TRISANNA HISTORY: THE KAPPL SCHÜTZEN COMPANY

The Kappl Schützen, or riflemen, were reestablished in 1951. But their history began much earlier. An historical profile from the very first mention up to the present.

“The land militia (company of riflemen) with 25 men under Corporal Christian Pall (from Ulmich) have served your high prince-bishop’s grace with praiseworthy fusillades.”

With these words, the Kappl Schützen, or company of riflemen, appeared in the records for the first time. This was in 1734 in the Kappl Church Chronicle of the priest at that time, Father Aigner. Even back then, the Schützen had public duties to fulfil, on this occasion at the ceremony for the consecration of the newly-built church in Kappl. Their main task in those days was, however, another one: the military defence of the nation.

So the history of the Kappl Schützen does not begin in the year of its reformation in 1951. But there is unfortunately no record available from earlier times. This might be because it was not an individual company before, but was instead a platoon within the Landeck Schützen.  All the same, some interesting hints on the history of the Kappl Schüutzen can be found across the years. For example:
  • In 1796/97 one Christian Stark was mentioned in connection with the Landeck Schützen. He came from Kappl, and was senior lieutenant in the Landeck Court Schützen,  to which a platoon from the parish of Kappl also belonged .
Kappler Schützen in 1913 in front of the Hotel Schwarzer Adler, today the Hotel Post, in Kappl. Photo: Gerald Zangerle
  • Michael Haas, also from Kappl, occupied the Brente station in Tannenheimertal am Joch near Hindelang with 18 riflemen. He successfully fought off an attack from the French.
  • In 1809, two companies of Kappl Schützen, together with other companies of riflemen, fought off the invasion of Bavarian and French troops into Paznaun at the Battle of Giggler Tobl, capturing a flag and a cannon, and taking 40 men prisoner.
  • In the course of this battle, Franz Anton Huber, a landlord from Kappl, is said to have been offered a post as a lieutenant in the Bavarian army by a Bavarian general.
  • At the Battle of Solferino in 1859, Alois Sailer of Kappl was the acting sergeant of the Landeck Court Company. He fought so well that he was awarded the silver medal for bravery. Seven years later, after the Schützen had successfully fought off the attack of the numerically superior Italians, the emperor expressed “his sovereign majesty’s personal recognition of praise” and he was awarded the Military Merit Order on the ribbon of the Military Service Cross.
Kappl Schützen group photo, 1976
  • On June 23, 1915, following Italy’s declaration of war, the Landeck rifle battalion joined the fight to free the Tyrol with 500 men. One of the three companies was composed of Paznaun rifle guilds, led by Gottlieb Jehle of Kappl.
  • After the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany, they turned in their weapons. The riflemen from Kappl were not active during wartime or the years after the war.
  • After a break of 13 years, the Kappl company was reestablished in 1951, starting with 32 men. In 1959 they were fitted out with traditional costumes, the same as they had worn over a hundred years earlier.
  • The Schützen company are still very much active today, and have demonstrated in contests over the course of the past ten years just what excellent target shooters they have in their ranks.
Photos:  Kappl Schützen company