The General Lanyard

The year 1868 was a remarkable one for the Austro-Hungarian Army. The basic color of the uniforms were changed from the traditional white to dark blue, the turn-down collars were changed into the stand-up pattern, the switch from the muzzle-loading Lorenz System to the modern Werndl System rifle started and finally the first Qualification Badges in the form of Lanyards were introduced. Because all these reorganizations and innovations took some time, often until 1870, this newly created qualification lanyard was also worn with the old white uniform. The woolen 4mm thick lanyard was 53,5cm in length extending from a small to a larger loop of which 11cm was twisted. Below the larger loop was a ball (3,5cm diameter) from which two further lanyards were suspended, each of them 11cm long with a smaller (3cm diameter) and a larger (4cm diameter) ball attached. The larger loop was fixed with the button on the left shoulder and the small loop on the 3rd button of the jacket and from the 2nd button of the right button-row of the greatcoat. Later, when other qualification badges in the form of metal cockades were introduced, the individual wearers were often seen fixing the smaller loop on the clip of these badges. Also often seen on contemporary photos was the usage of some small whistles, anchors or other adornments fixed to the smaller loop.

During the following decades this kind of lanyard became very popular and utilized different colors for several qualifications. Only the Navy and the cavalry never introduced such of qualification lanyards, probably the idea was that such a loose swinging lanyard would handicap the soldier on duty. Eventually this type of qualification lanyard became so typical for the Austro-Hungarian uniform as the cuff-title became on German uniforms. After the war such qualification lanyards were used by the Hungarian Army until 1932, then the system was enlarged to lanyards with one, two or three of the medium balls to indicate the grade and further used until 1944. In the Austrian Bundesheer lanyards of this type were newly introduced in December 1929 and used until March 1938. After the 2nd World War a qualification lanyard of this type was introduced in October 1962, with grey woolen balls and a gray, silver or golden colored lanyard to indicate the different grades but abolished in April 1974.

Between 1868 and 1918 the following lanyards of the standard type were used:

Color Date Description
Scharlachrot

(bright red)

1868 Schützenauszeichnung für die Infanterie - Marksmanship Lanyard made of bright red wool, introduced in July 1868 for soldiers of the infantry regiments including those of the border infantry regiments which were disbanded in 1873. From 1888 the soldiers of the Honvéd-infantry regiments were also eligible for the lanyard. In order to qualify the individual soldier had to successfully pass three basic exercises and could then continue to wear this lanyard as long as he successfully passed his annual training tests.
Grasgrün

(grass green)

1868 Schützenauszeichnung für die Jägertruppe - Marksmanship Lanyard made of green wool, introduced in July 1868 for soldiers of the Feldjäger battalions and the Tiroler Jägerregiment. From 1878 the soldiers of the k.k. Landwehr infantry regiments, with the exception of the Landesschützen, could also receive this lanyard. The qualification requirement  was the same as for the k.u.k. infantry.
Stahlgrün

(steel green)

1869 Steuermannsauszeichnung für die Pioniertruppe - Lanyard for trained helmsman of the engineers troops. Introduced in July 1869 as "Abzeichen für die Steuermänner des Pionier-Regiments" and renamed as above in 1906. The soldier had to successfully pass the training course for helmsman and was required to demonstrate his skills in boat handling and Pontoon-bridge construction.
Kirschrot

(dark red)

1869 Arbeiterauszeichnung für die Genietruppe - Lanyard for skillful work for the engineers corps, introduced in November 1869. In April 1873 it was laid down that soldiers or Gefreite from the engineers corps who won the particular Arbeiterauszeichnung (a cockade) could wear this lanyard when transferred to a Genieregiment. Beside the transferred soldiers the decoration was limited to 8-10 men per company.
Dunkelgrün

(dark green)

1890 Arbeiterauszeichnung für das Eisenbahn- und Telegraphenregiment - Lanyard for skillful work for the railway and signal regiment, later divided into a railway and a signal regiment, introduced in 1890. The soldier had to prove his skills in railroad construction and  railway station and telegraph line building. Additionally he had to pass the basic examinations in signals, line laying and blasting operations. As usual the awards were given by the regimental commander on the recommendation of the company commanders but limited to 8-10 soldiers per company.
Scharlachrot/Gold

(bright red/gold)

1906 Scharfschützenauszeichnung für die Infanterie - Higher grade of the Marksmanship Lanyard introduce in 1906. The lanyard itself was made of golden colored metal filament and the balls of bright red wool. Between the balls of the two suspended lanyards were small golden sliding knots. During the years, especially after the introduction of the Steyr rifle in 1895, the qualification standards of the Marksmanship Lanyards became much too easy and nearly every soldier attained it. For this higher grade Scharfschützen Lanyard one had to hold the basic Marksmanship Lanyard and to reach the higher qualification required that 60% of an individuals' bullets must hit the target during the following annual training season.
Grasgrün/Gold

(green/gold)

1906 Scharfschützenauszeichnung für die Jägertruppe - Higher grade of the Marksmanship Lanyard for the soldiers of the Feldjäger battalions, the Tiroler Jägerregimenter and the k.k. Landwehr infantry regiments, with the exception of the Landesschützen regiments. The lanyard itself was made of golden colored metal filament and the balls of green wool. Between the balls of the two suspended lanyards were small golden sliding knots.  The same standards as for the k.u.k. infantry were required. As with all qualification lanyards, awards were ceased in 1914. It is probable that  the Field snipers' badge of 1917 was a carry-on of this particular decoration.

 

Korporal with too large a twisted lanyard, probably privately purchased Scharfschützenauszeichnung, Zugsführer of Infantry Scharfschützenauszeichnung, Korporal of Honvéd Infantry Regiment
Schützenauszeichnung, Soldier of Feldjägerbaon/Landwehr infantry regiment number 24 Arbeiterauszeichnung für Eisenbahnregiment, Gefreiter of this regiment Steuermannsauszeichnung der Pioniertruppe, (Korporal) Note frequent use of little anchor as pendant for this lanyard.

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