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She was built at the Ganz-Danubius shipyard in Fiume , where she was laid down in January She was finally commissioned into the Austro-Hungarian Navy in December Armed with a main battery of twelve Alongside the other ships of her class, she was stationed out of the Austro-Hungarian naval base at Pola.
In June , in an bid to earn safer passage for German and Austro-Hungarian U-boats through the Strait of Otranto , the Austro-Hungarian Navy attempted to break the Barrage with a major attack on the strait. She is the only battleship whose sinking was filmed during World War I.
The ship's wreck was located in the mids by the Yugoslav Navy. Her bow broke off when it hit the seabed while the stern was still afloat, but is immediately adjacent to the rest of the heavily encrusted hull. She is a protected site of the Croatian Ministry of Culture. As a result, the Austro-Hungarian Navy had little public interest or support.
However, the appointment of Archduke Franz Ferdinand — heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne and a prominent and influential supporter of naval expansion — to the position of admiral in September greatly increased the importance of the Navy in the eyes of both the general public and the Austrian and Hungarian Parliaments. In , the Austro-Hungarian Navy began an expansion program intended to equal that of the other Great Powers of Europe.
Between and , railroads linking Trieste and the Dalmatian coastline to the interior of the Empire had been constructed through Austria's Alpine passes. Additionally, lower tariffs on the port of Trieste allowed for a rapid expansion of the city and a similar growth in Austria-Hungary's merchant marine. As Austria-Hungary became more connected to naval affairs than in past decades, a new line of battleships would be necessary to match the Empire's growing naval interests.
The disparity between the Austro-Hungarian and Italian navies had existed since the unification of Italy ; in the late s Italy had the third-largest fleet in the world, behind the French Republic's Navy and the British Royal Navy. In , the year before Montecuccoli's appointment, Italy had 18 battleships in commission or under construction compared to 6 Austro-Hungarian battleships.
Following the construction of the final two Regina Elena -class battleships in , the Italian Navy elected to construct a series of large cruisers rather than additional battleships. Furthermore, a major scandal involving the Terni steel works' armor contracts led to a government investigation that postponed several naval construction programs for three years.
These delays meant that the Italian Navy would not initiate construction of another battleship until , and provided the Austro-Hungarian Navy an opportunity to even the disparity between the two fleets. Dreadnought , armed with ten large-caliber guns, was the first of a revolutionary new standard of "all-big-gun" battleships that rendered pre-dreadnought battleships obsolete.
As a result, the value of older battleships declined rapidly in the years after This development gave Austria-Hungary the opportunity to make up for neglecting its navy in past years. Furthermore, Austria-Hungary's improved financial situation following the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of were beginning to reflect in the form of larger budgets being allocated to the Empire's armed forces.
Political will also existed to construct Austria-Hungary's own dreadnought battleship, as both Archduke Ferdinand and Admiral Montecuccoli were supportive of constructing a new class of modern battleships. Shortly after assuming command as Chief of the Navy, Montecuccoli drafted his first proposal for a modern Austrian fleet in the spring of These plans were justified by the League by pointing out that newer battleships were necessary to protect Austria-Hungary's growing merchant marine, and that Italian naval spending was twice that of Austria-Hungary's.
The most notable change in this memorandum compared to Monteccucoli's previous draft from was the inclusion of four additional dreadnought battleships with a displacement of 20, tonnes 19, long tons at load. Montecuccoli's memorandum would eventually be leaked to Italian newspapers just three months after obtaining approval from Emperor Franz Joseph I.
The Italian reaction to the Austro-Hungarian plans was swift, and in June , the Italian dreadnought battleship Dante Alighieri was laid down at the naval shipyard in Castellammare di Stabia. This left the Hungarian Diet without a prime minister for nearly a year. After negotiations which involved the Austro-Hungarian joint ministries of foreign affairs, war and finance, the offer was agreed to by Montecuccoli, but the number of dreadnoughts constructed under this arrangement was reduced to two.
He also worked to secure agreements to sell the ships to, in his words, a "reliable ally" which only Germany could claim to be should the budget crisis in Budapest fail to be settled quickly. The design of the battleship also signaled a change in Austro-Hungarian naval policy, as she was capable of far more than coastal defense or patrolling the Adriatic Sea.
The dramatic increase in spending meant that in the navy spent some Facing potential backlash over constitutional concerns that constructing two Tegetthoff -class battleships committed Austria-Hungary to spend roughly million Krone without prior approval by either the Austrian Reichsrat or the Diet of Hungary, the deal remained secret.
She was designed to displace 20, tonnes 19, long tons; 22, short tons at load, but at full combat load she displaced 21, tonnes 21, long tons; 23, short tons. The hull also failed for her sister ship Viribus Unitis when she was sunk by a mine in November of that same year.
These rangefinders were equipped with an armored cupola, which housed an 8-millimetre 0. This differed from the four shaft arrangement present on her three sister ships. It was reported during the speed trials of her sister ship Tegetthoff that she attained a top speed of These guns consisted of twelve calibre Two turrets each were mounted forward and aft of the ship's main superstructure in a superfiring pair.
Additionally, eighteen calibre 7-centimetre 2. Three more 7-centimetre 2. Two additional 8-millimetre 0. Furthermore, she also fitted with four millimetre This armor belt was located between the midpoints of the fore and aft barbettes, and thinned to millimetres 5. The upper armor belt had a maximum thickness of millimetres 7. The casemate armor was also millimetres 7. The underwater protection system consisted of the extension of the double-bottom upwards to the lower edge of the waterline armor belt, with a thin millimetre 0.
It was backed by a torpedo bulkhead that consisted of two millimetre plates. This design flaw would ultimately prove to be fatal for her and her sister ship Viribus Unitis. This did not prevent rumors from circulating across Europe of two dreadnought battleships being constructed in Austria-Hungary. The British Admiralty considered the rumored construction of the battleships "as a concealed addition to the German fleet", and interpreted the ships as Austria-Hungary's way of repaying Germany for her diplomatic support during the former's annexation of Bosnia in The Admiralty's concerns regarding the true purpose of the Tegetthoff class was so great that a British spy was dispatched to Berlin when Montecuccoli sent an officer from the Naval Section of the War Ministry to obtain recommendations from Tirpitz regarding the design and layout of the battleship.
Aehrenthal denied the construction of any dreadnoughts, but admitted that plans to construct a new battleship class were being considered. In an attempt to assure Cartwright that Austria-Hungary was not constructing any ships for the German Navy, Aehrenthal justified any naval expansion as being necessary to secure Austria-Hungary's strategic interests in the Mediterranean.
At the time, the potential that Austria-Hungary was constructing a class of dreadnought battleships was widely regarded among the British press, public, and politicians as a provocation on the part of Germany. When Winston Churchill was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty in , he rejected any potential Austro-German collusion regarding the battleship. The Reichpost lobbied in support of the project, citing Austria-Hungary's national security concerns with an Italian dreadnought already under construction.
When the story broke, Archduke Ferdinand also worked to build public support for the construction of the battleships, and the Austrian Naval League did the same. Fiume was the only large Hungarian shipyard in Croatia. Ganz-Danubius had been awarded the contract to build the battleship in return for the Hungarian government agreeing to the and naval budgets which funded the Tegetthoff class.
However, this contract involved great expense by the Hungarian government, as Fiume had hitherto only built smaller merchant ships for merchant firms such as the Austrian Lloyd. Additionally, half of all ammunition and shells for the guns of the ship would be purchased in Austria, while the other half was to be bought in Hungary. It was customary for either the Emperor or his heir to be present at the launching of a major warship, but Emperor Franz Joseph I was too feeble and his heir, Archduke Franz Ferdinand , refused to be there as a consequence of his anti-Hungarian attitudes.
Franz Joseph I thus sent a telegram of congratulations which negated the snub offered by his heir. Originally referred to as "Battleship VII", discussion began over what to name the battleship while it was under construction in Trieste. Newspapers within Austria reported during construction that one of the ships was to be named Kaiser Franz Joseph I , though it was later revealed the navy had no intentions of renaming the cruiser which already bore the Emperor's name. Archduke Franz Ferdinand proposed Laudon for the ship in honor of the Austrian field marshall.
The ensuing Battle of Antivari ended Austria-Hungary's blockade, and effectively placed the entrance of the Adriatic Sea firmly in the hands of Britain and France. Gunnery trials continued the following day and on 20 November, she underwent machinery trials in the Fasana Channel. That same day, the battleship conducted torpedo launches from her four torpedo tubes, before anchoring at Fasana for the night.
She returned to her home port of Pola on 25 November. This general inactivity was partly caused by a fear of mines in the Adriatic.
This tactic earned sharp criticism from the Austro-Hungarian Army , the German Navy, and the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Ministry,  but it also led to a far greater number of Entente naval forces being devoted to the Mediterranean and the Strait of Otranto. These could have been used elsewhere, such as against the Ottoman Empire during the Gallipoli Campaign. Prior to the war, the United Kingdom had served as Austria-Hungary's primary source for coal.
The outbreak of war meant that these sources, as well as those from Virginia, would no longer be available. Significant quantities of coal had been stockpiled before the war however, ensuring the Navy was capable of sailing out of port if need be. Between and , the battleship rarely left the safety of the port except for gunnery practice in the nearby Fasana Strait.
She only spent 54 days at sea during her days in service and made only a single two-day trip to Pag Island. In total, only 5. Haus, along with members of Austria-Hungary's naval command at Pola, accompanied the Emperor to this conference in order to discuss naval operations in the Adriatic and Mediterranean for Days after returning from this conference, Grand Admiral Haus died of pneumonia aboard his flagship Viribus Unitis on 8 February Despite his death, Haus' strategy of keeping the Austro-Hungarian Navy, and particularly its dreadnoughts, in port continued.
The major ports of Trieste and Fiume would also remain protected. Furthermore, Italian ships stationed in Venice were effectively trapped by the positioning of the Austro-Hungarian fleet, preventing them from sailing south to join the bulk of the Entente forces at the Otranto Barrage. Maximilian Njegovan was promoted to admiral and appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Navy.
Njegovan had previously voiced frustration watching the dreadnoughts he had commanded under Haus sit idle at port and upon taking command he had some , tons of coal at his disposal, but he chose to continue the strategy of his predecessor. Despite a change in command of both the Austro-Hungarian Navy and the Empire which it served, there would be no change in strategy regarding the employment of the Tegetthoff class in battle. This visit was far grander than his previous trip to the naval base, with officers and sailors crowding the decks of their ships at port and the naval ensign of Austria-Hungary flying from every vessel.
The Emperor received multiple cheers and salutes from the men at Pola, who had spent the past two years doing little more than shooting down Italian airplanes and airships. Following the Cattaro Mutiny in February , Admiral Njegovan was fired as Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, though at Njegovan's request it was announced that he was retiring.
Horthy's promotion was met with support among many members of the naval officer corps, who believed he would use Austria-Hungary's navy to engage the enemy. Horthy's appointment did however pose difficulties. His relatively young age alienated many of the senior officers, and Austria-Hungary's naval traditions included an unspoken rule that no officer could serve at sea under someone of inferior seniority.
This meant that the heads of the First and Second Battle Squadrons, as well as the Cruiser Flotilla, all had to go into early retirement.
K.u.K Kriegsmarine – The Austro-Hungarian Navy
Nisshin Asia-Pacific region, The long. Horthy also used his appointment to take the Austro-Hungarian fleet out of port for maneuvers and gunnery practice on a regular basis. Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tegetthoff class battleships. Battleships portal Austria-Hungary portal. It would not be until that the final distribution of the ships was settled among the Allied Powers under the terms of the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. On 23 Maybetween two and four hours after the Italian declaration of war reached the main Austro-Hungarian naval base at Pola, [f] the Austro-Hungarian fleet, including the three ships of the Tegetthoff class, departed to bombard the Italian coast. A further distinguishing feature was the modified ventilator trunk in front of the mainmast.
List of battleships of Austria-Hungary
She was built at the Ganz-Danubius shipyard in Fiume , where she was laid down in January She was finally commissioned into the Austro-Hungarian Navy in December Armed with a main battery of twelve Alongside the other ships of her class, she was stationed out of the Austro-Hungarian naval base at Pola. In June , in an bid to earn safer passage for German and Austro-Hungarian U-boats through the Strait of Otranto , the Austro-Hungarian Navy attempted to break the Barrage with a major attack on the strait. She is the only battleship whose sinking was filmed during World War I. The ship's wreck was located in the mids by the Yugoslav Navy.
Austro-Hungarian Battleships 1914–18
The Austro-Hungarian Navy can easily find its origin in the will of Emperor Franz Joseph 1, ascended the throne in , to strengthen the Nordic influences in his navy, so far influenced by the Italian shipbuilding in particular Trieste. One of the first ships of the new navy was the corvette Radetzky, built in Great Britain in , and that became the model for Austrian arsenals then constitution. Tegetthoff centre at the Battle of Lissa, painting by Anton Romako, In the Austro-Hungarian Navy was in fact largely built abroad: It consisted of a ship built in France, a copy of the Napoleon, mixed three-decker of 91 guns, SMS Kaiser, whih served as flagship.