SMS Kaiser Franz Joseph I

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SMS Kaiser Franz Joseph I..jpg
Career (Austria-Hungary)
Class and type: Kaiser Franz Joseph I class
Protected cruiser
Name: SMS Kaiser Franz Joseph I
Builder: Stabilimento Tecnico Triestino
Launched: 18 May 1889
General characteristics
Length: 102.56 m
Beam: 14.72 m
Draft: 5.7 m
Speed: 19 knots

SMS Kaiser Franz Josef I was a protected cruiser of the Austro-Hungarian Navy , the lead ship of the Kaiser Franz Josef class. Named in honor of the Emperor Franz Josef I of Austria-Hungary, the cruiser and its sister ship, Kaiserin Elisabeth, were built as a reply to the Italian cruisers Giovanni Bausan (1883) and Etna (1885).


Built by Stabilimento Tecnico Triestino at Trieste, Kaiser Franz Josef I was a steel-hulled vessel of 3,967 tons displacement, she measured 321 feet (98 m) in waterline length with a beam of 49 feet (15 m) and a mean draft of 19 feet (5.8 m). The crew comprised 450 officers and men.

Technical Description[edit]

Propulsion was supplied by two sets of horizontal triple-expansion engines with four cylindrical double-ended boilers. Designed performance was 6,400 horsepower (4,800 kW) for 18 knots (33 km/h) and 8,000 horsepower (6,000 kW) for 19 knots (35 km/h); on trials she in fact reached 20 knots (37 km/h).

Originally, Kaiser Franz Josef I and Kaiserin Elisabeth were each armed with two 9.4in (24cm) and six 6in (15cm) guns, both types Model 1886. Kaiser Franz Josef I's 9.4in (24cm) guns were mounted in fore and aft turrets, but owing to fiscal constraints those of Kaiserin Elisabeth had armored hoods instead. Both were reconstructed in 1905-06 with each rearmed with two long-barreled 15 cm and six short-barreled 15 cm guns, both types Model 1901. Rounding out the armament of each were sixteen 4.7 cm quick-firing guns, one machine gun and four 14-inch (360 mm) torpedo tubes located above water, two on either beam.

Service history[edit]

SMS Kaiser Franz Joseph I during storm

Although Kaiser Franz Josef I burned enormous amounts of coal, in 1914 she could still steam at a very fair speed. At the outbreak of the First World War, Kaiser Franz Josef I was serving with the 2nd Cruiser Division. She took part in the shelling of enemy batteries on Mount Lovčen (which dominated Cattaro Bay) on 9 September 1914 and again on 8/9 January 1916. Later she was assigned to subsidiary local defense service at Cattaro. She was disarmed in 1917 for use as a floating headquarters.[1]

Upon the defeat and dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Kaiser Franz Josef I was allocated to France as a war reparation. On her delivery voyage, however, she was overloaded with dismantled machinery and foundered in a gale off Kumbor in Cattaro Bay on 17 October 1919. Portions of the wreck were recovered by a Dutch company in 1922 and by Yugoslav salvagers in 1967.[2]


  1. ^ Gogg, Karl. Österreichische Kriegsmarine 1848-1918<
  2. ^ Barovič, Jože. Mornarica dvojne monarhije v I. svetovni vojni, vojne akcije 1914


  • Greger, René (1976). Austro-Hungarian Warships of World War I. London: Ian Allan. ISBN 0-7110-0623-7. 
  • Gogg, Karl. Österreichische Kriegsmarine 1848-1918, Salzburg, 1967,
  • Barovič, Jože. Mornarica dvojne monarhije v I. svetovni vojni, Maribor 2005, COBISS 2022207

External links[edit]