Although Machine Guns were not new in the beginning of WW1 they were still quite rare in the Austro-Hungarian army with only 2.700 pieces in the entire army.
During the war the importance of the machinegun became clear and many new machineguns were produced and deliverd to the infantry but also to cavalry units (that often became dismounted) during the war and of course the mountain troops. By the end of the war more than 40.500 machineguns would be in use!
Badges of the Machinegun Units
Machine gun units could be recognized by the specific collar badge as can be seen above (left and right). It depicts a three headed dragon spraying fire in all directions. The specific cap badge for machine gun units can be seen in the middle between the rank stars.
There was a proficiency badge for machinegun markmanship. The badge also with the dragon. It could be worn on the right breast above the pocket.
Below pictures of the actual badges on the photo album being worn by the original owner who was part of the Machinegun Company II of KuK IR 51.
Below examples of Machinegun collar badges being worn on different uniforms of men of several different units!
Cavalry: KuK Dragoons and Honved Hussars
The cavalry units that became dismounted during the war and most often acted as regular infantry. They also had machinegun detachments in their regiments. The collar badge was the same as can be seen with the Huszar in the photo above. But the clothing could be different, specifically the jackets had some different versions.
Honved Cavalry Machinegun detachments Field Grey Fur Jacket being worn in the photo above and next to it a photo from the book The Emperor’s Coat describing this type of coat.
Dragoon officer of a Machinegun detachment with the regular Dragoon’s fur coat with white lambskin and not the black version.
Cavalry Machine Gun unit with a nice variation of all of the coats shown and discussed above! Both the Honvéd and the regular KuK cavalry versions
KUK IR 48 – Machinegun Instruction detachment
And a document from my collection the Belobende Anerkennung (Bronze Signum Laudis medal equivalent) or honorable acknowledgment for the Commander of a Machinegun Instruction unit of KuK Infantry Regiment 48. He received the document upon his leave of this command.
Machineguns in the field. All period pictures and the paperwork are part of my collection.
Source: The Emperor’s Coat by Dr. Ortner