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Imperial-Royal Landwehr
Kaiserlich-Königliche Landwehr
Founded 1400
Headquarters Vienna
Emperor Wolfgang I

The Imperial-Royal Landwehr (German: Kaiserlich-Königliche Landwehr) is the land component of the Armed Forces of Austria, serving the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and the archduke of Austria for the protection of Germany and Imperial lands.

The largest branch of the Austrian Armed Forces, the Landwehr is responsible for retaining order in Habsburg lands. The land forces primarily consist of militia and conscripted lower class citizens, as well as royal units trained for border protection and in wartime.


Before the 15th century the army of Austria was almost entirely composed of levies raised from local counties loyal to the Austrian ruler. This tradition would continue will into the 1400's, as levies continued to comprise the backbone of the Austrian army. Beginning in 1400 in an effort to adequately protect the nation, Albert IV called for the creation of a professional army loyal to Austria. Recruits from many of Austria’s provinces began to be called for training in such an army, employing tactics learned from Swiss mercenaries and leading military techniques. The initial army was mostly taken from the medieval levies of central Austria and kept in reserve.

With the Austrian levy replaced recruits began to specialize in certain schools of fighting, creating divisions of pikemen and other forms of infantry. Individual county armies were left intact, allowing local counts and rulers subordinate to the archduke to continue utilizing levies and other means of protection. This army would lay the foundation for the Imperial-Royal Landwehr (German: kaiserlich-königliche Landwehr or k.k. Landwehr). Today the Austrian Landwehr is the largest branch of Austria's military, serving in services to the Archduchy and to the Holy Roman Empire.

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