On this wikipedia page, I read the funny story of the Lichtenstein's army, which should have at least earned the title of the "most friendly army in the world".

I am not a historian, and I have no idea where to look for other authoritative sources, but I would like to know if that paragraph is history or if it's only a nice legend. Then my question is: is there an authoritative source that proves it?

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    Even if the facts were real, stating that arriving in Liechtenstein a stronger force than when they had left. is missleading unless in their way from the mountain pass back to Vaduz they had enlisted the Austrian within the army (and no, you usually do not enlist soldiers on the march, and much less foreign ones). It would make most sense to call that Austrian a civilian, an interned Austrian soldier or even a prisoner.
    – SJuan76
    May 29, 2019 at 14:53
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    @SJuan76: true, but i mean that the 81st men went happily "back". As long as it wasn't forced it's positive to me.
    – theGarz
    May 29, 2019 at 16:08
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    I thought you were going to say one was a pregnant woman masquerading as an enlisted man... ... but the story as presented is kind of bleah... and probably happened all the time. May 29, 2019 at 18:44

1 Answer 1


Seems to check out, for a small part at least:

With 80 men moved out, with 81 returned home

The relief at home was great: "Already in Nendeln the contingent of authorities, relatives and population was celebrated," says Geiger. And the legend is true: The 80 Liechtenstein soldiers came home with one more soldier whom the troop had won as a friend. "There are rumours to this day that he was an Austrian conscientious objector or servant looking for work in Liechtenstein," explains Geiger. That, on the other hand, is not true. The 81st man was an Austrian officer who accompanied the contingent as a liaison man and as a kind of guard of honour.

Als die Armee mit 81 Mann zurückkehrte

But when they picked up the foreigner, and of which nationality, seems doubtful. This claims "an Italian". This as well:

In 1866 they went to war for the last time, with 80 men they went out against the Italians. With 81 men they returned home - on the way they had made friends.

As it was at the time 'for the Austrians' and planned as against the Prussians, but ultimately guarding against Italians, either way cannot be ruled out.

At least, the "80 men marched out", is long accepted history.

Even if the identity or nationality of the new friend seems doubtful, Geiger is the author of numerous books on the matter and curator of the national museum of Liechtenstein.

Geiger, Peter: 1866 – Liechtenstein im Krieg – Vor 150 Jahren, Katalog zur gleichnamigen, von Peter Geiger kuratierten Ausstellung im Liechtensteinischen Landesmuseum (Mai – September 2016), Vaduz 2016, 96 Seiten.

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