Novara-class cruiser

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Class overview
Name: Novara
Operators: Austro-Hungarian Navy, Regia Marina, French Navy
In service: 1914-1937
Completed: Three ordered and commissioned
Retired: 3
General characteristics
Type: Light cruiser
Displacement: 3,380 tons (designed)
4010 tons (full load)
Length: 130.64 m (428.6 ft)
Beam: 12.79 m (42.0 ft)
Draught: 5 m (16 ft)
Propulsion: 2 shafts
16 x Yarrow boilers, 6 x Parsons steam turbines
30,178 shp (22,504 kW)
Speed: 27 knots (50 km/h)
Complement: 340
Armament: 9 × 10 cm (3.9 in) guns
1 × 7 cm (2.8 in) gun
6 × 53.3 cm (21.0 in) torpedo tubes
Armour: Belt 60mm
Deck 20mm
gun shields 40mm - 8mm
conning tower 50 mm

The Novara class, known as Rapidkreuzer or Helgoland-Klasse (in English literally rapid cruiser ) was a class of light cruisers of the Austro-Hungarian Navy active during the First World War. The ships were an improved design of the earlier SMS Admiral Spaun, which had been laid down in 1908.

Three ships were built and commissioned:

Ship Builder Launched Completed
SMS Saida CNT, Trieste 26 October 1912 1 August 1914
SMS Helgoland Danubius, Fiume 23 November 1912 29 August 1914
SMS Novara Danubius, Fiume 15 February 1913 10 January 1915


Main armament for the ships were nine 10 cm guns and six torpedo tubes, an improvement over Admiral Spaun by two 10 cm guns. The lightly armored ships had a top speed of 27 knots (50 km/h). The weak point of the Novara class was its relatively light armament. Guns of caliber 12 or 15 cm were considered but not added due to the war situation.

Another three ships with 12 cm guns and maximum speed of 30 knots (56 km/h), projected as a replacement of Zenta class, never got over planning phase.

Service history[edit]

Together with the Tátra class destroyers they were ideally suited to the naval warfare of the Adriatic sea. Numerous fast raids on Italian ports were undertaken, the most spectacular action was the successful attack of Novara, Helgoland, and Saida on the Otranto Barrage on 15 May 1917; the three cruisers, along with two destroyers and three German U-boats sank 14 trawlers.

After the war the ships were given to the victorious Entente powers: France incorporated Novara under the name Thionville into its fleet (scrapped in 1942). Italy took over Helgoland and Saida as Brindisi and Venezia (both scrapped in 1937).


External links[edit]