturday: Winter Watch

Austrian troops in the First World War, with a Steyr M95 rifle and carbine

I bet they’re pretty cold even under those fur coats (click to enlarge)

Bulgarian troops in the First World War, with fixed bayonets on a Steyr M95 rifle and carbine.

18 comments to Vintage Saturday: Winter Watch

  • zach

    Any idea where this was taken?

  • El Gato

    They look Bulgarian to me. Wrong hat for an KuK soldat. I may be wrong however… Great photo!

    • Hmm…could be. I’m sure one of our folks with more Balkans knowledge will take a look later today…

    • Chris Morton

      I agree. I don’t ever recall seeing a WWI era Austrian soldier wearing a peaked style cap, only their kepis, the Bergmutze type, and perhaps some form of “side” cap (“service” cap and “bonnet de police” in U.S. and French parlance respectively).

    • Denny

      Yeah, I feel same way. These are not really ‘our’ guys (which included both of my grandfathers).

  • Turk

    Ahhh, the folks who were trying to Kill my Gran Pa…(He was a Corporale-Maggiore in the Royal Italian Army in WW I)

  • Javier

    Could they belong to one of the Austrian Polish Legions?. They wore a peaked cap.

    Polish Legions

    • Chris Morton

      Didn’t the Polish peaked cap have four corners like czapka? I highly doubt they’re Polish, in ANYBODY’s army in WWI

      • Javier

        In WWI there were Polish units in the Austro-Hungarian, Russian, and French armies. Those fighting for the Austrians wore a regular peaked cap, as Pilsudski himself wore.

  • Bill F.

    Heh Turk, that would be my grandfather on the Austrian side of the lines.. I’m not an expert but those hats definitely do not look correct. There were a variety used by the Austrians, but the ones I know of had belt-like pieces of cloth joined by two buttons (vertical) at the center-front of the hat. This would usually be above the brim but I know one example where a narrow version of what I just described joined below the brim.

  • thomas

    What I see is a typical day in the life of a soldier in winter, in the trenches .. and this on a GOOD day!!! Great coat, worthless headgear! The word is MISERABLE!

    • Martin

      My 1st thought was the worthless headgear and lack of anything on the hands. I have to believe that frost bite/freezing on face, ears and fingers would have been very high.

      I too would think that coat would be fine as it both stops the wind and has a great inside insulator. Plus it looks like they have a wool coat on under the leather outside coat.

      I’ve stood outside in sub -25F for hours with my the trunk of my body attired like them and didn’t get cold at all. But I also had good head and hand gear. Without the head/hand gear it would have been a few minutes.

  • Bulgarian found same hat and uniform on axes forum.

  • Javier

    The guys in the background, with cockades on their caps, do look bulgarian.

  • David Carlson

    THose are Bulgarian soldiers, not Austrohungarian Kaiserliche und Königliche troops. Gets confusing, what with the Steyr-Mannlicher rifles and so on.

  • Bill Lester

    Caption Time

    Guy on the ground: “Hey Rudolf, that cabbage from last night was a lot better going down than coming out!”

  • R. Aballe

    Those are indeed Bulgarian soldiers. The straight-pull Mannlicher M 95 rifles and carbines were regulation issue in the Royal Bulgarian Army and remained so well after 1945, albeit with 2nd rate troops. As for the photo itself, I recall having seen a very similar one, perhaps in the excellent book by Alexandr Vchkov on Bulgarian uniforms and kit, published in Sofia in 2010.

Leave a Reply

  

  

  

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>