In 1866, 80 men went to war - this is why 81 returned to Liechtenstein

En 1866, 80 hommes sont partis à la guerre - voici pourquoi 81 sont rentrés au Liechtenstein - Phil Team

Today, Liechtenstein is a small country - the fourth smallest state in Europe and the sixth smallest in the world. It lies on the banks of the Rhine, between Switzerland and Austria.

It owes its name to the princes of Lichtenstein, who united the county of Vaduz and the lands of Schellenberg in 1719, thus forming their small but charming principality of Liechtenstein.

They managed to stay neutral (and thus largely avoid) both world wars. In 1943, the principality went so far as to ban the Nazi party. At that time, in fact, they did not even have an army anymore, having completely dissolved it in 1868.

And yet, their final deployment in 1866 remains famous for two reasons: first, they lost no battles and suffered no casualties (having avoided all combat). Second, they left with a force of 80 - and returned home with 81.

At least that's what the legend says...


During the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, Liechtenstein sent an army of 80 men to guard the Brenner Pass between Austria and Italy, while a reserve of 20 men remained behind.

While the deployed force was there to defend the territory against any attack from the Prussian-allied Italians, according to War History Online, "there was nothing to do but sit in the beautiful mountains, drink wine and beer, smoke a pipe and relax."

In the main theater of the war, the Battle of Königgrätz will allow Prussia to achieve a victory, thus bringing the war to a decisive end.

So the men from Liechtenstein went home. But when they returned, their numbers had risen to 81.

But who is the extra man?

According to The World at War, an Austrian liaison officer joined them. Lonely Planet seems to share a version that refers to the newcomer as an "Italian friend" - other sources suggest he is a defector.

None of these stories seem true, but no one has denied them either.

Meanwhile, Liechtenstein remains a prosperous and successful country, which still does not have an army to this day.


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