Austro-Hungarian capital ship genesis

Author: Zoltán Takács (TZoli)

1.\ Introduction

The Austro-Hungarian Dual Monarchy’s Navy the KuK Kriegsmarine seems to be always innovative with it’s warship designs, mostly because the limited dockyard capabilities it had to endure and the unique position it was located with one primary and two secondary naval enemies: Italian Regia Marina the prime power of the Mediterranean, with the British Royal Navy as a Major power as well but as it was a giant colonial empire it’s fleets were present all around the globe. The other major force was the French Marine Nationale which too was a colonial power but it’s fleets were mostly concentrated in the Mediterranean.
The limited drydock and construction capabilities led to warship designs which were rather small, compact but well armed and adequately armoured though often over armed based on their displacement. Still the ships which were built and designed were quite interesting and ingenious.

Here I list the designs I have knowledge of, and I would like to say thanks to Stefano for providing the Warship Article magazines, and Tamás Balogh,  a Hungarian naval enthusiast who has vast sources and knowledge about the Austro-Hungarian Navy.

Please support Tamás’ effort for his wonderful book project ‘150 Liners’ which covers all the World’s ocean cruise liners at: https://www.facebook.com/150liners/

2.\ The Radetzky class

First let me show you the preliminary design studies:
I did not draw these as I lack any information on their size, displacement and other data only the guns and their layout I have information on.

Radetzky

Shortly after the launching of battleship SMS Erzherzog Friedrich  the Austro-Hungarian Naval Section ordered the start of design work for the next generation of battleships. Six weeks after the launching of the Erzherzog Ferdinand Max – last of the Erzherzog Karl class battleships- the Austrian C-in-C, Admiral Rudolf Montecuccoli, presented his plans for the future build-up of the fleet:
12 battleships,
4 armoured cruisers,
8 scout cruisers,
18 ocean-going destroyers,
36 ocean-going torpedo-boats and
6 submarines.
At the end of September 1905 a design board evaluated five preliminary designs with similar dimensions and displacements, but with different armament variants which as follows:

A: 2×2 28cm/45 cannons in centreline turrets 4×1 24cm/45guns in wing turrets, 8×1 19cm/45 guns in casemates,
B: 2×2 28cm/45 cannons in centreline turrets 4×1 24cm/45guns in wing turrets, 12×1 10cm/45 guns in casemates,
C: 4×2-28cm/45 cannons in 2x centreline and 2x wing twin turrets, 16×1 10cm/45 guns in casemates,
D: 2×2,2×1 30.5cm/45 cannons in 2x centreline twin and 2x wing single turrets, 16×1 10cm/45 guns in casemates,
E: 2×2 30.5cm/45 cannons in centreline twin turrets, 4×2 19cm/45 guns wing turrets, 12×1 10cm/45 guns in casemates.

Although the naval architects, headed by Siegfried Popper, and the gunnery technicians voted for the all-big-gun design (pre-project D) the board finally decided in favour of pre-project E. However, even Popper himself stated that a genuine all-big-gun battleship was impracticable as it would require a displacement of at least 16.000t, which meant not only increased building costs but also provisioning for a new floating drydock. At a later stage of the design the intermediate caliber was raised from 19cm to 24cm; and 30.5cm was chosen as the main caliber because the wedge breech of the 28cm gun was unreliable. Although the main and intermediate caliber guns were nearly identical from a technical point of view (Edit – only 2.5″ inch diff.), a comparison of performances show that the decision was unwise: the 30.5cm gun had nearly double the armour penetration power and a 25% greater range compared to the 24cm.

3.\ The Viribus Unitis class and it’s design studies:

viribus_unitis_battleship_preliminary_designs_by_tzoli-dbjp31k

The history of the Austro-Hungarian Dual Monarchy’s first and only Dreadnought battleship class is a rather interesting and intriguing one!

The first formal meeting aboutnew battleships for the Austro-Hungarian Navy was held on May 7th, 1908 by the MTK (Marinetechnische Komitee – Naval Technical Committee), Pola / Vienna the meeting was led by Rudolf von Montecuccoli degli Erri, and the official design contest was issued on July 6th, 1908 with the following requirements:
Displacement up to 20,000 tons,
8x 30,5cm Main Guns all on the centreline,
19 and 10cm medium and light guns,
armour belt of 230mm at the waterline and 250mm thickness for the barbettes.

Two shipyards were invited to make design studies based on these requirements:
Ganz-Danubius (Ganz és Társa-Danubius Villamossági-, Gép-, Waggon- és Hajógyár Rt. – Ganz and Partner-Danubius Electrical- Machine-, Wagon- and Shipbuilding Co.), Fiume/Budapest and STT (Stabilimento Tecnico Triestino), Trieste.
Ganz-Danubius refused the invitation as it could not build such large warships and this led to automatic acceptance by STT where Naval Engineer Siegfried Popper was working in cooperation. Siegfried Popper had retired then just recently  from the post of the Naval Engineering Office, and according to many sources the whole application for the tender was intended exactly for him to get the job of designing the new battleships. This is supported by the fact that the ships’ construction began well before the entire design contest expired in 1910.

By the spring of next year, the first drafts were made. In February 1909, MTK presented the first, followed by 7 versions made by Popper (STT ) in March. Out of the total of 8 plans, 5 were equipped with ten, 2 equipped with eight and 1 equipped with 12 main guns. The MTK designed it’s ship with triple expansion engines while STT used the modern Parsons steam turbine propulsion units. The plans had an important common feature: none of them were similar to the later, actually built battleships.
The MTK commented on the plans on April 14, 1909 and, according to their report, the plans were divided into three groups:
The first group consisted of 8x main gun and 19cm secondary gun armed versions (2),
the second group comprised of the 12x main gun armed versions, (1)
and the third group sported 10x main gun armed versions (5).
On April 16, STT was interested in receiving plans. Although the plans included mainly 30,5cm L/50 caliber cannons, the 30,5cm L/45 caliber ones were included as well. Skoda, who produced the cannons, had problems with the development of the longer caliber version, so the shipyard of Trieste redesigned the plans for projects VI and VII with L/45 caliber main guns. On April 20, MTK asked STT to produce another 12 gun version with a 6 turrets arrangement which was completed on the 27th in 2 variants. Shortly thereafter, on May 5th, at Montecuccoli’s personal request, STT Trieste prepared another 12 gun L/45 caliber main gun armed design with 4 triple turrets which became Projekt VIII and which was used as a basis for the final version.
This last project was the first to use triple turrets, the idea likely  emerging in the designers’ minds in January that year, as it turned out that the Italians wanted to equip their new battleship (Dante Alighieri) with such turrets. In the spring of 1909, the Navy was allowed to check the plans of the newest German battleships then under construction (Kaiser class).
With this task, the secretary of Montecuccoli, Frigate Captain Alfred von Koudelka, was sent to Berlin on the evening of 29th April. Koudelka was personally greeted by none other than Grand Admiral Alfred Peter Friedrich von Tirpitz, who with surprising openness presented the German plans and commented on the Austrian plans brought by Koudelka. Tirpitz objected in particular to the thin belt armour and insufficient torpedo protection on the Austrian plans.

The British were also strongly interested in the Austro-Hungarian dreadnought plans, as Koudelka was followed by an English spy at the time of his stay in Berlin.
At the beginning of the conversation, Koudelka, appeared on the 29th in his uniform, so Tirpitz called him to the window and showed him the spy on the other side, then asked him to come in civilian the next day. (Those nasty British spies!  )
Koudelka returned home with detailed and extensive information of the meeting which, however, was only partly accepted by the Germans due to the secrecy involved. In the end the various Austrian designers learned little from it anyway. The belt armor was indeed thickened with some calculations showing even 290 and 300mm belt but in the end it was finalized at 280mm due to the capacity of the Austro-Hungarian shipyards (displacement directly effects ship size).

On June 9, 1909, the final design contest was issued under the amended terms. The proposed displacement was increased to 20.500 tons, main guns were of 30,5cm L/45 caliber ones (the 50 caliber ones had construction errors and thus dropped) the secondary and tertiary guns chosen were the 15 and 7cm (66mm) ones respectively. The increased armor belt was 280mm. For propulsion steam turbines were chosen with auxiliary oil fired boilers next to the coal ones. Popper submitted six more proposals a few weeks later (varying in tripod or polemast arrangements) and of these design “F” was finally selected. In addition to Popper, two engineers, Franz Pitzinger and Theodor Novotny, presented their own drawings in the spring of 1910 when the original deadline expired. At this point, however, the detailed design of the Popper plan was completed, and in November of the previous year a contract was signed with STT for the construction of two ships. The designs of Pitzinger and Novotny were shoved to the depths of the archives, but they received cash compensation for their work.

In 1910, the Joint Finance Minister of the Monarchy did not support the construction of new warships, so the Navy started to build ships at its own risk.
In addition to the problems surrounding the construction cost of the ships, their naming did not go smoothly either.
At first the Navy proposed SMS Tegetthoff, SMS Prinz Eugen, SMS Don Juan and SMS Hunyadi for the ships while Archduke Franz Ferdinand wished to name the 4th unit as SMS Laudon, but the Hungarians did, of course, start a fierce protest, as part (1/3) of the cost of the ships was provided by the Hungarian parliament, so they expected one of the ships to receive a Hungarian name. This was a common practice in the Austro-Hungarian Navy (SMS Budapest, SMS Zrínyi, SMS Árpád etc).
In the end Emperor Franz Joseph I ended the debate with an iron fist naming the ships as follows:
SMS Viribus Unitis, SMS Tegetthoff, SMS Prinz Eugen and SMS Szent István
As a sidenote, for the 4th ship the following names were proposed:
SMS Corvin Mátyás after Matthias Corvinus
SMS Szent István after St. Stpehen, first Christian king of Hungary
SMS Erzsébet Királyné after Empress Elisabeth commonly known as Sissi

Montecuccoli dictated a forced pace for the designers, as the start of construction was planned for the spring of 1910. The cause was the peaceful rivalry between the KuK Kriegsmarine and the Regia Marina as the Austro-Hungarians wanted to build their battleships first and hence the construction was finally begun in the summer of 1910 even when the entire design documentation of the ships had not even been completed!

The designs had the following characteristics:
Franz Pitzinger’s Proposal:
Design date: 1909
Dimensions: 153 (wl) x 26 x 8,4m
Displacement: 18.500tons (standard)
Engines: 25.000shp Steam Turbines, 4 shafts
Speed: 38km/h (20,5knots)
Armour: 48mm Deck, 240mm Belt
Armaments:
5×2 30,5cm/50 Cannons
14×1 15cm/50 Casemated Guns (Probably)
3×1 7cm/45 Guns (Probably)
4×1 53cm Underwater Torpedo tubes (Probably)

Theodor Novotny’s Proposal:
Design date: 1910
Dimensions: 155 (wl) x 27 x 8,6m
Displacement: 20.000tons (standard)
Engines: 27.000shp Steam Turbines, 4 shafts
Speed: 39km/h (21knots)
Armour: 48mm Deck, 280mm Belt
Armaments:
2×3,2×2 30,5cm/50 Cannons
16×1 15cm/50 Casemated Guns
8×1 10cm/50 Casemated Guns
2×1 7cm/45 Guns (Probably)
4×1 53cm Underwater Torpedo tubes (Probably)

Siegfried Popper’s Proposals:
Design date: 1909/10
Dimensions: 151,5 (wl) x 26 x 8,6m
Displacement: 20.000tons (standard)
Engines: 25.000shp Steam Turbines, 4 shafts
Speed: 38km/h (20,5knots)
Armour: 48mm Deck, 230mm Belt
Armaments:
Projekt I:
4×2 30,5cm/50 Cannons,
10×1 19cm/50 Casemated Guns,
20×1 10cm/50 Guns,
2×1 7cm/45 Guns,
4×1 53cm Torpedoes

Projekt II:
4×2 30,5cm/50 Cannons,
4×2 19cm/50 Guns,
20×1 10cm/50 Casemated Guns,
2×1 7cm/45 Guns,
4×1 53cm Torpedoes

Projekt III:
5×2 30,5cm/50 Cannons,
10×1 15cm/50 Casemated Guns,
14×1 10cm/50 Guns,
3×1 7cm/45 Guns,
4×1 53cm Torpedoes

Projekt IV:
5×2 30,5cm/50 Cannons,
14×1 12cm/50 Casemated Guns,
14×1 10cm/50 Guns,
3×1 7cm/45 Guns,
4×1 53cm Torpedoes

Projekt V:
6×2 30,5cm/50 Cannons,
24×1 10cm/50 Casemated and Shielded Guns,
4×1 7cm/45 Guns,
4×1 53cm Torpedoes

Projekt Va:
6×2 30,5cm/45 Cannons,
8×1 15cm/50 Casemated Guns,
16×1 7cm/45 Guns,
4×1 53cm Torpedoes

Projekt Vb:
6×2 30,5cm/45 Cannons,
18×1 10cm/50 Casemated Guns,
16×1 7cm/45 Guns,
4×1 53cm Torpedoes

Projekt VI:
5×2 30,5cm/50 Cannons,
14×1 15cm/50 Casemated Guns,
11×1 7cm/45 Guns,
3×1 53cm Torpedoes

Projekt VIa:
5×2 30,5cm/45 Cannons,
14×1 15cm/50 Casemated Guns,
14×1 7cm/45 Guns,
3×1 53cm Torpedoes

Projekt VIb:
5×2 30,5cm/45 Cannons,
14×1 15cm/50 Casemated Guns,
11×1 7cm/45 Guns,
3×1 53cm Torpedoes

Projekt VII:
5×2 30,5cm/50 Cannons,
18×1 12cm/50 Casemated Guns,
11×1 7cm/45 Guns,
3×1 53cm Torpedoes

Projekt VIIa:
5×2 30,5cm/45 Cannons,
18×1 12cm/50 Casemated Guns,
14×1 7cm/50 Guns,
3×1 53cm Torpedoes

Projekt VIII:
4×3 30,5cm/45 Cannons,
10×1 15cm/50 Casemated Guns,
14×1 7cm/50 Guns,
4×1 53cm Torpedoes

 

4.\ The Ersatz Monarch / Improved Viribus Unitis class:

ersatz_monarch_preliminary_designs_i_viii_by_tzoli-dbuq8xu

Due to the large amount of preliminary designs that this battleship class had I had to separate this all-in-one picture into two as to not to create an overly large image which  happened previously with my IJN No.13 preliminary studies.

So let’s start with the beginning shall we?
While the Ersatz Monarch class battleships are easily the most well-known never-were project of the Austro-Hungarian Navy (Kaiserlich und Königlich Kriegsmarine) the history of the class and information about the other design variants considered are rather difficult to get hold of. Not only because the troubled history of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and it’s successor states but ships were designed in Vienna and the various shipyards were located in Croatia and parts of what is now Italy; armour was produced by Vitkovice in Silesia and main guns manufactured and developed by Skoda in Bohemia (today Czech Republic) while engines, main hull frame parts and smaller caliber guns were built by Ganz-Danubius in Budapest and Diósgyőr in Hungary. In the past 100 years since then the documents of the ships ended up in various parts of the old Monarchy due to the variety of contributors  to the development and construction of the ships. While most of the documents were held in Vienna (Austria), some documents could be found in Budapest (Hungary), Pula (ex-Pola), Rijeka (ex-Fiume) and Zagreb (Croatia), Venezia (Italy) or might be even in Prague (Czech Republic). None the less thanks to some Hungarian and Italian naval enthusiasts as well as sheer luck I was able to collect as much info as I could.
To address the name of this new class of battleships they were never formally called Ersatz Monarch class, but rather as projects like I II III etc, Enlarged or Improved Tegetthoff type or by their tonnage like 23.400ton battleships, 24.500ton battleships and so on. The name Ersatz Monarch (which means literally ‘Replacement Monarch’ or replacement ship for the old SMS Monarch) originated from the leading article of August 1913 issue of “Die Flagge”, the monthly magazine of the Austrian Navy League: “The Monarch class must be replaced.” – and hence the name Ersatz Monarch survived to this very day describing the last ordered battleships of the Austro-Hungarian Navy.

In early June 1911, some 3 weeks before the launch of SMS Viribus Unitis (first dreadnought battleship of Austro-Hungary) planning works begun for a new design of  abattleship. The Empire required new battleships for several reasons:

– Balance the eternal rival of the Adriatic Region: Italy’s construction of new battleships (Andrea Doria and Conte di Cavour classes)
– With the addition of modern capital ships, the fleet of Austria-Hungary became a major navy instead of a mere coastal defense force
– maintaining the status of a great power was impossible without dreadnought-type battleships

The new battleship class must be stronger than the previous Viribus Unitis one and to attain better sea-keeping abilities it must have a raised forecastle deck and an increased speed of 21 knots (39km/h)
With other requirements as follows:
Variant A: 23.000tons, with a minimum of 10x 30,5 cm cannons, 18x 15cm and 24x 7,5 cm secondary and tertiary guns
Variant B: 24.600tons, with a minimum of 10x 34,5 cm cannons, other armament same as above

The displacement was limited by the lifting capacity of Drydock No.1 of 23.800tons.

In April earlier of that year, Skoda offered plans for a new heavy gun a 34,5cm one in twin and triple turrets as well as ideas for a new battleship arguing with the necessity of securing their highly skilled workforce and ensuring development continuity.

The Naval Technical Committee (MTK – Marinetechnische Komitee) offered the first designs in December of that year:
Projekt I: 22.000tons, 4×3, 30,5cm, 16×1 15cm, 18×1 7,5cm
Projekt II: 23.400tons, 2×3,2×2 34,5cm, 6×2,10×1 15cm, 24×1 7,5cm
Projekt III: 24.500tons, 2×3,2×2 34,5cm, 6×2,10×1 15cm, 24×1 7,5cm
Projekt IV: 23.400tons, 2×3,2×2 34,5cm, 6×2,10×1 15cm, 24×1 7,5cm
All had 6x 53cm Underwater Torpedo tubes

With Project I modified (as Project V) in February of the next year with partially reduced poop deck (which might be more of a partially reduced quarter or aft deck as poop deck was not used on any modern capital ships! ) to reduce the displacement of the design after more accurate calculations were done. Another unique trait of these proposals is the usage of twin casemates required by the specified large amount of secondary guns on a limited hull length. Further investigations in the twin casemate design showed that while it featured better gun placements on a limited hull the actual technical difficulties of placing two guns in a single casemate as well as the issues of reloading and rotating of it’s mounting resulted in a lot of unresolved problems and this led to the rejection of the idea. (Note: Twin casemates were offered by STT (Stabilimento Tecnico Triestino – Technical Establishment of Trieste) for the Viribus Unitis class as well in 1909! as shown by official papers.)

The 7,5cm/50 gun was a new development which did not enter production but it was on par with other navies 76mm or 3” guns used mostly for Anti-Torpedo Boat, Anti-Destroyer and Anti-Air weaponry and would had provided better protection for the ships than the previous 7cm (66mm) guns. Later the 7,5cm L/30 K16 gun developed by Skoda was used onboard submarines, destroyers (Warasdiner, Huszár class) and gunboats as AA guns and it might have been developed from this earlier 7,5cm gun.

To counter the influence of Skoda, the Naval Ministry ordered a new set of designs in early spring of 1912 with armaments of a minimum of 8x either 34,5cm or 35,5cm cannons (Skoda was ordered to develop guns and turrets for this new caliber as well) with new tonnage set to 23.400tons. As Skoda could not provide drawings and data of the 35,5cm guns and turrets in time most of the shipyards used 34,5cm guns for their proposals.

With this new specifications in mind no less than 26 design proposals were made by the various shipyards ranging from 8 guns to 13 guns from 161 to 175m in length, displacements of 23.400 to 27.000tons and armour ranging from 280mm to 340mm belt and 38-64mm deck. Sadly I could not acquire (if they still exists et all) precise data related to these designs as well as their drawings and hence I could only draw the MTK variants for which I have more accurate data of.

In case of the 8 gunned 23.000ton designs I’m not sure about the accuracy of either the tonnage or the amount of guns carried because on 23-24.000tons the Royal Navy was able to produce the Orion and King George V class, HMS Erin with 5×2 343mm (13,5”) armament on a similar hull size and belt armor but thicker deck and higher speed of 22 knots.

Here is the list of designers who offered their ideas to the Naval Ministry apart from MTK:
CNT – Cantiere Navale Triestino (Trieste Naval Shipyard)
STT – Stabilimento Tecnico Triestino (Technical Establishment of Trieste) mostly by Naval Architect Siegfried Popper
Ganz-Danubius – Ganz és Társa-Danubius Villamossági-, Gép-, Waggon- és Hajógyár Rt. (Ganz and Partner-Danubius Electrical-           Machine-, Wagon- and Shipbuilding Co.)
Naval Architect Silvius Morin

None the less by May 1912 MTK proposed these new set of designs all with 25.200tons displacement:
Projekt VI: 1×3,4×2 34,5cm, 16×1 15cm, 18×1 7,5cm
Projekt VII: 4×3 34,5cm, 16×1 15cm, 18×1 7,5cm
Projekt VIII: 3×3,2×2 34,5cm, 16×1 15cm, 18×1 7,5cm
Projekt IX: 2×3,3×2 34,5cm, 14×1 15cm, 18×1 7,5cm
All had 6x Underwater 53cm Torpedo Tubes

After the last series of 34,5cm armed battleship designs were offered to the navy, the Ministry held a meeting in June 1912 to discuss the various proposals. On the meeting which was headed by Vice-Admiral Karl Kailer von Kaltenfels and where chief naval architect Franz Pitzinger was also present and he briefly commented on all the designs. By early July of 1912 the meeting concluded the following:
– 23.400 tons of displacement was too small for a well designed battleship and thus 24.500tons of displacement was chosen
– A new set of gun calibre was chosen: 35cm (minimum 10 guns) as the final caliber which could use a standardized shell then under development by Krupp and the Imperial German Navy
– 18x 15cm secondary guns
– 9cm (88mm) tertiary guns
– Minimum of 300mm belt armor
– Minimum of 21 knots speed

After these new set of requirements were formalized, the 3 shipyards were asked again but sadly I have only info on the MTK proposals as well as a single design from Ganz-Danubius. The Ganz-Danubius proposal is a bit different from the other designs as it was shorter but beamier resulting in a more stable gun platform but required a stronger engine due to the worse beam to length ratio and would had a single funnel. The MTK proposals were preferred and most have two versions done: one with superfiring triple the other with superfiring twin turrets and also introducing casemates on two levels at the front to maximize forward fire.
While the Naval Ministry preferred superfiring twin turrets as they knew the results of the trials done by SMS Viribus Unitis and SMS Tegetthoff – which showed that these ships were top heavy (which is more about maximum weaponry on a limited displacement as Viribus Unitis class was the smallest battleship design which could carry 12x 30,5cm cannons) – still the designers offered superfiring triple turrets as these showed better lines for the curves of the hull front and aft and also reduced citadel width which was also saving tonnage. On the other hand superfiring twin turrets would result in a more stable gun platform due to less topweight of the twin turrets.

ersatz_monarch_preliminary_designs_ix_xvi_by_tzoli-dbvr9hy

The new designs were finished by January 1913 with Ganz Danubius’s proposal by March:
Projekt X: 24.500tons, 2×3,2×2 35cm, 18×1 15cm, 16×1 9cm, 6×1 9cm AA, 6x 53cm Underwater Torpedo tubes
Projekt XI: 24.500tons, 2×3,2×2 35cm, 18×1 15cm, 16×1 9cm, 4×1 9cm AA, 6x 53cm Underwater Torpedo tubes
Projekt XII: 24.650tons, 2×3,2×2 35cm, 18×1 15cm, 16×1 9cm, 4×1 9cm AA, 6x 53cm Underwater Torpedo tubes

On 23rd April 1913 the Command of the Navy ordered the NTC to rework the January 1913 design: after some weight saving modifications it had to thicken the armor of the belt, the barbettes and the conning tower. In addition, it had to completely redesign the electric system of the ship and thus Project XI was born.

Apparently the Austro-Hungarian naval architects felt that such stripped down designs would not be well balanced and presented two enlarged alternative designs with heavier weaponry and speed increased to 23knots in January 1914, showing that more displacement was required for a more balanced battleships.
These two designs are:
Projekt XIII / Pre-project I: 29.600tons, 4×3 35cm, 18×1 15cm, 8×1 9cm, 10×1 9cm AA, 6x 53cm Underwater Torpedo tubes
Projekt XIV / Pre-project II: 32.000tons, 3×3,2×2 35cm, 18×1 15cm, 8×1 9cm, 10×1 9cm AA, 8x 53cm Underwater Torpedo tubes

These two were of course not chosen due to the building limitations of the shipyard facilities, but a 40.000ton Floating dock was ordered from Germany just before WW1 broke out.
But the tonnage limit was kept up so in July 1914 the last design variants were presented. For weight reasons the number of secondary guns was reduced to 14x 15cm and tonnage set at 24.560tons:

Projekt XV: 24.560tons, 2×3,2×2 35cm, 14×1 15cm, 10×1 9cm, 12×1 9cm AA, 6x 53cm Underwater Torpedo tubes
Final Projekt / Projekt XVI: 24.560tons, 2×3,2×2 35cm, 14×1 15cm, 8×1 9cm, 12×1 9cm AA, 6x 53cm Underwater Torpedo tubes

In Table mode:

datatable

 

5.\ The Battleship Projects envisioned for the post-WW1 fleet:

Projekt III Battleship:

austro_hungarian_project_iii_battleship_design_by_tzoli-dbylbow

In mid-1917 the MTK (Marinetechnische Komitee – Naval Technical Committee), Pola prepared a battleship design the same time they proposed battlecruiser Project II.
The hull shape was similar but shorter and wider providing a more stable gun platform with a more conventional layout of 4 twin 38cm turrets in superfiring pairs forward and aft and a reduced number of 9cm casemated guns only positioned at the ends.

Choice for the increased caliber might be the result of the early studies based on the results of the battle of Jutland and the knowledge of the new generation of German battlecruisers (Ersatz Yorck) and the than under construction battleships (Bayern class) which were to be armed with 38cm cannons. On the other hand the KuK Kriegsmarine might have had knowledge about the newly comissioned warships of the Royal Navy, the Queen Elizabeth and Revenge class battleships as well as the Renown class battlecruisers which all carried 15″ / 381mm cannons. It is also likely that the increased caliber was to counter the new Italian fast battleships laid down at that time: the Francesco Caracciolo class which too would have carried 381mm cannons.
You can think of this design as the Austro-Hungarian equivalent of the Queen Elizabeth and Revenge classes but faster though with thinner belt and deck armor.

The design(s) had the following characteristics:
Dimensions: 200 (wl) x 30 x 8,75m
Displacement: 30.000tons (standard), 32.300tons (full load)
Armour: 40mm Deck, 300mm Belt
Engines: 75.000shp Steam Turbines, 4 shafts
Speed: 46km/h (25knots)
Range: 8.500km at 28km/h (4.600nm at 15knots)
Armaments:
4×2 38cm Cannons
18×1 15cm Guns
10×1 9cm (88mm) Guns
4×1 9cm (88mm) AA Guns
6×1 53cm Underwater Torpedo tubes
Projekt V Battleship:

austro_hungarian_project_v_battleship_design_by_tzoli-dbz08pf

This was the final battleship proposal by the MTK (Marinetechnische Komitee – Naval Technical Committee), Pola offered in late 1917, early 1918. It was a further improvement on the previous Project III type with another step taken in a larger main weapon caliber: the 42cm sized cannons. These weapons first appeared on the Imperial German Navy post Jutland battleship and battlecruiser/fast battleship (Linienschiff 20 variants; L24; L27-28 and GrossKampfschiff 4021-5045) designs planned for the post war fleet of Germany as well.
The 4 turrets are in a conventional layout of superfiring pairs forward and aft while the secondary armament are along the sides in casemates, while the 15cm heavy Dual Purpose AA guns are located in turrets on the deck with a single large funnel emphasising this design. What you actually see is the battleship equivalent of the Projekt VI battlecruiser mounting the same kind of armament but on a thicker and more armoured hull.

This ship is reminiscent both in size, armament and armor to the Japanese Nagato class battleships laid down a few years earlier.

The design(s) had the following characteristics:
Dimensions: 215 (wl) x 32 x 9,5m
Displacement: 37.200tons (standard), 39.600tons (full load)
Armour: 40mm Deck, 300mm Belt
Engines: 56.000shp Steam Turbines, 4 shafts
Speed: 44km/h (24knots)
Range: 9.000km at 28km/h (5.000nm at 15knots) or
5.500km at 44km/h (3.000nm at 24knots)
Armaments:
4×2 42cm Cannons
20×1 15cm Guns
4×1 15cm DP-AA Guns
6×1 53cm Underwater Torpedo tubes

A small history about them can also be found here until the Viribus Unitis site comes backs online again:
http://www.viribusunitis.ca/
https://stefsap.wordpress.com/2017/12/2 … ruisers-2/

 

6.\ And finally the Battlecruiser projects for the Post WW1 fleet:

The Projekt I design variants:

austro_hungarian_project_i_battlecruiser_designs_by_tzoli-dbfkxxz

The KuK Kriegsmarine produced a number of capital ship designs starting from around the time of the Battle of Jutland to late 1917, early 1918 featuring mostly battlecruiser designs but a few battleships as well. Not much is known about the history of these designs apart from that they are prepared for the post war fleet, showing that the Austro-Hungarian Empire wished to end the war soon.

None the less, these project feature a good amount of ingenuity as well as traditional elements. Some of you might think these designs strike resemblance to the French warships of the same period like the grouped casemated guns and clear firearcs showing that either the Austro-Hungarians took the same way of ideas and thinking as the French or simply copied them.

Typical to the Germanic nations these designs do not feature the all or nothing armor scheme, instead the armor belt covers almost 100% of the waterline length with the main belt thickness of 225mm (9″) and the ends having 100mm (4″) which is quite comparable with the armor of the Royal Navy battlecruisers.

Armament consisted of 35cm cannons the same ones as used on the Ersatz Monarch class and which was chosen over the 34.5cm because there was a standard shell in development which could be used both in the Austro-Hungarian Navy and the Imperial German Navy.

In 1915 the naval staff of the KuK Kriegsmarine have been impressed by the escape of the German battlecruiser SMS Goeben from the British forces as well as the effectiveness of the Royal Navy battlecruisers HMS Invincible and HMS Inflexible in the battle of Falklands of 1914 December and asked MTK (Marinetechnische Komitee – Naval Technical Committee), Pola to produce designs (at least these were the ones that survived) for the post war fleet and by late 1915 – early 1916, the first design, Projekt I was born.

It was a battlecruiser derived from the Ersatz Monarch / Improved Tegetthoff class battleships of 1912 and similarly featured 35cm cannons with various layouts and with 15cm secondary and 9cm tertiary armament to fight off enemy cruisers and destroyers.

The design(s) had the following characteristics:
Dimensions: 220 (wl) x 29 x 8,65m
Displacement: 30.000tons (standard), 34.000tons (full load)
Armour: 40mm Deck, 225mm Belt
Engines: 100.000shp Steam Turbines, 4 shafts
Speed: 56km/h (30knots)
Range: 14.800km at 28km/h (8.000nm at 15knots)
Armaments:
4×2 35cm (3×3 on variant a)
18×1 15cm Guns
12×1 9cm (88mm) Guns
6×1 9cm (88mm) AA Guns (8×1 on variant b,c 4×1 on variant f)
6×1 53cm Underwater Torpedo tubes

On variant ‘A’ 3 triple turrets were chosen all on the same level on the centerline and this was the true battlecruiser equivalent of the Ersatz Monarch class, though this layout seem not to be favoured as all consequent proposals featured twin turrets.
Variant ‘B’ and ‘C’ featured 4 twin turrets with ‘C’ the two turret offset to the sides in a ‘en echelon’ arrangement providing ahead and abaft fire which was not possible in the previous designs.
Variant ‘D’,’E’ and ‘F’ are again basically the same, differing only in placement of the a superfiring turret in either forward, aft or both.

The Projekt II design:

austro_hungarian_project_ii_battlecruiser_design_by_tzoli-dbipe2z

In mid 1917 the MTK (Marinetechnische Komitee – Naval Technical Committee), Pola prepared a new battlecruiser design: Projekt II.
Project II was based heavily on the previous Projekt I design, using the same hull and secondary armament but increasing the main gun caliber from 35cm to 38cm in 3 twin turrets.

Reasoning for the increased caliber is the same as for battleship ‘Projekt III’.

Basically Projekt II is a modified Projekt Ia, replacing the triple turrets with twins but putting the 2nd turret between the two boiler rooms to increase survivability of the engine rooms.
You can think of this design as the Austro-Hungarian Renown and arguably better in some aspects.

The design(s) had the following characteristics:
Dimensions: 220 (wl) x 29 x 8,65m
Displacement: 30.000tons (standard), 34.000tons (full load)
Armour: 40mm Deck, 225mm Belt
Engines: 100.000shp Steam Turbines, 4 shafts
Speed: 56km/h (30knots)
Range: 14.800km at 28km/h (8.000nm at 15knots)
Armaments:
3×2 38cm Cannons
18×1 15cm Guns
12×1 9cm (88mm) Guns
6×1 9cm (88mm) AA Guns
6×1 53cm Underwater Torpedo tubes

The Project IV design:

austro_hungarian_project_iv_battlecruiser_design_by_tzoli-dbizarm

The designers at MTK (Marinetechnische Komitee – Naval Technical Committee), Pola continued to improve the battlecruiser proposals taking into account the experiences gained at the battle of Jutland and they proposed what is basically a modified Projekt II battlecruiser:

Larger caliber main weapons are always superior and anything below 10cm / 4″ guns are not suitable against enemy cruisers.
Less casemated guns means less holes on the side and thus less danger spots.
Unique among other navies are the adoption of a fully enclosed, well armored (100mm) AA/DP turret mounting the heaviest AA gun of the time: a 15cm/50 gun. For it’s era this dual purpose gun would be more than enough against the WW1 aircraft and Zeppelins (Anti-Balloon guns as the Austrians called these weapons).

Like on Projekt II the Projekt IV design featured 3 twin 38cm cannons in pairs too and these were supposed to use a standard common shell with the German Navy’s 38cm gun.

Simply put Projekt IV is a streamlined and slightly lengthened Projekt II with no tertiary armament and the introduction of heavy turreted DP-AA weaponry.
If Projekt II was the Austro-Hungarian Renown, then Projekt IV is the modernized Renown!

The design(s) had the following characteristics:
Dimensions: 230 (wl) x 29 x 8,82m
Displacement: 32.000tons (standard), 36.000tons (full load)
Armour: 40mm Deck, 225mm Belt
Engines: 112.000shp Steam Turbines, 4 shafts
Speed: 56km/h (30knots)
Range: 16.700km at 28km/h (9.000nm at 15knots) or
5.500km at 56km/h (3.000nm at 30knots)
Armaments:
3×2 38cm Cannons
18×1 15cm Guns
4×1 15cm DP-AA Guns
6×1 53cm Underwater Torpedo tubes

The Projekt VI design:

austro_hungarian_project_vi_battlecruiser_design_by_tzoli-dbjflrc

This was the final battlecruiser proposal by the MTK (Marinetechnische Komitee – Naval Technical Committee), Pola offered in late 1917, early 1918. It was a further improvement on the previous Projekt IV type with another step taken toward a larger main weapon caliber: 42cm sized cannons.
The two twin turret layout ship – while reminiscent of the British Courageous class light battlecruisers – was actually more similar in concept and genesis to the GK 4021 and 4221 designs of the Imperial German Navy.

The hull was further refined and adjusted for the heavy twin 42cm gun turrets, while the DP-AA guns moved towards the centre of the ship, further away from the blast area of the main turrets.

The design(s) had the following characteristics:
Dimensions: 230 (wl) x 29 x 8,82m
Displacement: 32.000tons (standard), 36.000tons (full load)
Armour: 40mm Deck, 225mm Belt
Engines: 112.000shp Steam Turbines, 4 shafts
Speed: 56km/h (30knots)
Range: 16.700km at 28km/h (9.000nm at 15knots) or
5.500km at 56km/h (3.000nm at 30knots)
Armaments:
2×2 42cm Cannons
18×1 15cm Guns
4×1 15cm DP-AA Guns
6×1 53cm Underwater Torpedo tubes

As a side note to Projekt VI:
While the British were the first to build battlecruisers with such minimal main armament, the Japanese designed a similar vessel with 3 and later 4 single 30cm gun turrets, I’ve mentioned the German Grosskampfschiff series of 1916-17, but on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean the USN too played with the idea, although they called this vessel a battle scout.
Also note that the Royal Navy’s Courageous and Furious classes were designed for the Baltic Sea to provide fire support for the abortive Baltic amphibious operations and thus were very lightly armoured for minimal displacement and thus shallow draught, while the German and Austro-Hungarian proposal were true battlecruisers with thicker armour and heavier secondary armament ideal for fleet action or lone hunting duties!

This concludes my post on the Austro-Hungarian Navy warship designs.

 

Written by Zoltán Takács, edited by Akos Gergely

 

 

 

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