LANDWEHR, a German word meaning " defence of the country"; but the term as applied to an insurrectional militia is very ancient, and " lantveri " are mentioned in Baluzii Capilularia, as quoted in Hallam's Middle Ages, i. 262, loth ed. The landwehr in Prussia was first formed by a royal edict of the 17th of March 1813, which called up all men capable of bearing arms between the ages of eighteen and forty-five, and not serving in the regular army, for the defence of the country. After the peace of 1815 this force was made an integral part of the Prussian army, each brigade being composed of one line and one landwehr regiment. This, however, retarded the mobilization and diminished the value of the first line, and by the re-organization of 1859 the landwehr troops were relegated to the second line. In Austria the landwehr is a totally different organization. It is in reality a cadre force existing alongside the regular army, and to it are handed over such recruits as, for want of vacancies, cannot be placed in the latter. In Switzerland the landwehr is a second line force, in which all citizens serve for twelve years, after passing twelve in the " Auszug " or field army.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)