Gebirgsschützenkompanie Hofmark Söllhuben
Prepared by J. Röhrdanz, April 2005
Since centuries the Alps have been a transit region also for troops and looting gangs as well as scene of mutual power struggles of the local nations. The history books tell of the great movements and battles which have taken place there – but they don’t tell about the great pain which suffered especially the rural population by these events.
Already in former times (Middle Ages) people formed groups to defend the home country and their families. They have been less organised and instructed in military disciplines and were equipped with primitive arms. They were not very successful in their courageous and disastrous fights.
The rural population was not interested in the military service, but they were loyal and faithful to their sovereigns and they were ready to help them in the fight against enemies. That is why the sovereigns initiated to hire forces for the defence of the home country. Men especially young hunters and riflemen have been hired, instructed, and gathered to so called ‘Landfahnen’ (Squadrons) of about 300 men. The first time that they are mentioned in a chronicle document is in 1439 when the Duke Henry XVI of Bayern-Landshut drafted ‘Landfahnen’ of Rosenheim against the Duke Ludwig of Bayern-Ingoldstadt. This call also was directed to the region Hohenaschau and the Hofmark Söllhuben.
Since then the squadrons have been put into action in several battles and fought with only few exceptions for the matter of their sovereigns. Uniform like clothing (‘Montur’) have been defined in those times.
Gebirgsschützenkompanien as organisation of the state have been disbanded in 1869. From 1933 until 1945 Gebigsschützen were undesired and therefore forbidden.
After World War II a refoundation of the historic Gebirgsschützenkompanien took place in 1949. Nowadays there are 48 Squadrons in Bavaria to cultivate the historic tradition. Gebirgsschützenkompanien are situated in Old Bavaria, Tyrol, Southern Tyrol, and ‘Welsh’ Tyrol (Northern Italia/Trient). They come together every two years to the great Convention of the Alp region (6 – 8 thousand Schützen).
Actually the carrying columns of the Gebirgssschützen ideals are:
Cultivating the tradition, especially the Bavarian language;
Cultivating ideational values of the society and the state;
Religious integrity conform to Bavarian catholic faith; the Gebirgsschützen worship the holy mother Mary as their patron saint (Great Day of the patron saint in May);
Practising of rifle shooting for a natural valiant bearing.
The refoundation of the Gebirgsschützenkompanie Hofmark Söllhuben took place in 1983. The Hofmark Söllhuben fell to the count of Preysing by the succession of majority of Maximilian IV of Preysing in 1720. This fact is the initial event for the amicable association of the Söllhuben Squadron to the house of Preysing. So Count Christoph of Preysing is an active member and the patron of the new Söllhuben Gebirgsschützenkompanie.
Traditionally the typical rural professions have been represented at the Gebirgsschützen. And still nowadays in the squadron there are craftsmen, farmers, as well as merchants, self employed people, and others.
Also sovereigns, representatives of the aristocracy and even the pope feel solidarity as members of honour to the Gebirgsschützenkompanien. The friendship of a Kompanie with pope Benedict XVI – in those days still Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger – caused an invitation to his 75th birthday to Rome. A delegation of the Söllhuben Gebirgsschützenkompanie was represented there, too. The salute of honour which had been celebrated made an impressive impactl on the audience as well as on the alarm systems of the Vatican.