Jäger: Europe's First Special Operations Forces: History, Organization, Arms & Equipment of the Austro-Hungarian Empire's Elite Light Infantry to 1866

Jäger: Europe's First Special Operations Forces: History, Organization, Arms & Equipment of the Austro-Hungarian Empire's Elite Light Infantry to 1866

by James V. Capua, Col. Carl M. Kruger


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Jäger were Europe’s first special operations forces, and their success on the battlefield was legendary. Yet, until now, no modern account of Austria’s elite Jäger troops in the 18th and 19th centuries has been available in either English or German.

Written by a historian and a West Pointer with thirty-three years’ service in the U.S. Army, including with paratroops, this book introduces readers to Austrian Jäger arms, equipment, training and tactics, as well as their unique role in the Habsburg Empire’s conflicts. Carefully illustrated, with many images never before published, Jäger transcends the standard unit history. General readers of military history as well as arms and militaria collectors will find a comprehensive treatment of its subject in rich context, including:

  • The emergence of the military Jäger from a culture of hunting and rifled arms
  • The place of Austrian Jäger in the evolution of European light infantry
  • Jäger in Austria’s wars against Frederick the Great, Napoleon, Bismarck’s Prussia and in the wars of Italian independence
  • Jäger firearms and edged weapons
  • Authoritative information for collectors

With Jäger, a too-long neglected chapter in European military history emerges from relative obscurity, challenging conventional academic wisdom and popular historical fancy about the origins of European elite light infantry.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781734581416
Publisher: James V. Capua
Publication date: 04/06/2020
Pages: 308
Product dimensions: 7.50(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents


CHAPTER 1: Beginnings

The Hunter and the Rifle


Grenzer Troops: The Military Frontier as a Source of Austrian Light Troops and its Consequences

CHAPTER 2: Emergence of the Feld-Jäger

The Seven years’ War

The Frei-Korps Jäger of the Late 18th Century Austrian Wars

CHAPTER 3: Jäger in the Wars against Revolutionary and Napoleonic France

The Wars of the First Coalition

The Tiroler Jäger Regiment

Archduke Karl and Jäger Expansion 1806-1809

Defeat and Glory: 1809-1815

CHAPTER 4: Jäger in the Age of Metternich, 1815-1848

1815: Italian Harbinger

The “Kaiser-Jäger” Regiment

Jäger Organization, Training and Uniform

CHAPTER 5: Jäger in the Italian Wars, 1848-1859

Radetzky’s Jäger: 1848-49

Debacle in 1859

CHAPTER 6: The Seven Weeks’ War, 1866,


The Quadrilateral Again

Defense of the South Tirol

CHAPTER 7: Jäger Firearms

CHAPTER 8: “If only he had become an Unterjäger” A Jäger Story

APPENDIX 1: Jäger Edged Weapons: What We Know and Don’t Know

APPENDIX 2: The Vienna Arsenal

APPENDIX 3: Marks on Jäger Firearms




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