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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.
TEGETTHOFF made a single training cruise (in the company of VIRIBUS UNITIS) in the eastern Mediterranean in the spring of 1914. TEGETTHOFF and VIRIBUS UNITIS comprised the 1st Division of the 1st Battle Squadron of the Austrian Navy, and took part in shore bombardments of the Italian coast in May, 1915. Following that, VIRIBUS UNITIS saw little action until June, 1918. At that time, 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. Following World War I, TEGETTHOFF was ceded to Italy in 1919, and broken up at La Spezia in 1924-25.