The History of the Mayrhofen Rifle Brigade

In 2018, the honour of hosting the 25th Meeting of the Alpine Rifle Brigades (Schützen) has been bestowed on Mayrhofen’s rifle brigade (Schützenkompanie). The Schützenkompanie in Mayrhofen is one of 15 rifle brigades in the Ziller Valley and belongs to the battalion of the Upper Ziller Valley.
Mayrhofen Rifle Brigade

©Georg Kröll

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An incomplete history

Unfortunately, there is no surviving documentation about the origins of Mayrhofen’s Schützenkompanie, which is thought to have been founded in the first half of the 19th century. However, church records of the parish of Mayrhofen mention an existing rifle brigade in 1850.

Alpenregionstreffen der Schützen
©Georg Kröll
Alpenregionstreffen der Schützen
©Georg Kröll
Alpenregionstreffen der Schützen
©Georg Kröll
[Translate to en:] ©Georg Kröll

They know how to celebrate!

In 1957, Mayrhofen’s Schützenkompanie celebrated its 100 year anniversary with a festival which reached far beyond the Ziller Valley. Rifle brigades within the Ziller Valley as well as from North, East and South Tyrol took part in the celebrations. It was also during this festival that the decades-old alliance with the Schützen group “Andreas Hofer Gladbeck” was made official. The celebrations of the brigade’s 150th anniversary were planned to coincide with the 19th Meeting of the Ziller Valley Regiments in 2007.

[Translate to en:] ©Photo Hruschka

Honorary Captain Johann Sandhofer

Under the leadership of the legendary Captain Johann Sandhofer, who was known as “Sondhof Hansl” and led the rifle brigade for over 40 years, over 100 men marched with the Schützen during special church events. In 2000, he was succeeded by Captain Gerhard Biller, who still leads the brigade today.

The Schützen on parade

The highlights of the Schützen calendar are the church processions, which take place three times a year, as well as various festivals (meetings of regiments or battalions), the forest festival, the annual mountain mass, and, of course, the “Schützenjahrtag” (yearly anniversary) which is marked by the Annual General Meeting.

In a tradition particular to Mayrhofen, the rifle brigade also march in celebration of almost every golden wedding anniversary. Together with the town band, the Schützen congratulate the couple with a gun salute and a procession in their honour.

[Translate to en:] ©Becknaphoto

Mayrhofen’s Rifle Brigade in 2018

Currently, the rifle brigade boasts 124 members. The 105 active members include 6 sutlers, 11 officers, 3 cadets, 4 engineers and 83 riflemen. 

The tent construction

Das Festabzeichen

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