Yugoslav destroyer Ljubljana
|Kingdom of Yugoslavia|
|Out of service:||17 April 1941|
|Fate:||Captured by Italy|
|Acquired:||17 April 1941|
|Fate:||Sunk or stranded off the Tunisian coast on 1 April 1943|
|Class and type:||Beograd-class destroyer|
|Length:||98 m (321 ft 6 in)|
|Beam:||9.45 m (31 ft 0 in)|
|Draught:||3.18 m (10 ft 5 in)|
|Speed:||38 knots (70 km/h; 44 mph)|
The Yugoslav destroyer Ljubljana was the third and last Beograd-class destroyer built for the Royal Yugoslav Navy (Serbo-Croatian: Kraljevska Jugoslovenska Ratna Mornarica, KJRM) during the late 1930s. Her main armament consisted of four Škoda 120 mm (4.7 in) guns. In 1940, she ran aground on a reef off the Yugoslav port of Šibenik. Badly damaged, she was taken to port for repairs. She was still under repair when Yugoslavia was drawn into World War II by the German-led Axis invasion of that country in April 1941. Ljubljana was captured by the Italians, and after repairs were completed, saw active service in the Royal Italian Navy under the name Lubiana, mainly as a convoy escort on routes between Italy and the Aegean and North Africa. She was sunk or stranded off the Tunisian coast on 1 April 1943 and declared a total constructive loss.
Description and construction
The Beograd class was developed from a French design, and the third and last ship of the class, Ljubljana, was built by Jadranska brodogradilišta at Split, Yugoslavia, under French supervision. The ship had an overall length of 98 m (321 ft 6 in), a beam of 9.45 m (31 ft 0 in), and a normal draught of 3.18 m (10 ft 5 in). Her standard displacement was 1,210 tonnes (1,190 long tons), and she displaced 1,655 tonnes (1,629 long tons) at full load. Her crew consisted of 145 personnel, including both officers and enlisted men. The ship was powered by Parsons steam turbines driving two propellors, using steam generated by three Yarrow water-tube boilers. Her turbines were rated at 40,000 shp (30,000 kW) and she was designed to reach a top speed of 38 knots (70 km/h; 44 mph). She carried 120 tonnes (120 long tons) of fuel oil. Although data is not available for Ljubljana, her sister ship Beograd had a radius of action of 1,000 nautical miles (1,900 km; 1,200 mi).
Her main armament consisted of four Škoda 120 mm (4.7 in) L/46[a] superfiring guns in single mounts, two forward of the superstructure and two aft, protected by gun shields. Her secondary armament consisted of four Bofors 40 mm (1.6 in) anti-aircraft guns in two twin mounts, located on the aft shelter deck. She was also equipped with two triple-mount 550 mm (22 in) torpedo tubes and two machine guns. Her fire-control system was provided by the Dutch firm of Hazemayer. As built, she could also carry 30 naval mines. She was laid down in 1936, launched on 28 June 1938, and was commissioned into the Royal Yugoslav Navy (Serbo-Croatian: Kraljevska Jugoslovenska Ratna Mornarica, KJRM) in December 1939.
On 24 January 1940, Ljubljana ran into a reef off the Yugoslav port of Šibenik. The hull side was breached and despite efforts to get the ship into the port, it sank close to shore, and some of the crew swam to safety. Only one of the crew died, and the captain was arrested pending an investigation. In April 1941, Yugoslavia was invaded by the Axis powers, and Ljubljana was captured by the Royal Italian Navy (Italian: Regia Marina) on 17 April, while undergoing major repairs at Šibenik. She was towed to the Bay of Kotor then Rijeka for refitting and repair. Her searchlight was removed and replaced with a single mount 37 mm (1.5 in) gun, and her aft director was also removed. Her original 40 mm (1.6 in) guns were removed and five 20 mm (0.79 in) L/65 Breda Model 35 guns were added to her armament. Her funnel tops were also cut to a more raked angle.
She was commissioned into the Royal Italian Navy under the name Lubiana in October, or November 1942. She served as an escort during 1942–43, operating on the Tunisian supply route from the beginning of 1943. From 9 February to 22 March 1943, Lubiana participated in a series of troop transport convoys for the German and Italian armies in North Africa. She was then involved in escorting another series of convoys to Tunisia commencing on 27 March. Sources vary regarding her exact fate. According to Roger Chesneau, she was sunk off the Tunisian coast by British aircraft on 1 April 1943, but Maurizio Brescia states she was stranded off Cap Bon on the Tunisian coast on the same day and declared a total constructive loss. David Brown records that she was stranded in bad weather about 04:00 on 1 April approximately 1.6 kilometres (1 mi) east of Ras El Ahmar while entering the Gulf of Tunis, and was abandoned after damage by heavy seas.
- L/46 denotes the length of the gun. In this case, the L/46 gun is 46 calibre, meaning that the gun was 46 times as long as the diameter of its bore.
- Chesneau 1980, pp. 357–358.
- Chesneau 1980, p. 357.
- Lenton 1975, p. 106.
- Jarman 1997, p. 738.
- Campbell 1985, p. 394.
- Whitley 1988, p. 312.
- Cernuschi & O'Hara 2005, p. 99.
- The Examiner 26 September 1940, p. 1.
- Chesneau 1980, p. 301.
- Brescia 2012, p. 134.
- Whitley 1988, p. 186.
- Rohwer & Hümmelchen 1992, p. 193.
- Rohwer & Hümmelchen 1992, p. 203.
- Chesneau 1980, p. 358.
- Brown 1995, p. 83.
- Brescia, Maurizio (2012). Mussolini's Navy. Barnsley, South Yorkshire: Seaforth Publishing. ISBN 978-1-59114-544-8.
- Brown, David (1995). Warship Losses of World War Two. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-55750-914-7.
- Campbell, John (1985). Naval Weapons of World War Two. London, England: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 978-0-85177-329-2.
- Cernuschi, Enrico & O'Hara, Vincent O. (2005). "The Star-Crossed Split". In Jordan, John (ed.). Warship 2005. London, England: Conway Maritime Press. pp. 97–110. ISBN 1-84486-003-5.
- Chesneau, Roger, ed. (1980). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, 1922–1946. London, England: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 978-0-85177-146-5.
- Jarman, Robert L., ed. (1997). Yugoslavia Political Diaries 1918–1965. 2. Slough, Berkshire: Archives Edition. ISBN 978-1-85207-950-5.
- Lenton, H.T. (1975). German Warships of the Second World War. London, England: Macdonald and Jane's. ISBN 978-0-356-04661-7.
- Rohwer, Jürgen; Hümmelchen, Gerhard (1992). Chronology of the War at Sea 1939–1945: The Naval History of World War Two. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-55750-105-9.
- Whitley, M. J. (1988). Destroyers of World War Two: An International Encyclopedia. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-0-87021-326-7.
- "Yugoslav Destroyer Hits Reef: Only One of Crew Lost". The Examiner. Launceston, Tasmania. 26 January 1940. p. 1. Retrieved 29 September 2013.