Speaking about the Austro-Hungarian Empire, historians experience a certain difficulty — classify or not to classify it among the great powers. On the one hand, the dual monarchy was noticeably inferior to the rest of the political monsters of Europe and the United States and economic and military power and influence. On the other — the successor of once one of the most significant European countries tried hard to maintain its own line in everything, including in shipbuilding. Unfortunately, the “patchwork monarchy”, as ironically called her neighbors, detractors over the motley Nations and autonomies, is not shining more resources to create the naval forces. In particular, this concerned the cruisers, even those of a purely defensive “fleet of coastal defense”, is not going to stick out beyond the Adriatic.

On the transition from the nineteenth to the twentieth century in Austria-Hungary acted in a kind of 8-year-old post in which the establishment of new units was insignificant. Oddly, but to a certain extent played into the hands of the Austrians: they managed to slip “troubled period” associated with the very rapid development of marine engineering and immediately begin creating a new fleet. In 1906, count Rudolf, Montecuccoli, the father of modern naval forces of the country, has managed to include in the program in addition to dreadnoughts and destroyers and even one ship of a fundamentally new for the country type. It was about fast light cruiser, equipped with a turbine mechanisms for actions scheduled at the same time modern destroyers.

Much to swing it to the creators not given: displacement was limited to only 3,500 tons. After considering as a possible prototype of the famous in the future German “Emden” and much less a good American “Chester” designers (their composition was as motley as the population of the Empire) decided to create his own project. The result was something like a huge destroyer as the ratio of length and width, and architecture. But the “Austrians” was radically different from the “Menomonee brethren”: he had armor protection, consisting of a belt, covering the mechanisms and 20-mm deck that covered it from the top. Cellar only protects the deck, but they were located deep enough below the waterline, and, in order to hit them from the side, the projectile would have to penetrate a fair amount of the water column. Well-chosen and artillery, consisting of seven 100-mm artillery plant “Skoda”. A small gun had, in addition to quite a decent ballistics, pinch shutter and unitary cartridges, allows you to develop excellent for the time rate — more than 15 shots per minute in theory. In practice, during continuous shooting, of course, to achieve this failed, but 10 rounds per minute from each barrel provided barbed steel hail of enemy light ships.
Pumped up at the “Admiral Spaun” (as named a new boat after a lot of made for the Imperial Navy and recently retired former Navy Minister), except that the turbine installation. Inexperienced in this matter the Austrian engineers, despite help from the Germans, clearly too clever by half by installing it on a cruiser six turbines, set in motion by the four-shaft. However, it helped “Spawno” to develop tests of 27 knots. Such achievements in 1911 could boast few rivals among much more established Maritime powers.
It is not surprising that when in 1910 the question arose about the need to strengthen the fleet, as a prototype for new light cruisers chose “Spawn”. Now, the programme envisaged the construction of three units. However, on the way of its implementation arose problems to predict that no advance had except the inhabitants of the “patchwork monarchy.” Initially, all cruisers had to be built at the shipyard “Cantieri Nawal Triestino”, located on the outskirts of Trieste, Monfalcone, but against this stood the Hungarians. “The second head” of the Empire wanted to have its share of Golden rain, which, as it seemed, had spilled on to the company receiving the order. Austria had to meet, as Hungarian MPs have blocked the adoption of the program. As a result, two units of three snatched for himself the Builder “Ganz-Danubius”, located in Fiume, the only port of the then “big Hungary” (now the Croatian city of Rijeka).
However, inexperienced in the construction of modern ships newcomer coped with the task quite well (though not quickly), but a private firm from Trieste almost “filled up” your order. It built a “side”, although he commissioned a few days before the “Helgoland” and three months before the last in the series “Novara”, has been unsuccessful and extremely unreliable mechanisms, because of what she had to ostavatsya in the databases is much longer than “sisters”. And for speed “side” has conceded to the same “Helgoland”, only a little has not held the test up to 29 knots. Great result: the new cruisers have really become fast and would equal to act together with the destroyers.
For all its virtues, the Austrian “scouts” remained typical of the Mediterranean, even more precisely, “Adriatic” ships. Crowded interior areas led to the fact that the team would prefer, if possible, eat, relax and even sleep on the upper deck. Imagine, how would such a “private decision” looked like somewhere in the North sea, for example, in winter or autumn.
However, if we talk about timeliness, “Heligoland” came to the court as it is impossible by the way. The head unit was put into operation in the fateful August of 1914, just in time for the beginning of world war II. However, in the first months of the Adriatic remained quite serene. The British and French came to her rarely (although every time a large force). But during these “visits” Austrian ships wisely chose not to go to sea. The situation changed dramatically with the entry into the war on the Entente side of Italy, the former ally of the Tripartite agreement, which was literally next door and had a very good fleet. The indignant Austrians responded with immediate action, which took the most active part of the speed of the cruiser.
The Italians had to build three high-speed “scout”: “quarto, Nino Bixio and Marsala” (of which we described earlier) plus a few large destroyers (that is, at least, equal force), however, were quite helpless in the face of lightning spurting instantly and equally elusive opponent. Had to call for help from the British, who were sent to the Adriatic sea their “city”. In the end, all the visible skirmishes at sea occurred with their participation. The most famous of these was the attack on Transki barrage, ineffective, but very costly “tattered curtain” for submarines, consisting of networks that were hung by the British drifters, imported from the North sea. Such a tempting target, naturally attracted to the Austrians, not just planned raids on helpless fishermen. In may 1917 the dashing Troika “of Helgoland” under the command of captain 1st rank of Miklos Horthy, accompanied by destroyers on the approach to the barrage intercepted an allied convoy, but then herself in an “interesting position”: the way home they were blocked by the British cruiser “Dartmouth” and “city of Bristol”, not counting the Italian destroyers. A fierce battle broke out, the distance was sometimes reduced to just 25 cables.
For a long time to survive under the fire of six-inch small boats could not, although he did a fair amount of survivability. The only heavy damage received “Novara”: projectile broke the steam pipe and the cruiser began to rapidly lose speed. And here the Austrians showed themselves just fine: although the enemy is intensified due to the approach of the “Italian”, “Cuarto”, “side” managed to hook up with his brother in tow. However, the fate of both would be unenviable, if not for the help of “senior comrades”: the battleship “Budapest” armored cruiser “Sankt Georg”, came to the rescue at the last minute. Do the Austrians launched two and a half thousand shells, but got only a couple. However, this applies only hits in the “real enemy”: for the sinking of 14 drifters took a few volleys. Quite happily ended even much more hopeless adventure personally for “Helgoland”, when it’s two days before the New year (1917) caught in a “pincer movement” between the two groups of cruisers. On the one hand to the battlefield in a hurry “Weymouth” and “Nino Bixio” on the other — “Cuarto” and “Dartmouth”. Here the Austrians helped their famous speed: flooding the “lame duck” (lost its way the destroyer “Tatra”), “Helgoland” with the rest of the squadron destroyers managed to escape through a hail of shells from the four cruisers.
I must say, the Austrians were aware that their elegant and speed the scouts can’t compete with modern cruisers of the Entente, especially Britain. With the entry into war of Italy, the designers began feverishly to redraw the blueprints of the planned construction of new cruisers. Initially, the following three represent increased “Helgoland” with a displacement of 5,000 tons, armed with as many as fourteen (!) 120-mm guns (of which, however, the Board was able to shoot exactly half). Again speed was a significant “twist”; it was assumed that these ships will exceed the milestone of 30 knots. To achieve this, the Austrians went on the beaten path, choosing the case is very sharp contours and abnormally large for cruiser, length-width ratio is more than 11. One can hardly doubt that they were able to achieve the intended still the price is very close to the deck. But, if the artillery speed and quality was at the height of protection remained modest: reservation Board took a step back and did not exceed 20 mm. the Main obstacle was a 40-mm deck with bevels.
202. Light cruiser “Novara” (Austria-Hungary, 1915)
It was built by the firm “Ganz-Danubius” in Fiume (Rijeka). Design displacement — 3500 t, full — 4010 tons, maximum length — 130.6 signatures m, width — 12,8 m, draught 5,3 m. the capacity of the two-shaft steam turbine 30 000 HP, design speed of 27 knots. Reservations: the Board of 60 mm, deck 20 mm, shields guns 40 mm to 10 mm, combat tower 50 mm. Armament: nine 100/50 mm guns, one 47-mm gun, two 450 mm torpedo tubes. In 1914 — 1915 built 3 units: “side”, “Helgoland” and “Novara”. Modernized during the First world war with the installation of one 66-mm anti-aircraft guns and three twin-tube 533-mm torpedo tubes. The anticipated replacement of five of the 100 mm guns (bow and stern) two 150-mm did not take place. After the war, the first two transferred to Italy (“Venice” and “Brindisi”), the third — France (“Thionville”). “Thionville” scrapped in 1941, Italian trophies excluded from the lists of the fleet in 1937
203. Light cruiser “Admiral Spaun” (Austria-Hungary, 1910)
Built at the shipyard of the Navy in the Field (Pool). Design displacement — 3500 tons, 4000 tons, maximum length — 130.6 signatures m, width — 12,8 m, draught 5,3 m. Power satyrical Noi steam turbine 25 000 HP, design speed of 27 knots. Reservations: the Board of 60 mm, deck 20 mm, shields guns 40 mm to 10 mm, combat tower 50 mm. Armament: seven 100/50 mm guns, one 47-mm gun, two 450 mm torpedo tubes. Built one unit. Modernization with the replacement of two 100-mm guns on the forecastle on one 150-mm proposed in 1917, did not take place. After the war, went to England, sold for scrap in Italy in 1921.
204. Light cruiser “Dalmacija” (Yugoslavia, 1927)
Former German “Niobe”. It was built by the company “Weser”. The data after modernization: the normal displacement of 2360 tons, full — 2960 t, the maximum length of 104.4 m, beam 12.4 m, draft — 5,25 m. Capacity twin-shaft steam installation 8000 HP, speed 16 knots. Booking: deck 20 mm, 50 mm bevel, combat tower 80 mm Armament: six 83,5/55-mm universal guns, four 47-mm guns. Captured by Italy in April 1941, Germany in December 1943, ran aground in the same month. Subsequently destroyed by torpedoes.

As such, the “Austrians”, whether they are constructed could compete with the Italian “quarto”, “Marsala” and “Nino Bixio”, but the British “town” of the second generation with a solid side belt was already too tough for them. Realizing this simple truth from the results of the first battles between the British and the Germans, the Danube naval commanders and engineers have begun to puzzle over, how can we overcome the gap in one leap, without delaying the process and without spending too much money. Followed by the decision on the alterations that can be perceived as fantastic. 120-graph paper was superseded by the formidable pair of 190-mm guns capable of penetrating the armor of any light cruiser of the time on almost all ranges of combat, and six are also quite “substantial” 150-mm guns. The new variant had, besides, a powerful anti-aircraft battery consisting of four still developing the 90-mm anti-aircraft guns. But the main “highlight” was to protect: now intended to thicken the belt only to… 150 mm, keeping the same armor deck. In this embodiment, “the cruiser K, L and M” looked very dangerous. And that’s an understatement; if they were able to build as planned, by 1918, the Austrians would suddenly owners of the most powerful light cruisers in the world. And then the British could certainly say that their “elizavetta” 190-millimetrovie are based solely on the case.
It is curious that the Czech and the German engineers who created the advanced project, expected not too much to exceed the original displacement. It would, of course, extremely curious as to how they managed to carry out his verhassel East and sverhrazdutoe creation in practice, however, to verify this failed. The situation in the shipbuilding industry of the Empire by that time was quite sad. Few skilled workers and craftsmen as the broom swept with yards to the front: the Austro-Hungarian Empire had to fight “on two houses”, “Russian colossus” and a “whipping” — Italy. Therefore, the scheduled July 1914, bookmark head first cruiser was postponed for a year to try to start it simultaneously with the other two, and then just buried behind the apparent impossibility of the realization. By the end of 1915 lacked not only workers, but also the necessary materials.
A similar fate befell the so-called “Chinese cruiser”. In 1913 Austria-Hungary unexpectedly won an order for four units for China; two of them were little more than the other pair. They were supposed to equip the same 120-millimetrovie. It is clear that the finished project, and collected by the time for implementation materials are called out on the construction, of course, is not for China but for themselves. In March 1915, was laid the head of the “big” cruisers, which never got its name. The main reason was that the front was almost near Trieste and its dockyards. And slipway, and the beginnings of the hull was damaged. After twelve (!) battles on the river Isonzo, the Austrians finally managed to push the front at a safe distance. To their surprise, all four “blanks” turned out to be in good condition, mainly because to destroy, in fact, was nothing they consisted only of the keel and a few frames. The temptation to continue was pursued by the Imperial ship builders to the end of the war, the benefit of a third material for buildings was already in warehouses. Plans to “begin again” debated to April 1918. “Big Chinese version” was supposed to equip eight 150-millimetrovie, complemented by nine 90-mm antiaircraft guns, which, no doubt, very good and for firing on the destroyers. Turbines with a capacity of 37 000 HP could speed around 30 knots. In General, “Chinese” could be good and, importantly, uniform tactically addition to the “cruisers K, L and M”. But added they are only a list of unrealized projects of the “patchwork monarchy,” to exist which were already a matter of months.
Its role in the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire played and built “Helgoland”. The crews of the “Novara” and “Helgoland” took part in the uprising of sailors docked in the Bay Cattaro in February, 1918, after which the fleet practically ceased to exist. The subsequent collapse of the Empire led to a very peculiar “division of property”. Hungary lost its narrow outlet to the Adriatic together with the opportunity to have a Navy, but having received the former commander, Admiral Horthy as Supreme ruler-Regent. Austria lost everything, also completely without the sea. And the ships went to the winners after the difficult and sometimes even controversial carve-up. Interestingly, the most popular of them was just a light cruiser. The cutting went just “Admiral Spaun” ceded to the British, who only sluggishly inspected completely outdated, in their opinion, “scout”. The Italians and French are forced to humbly ask the “mistress of the seas” to send their light cruiser in the Adriatic, did not think so. The remaining three units joined the fleet (“side” has become “Venice”, “Helgoland” — “Brindisi”, and “Novara” French “Thionville”), becoming the most modern units prior to the construction of fundamentally new types megvenni. Italian “Austrians” were in active service until 1930, and in 1937 they finally deleted from the lists and sent to be scrapped. “Thionville”, as the only “child”, got a big dose of attention. It even rearmed and kept as a training artillery ship until 1932. Then once the rapid housing was used as a floating barracks until the defeat of France in 1940, when the following year it was dismantled due to acute shortage of metal in poluostrovnaya the country.
The idea is that the real heir to the Maritime tradition of the Empire was to be the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, later became Yugoslavia. Indeed, all the coast, remaining after withdrawal of Trieste and environs Italy, belonged now to the “South Slavs”. However, the succession did not work: broke up a strong officer corps, largely composed of Austrian Germans, and the allies were not generous, highlighting the “tumor” only pitiful remnants. Had to buy ships from Germany. The largest unit was the only Yugoslav cruiser, ex-old man “Niobe” purchased by the government of the Kingdom in 1925 and renamed “Dalmatia”. The Germans are somewhat “refreshed” hopelessly outdated ship, although the changes mostly in appearance. The cruiser received a new sloping stem, more modern masts, superstructure and forecastle. In 1926 “Dalmatia” arrived in the Adriatic and formally entered into operation. Formally — because of the weapons she still had. Only next year on the deck appeared 83,5 mm guns made in another “heir” of the Empire — Czechoslovakia, the benefit of the famous “Skoda” almost entirely arming the same”, gilgo-Landes”. In the end the Yugoslav cruiser became a peculiar record that has the lowest caliber of artillery (except the British “scouts” of the first series and the Italian “Agordat and Choatic” belonging to quite another age). However, skodowski guns had one major advantage: they were universal. So “Dalmatia” served not only as a training ship, but as vehicle air defense.
However, the fate of the first and the last cruiser of the “South Slavs” is as sad as the country as a whole. In April 1941, the Italians captured him in Kotor and then renamed “Cattaro”, as the city itself. In the hands of new owners the ship was only two years old, then got to the original owners. The Germans regained his original name — “Niobe”, but to swim under him managed only a few days. 19 Dec 1943 newfound cruiser (for a long time already it is not) ran aground, after which it, just in case, finished off by torpedoes from British cruisers. So completely closed the curtain on the Adriatic cruisers of Austria-Hungary and its successors.

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