SMS Kaiser Franz Joseph I

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SMS Kaiser Franz Joseph I..jpg
Career (Austria-Hungary)
Name: SMS Kaiser Franz Joseph I
Builder: Stabilimento Tecnico Triestino
Launched: 18 May 1889
General characteristics
Class and type: Kaiser Franz Joseph I-class protected cruiser
  • Design: 5,330 t (5,250 long tons; 5,880 short tons)
  • Full load: 6,026 t (5,931 long tons; 6,643 short tons)
Length: 113.7 m (373.0 ft)
Beam: 16.25 m (53.3 ft)
Draft: 6.81 m (22.3 ft)
  • Two triple-expansion engines
  • 9,755 ihp (7,274 kW)
Speed: 19.35 knots (36 km/h; 22 mph)
Complement: 475
  • Belt armor: 100 mm (3.9 in)
  • Armor deck: 38 to 57 mm (1.5 to 2.2 in)
  • Turrets: 100 mm
  • Casemates: 8 mm (0.31 in)
  • Conning tower: 50 mm (2.0 in)

SMS Kaiser Franz Josef I was a protected cruiser of the Austro-Hungarian Navy , the lead ship of the Kaiser Franz Joseph I 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).

Description and construction[edit]

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.

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 9.4-inch (240 mm) and six 6-inch (150 mm) guns, both types Model 1886. Kaiser Franz Josef I‍ '​s 9.4-inch 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 150 mm (6 in) and six short-barreled 150 mm guns, both types Model 1901. Rounding out the armament of each were sixteen 47 mm (1.9 in) 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]