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The Austro-Hungarian Navy was the naval force of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Its official name in German was Kaiserliche und Königliche Kriegsmarine (Imperial and Royal War Navy, abbreviated and better known as k.u.k. Kriegsmarine).

This navy existed under this name after the formation of the Dual Monarchy in 1867 and continued in service until the end of World War I in 1918. Prior to 1867, the country's naval forces were those of the Austrian Empiremarker. By 1915 a total of 33,735 naval personnel served in the k.u.k. Kriegsmarine.

Neither Austria nor Hungary had a coast or sea ports after World War I, thus having little or no need for a naval force. The available ports in the Adriatic Seamarker were given to Italymarker and Yugoslaviamarker.

Ships of the k.u.k. Kriegsmarine were designated SMS, for Seiner Majestät Schiff (His Majesty's Ship).


Emperor Joseph II.
Area where the k.u.k.
Kriegsmarine served.


Until the end of the 18th century there were only limited attempts in Austria at establishing a navy of its own. The Habsburg had employed armed ships sailing the Danube in the 16th and 17th centuries to fight the Ottoman Empire, and ships guarding the merchant fleet also operated from the Austrian Netherlands, but these forces were neither under a common command nor did they serve a common purpose. A specific Naval Ensign (Marineflagge) based on the red-white-red colours was introduced only in the reign of Emperor Joseph II.

This situation changed considerably in 1797 with the Treaty of Campo Formio between France and Austria. Austria ceded to France the Austrian Netherlands and certain islands in the Mediterranean, including Corfumarker and some Venetian islands in the Adriatic. Venicemarker and its territories were divided between the two states and the Austrian emperor received the city of Venice along with Istriamarker and Dalmatia. The Venetian naval forces and facilities were also handed over to Austria and became the basis of the formation of the future Austrian Navy.

The 19th century

Screw-driven corvette Erzherzog Friedrich in 1868, a veteran of the Battle of Lissa
In 1802 Archduke Charles of Austria, acting in his role as "Inspector General of the Navy" ordered the formation of a naval cadet academy in Venicemarker ("Cesarea regia scuola dei cadetti di marina") which would move to Triestemarker in 1848 and eventually - under its later name of "Imperial and Royal Naval Academy" ("k.u.k. Marine-Akademie") - to Fiumemarker (now Rijekamarker, Croatiamarker) where it remained until World War I.

The navy gained its first influential supporter when Archduke Charles' third son Archduke Friedrich entered the service in 1837. The young archduke introduced many modernizing reforms, aiming to make his country's naval force less "Venetian" but more "Austrian". This was considered necessary as it was felt that the force officially styled the "Austrian Navy" was in practice little more than Venetian crews and ships sailing under the Austrian flag. In 1844 Archduke Friedrich was promoted vice-admiral and Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, but died just one year later at the age of twenty-six.

Austrian warships had their first military encounters during the Oriental Crisis of 1840 as a part of a British led fleet which ousted the Viceroy of Egypt, Muhammad Ali, from Ottoman Syria. Archduke Friedrich took part in the campaign personally and was awarded the Military Order of Maria Theresa for his exceptional leadership.

Modernising the Navy

Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian in naval uniform, circa 1864
Ten years after Archduke Friedrich's death, the younger brother of the reigning Emperor Franz Joseph took office as Commander-in-Chief of the Austrian Navy in 1854. Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian was twenty-two at that time. Archduke Friedrich's distant relative was trained for the navy, and threw himself into this new career with much zeal. He carried out many reforms to modernise the naval forces, and was instrumental in creating the naval port at Triestemarker as well as the battle fleet with which admiral Wilhelm von Tegetthoff would later secure his victories in the Italian Warmarker.

In Venicemarker the naval shipyard was retained. Here the Austrian screw-driven gunboat Kerka (crew: 100) was launched in 1860 (in service until 1908). The Venice 'lagoon flotilla' of Austrian warships was, in 1864, moored in front of the church of San Giorgio and included the screw-driven gunboat Ausluger, the paddle-steamer Alnoch, and five paddle-gunboats of the Types 1 to IV.

Novara Expedition

From the Novara Expedition: sketch of a Coca plant
Main article: Novara Expedition
Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian also initiated a large-scale scientific expedition (1857-1859) during which the frigate SMS Novara became the first Austrian warship to circumnavigate the globe. SMS stood for "His Majesty's Ship" (Seiner Majestät Schiff). The journey lasted 2 years and 3 months and was accomplished under the command of Kommodore Bernhard von Wüllerstorf-Urbair, with 345 officers and crew, and 7 scientists aboard. The expedition was planned by the Imperial Academy of Sciences in Viennamarker and aimed to gain new knowledge in the disciplines of astronomy, botany, zoology,geology, oceanography and hydrography. SMS Novara sailed from Trieste on 30 April 1857, visiting Gibraltarmarker, Madeiramarker, Rio de Janeiromarker, Cape Townmarker, St. Paul Islandmarker, Ceylonmarker, Madrasmarker, Nicobar Islandsmarker, Singaporemarker, Bataviamarker, Manilamarker, Hong Kongmarker, Shanghai, Puynipetmarker island, Stuarts, Sydneymarker (5 November 1858), Aucklandmarker, Tahitimarker, Valparaisomarker and Gravosamarker before returning to Trieste on 30 August 1859.

In 1863 the Royal Navy's battleship , the flagship of Admiral Fremantle, made a courtesy visit to Polamarker, the main port of the Austro-Hungarian Navy.

In April 1864 Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian stepped down as Commander-in-Chief of the Navy and accepted the throne of Mexicomarker from Louis Napoleon, becoming Maximilian I of Mexico. He traveled from Triestemarker to Veracruzmarker aboard the SMS Novara, escorted by the frigates (Austrian) and Themis (French), and the Imperial yacht Phantasie led the warship procession from his palace at Schloß Miramarmarker out to sea. When he was arrested and executed four years later, admiral Wilhelm von Tegetthoff was sent aboard the Novara to take Ferdinand Maximilian's body back to Austria.

Second Schleswig War

The Second Schleswig War was the 1864 invasion of Schleswig-Holsteinmarker by Prussia and Austria. At that time, The duchies were part of the Kingdom of Denmarkmarker. Rear-Admiral Wilhelm von Tegetthoff commanded a small Austrian flotilla which traveled from the Mediterranean Seamarker to the North Seamarker.

On May 9, 1864, Tegetthoff commanded the Austrian naval forces in the naval action off Heligoland from his flagship, the screw-driven . The action was a tactical victory for the Danish forces. It was also the last significant naval action fought by squadrons of wooden ships and the last significant naval action involving Denmark.

Third Italian War of Independence

On July 20, 1866, near the island of Vismarker in the Adriaticmarker, the Austrian fleet, under the command of Rear-Admiral Wilhelm von Tegetthoff, made its name in the modern era at the Battle of Lissamarker during the Third Italian War of Independence. The battle pitted Austrian naval forces against the naval forces of the newly created Kingdom of Italy. It was a decisive victory for an outnumbered Austrians over a superior Italian force, and was the first major European sea battle involving ships using iron and steam, and one of the last to involve large wooden battle ships and deliberate ramming.


In 1873 the new sail and steam frigate (crew 480) was added to the fleet, which took part in the International Naval Review off Gružmarker in 1880.

During peace-time Austrian ships visited Asia, North America, South America, and the Pacific Oceanmarker.

In 1869 Emperor Franz Joseph travelled on board the screw-driven corvette SMS Viribus Unitis (not to be confused with the later battleship of the same name) to the opening of the Suez Canalmarker. The ship had been named after his personal motto.

Polar Expedition

Austro-Hungarian ships and naval personnel were also involved in Arctic exploration, discovering Franz Josef Landmarker during an expedition which lasted from 1872 to 1874.

Led by the naval officer Karl Weyprecht and the infantry officer and landscape artist Julius Payer, the custom-built schooner Tegetthoff left Tromsømarker in July 1872. At the end of August she got locked in pack-ice north of Novaya Zemlyamarker and drifted to hitherto unknown polar regions. It was on this drift when the explorers discovered an archipelago which they named after Emperor Franz Joseph I.

In May 1874 Payer decided to abandon the ice-locked ship and try to return by sledges and boats. On 14 August 1874 the expedition reached the open sea and on 3 September finally set foot on Russianmarker mainland.

Between the centuries

Crete Rebellion

In late 1896 a rebellion broke out on Cretemarker, and on January 21, 1897 a Greekmarker army landed in Crete to liberate the island from the Ottoman Empire and unite it with Greecemarker. The European powers, including Austria-Hungary, intervened, and proclaimed Crete an international protectoratemarker. Warships of the k.u.k. Kriegsmarine patrolled the waters off Crete in blockade of Ottoman naval forces. Crete remained in an anomalous position until finally ceded to Greece in 1913.

The Boxer Rebellion

Austria-Hungary was part of the Eight-Nation Alliance during the Boxer Rebellion in Chinamarker (1899 - 1901). As a member of the Allied nations, Austria sent two training ships and the cruisers , , , and and a company of marines to the North China coast in April 1900, based at the Russia concession of Port Arthurmarker.

In June they helped hold the Tianjinmarker railway against Boxer forces, and also fired upon several armed junks on the Hai Rivermarker near Tong-Tcheou. They also took part in the seizure of the Taku Fortsmarker commanding the approaches to Tianjin, and the boarding and capture of four Chinese destroyers by Capt. Roger Keyes of . In all k.u.k. forces suffered only several casualties during the rebellion.

After the uprising a cruiser was maintained permanently on the China station and a detachment of marines was deployed at the embassy in Peking.

Lieutenant Georg Ludwig von Trapp, who would serve as a submarine commander during World War I and become famous in the musical The Sound of Music after World War II, was decorated for bravery aboard the SMS Kaiserin und Königin Maria Theresia during the Rebellion.


During the First Balkan War Austria-Hungary joined Germanymarker, Francemarker, the United Kingdommarker and Italymarker in blockading the seaport town of Barmarker in the Kingdom of Montenegro.

European naval arms race

Scale drawing of a Radetzky Class semi-dreadnought.
Among the many factors giving rise to World War I was the naval arms race between Great Britainmarker and Imperial Germanymarker. However, that was not the only European naval arms race. The Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Kingdom of Italy were in a race of their own for domination of the Adriatic Seamarker. The k.u.k. Kriegsmarine had another prominent supporter at that time in the face of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Like other imperial naval enthusiasts before him, Franz Ferdinand had a keen private interest in the fleet and was an energetic campaigner for naval matters. The Austro-Hungarian Navy eventually built four Dreadnoughts in the form of the Tegetthoff class battleships; these were opposed by six Dreadnoughts of the Italian Regia Marina.

The Dreadnought Era

Great Britain had already taken the lead. The battleship had been completed in 1906, and was so advanced that some argued that all previous battleships were rendered obsolete, although Britain and other countries kept pre-dreadnoughts in service.
Dreadnought SMS Tegetthoff, named after Admiral von Tegetthoff
Austria-Hungary's naval designers, aware of the inevitable dominance of all big gun dreadnought type designs, then presented their case to the Marinesektion des Reichskriegsministeriums (Naval Section at the War Ministry) in Viennamarker, which on October 5, 1908 ordered the construction of their own dreadnought, the first contract being awarded to 'Werft das Stabilimento Tecnico Triestino (STT)', the naval weaponry to be provided by the Škoda Works in Pilsenmarker. The Marine budget for 1910 was substantially enlarged to permit major refits of the existing fleet and more dreadnoughts. The battleships and were both launched by the Archduke Franz Ferdinand at Trieste, amongst great rejoicing, on June 24, 1911, and March 21, 1912. They were followed by the , and the . These battleships, constructed later than many of the earlier British and German dreadnoughts, were considerably ahead in some aspects of design, especially of both the French and Italian navies, and were constructed with Marconi Wireless rooms as well as anti-aircraft armaments. It is said they were the first battleships in the world equipped with torpedo launchers built into their bows.

Between the 22 and 28 May 1914 the Tegetthoff, accompanied by the Viribus Unitis, made a courtesy visit to the British Mediterranean fleet in Maltamarker.

Among the European States, Imperial Germany enhanced her naval infrastructure, building new dry docks, and enlarging the Kiel Canalmarker to enable larger vessels to navigate it. Imperial Russia too had commenced building a new modern navy following their naval defeat in the Russo-Japanese War.

The British Royal Navy, with its great political clout, is nevertheless said to have suffered from a lack of foresight, with their warship designers labouring under width, length and tonnage constraints imposed by size limitations of existing facilities.

World War I

Austro-Hungarian fleet manouevres in February 1913

After the assassinationmarker of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife in 1914, the Austro-Hungarian Navy honoured them with a lying in state aboard the SMS Viribus Unitis.

During the First World War, the navy saw some action, but prior to the Italian entry spent most of its time in its major naval base at Pola. Following the Italian declaration of war the mere fact of its existence tied up the Italian Navy and the French Navy in the Mediterranean for the duration of the war.

On 15 May 1915, when Italy declared war on Austria-Hungary, the Austro-Hungarian navy left their harbors in Pola marker, Sebenico marker and Cattaro marker to bombard the eastern Italian coast between Venice and Barlettamarker. Main targets were the cities of Anconamarker, Riminimarker, Viestemarker, Manfredoniamarker, Barletta and bridges and railway tracks along the coast. By 1917 the Austro-Hungarian fleet was as yet largely undamaged.

The presence of three Allied navies in the Mediterranean made any measures of co-ordination and common doctrine extraordinarily difficult. The Adriatic was divided into eleven zones, of which the British naval authorities were responsible for four, the French for four, and the Italians for three. Differing command structures, national pride and the language barrier all contributed to a lack of cohesion in the application of Allied sea power, producing a situation in which German and Austro-Hungarian U-Boat attacks on shipping flourished. An example of the lack of co-ordination was the sinking of the Italian troop transport Minas bound from Italy to Salonikamarker, which was torpedoed in one of the British zones in February 1917 with the loss of 870 lives, a British escort not understanding a message and failing to relieve the Italian destroyer which turned around at the zone barrier.

Battle at Durazzo

In December 1915 a k.u.k. Kriegsmarine cruiser squadron attempted to make a raid on the Serbianmarker troops evacuating Albaniamarker. After sinking a French submarine and bombarding the town of Durazzomarker the squadron ran into a minefield, sinking one destroyer and damaging another. The next day the group ran into a squadron of British, Frenchmarker, and Italianmarker cruisers and destroyers. The resulting battle left two Austrian destroyers sunk and light damage to another, while dealing only minor damage to the Allied warships.

A three-power conference on April 28, 1917, at Corfumarker, discussed a more offensive strategy in the Adriatic, but the Italians were not prepared to consider any big ship operations, considering the size of the Austro-Hungarian fleet. The British and French seemed reluctant to move alone against the Austro-Hungarians, especially if it meant a full scale-battle. But the Austrians were not inactive either and even as the Allied conference was in session they were planning an offensive operation against the Otranto Barrage.

Battle of the Otranto Straits

Throughout 1917 the Adriatic remained the key to the U-boat war on shipping in the Mediterranean. Cattaro, some 140 miles above the narrow Straits of Otranto, was the main U-Boat base from which almost the entire threat to Mediterranean shipping came.

The Otranto barrage, constructed by the Allies with up to 120 naval drifters, used to deploy and patrol submarine nets, and 30 motor launches, all equipped with depth-charges, was designed to stop the passage of U-Boats from Cattaro. However, this it failed to do and from its inception in 1916 the barrage had caught only two U-Boats, the Austrian and the German UB-44 out of hundreds of possible passages.

However, the barrage effectively meant that the Austro-Hungarian surface fleet could not leave the Adriatic seamarker unless it was willing to give battle to the blocking forces. This, and as the war drew on bringing supply difficulties especially coal, plus a fear of mines, limited the Austro-Hungarian navy to shelling the Italian and Serbian coastlines.

There had already been four small-scale Austro-Hungarian attacks on the barrage, on March 11, April 21, and 25, and May 5, 1917, but none of them amounted to anything. Now greater preparations were made, with two U-Boats despatched to lay mines off Brindisimarker with a third patrolling the exits in case Anglo-Italian forces were drawn out during the attack. The whole operation was timed for the night of May 14/15, which led to the biggest battle of the Austro-Hungarian navy in World War I, the Battle of the Otranto Straits.

The first Austro-Hungarian warships to strike were the two destroyers, the and . An Italian convoy of three ships, escorted by the destroyer Borea, was approaching Valonamarker, when, out of the darkness, the Austrians fell upon them. The Borea was left sinking. Of the three merchant ships, one loaded with ammunition was hit and blown up, a second set on fire, and the third hit. The two Austrian destroyers then steamed off northward.

Meanwhile, three Austro-Hungarian cruisers under the overall command of Captain Miklos Horthy, the SMS Novara, , and , had actually passed a patrol of four French destroyers north of the barrage, and thought to be friendly ships passed unchallenged. They then sailed through the barrage before turning back to attack it. Each Austrian cruiser took one-third of the line and began slowly and systematically to destroy the barrage with their 4 inch guns, urging all Allies on board to abandon their ships first.

During this battle the Allies lost two destroyers, 14 drifters and one glider while the Austro-Hungarian navy suffered only minor damage (the Novara's steam supply pipes were damaged by a shell) and few losses. The Austro-Hungarian navy returned to its bases up north in order to repair and re-supply, and the allies had to rebuild the blockade.

The Mutiny of 1918

In February 1918 a mutiny started in the 5th Fleet stationed at the Gulf of Kotormarker naval base. Sailors on, it is said, up to 40 ships, had joined the mutiny over demands for better treatment and a call to end the war.

The mutiny failed to spread beyond Kotor and within three days a loyal naval squadron had arrived. Together with coastal artillery the squadron fired several shells into a few of the rebel's ships, and then assaulted them with k.u.k. Marine Infantry in a short and successful skirmish. About 800 sailors were imprisoned, dozens were court-martialed and four seamen were executed, including the leader of the uprising, František Raš, a Bohemian. Given the huge crews required in naval vessels of that time this is an indication that the mutiny was limited to a minority.

Late World War I

Admiral Horthy.
A second attempt to force the blockade took place in June 1918 under the command of Rear-Admiral Horthy. A surprise attack was planned but an Italian torpedo boat by chance spotted the flotilla, and launched two torpedoes hitting one of the four Austrian Dreadnoughts, the . The lost element of surprise made Horthy break off his attack. Huge efforts were made by the crew to save the Szent Istvan which had been hit below the water-line, and the Tegetthoff took her in tow. However just after 6 a.m., the pumps being unequal to the task, the ship, now listing badly, had to be abandoned and it sank soon afterwards.

In 1918, in order to avoid giving the fleet to the victors, the Austrian Emperor gave the entire Austro-Hungarian Navy and merchant fleet, with all harbours, arsenals and shore fortifications to the People's Council of the new State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbsmarker. They in turn sent diplomatic notes to the governments of France, the United Kingdom, Italy, the United Statesmarker and Russia, to notify them that the State of SCS was not at war with any of them and that the Council had taken over the entire Austro-Hungarian fleet.

However, the navy was soon attacked at its moorings by the Italian Regia Marina, and the French navy commandeered the new dreadnought Prinz Eugen which they took to France and later used it for target practice in the Atlantic, where it was destroyed.

Ships Lost

Ships lost in World War I:

  • 1914: ,
  • 1915: , , ,
  • 1916: ,
  • 1917: , ,
  • 1918: , , , ,

Ships lost after World War I:
  • 1919:

Ports and locations

Austro-Hungarian naval yard at Pola; ca. 1890
The home port of the Austro-Hungarian Navy was the Seearsenal (naval base) at Pola marker, a role it took over from Venice where the early Austrian Navy had been based. Supplementary bases included the busy port of Triestemarker and the natural harbour of Cattaro marker at the most southerly point of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Both Trieste and Pola had major shipbuilding facilities. Pola's naval installations contained one of the largest floating dry-docks in the Mediterraneanmarker. The city of Pola was also the site of the central church of the navy "Stella Maris" (k.u.k. Marinekirche "Stella Maris"), of the Austro-Hungarian Naval Observatory and the empire's naval military cemetery (k.u.k. Marinefriedhof). In 1990, the cemetery was restored after decades of neglect by the communist regime in Yugoslavia. The Austro-Hungarian Naval Academy (k.u.k. Marine-Akademie) was located in Fiume marker.

Trieste was also the headquarters of the merchant line Austrian Lloyd (founded in 1836 and, later, Lloyd Triestino), whose headquarters stood at the corner of the Piazza Grande and Sanita. By 1913 Austrian Lloyd had a fleet of 62 ships comprising a total of 236,000 tons.

Austrian Naval Air Arm

In August 1916, the Imperial and Royal Naval Air Corps or K.u.K. Seeflugwesen was established. This was later renamed K.u.K. Seefliegerkorps in 1917. Its first aviators were naval officers who received their initial pilot training at the airfields of Wiener Neustadtmarker in Lower Austriamarker, where also the Theresian Military Academymarker is located. They were first assigned for tours aboard the battleships of the Tegetthoff class. Later, the k.u.k. Seefliegerkorps also served at the following airfields in Albania and southern Dalmatia: Beratmarker, Kavajamarker, Tiranamarker, Scutari and Igalo. They also had airfields at Podgoricamarker in Montenegromarker.
  • Flik 1 - Igalo from June - November 1918
  • Flik 6 - Igalo from November 1915 - January 1916
    • - Scutari from January 1916 - June 1917
    • - Tirana from July 1917 - June 1918
    • - Banja from June - July 1918
    • - Tirana from July - September 1918
    • - Podgorica from September - November 1918
  • Flik 13 - Berat from August - September 1918
    • - Kavaja from September - October 1918
The following Austrian squadrons served at Feltremarker also:
  • Flik 11 - from February 1918
  • Flik 14 - from June 1918 to November 1918
  • Flik 16 - from November 1917 - October 1918
  • Flik 31 - from June - July 1918
  • Flik 36 - from June - July 1918
  • Flik 39 - from January - May 1918
  • Flik 45 - during April 1918
  • Flik 56 - during December 1917
  • Flik 60J - from March - September 1918
  • Flik 66 - from January 1918 - November 1918
  • Flik 101 - during May 1918
Feltre was captured by Austrian forces on 12 November 1917 after the Battle of Caporettomarker. There were two other military airfields nearby, at Arsiemarker and Fonzasomarker. It was the main station for the Austrian naval aviators in that area. The K.u.K. Seeflugwesen used mostly modified German planes, but produced several variations of its own. Notable planes for the service were the following:

Problems affecting the Navy

When it came to its financial and political position within the Empire, the Austrian (and later Austro-Hungarian) Navy was a bit of an afterthought for most of the time it existed.

One reason was that sea power was never a priority of the Austrian foreign policy and that the Navy itself was relatively little known and supported by the public. Activities such as open days and naval clubs were unable to change the sentiment that the Navy was just something "expensive but far away". Another point was that naval expenditures were for most of the time overseen by the Austrian War Ministry which was largely controlled by the Army, the only exception being the period before the Battle of Lissa.

The Navy was only able to draw significant public attention and funds during the three short periods it was actively supported by a member of the Imperial Family. The Archdukes Friedrich , Ferdinand Maximilian and Franz Ferdinand each a keen private interest in the fleet, held senior naval ranks and were energetic campaigners for naval matters. However, none lasted long as Archduke Friedrich died early, Ferdinand Maximilian left Austria to become Emperor of Mexico and Franz Ferdinand was assassinated before he acceeded the throne.

The Navy's problems were further exacerbated by the eleven different ethnic groups comprising the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Officers had to speak at least four of the languages found in the Empire. Germans and Czechs generally were in signals and engine room duties, Hungarians became gunners while Croats and Italians were seamen or stokers. The Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 aimed to calm political dissatisfaction by creating the Dual Monarchy, in which the Emperor of Austria was also the King of Hungary. This constitutional change was also reflected in the navy's title, which changed to "Imperial and Royal Navy" (kaiserlich und königliche Kriegsmarine, short K. u K. Kriegsmarine).

Besides problems stemming from the difficulty of communicating efficiently within such a multilingual military, the Empire's warship designs were generally smaller and somewhat less capable than those of other European powers.

Famous personnel

Senior leadership

Commanders-in-Chief of the Navy

(in German Oberkommandant der Marine. From March 1868 the incumbents of this position were styled Marinekommandant)

Commanders-in-Chief of the Fleet (1914-1918)

(in German Flottenkommandant)

Heads of the Naval Section at the War Ministry

(in German Chef der Marienesektion at the Kriegsministerium)
  • Wilhelm von Tegetthoff, VAdm.(March 1868-April 1871)
  • Friedrich von Pöck, Adm.(October 1872-November 1883)
  • Maximilian Daublebsky von Sterneck, Adm.(November 1883-December 1897)
  • Hermann von Spaun, Adm.(December 1897-October 1904)
  • Graf Rudolf Montecuccoli, Adm.(October 1904-February 1913)
  • Anton Haus, Adm./GAdm.(February 1913-February 1917)
  • Karl Kailer von Kaltenfels, VAdm.(February 1917-April 1917)
  • Maximilian Njegovan, Adm.(April 1917-February 1918)
  • Franz von Hulob, VAdm.(February 1918-November 1918)

Naval flags

Austrian Naval Ensign from 1786
Naval Ensign 1915-1918
Beginning in the reign of Emperor Joseph II., the navy used a flag based on the red-white-red colours, and augmented with a shield of similar colours.

This flag was formally adopted as Naval Ensign (Marineflagge) in 1786. It served the Austrian Navy until 1869 and the Austro-Hungarian Navy between 1869 and 1918. During World War I, Emperor Franz Joseph approved of a new design which also contained the Hungarian arms. This flag, officially instituted in 1915, was however little used and ships continued displaying the old Ensign until the end of the war. Photographs of Austro-Hungarian ships flying the post-1915 form of the Naval Ensign are therefore relatively rare.

See also


  1. Haslip, Joan, Imperial Adventurer - Emperor Maximilian of Mexico, London, 1971, ISBN 0-297-00363-1
  2. Wagner, Walter, & Gabriel, Erich, Die 'Tegetthoff' Klasse, Vienna, January 1979.
  3. Greger, René; & Watts, A. J. (1972). The Russian fleet, 1914-1917. London: Ian Allan. ISBN 071100255X
  4. Dario Petković: Ratna mornarica austro-ugarske monarhije, Pula 2004, Page 86, ISBN 953-6250-80-2
  5. Hubmann, Franz, & Wheatcroft, Andrew (editor), The Habsburg Empire, 1840-1916, London, 1972, ISBN 0-7100-7230-9
  6. Naval cemetery - a walk through the history of Pula


  • Kemp, Peter, The Otranto Barrage, in History of the First World War, vol.6, no.1, BPC Publishing Ltd., Bristol, England, 1971, pps: 2265 -2272.

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