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Notes: Influenced by the impending construction of the first Italian "dreadnought", Vice Admiral County Rudolf von Montecuccoli, the Austrian C-in-C, announced in February, 1908, that Austria would build a new generation of battleships, displacing nearly 20,000 tons. When the Germans launched the NASSAU in March, 1908, Italy postponed her plans to reconsider what the Germans had done. When in 1909 the Italians announced that their "Dreadnought A" (which would become the DANTE ALIGHIERI) would be armed with triple turrets, Austrian naval planners redesigned their new dreadnoughts to match this threat. At the same time, the Austrians requested information on Germany's newest design, the KAISER class -- which they received from their ally. Once again, the design of the TEGETTHOFF class was modified, and the keels of the first two ships were laid down in 1910. A political crisis forced Montecuccoli to take a personal loan for 32 million crowns to ensure the keels were laid for these ships. When the Austrian Parliament finally did approve the funds in 1911, construction was already well underway; Montecuccoli was not only repaid his loan, but saw to it that funds were approved for two more TEGETTHOFF class battleships.
From a technical point of view, the TEGETTHOFF class resembled the preceding RADETZKY class; they were very compact and powerful ships, and the first dreadnoughts in service with 12" guns in triple turrets, mounted on the centerline fore and aft in superimposed positions, as had the DANTE ALIGHIERI and the American SOUTH CAROLINA class. However, the German design theories on underwater protection had arrived too late, and a double-bottom scheme had been used.
PRINZ EUGEN saw little action during World War I, due to two major factors; lack of coal, and the fact that the Adriatic was heavily mined. But in June, 1918, the four TEGETTHOFFs were to form the backbone of a raiding force when was to attack the Otranto mine barrage; when the SZENT ISTVÁN was torpedoed and sunk by an Italian MTB (the MAS 15) on 10 June, the operation was called off. After World War I, PRINZ EUGEN was ceded to France and towed to Toulon in 1919, where she was completely disarmed and stripped of most of her interior fittings. She was used as a target ship for aircraft bombs, and as a "test bed" for underwater explosives tests. PRINZ EUGEN was finally sunk on 28 June 1922 by the French battleships BRETAGNE, JEAN BART, PARIS and FRANCE while serving as a gunnery target.