for Fun Miscellaneous
Tanks Trains Contact Me
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.
SZENT ISTVÁN differed from her sister ships in that she had a platform built around her forward funnel which extended from the bridge to the after funnel. Several searchlights were installed on this platform. She was also the only ship in the class to never be fitted with torpedo nets. SZENT ISTVÁN spent most of her career at anchor at Pola. She never underwent her official trials, due to war, and the fleet as a whole saw little action due to both a lack of coal and the extensive use of mines in the Adriatic. But in June, 1918, the four TEGETTHOFFs were to form the backbone of a raiding force that was to attack the Otranto mine barrage. During the sortie on 10 June, the SZENT ISTVÁN was hit by two torpedoes fired by an Italian MTB (the MAS 15); SZENT ISTVÁN rather quickly capsized and sank. 89 of her crew were killed.