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SMS Szent István

sms szent istván, sms szent istván sinking
SMS Szent István a was a Tegetthoff-class dreadnought of the Austro-Hungarian Navy, the only one built in the Hungarian part of Austria-Hungary The Ganz & Company's Danubius Yard in Hungarian-owned Fiume current-day Rijeka was awarded the contract to build the battleship in return for the Hungarian government agreeing to the 1910 and 1911 naval budgets She was named after Hungary's first Christian king, Saint Stephen Hungarian: Szent István She and her sister ships were regarded as very compact and powerful ships and were the first dreadnoughts in service with triple main-gun turrets1

Her completion was delayed by the start of World War I, but she was commissioned in December 1915 She spent the bulk of the war at anchor in Pola Pula, leaving harbour generally only for gunnery training Her final mission began on the evening of 9 June 1918 when she sailed to rendezvous with the other dreadnoughts for an attack on the Otranto Barrage, scheduled for the following day Two Italian MAS, a type of motor torpedo boat employed by the Regia Marina, discovered Szent István and her half-sister Tegetthoff early in the morning of 10 June 1918 while returning after a night patrol off the Dalmatian coast They penetrated past her escorts and torpedoed her twice abreast her boiler rooms They flooded, which knocked out power to the pumps, and Szent István capsized less than three hours after being torpedoed All but 89 of her crew were rescued She is the only battleship whose sinking was filmed during World War I2

Her wreck was discovered in the mid-1970s, upside down, off the Croatian island of Premuda She has been declared a protected site by the Croatian Ministry of Culture and casual diving is forbidden

Contents

  • 1 Design
    • 11 General characteristics
  • 2 Construction
  • 3 Service
    • 31 Sinking
  • 4 Consequences
  • 5 Notes
  • 6 References
  • 7 Sources
  • 8 External links

Designedit

Main article: Tegetthoff-class battleship Play media 1st part: The launching of the semi-finished SMS Szent István, 2nd part: video about the test of the battleship Notice the lacking command bridge and the lacking elevated gun turrets on the semi-finished ship

Szent István differed from her half-sisters mainly in her machinery She only had two shafts and two turbines, unlike the four shaft arrangement of the other ships of her class External differences included a platform built around the fore funnel which extended from the bridge to the after funnel and on which several searchlights were installed A further distinguishing feature was the modified ventilator trunk in front of the mainmast She was the only ship of her class not to be fitted with torpedo nets3

General characteristicsedit

Szent István had an overall length of 15218 metres 499 ft 3 in, a beam of 28 metres 91 ft 10 in, and a draught of 86 metres 28 ft 3 in at deep load She displaced 20,008 tonnes 19,692 long tons at load and 21,689 tonnes 21,346 long tons at deep load4 The skeg for each propeller shaft was a solid, blade-like fitting, unlike the strut-type skegs used in her half-sisters, that had such a high transversal resistance that the rudder could only be laid at a maximum angle of 10° at full speed to avoid a heavy list5 The hull was built with a double bottom 122 metres 4 ft 0 in deep with a reinforced inner bottom that consisted of two layers of 25-millimetre 1 in plates4

She was fitted with two AEG-Curtis steam turbines, each of which was housed in a separate engine-room The turbines were powered by twelve Babcock & Wilcox boilers in two boiler rooms The turbines were designed to produce a total of 26,000 shaft horsepower 19,388 kW, enough for her designed speed of 20 knots 37 km/h; 23 mph, but no figures from her trials are known to exist6 She carried 1,8445 tonnes 1,8154 long tons of coal, and an additional 2672 tonnes 2630 long tons of fuel oil that was to be sprayed on the coal to increase its burn rate4 At full capacity, she could steam for 4,200 nautical miles 7,800 km; 4,800 mi at a speed of 10 knots 12 mph; 19 km/h1

Szent István mounted twelve 305-centimetre 12 in Škoda 305 cm K10 guns in four triple turrets Her secondary armament consisted of a dozen 15-centimetre 59 in Škoda 15 cm K10 guns mounted in casemates amidships Twelve 7-centimetre 28 in Škoda K10 guns were mounted on open pivot mounts on the upper deck, above the casemates Three more 7 cm K10 guns were mounted on the upper turrets for anti-aircraft duties Four 21-inch 530 mm submerged torpedo tubes were fitted, one each in the bow, stern and on each broadside; twelve torpedoes were carried4

The waterline armour belt of the Tegetthoff-class dreadnoughts measured 280 millimetres 11 in thick between the midpoints of the fore and aft barbettes and thinned to 150 millimetres further towards the bow and stern, but did not reach either the bow or the stern It was continued to the bow by a small patch of 110–130-millimetre 4–5 in armour The upper armour belt had a maximum thickness of 180 millimetres 7 in, but it thinned to 110 millimeters from the forward barbette all the way to the bow The casemate armour was also 180 millimetres thick The sides of the main gun turrets, barbettes and main conning tower were protected by 280 millimetres 11 in of armour, except for the turret and conning tower roofs which were 60 to 150 millimetres 2 to 6 in thick The thickness of the decks ranged from 30 to 48 millimetres 1 to 2 in in two layers The underwater protection system consisted of the extension of the double bottom up to the lower edge of the waterline armour belt, with a thin 10-millimetre 04 in plate acting as the outermost bulkhead It was backed by a torpedo bulkhead that consisted of two layered 25-millimetre plates7 The total thickness of this system was only 16 metres 5 ft 3 in which made it incapable of containing a torpedo warhead detonation or mine explosion without rupturing8

Constructionedit

The installation of cannons in the gun turrets of SMS Szent István

The ship was laid down on 29 January 1912 at Ganz & Company's Danubius yard at Fiume current-day Rijeka, the only large Hungarian shipyard in Croatia Ganz & Company was awarded the contract to build the battleship in return for the Hungarian government agreeing to the 1910 and 1911 naval budgets This involved great expense by the Hungarian government, as the yard had hitherto only built smaller merchant ships for, amongst others, Österreichischer Lloyd, and therefore had to be itself refitted for the building of larger vessels However she was renamed Szent István by order of the Emperor Franz Joseph before she was launched on 17 January 1914 It was customary for either the Emperor or his heir to be present at the launching of a major warship, but Franz Joseph was too feeble and his heir, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, refused to be there as a consequence of his anti-Hungarian attitudes Franz Joseph sent a telegram of congratulations that negated the snub offered by his heir9 During the launching itself there was an accident when the starboard anchor had to be dropped to prevent the ship from hitting a ship carrying spectators, but the anchor chain had not been shackled to the ship and it struck two dockworkers, killing one and crushing the arm of the other10 Her fitting out was delayed by the start of the war, but she was finally commissioned on 13 December 19154

Serviceedit

Szent István was based at Pola Pula for the duration of her career In fact she rarely left port except for gunnery practice in the nearby Fažana Strait She only spent 54 days at sea during her 937 days in service and made only a single, two-day, trip to Pag Island Only 57% of her life was spent at sea; for the rest of the time she swung at anchor in Pola Harbour She was never even drydocked to get her bottom cleaned11

Her tenure in Pola was enlivened by a visit from the new Emperor Karl I on 15 December 1916 and another by Kaiser Wilhelm on 12 December 1917 during his inspection of the German submarine base there The Italians conducted no fewer than eighty air raids on Pola between 1915 and 1917 which undoubtedly kept the crews of her anti-aircraft guns busy12

Sinkingedit

Play media The film footage about the sinking of SMS Szent István2 Szent István low in the water The last moments of Szent István

By 1918, the Allies had strengthened their blockade on the Strait of Otranto As a result, it was becoming more difficult for German and Austro-Hungarian U-boats to get through the strait and into the Mediterranean In response to these new measures at blockading the straits, the new commander of the Austro-Hungarian Navy, Konteradmiral Miklós Horthy decided to launch an attack on the Allied defenders with battleships, scout cruisers, and destroyers13 During the night of 8 June, Horthy left the naval base of Pola with Viribus Unitis and Prinz Eugen At about 11:00 pm on 9 June 1918 Szent István and Tegetthoff,14 escorted by one destroyer and six torpedo boats, departed Pola, after some troubles getting the harbour defense barrage opened They were en route to the harbour at Slano, north of Dubrovnik Ragusa to rendezvous with Viribus Unitis and Prinz Eugen, for a coordinated attack on the Otranto Barrage At about 3:15 am on 10 June,b two Italian MAS boats, MAS 15 and MAS 21, spotted the smoke from the Austrian ships while returning from an uneventful patrol off the Dalmatian coast The MAS platoon was commanded by Capitano di corvetta Luigi Rizzo, who had sunk the Austro-Hungarian coastal defense ship SMS Wien in Trieste six months before15 The individual boats were commanded by Capo timoniere Armando Gori and Guardiamarina di complemento Giuseppe Aonzo respectively Both boats successfully penetrated the escort screen and split to engage each of the dreadnoughts MAS 21 attacked Tegetthoff, but her torpedoes failed to hit the ship15 MAS 15 fired her two torpedoes successfully at 3:25 am at Szent István Both boats evaded any pursuit although MAS 15 had to discourage the Austro-Hungarian torpedo boat Tb 76 T by dropping depth charges in her wake Tegetthoff thought that the torpedoes were fired by submarines and pulled out of the formation and started to zigzag to throw off any further attacks She repeatedly fired on suspected submarine periscopes until she rejoined her half-sister at 4:4516

Szent István was hit by two 45-centimetre 18 in torpedoes abreast her boiler rooms The aft boiler room quickly flooded and gave the ship a 10° list to starboard Counterflooding of the portside trim cells and magazines reduced the list to 7°, but efforts to use collision mats to plug the holes failed While this was going on the dreadnought steered for the nearby Bay of Brgulje at low speed However, water continued to leak into the forward boiler room and eventually doused all but the two boilers on the port side This killed the power for the pumps and only left enough electricity to run the lights The turrets were trained to port in a futile effort to counter the list and their ready ammunition was thrown overboard1617 An attempt by Tegetthoff to take the crippled battleship into tow was also abandoned after it became clear that Szent István was doomed15 Flooding continued, and the ship capsized at 6:05 am off Premuda Island Only 89 sailors died—41 from Hungary—the low death toll partly attributed to the fact that all sailors with the KuK Navy had to learn to swim before entering active service1617

Film footage exists of Szent István's last half-hour, taken by Linienschiffsleutnant Meusburger of the Tegetthoff with his own camera as well as by an official film crew The two films were later spliced together and exhibited in the United States during the Great Depression15

The wreck of the Szent István was located in the mid-1970s by the SFR Yugoslav Navy She is upside down at a depth of 66 metres 217 ft18 Her bow broke off when it hit the seabed while the stern was still afloat, but is immediately adjacent to the rest of the heavily encrusted hull The two holes from the torpedo hits are visible in the side of the ship as is another deep hole which may be from a torpedo fired at Tegetthoff by MAS 21 She is a protected site of the Croatian Ministry of Culture and diving is forbidden without permission19 In 2008, divers from Hungary placed a wreath on the Szent István's wreck during a ceremony that was attended by members of the Austrian and Croatian governments All three countries were once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire17

Consequencesedit

Konteradmiral Miklós Horthy, commander of the proposed attack, cancelled the attack because he thought that the Italians had discovered his plan and ordered the ships to return to Pola20

In fact the Italians did not even discover that the Austrian dreadnoughts had departed Pola until later on 10 June when aerial reconnaissance photos revealed that they were no longer there8 Capitano di fregata Luigi Rizzo was awarded his second Gold Medal of Military Valor; his first was for sinking the pre-dreadnought battleship Wien in 1917, and appointed a knight in the Order of the Crown of Italy After the war MAS 15 was installed in the Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II as part of the Museo del Risorgimento in Rome The anniversary of the sinking has been celebrated by the Regia Marina, and its successor, the Marina Militare, as its Navy Day Italian: Festa della Marina20

Notesedit

  • Battleships portal
  • Austria-Hungary portal
  1. ^ "SMS" stands for "Seiner Majestät Schiff ", or "His Majesty's Ship" in German
  2. ^ There is some debate on what was the exact time when the attack took place Sieche 1991, pp 127 and 131 states that the time was 3:15 am when the Szent István was hit while Sokol, p 134 claims that the time was 3:30 am

Referencesedit

  1. ^ a b Sieche 1985, p 334
  2. ^ a b Battleship Szent Istvan sinks in WW1 on YouTube
  3. ^ Sieche 1991, p 132
  4. ^ a b c d e Sieche 1991, p 133
  5. ^ Sieche 1991, p 137
  6. ^ Sieche 1991, pp 133, 140
  7. ^ Sieche 1991, pp 132–133
  8. ^ a b Sieche 1991, p 135
  9. ^ Sieche 1991, p 116
  10. ^ Sieche 1991, pp 116, 120
  11. ^ Sieche 1991, p 123
  12. ^ Sieche 1991, pp 120, 122–123
  13. ^ Sokol, pp 133–134
  14. ^ Sokol, p 134
  15. ^ a b c d Sokol, p 135
  16. ^ a b c Sieche 1991, pp 127, 131
  17. ^ a b c "Austro-Hungarian battleship sunk in the Adriatic commemorated" Europe Intelligence Wire Hungarian News Agency 2 October 2008 
  18. ^ Sieche 1991, pp 138, 142
  19. ^ Ruberti, Fabio "Svent Istvan – Diving into History" Beyond the Blue Retrieved 14 February 2010 
  20. ^ a b Sieche 1991, p 131

Sourcesedit

  • Sieche, Erwin F 1985 "Austria-Hungary" In Gardiner, Robert; Gray, Randal Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships: 1906–1921 Annapolis: Naval Institute Press ISBN 978-0-85177-245-5 
  • Sieche, Erwin F 1991 "SMS Szent István: Hungaria's Only and Ill-Fated Dreadnought" Warship International Toledo, OH: International Warship Research Organization XXVII 2: 112–146 ISSN 0043-0374 
  • Sokol, Anthony 1968 The Imperial and Royal Austro-Hungarian Navy Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press OCLC 1912 

External linksedit

  • Austro-Hungarian Navy
  • Detailed color pictures
  • Tegetthoff-class dreadnoughts
  • An interview with Fabio Ruberti that includes footage of the wreck of Szent István
  • General information on the wreck

Coordinates: 44°12′07″N 14°27′05″E / 4420194°N 1445139°E / 4420194; 1445139

sms szent istván, sms szent istván 1918, sms szent istván 1938, sms szent istván capsize, sms szent istván sinking, sms szent istván wreck


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    29.10.2014


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