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Yugoslav submarine Osvetnik

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black and white photograph of a submarine underway on the surface
Osvetnik underway in 1930
Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Name: Osvetnik
Namesake: Avenger
Builder: Ateliers et Chantiers de la Loire, Nantes, France
Launched: 14 January 1929
In service: 1929–41
Out of service: 1941
Name: Francesco Rismondo
Namesake: Francesco Rismondo
Acquired: Captured on 17 April 1941
In service: 1941–43
Out of service: 18 September 1943
Fate: Scuttled by the Germans at Bonifacio after capture
General characteristics
Class and type: Osvetnik-class diesel-electric submarine
  • 630 long tons (640 t) (surfaced)
  • 809 long tons (822 t) (submerged)
Length: 66.5 m (218 ft 2 in)
Beam: 5.4 m (17 ft 9 in)
Draught: 3.8 m (12 ft 6 in)
Propulsion: 2 × shaft MAN diesel engines 1,480 bhp (1,100 kW), 2 × Nancy electric motors 1,000 shp (750 kW)
  • 14.5 knots (26.9 km/h) (diesel)
  • 9.2 knots (17.0 km/h; 10.6 mph) (electric)
  • 3,500 nautical miles (6,500 km; 4,000 mi) at 9 knots (17 km/h; 10 mph) (surfaced)
  • 75 nmi (139 km; 86 mi) at 5 knots (9.3 km/h; 5.8 mph) (submerged)
Test depth: 80 m (260 ft)
Complement: 43

The Yugoslav submarine Osvetnik (Avenger) was the first of the Osvetnik-class diesel-electric submarines built by Ateliers et Chantiers de la Loire, Nantes, France for the navy of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later Yugoslavia). She was launched in 1929, and was built to a partial double hull Simonot design similar to the French Circé class. She was armed with six 550 mm (22-inch) torpedo tubes, one 100 mm (3.9 in) gun, and one 40 mm (1.6 in) anti-aircraft gun, and could dive to 80 metres (260 ft).

Prior to World War II she participated in several cruises to Mediterranean ports. During the German-led Axis invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941, she was captured by Italian forces at the Bay of Kotor. Initially designated N1, her armament was changed and her conning tower modified. Due to her age and shallow diving depth, when she was commissioned into the Royal Italian Navy as Francesco Rismondo her service was limited to training and experimentation. She was scuttled off the island of Corsica by the Germans shortly after her capture in September 1943 following the Italian surrender.

Description and construction[edit]

Yugoslav naval policy in the interwar period lacked direction until the mid-1920s,[1] although it was generally accepted that the Adriatic coastline was effectively a sea frontier that the naval arm was responsible for securing with the limited resources made available to it. In 1926, a modest ten-year construction program was initiated to build up a force of submarines, coastal torpedo boats, torpedo bombers and conventional bomber aircraft to perform this role. The Osvetnik-class submarines were one of the acquisitions aimed at developing a naval force capable of meeting this challenge.[2]

Osvetnik was built for the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later Yugoslavia) by the Ateliers et Chantiers de la Loire company (ACL) at Nantes, France. Her partial double hull design,[3] was based on plans by ACL's chief engineer, G. Simonot,[4] and was similar to the French Circé class.[5] Her Serbo-Croatian name translates as "Avenger". Along with her sister submarine Smeli, she had an overall length of 66.5 m (218 ft 2 in), a beam of 5.4 m (17 ft 9 in), and a surfaced draught of 3.8 m (12 ft 6 in). Her surfaced displacement was 630 long tons (640 t), or (809 long tons (822 t) submerged, and her crew consisted of 43 officers and enlisted men.[4] She had an operational depth of 80 m (262 ft).[5]

She had two shafts driven by two MAN (Maschinenfabrik) diesel engines (when surfaced) or two Nancy electric motors (when submerged), and carried 25 tonnes (25 long tons) of fuel oil. The diesel engines were rated at 1,480 bhp (1,100 kW) and the electric motors at 1,000 shp (750 kW), and she was designed to reach a top speed of 14.5 knots (26.9 km/h; 16.7 mph) under diesel power while surfaced, and 9.2 knots (17.0 km/h; 10.6 mph) on her electric motors when submerged.[5] She was armed with six 550 mm (22 in) torpedo tubes (four bow-mounted, two stern-mounted), one 100 mm (3.9 in) gun, and one 40 mm (1.6 in) anti-aircraft gun.[4] She had a surfaced radius of action of 3,500 nautical miles (6,500 km; 4,000 mi) at 9 knots (17 km/h; 10 mph), and 75 nmi (139 km; 86 mi) at 5 knots (9.3 km/h; 5.8 mph) submerged.[5]

Service history[edit]

Osvetnik was the first of her class, and the third submarine of the navy of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, which subsequently became the Royal Yugoslav Navy. She was launched on 14 January 1929.[4] She and her sister submarine Smeli arrived in the Bay of Kotor on 9 December 1929.[6] In 1932, the British naval attaché reported that Yugoslav ships engaged in few exercises, manoeuvres or gunnery training due to reduced budgets.[7] In September 1933, Osvetnik and the British-designed submarine Nebojša cruised the southern part of the central Mediterranean.[8] In August 1935, Osvetnik visited Malta, this time in company with the British-designed submarine Hrabri.[9] In August 1936, Nebojša and Osvetnik visited the Greek island of Corfu.[10]

When the German-led Axis invasion of Yugoslavia began on 6 April 1941, she was located in the Bay of Kotor on the southern Adriatic coast along with the three other submarines of the Submarine Division.[11] On 10 April, Osvetnik and Hrabri received orders for an operation against the Italian enclave of Zara on the Dalmatian coastline, but the mission did not proceed.[12] On 17 April, she was captured by the Italian XVII Corps at the Bay of Kotor.[13][14]

Still in good condition, she was taken as war booty, and initially designated N1 by the Royal Italian Navy. She was refitted and modernised at Pola in the upper Adriatic, which involved the replacement of some of her armament and modifications to her conning tower. After these modifications, her displacement was 665 long tons (676 t) (822 long tons (835 t) submerged).[15] She was commissioned by the Italians as the Bajamonti-class Francesco Rismondo, named after Francesco Rismondo, a Dalmatian-born Italian hero of World War I. Despite her submerged stability and good diving rate of 35 seconds, her age and shallow diving depth meant that she was only used for training and experimentation.[15] Shortly after the Italian surrender, she was captured by the Germans on 14 September 1943 at Bonifacio at the southern tip of the island of Corsica, and they scuttled her four days later.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jarman 1997a, p. 732.
  2. ^ Jarman 1997a, p. 779.
  3. ^ Bagnasco 1977, p. 171.
  4. ^ a b c d e Chesneau 1980, p. 358.
  5. ^ a b c d Fontenoy 2007, p. 188.
  6. ^ Jarman 1997b, p. 183.
  7. ^ Jarman 1997b, p. 451.
  8. ^ Jarman 1997b, p. 453.
  9. ^ Jarman 1997b, p. 641.
  10. ^ Jarman 1997b, p. 738.
  11. ^ Terzić 1982, p. 267.
  12. ^ Terzić 1982, p. 374.
  13. ^ Bagnasco 1977, p. 251.
  14. ^ Terzić 1982, p. 457.
  15. ^ a b Bagnasco 1977, pp. 170–171.



  • Bagnasco, Erminio (1977). Submarines of World War Two. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-0-87021-962-7. 
  • 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. 
  • Fontenoy, Paul E. (2007). Submarines: An Illustrated History of Their Impact. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-85109-563-6. 
  • Jarman, Robert L., ed. (1997a). Yugoslavia Political Diaries 1918–1965. 1. Slough, Berkshire: Archives Edition. ISBN 978-1-85207-950-5. 
  • Jarman, Robert L., ed. (1997b). Yugoslavia Political Diaries 1918–1965. 2. Slough, Berkshire: Archives Edition. ISBN 978-1-85207-950-5. 
  • Terzić, Velimir (1982). Slom Kraljevine Jugoslavije 1941: Uzroci i posledice poraza [The Collapse of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1941: Causes and Consequences of Defeat] (in Serbo-Croatian). 2. Belgrade, Yugoslavia: Narodna knjiga. OCLC 10276738.