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The Tegetthoff class also called the Viribus Unitis class [4] [5] [6] was a class of four austrp-hungarian battleships built for the Austro-Hungarian Navy. All of the Tegetthoff s were members of the 1st Battleship Division of the Austro-Hungarian Navy at the beginning of the war and were stationed out of the naval base at Pola.

Renamed Yugoslaviathe ship audtro-hungarian destroyed by an Italian mine in the Raid on Pola a day later. Montecuccoli immediately pursued the efforts championed by his battkeships, Admiral Hermann von Spaunand pushed for a greatly expanded and modernized navy. Additional motivations existed which led to the development of the Tegetthoff class beyond Montecuccoli’s own plans for the navy.

New railroads had been constructed through Austria’s Alpine passes between andlinking Trieste and the Dalmatian coastline to the rest of the Empire. Lower tariffs on the port of Trieste austro-hunngarian the expansion of the city and a similar growth in Austria-Hungary’s merchant marine. These changes necessitated the development of a new line of battleships capable of more than the defense of Austria-Hungary’s coastline.

However, the appointment of Archduke Franz Ferdinand austro-hungariah heir to zustro-hungarian Austro-Hungarian throne and a prominent and influential supporter of naval expansion — to the austro-hungarina 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.

The Tegetthoff -class battleships were authorized when Austria-Hungary was engaged in a naval austro-hugnarian race with its nominal ally, Italy. The disparity between the Austro-Hungarian bagtleships Italian navies had existed for decades; in the late s Italy boasted the third-largest fleet in the world, behind the French Republic’s Navy and the British Royal Navy.

Following the construction of the final two Regina Elena -class battleships inthe 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 on another battleship untiland provided the Austro-Hungarian Navy with an opportunity to address the disparity between the two fleets.

As late as the Italian advantage in naval arms appeared so large that the difficulty of Austria-Hungary catching up to the Italian Navy, much less surpassing it, appeared insurmountable. The value of pre-dreadnought battleships declined rapidly and numerous ships in European navies were rendered obsolete, giving Austria-Hungary an opportunity to make up for past neglect in naval affairs.

With an improved financial situation and budget from the Austro-Hungarian Compromise ofand with Archduke Ferdinand and Admiral Montecuccoli both supportive of constructing a new class of modern battleships, the stage was set for the development of Austria-Hungary’s first and only class of dreadnought battleships.

Shortly after assuming command as Chief battlesyips the Navy, Montecuccoli drafted his first proposal for a modern Austrian austro-hhngarian in the spring of It was to consist of 12 austro-hungxrian, 4 armored cruisers, 8 scout cruisers, 18 destroyers, 36 high seas torpedo craft, and 6 submarines.

While these plans were ambitious, they lacked any ships the size of the Tegetthoff class. Petitioning the Naval Section of the War Ministry in March to construct three dreadnoughts of 19, metric tons 18, long tonsthe League justified its proposal by arguing that a strong navy would be necessary to protect Austria-Hungary’s growing merchant marine, and that Italian naval spending was twice Austria-Hungary’s.

List of battleships of Austria-Hungary – Wikipedia

Following the uastro-hungarian of Austria-Hungary’s last class of pre-dreadnought battleships, the Radetzky class[7] Montecuccoli submitted his first proposal for true dreadnought battleships for the Austro-Hungarian Navy. While this was a modified version of his plan, one notable change was the inclusion of four additional dreadnought battleships with a displacement of 20, metric tons 19, long tons at load. These ships would become the Tegetthoff class. Following up on Montecuccoli’s memorandum, the Naval Section of the War Ministry submitted its specifications for the Tegetthoff -class battleships to Stabilimento Tecnico Triestino in Octoberwho in turn hired naval architect Siegfried Popper to produce a design.

In Decemberthe Naval Section of the War Ministry also began a competition for the design of the Tegetthoff class, with the aim of producing alternate designs aside from those Stabilimento Tecnico Triestino would present. Emperor Franz Joseph I approved Montecuccoli’s plan in Januarywho subsequently circulated it among the governments in Vienna and Budapest.


These initial designs were effectively enlarged versions of the Radetzky class and lacked the triple turrets which would later be found on the Tegetthoff s. The Italian Navy used the report as justification for initiating a new dreadnought program. The Italian battleship was laid down largely due to the leaking of Montecuccoli’s memorandum, while the proposal for constructing four new battleships still batgleships in the planning stages.

With no government in Budapest to pass a budget, efforts to secure funding and begin construction had stalled. After negotiations involving the ministries of foreign affairs, war and finance, the navy agreed to the offer but lowered the number of dreadnoughts that would be constructed before a budget was passed from three to two. He also worked to secure agreements to sell the battlrships to, in his words, a “reliable ally” which only Germany austro-hungaria claim to be should the budget crisis fail to be resolved in short order.

Facing potential backlash over constitutional concerns that the construction of the first two battleships committed Austria-Hungary to spend roughly million Kronen without prior approval by either the Austrian 191448 or the Diet of Hungary, the deal remained secret. These included the navy’s urgent need to counter Italy’s naval build up and desire to austro-hungraian a lower price with their builders.

The costs to construct the Tegetthoff -class battleships were enormous by the standards of the Austro-Hungarian Navy. While the Habsburg -classErzherzog Karl -classaustro-hungqrian the Radetzky -class battleships cost the navy roughly 18, 26, and austro-nungarian million Kronen per ship, [40] each ship of the Tegetthoff class was projected to cost over 60 million Kronen.

Montecuccoli worried that the general public and the legislatures in Vienna and Budapest would reject the need for the expensive ships, especially so soon after the austroh-ungarian crisis in Budapest. The dramatic increase in spending meant hattleships in the navy spent some This was done in order to rush the completion of the Radetzky -class battleships, though the looming construction of four dreadnoughts meant the Austro-Hungarian Navy would likely have to ask the austro-hungaria for a yearly budget much higher than million Kronen.

The budgets providing funding for the Tegetthoff class were finally approved after two meetings of the Austrian Reichsrat and the Diet of Hungary in October and Novemberwith opposition being rejected as the Italian Navy had laid down another three battleships during the summer.

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German politicians supported the battleships’ construction on the grounds that their existence made Austria-Hungary a more powerful ally for Germany. The final package included provisions which ensured that while the armor and guns of the Tegetthoff class were to be constructed within Austria, the electrical battleeships and equipment aboard each ship was to be assembled in Hungary.

Additionally, half of all ammunition for the battleships’ guns would be purchased in Austria and half was to be bought in Hungary.

Their leader, Karl Seitzdecried the worsening relations with Italy and called for negotiations with Rome to end the Austro-Italian naval arms race.

In austro-hunbarian sign of Austria-Hungary’s strained relationship with her nominal ally Italy, the proposal failed with little support outside of Seitz’ party.

The budgets passed both parliaments with large majorities, ensuring that the financial questions regarding the construction of the ships were resolved. They were designed to displace 20, metric tons 19, long ahstro-hungarian at load, but at full combat load they displaced 21, metric tons 21, long tons. These rangefinders were equipped with an armored cupola, 191448 housed batt,eships 8-millimeter 0. These differences included a platform built around the fore funnel which battlehsips from the bridge of the ship to the after funnel upon which several searchlights were installed.

A further distinguishing feature was the modified ventilator trunk in front of the mainmast. This was done in order to present a smaller target for the ship’s broadside. Differences between the three battleships constructed in Trieste and the one in Fiume were most apparent when examining each ship’s propulsion. While it was reported during the speed trials of Tegetthoff that she attained a top speed of Two turrets each were mounted forward and aft of the main superstructure in a superfiring pair.

The implementation of triple turrets came about for two reasons: This made the Tegetthoff s the austro-bungarian dreadnoughts in the world with triple turrets, which the Austro-Hungarian Navy took great pride in. Having three guns on each turret rather than two made it possible to deliver a heavier broadside than other dreadnoughts of a similar size and meant a shorter citadel and better weight distribution.

List of battleships of Austria-Hungary

The Tegetthoff s carried a secondary armament which consisted of a dozen calibre centimeter 5. Additionally, eighteen calibre 7-centimeter 2.


Three more 7-centimeter 2. Two additional 8-millimeter 0. Each ship had two 7-centimeter 2. Each ship was also fitted with four millimeter Each ship usually carried twelve torpedoes. This armor belt was located between the midpoints of the fore and aft barbettesand thinned to millimeters 5. The upper armor belt had a maximum thickness of millimeters 7. The casemate armor was also millimeters 7. The underwater protection system consisted of the extension of the double-bottom upwards battleehips the lower edge of the waterline armor belt, with a thin millimeter 0.

In the spring ofMontecuccoli sent an officer from the Naval Section of the War Ministry to Berlin in order to obtain input from Alfred von Tirpitz on the design of the Tegetthoff class.

The Imperial German Navy conducted gunnery and torpedo tests and concluded that, “The angle between [the] armored deck and belt armor should be as flat as possible”, and that “The armored torpedo bulkhead should be angled inwards, the second longitudinal bulkhead outwards. The distance of the torpedo bulkhead from the outer plating should be raised from 2.

Although smaller than the contemporary dreadnought and super-dreadnought battleships of the German Kaiserliche Marine and the British Royal Navy, the Tegetthoff class was the first of its type in the Mediterranean austro-jungarian Adriatic Seas. Their design signaled a batleships in Austro-Hungarian naval policy, as the ships were capable of far more than coastal defense or patrolling the Adriatic Sea. Despite these praises, criticisms of the Tegetthoff -class design exist. Friedrich Prasky refers to the ships in his article The Viribus Unitis class “The ships were too small and had a very low range of stability.

The naval commission investigating the loss of the battleship ultimately concluded: The Admiralty’s concerns regarding the true purpose of the ships was so great that a British spy was dispatched to Berlin when Montecuccoli sent the officer to obtain recommendations from Tirpitz regarding the design and layout of the Tegetthoff -class ships.

Aehrenthal denied the construction of the Tegetthoff class, but admitted that plans to construct a class of dreadnoughts 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 of Austria-Hungary constructing four 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 inhe rejected any potential Austro-German collusion regarding the battleships. For a full year, the Austro-Hungarian Navy attempted to keep the project a state secret. This did not prevent rumors about their construction of a series of dreadnought battleships from circulating across Europe. Among these were a ban on photography at Pola, future home port of the Tegetthoff class, and near-constant observation by the Austro-Hungarian police.

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 battleships, and the small but growing Austrian Navy League did the same. The first ship of the Tegetthoff class, Viribus Unitiswas formally laid down on 23 July Originally referred to as “Battleship IV”, her keel was laid down after months of fiscal and political uncertainty.

Two months later Tegetthoff was laid down on 24 September The title ship of the class, Tegetthoffwas named after Wilhelm von Tegetthoff austro-hungariam, a 19th-century Austrian naval admiral known for his victory over Italy at the Battle of Austro-hungariqn. She was laid down once it became clear that Vienna and Battleshkps would pass the necessary budget funding to pay for the construction of the entire class.

By the end austro-uhngarianconstruction on the Tegetthoff -class ships was well underway. Two ships were being assembled in Trieste’s slipways, and more were in preparation. Aside from a brief strike in Mayconstruction on the battleships continued at a fast pace. Tegetthoff was launched on 21 March following delays due to poor weather around Trieste.

She was launched two years later on 17 January While the battleships were under construction, discussions began over what to name them. Newspapers within Austria reported during construction that one of the ships was to be named Kaiser Franz Joseph Ithough it was later revealed the navy had no intentions austro-hungariqn renaming the cruiser which already bore the Emperor’s name.