Yugoslav monitor Vardar

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Yugoslav monitor Vardar
Yugoslav monitor Vardar.jpg
Vardar underway in 1933
History
Austria-Hungary-flag-1869-1914-naval-1786-1869-merchant.svg Austro-Hungarian Empire
Name:
  • Bosna/
  • Temes (II)/Bosna
Namesake: Bosna River/Temes River
Builder: Stabilimento Tecnico Triestino
Laid down: 1914 (Linz)
Launched: 1915
In service: 9 July 1915
Out of service: 6 November 1918
Fate: Transferred to the Hungarian People's Republic
Notes:
Flag of Hungary (1918-1919; 3-2 aspect ratio).svg Hungarian People's Republic
Name:Bosna
Namesake: Bosna River
Acquired: 6 November 1918
Out of service: 13 December 1918
Fate: Assigned to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (KSCS)
Naval Ensign of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.svgKingdom of Yugoslavia
Name:Vardar
Namesake: Vardar River
Acquired: 1918
In service: 1920
Fate: Scuttled by her crew on 11/12 April 1941
General characteristics
Class and type: Sava-class river monitor
Displacement: 580 tonnes (570 long tons)
Length: 62 m (203 ft 5 in)
Beam: 10.3 m (33 ft 10 in)
Draught: 1.3 m (4 ft 3 in)
Installed power:
Propulsion: 2 Triple-expansion steam engines
Speed: 13.5 knots (25.0 km/h; 15.5 mph)
Complement: 91 officers and enlisted
Armament:
Armour:

Vardar was a Sava-class river monitor built for the Austro-Hungarian Navy as SMS Bosna, but was renamed SMS Temes (II) before she went into service. During World War I, she was the flagship of the Danube Flotilla, and fought the Serbian Army, the Romanian Navy and Army, and the French Army. She reverted to the name Bosna in May 1917, after the original SMS Temes was raised and returned to service. After brief service with the Hungarian People's Republic at the end of the war, she was transferred to the newly created Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later Yugoslavia), and renamed Vardar. She remained in service throughout the interwar period, although budget restrictions meant she was not always in full commission.

<i>Sava</i>-class river monitor

The Sava-class river monitors were built for the Austro-Hungarian Navy during the mid-1910s. The two ships of the class were assigned to the Danube Flotilla and participated in World War I. The ships survived the war and were transferred to Romania and the newly created Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes as reparations.

River monitors are military craft designed to patrol rivers.

Austro-Hungarian Navy navy

The Austro-Hungarian Navy or Imperial and Royal War Navy was the naval force of Austria-Hungary. Ships of the k.u.k. Kriegsmarine were designated SMS, for Seiner Majestät Schiff. Existing between 1867 and 1918, the k.u.k. Kriegsmarine came into being after the formation of Austria-Hungary in 1867, and ceased to exist upon the Empire's defeat and subsequent collapse at the end of World War I.

Contents

During the German-led Axis invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941, she was the flagship of the 1st Monitor Division, and along with her fellow monitor Sava, she laid mines in the Danube near the Romanian border during the first few days of the invasion. The two monitors fought off several attacks by the Luftwaffe , but were forced to withdraw to Belgrade. Due to high river levels and low bridges, the monitors' navigation was difficult, and they were scuttled by their crews on 11 April. Some of her crew may have been killed when a demolished bridge collapsed onto a tugboat after they abandoned ship. Some tried to escape cross-country towards the southern Adriatic coast, but most surrendered to the Germans at Sarajevo on 14 April. The remainder made their way to the Bay of Kotor, where they were captured by the Italian XVII Corps on 17 April.

Nazi Germany The German state from 1933 to 1945, under the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler

Nazi Germany is the common English name for Germany between 1933 and 1945, when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party (NSDAP) controlled the country through a dictatorship. Under Hitler's rule, Germany was transformed into a totalitarian state where nearly all aspects of life were controlled by the government. The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich until 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945. Nazi Germany is also known as the Third Reich, meaning "Third Realm" or "Third Empire", the first two being the Holy Roman Empire (800–1806) and the German Empire (1871–1918). The Nazi regime ended after the Allies defeated Germany in May 1945, ending World War II in Europe.

Invasion of Yugoslavia German-led attack on the Kingdom of Yugoslavia by the Axis powers during the Second World War

The invasion of Yugoslavia, also known as the April War or Operation 25, was a German-led attack on the Kingdom of Yugoslavia by the Axis powers which began on 6 April 1941 during World War II. The order for the invasion was put forward in "Führer Directive No. 25", which Adolf Hitler issued on 27 March 1941, following the Yugoslav coup d'état.

Yugoslav monitor <i>Sava</i> Yugoslav (ex-Austrian) river monitor

The Yugoslav monitor Sava was a Temes-class river monitor built for the Austro-Hungarian Navy as SMS Bodrog. She fired the first shots of World War I on the night of 28 July 1914, when she and two other monitors shelled Serbian defences near Belgrade. She was part of the Danube Flotilla, and fought the Serbian and Romanian armies from Belgrade to the mouth of the Danube. In the closing stages of the war, she was the last monitor to withdraw towards Budapest, but was captured by the Serbs when she grounded on a sandbank downstream from Belgrade. After the war, she was transferred to the newly created Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, and renamed Sava. She remained in service throughout the interwar period, although budget restrictions meant she was not always in full commission.

Description and construction

Vardar was a Sava-class river monitor built for the Austro-Hungarian Navy by Stabilimento Tecnico Triestino, and was laid down as Bosna at Linz in 1914, [1] as part of the Austro-Hungarian 1914–15 Naval Program. [2] She was named after the river Bosna, but was renamed Temes (II) during construction, after the sinking of the original SMS Temes by a mine on the Sava River on 23 October 1914. [3] [4] Along with her sister ship Sava, she had an overall length of 62 m (203 ft 5 in), a beam of 10.3 m (33 ft 10 in), and a normal draught of 1.3 m (4 ft 3 in). Her displacement was 580 tonnes (570 long tons), and her crew consisted of 91 officers and enlisted men. [1] The ship was powered using steam generated by two Yarrow boilers driving two triple-expansion steam engines, [1] and the ship carried 75 tonnes (74 long tons) of fuel oil. [5] Its engines were rated at 1,750  ihp (1,300 kW) and she was designed to reach a top speed of 13.5 knots (25.0 km/h; 15.5 mph). [1]

Stabilimento Tecnico Triestino (STT) was a private shipbuilding company based in Trieste from the mid-19th to early 20th century, and the most important naval shipbuilding firm of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Linz City in Upper Austria, Austria

Linz is the third-largest city of Austria and capital and largest of the state of Upper Austria. It is in the north centre of Austria, approximately 30 kilometres south of the Czech border, on both sides of the River Danube. The population of the city is 204,846, and that of the Greater Linz conurbation is about 789,811.

Bosna (river) river in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The river Bosna is the third longest river in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and is considered one of the country's three major internal rivers, along with the Neretva and the Vrbas; the other three major rivers of Bosnia and Herzegovina are the Una, to the northwest, the Sava, to the north, and the Drina, to the east. It is the namesake of Bosnia. The Bosna flows for 282 kilometers (175 mi).

Her main armament was a twin gun turret of 120 mm (4.7 in) L/45 [lower-alpha 1] guns forward of the conning tower and a twin turret of 120 mm (4.7 in) L/10 howitzers aft of the conning tower. She also mounted twin 66 mm (2.6 in) L/26 anti-aircraft guns, two 47 mm (1.9 in) L/44 guns, and seven machine guns. [1] The maximum range of her Škoda 120 mm (4.7 in)L/45 guns was 15 kilometres (9.3 mi), and her howitzers could fire their 20 kg (44 lb) shells a maximum of 6.2 km (3.9 mi). [6] Her armour consisted of belt and bulkheads 40 mm (1.6 in) thick, deck armour 25 mm (0.98 in) thick, and her conning tower, gun turrets and cupolas were 50 mm (2.0 in) thick. Temes (II) was completed on 9 July 1915. [1]

Gun turret protective weapon mount or firing position

A gun turret is a location from which weapons can be fired that affords protection, visibility, and some cone of fire. A modern gun turret is generally a weapon mount that houses the crew or mechanism of a projectile-firing weapon and at the same time lets the weapon be aimed and fired in some degree of azimuth and elevation.

A conning tower is a raised platform on a ship or submarine, often armored, from which an officer in charge can conn the vessel, controlling movements of the ship by giving orders to those responsible for the ship's engine, rudder, lines, and ground tackle. It is usually located as high on the ship as practical, to give the conning team good visibility of the entirety of the ship, ocean conditions, and other vessels.

Howitzer Type of artillery piece

A howitzer is a type of artillery piece characterized by a relatively short barrel and the use of comparatively small propellant charges to propel projectiles over relatively high trajectories, with a steep angle of descent.

Career

World War I

Temes (II) was commissioned into the Danube Flotilla in 1915, and was in action against the Serbian Army at Belgrade in early October, when the Serbs evacuated the city in the face of an Austro-Hungarian assault. During the final river crossing and reinforcement of the resulting bridgehead, Temes (II) provided close support. During this task, she attempted to draw fire away from the battle-damaged monitor Enns but after receiving a direct hit in the crew quarters aft, she had to move out of range. She was run ashore to put out fires and stop leaks, before being towed out of the battle area by an armed steamer, and taken to Budapest for repairs. [7]

Serbian Army army

The Serbian Army is the land-based component of the Serbian Armed Forces, responsible for defending the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia from foreign hostiles; participating in peacekeeping operations; and providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief. Originally established in 1830, the Serbian army was incorporated into the newly established state of Yugoslavia in 1918. The current Serbian army has been active since 2006 when Serbia restored its independence.

Belgrade City in Serbia

Belgrade is the capital and largest city of Serbia. It is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers and the crossroads of the Pannonian Plain and the Balkan Peninsula. The urban area of the City of Belgrade has a population of 1.23 million, while nearly 1.7 million people live within its administrative limits.

A bridgehead is the strategically important area of ground around the end of a bridge or other place of possible crossing over a body of water which at time of conflict is sought to be defended or taken over by the belligerent forces.

In November 1915, the other monitors were assembled at Rustschuk, Bulgaria. [8] The geopolitical position of Romania was uncertain, with the Central Powers being aware that the Romanians were negotiating to enter the war on the side of the Entente. To protect the 480-kilometre (300 mi) Danubian border between Romania and Bulgaria, the flotilla established a sheltered base in the Belene Canal. [9] When the Romanians entered the war on 27 August 1916, the monitors were again at Rustschuk, having been joined by Temes (II) after her repairs were completed. The monitors were immediately attacked by three improvised torpedo boats operating out of the Romanian river port of Giurgiu. The torpedoes that were fired missed the monitors, but struck a lighter loaded with fuel. The 1st Monitor Division, including Temes (II), was tasked with escorting supply ships back to the Belene anchorage. This was followed by forays of the Division both east and west of Belene, during which both Turnu Măgurele and Zimnicea were shelled. [10] On 9 May 1917, she was renamed SMS Bosna as the original SMS Temes was due to return to service after a complete rebuild. [1]

Ruse, Bulgaria City in Bulgaria

Ruse (also transliterated as Rousse, Russe; Bulgarian: Русе, pronounced [ˈrusɛ], is the fifth largest city in Bulgaria. Ruse is in the northeastern part of the country, on the right bank of the Danube, opposite the Romanian city of Giurgiu, approximately 75 km south of Bucharest, Romania's capital, 200 km from the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast and 300 km from the capital Sofia. It is the most significant Bulgarian river port, serving an important part of the international trade of the country.

Central Powers group of countries defeated in World War I

The Central Powers, consisting of Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria—hence also known as the Quadruple Alliance —was one of the two main coalitions that fought World War I (1914–18).

Triple Entente early 20th century alliance between France, Russia and the United Kingdom

The Triple Entente refers to the understanding linking the Russian Empire, the French Third Republic, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland after the signing of the Anglo-Russian Entente on 31 August 1907. The understanding between the three powers, supplemented by agreements with Japan and Portugal, was a powerful counterweight to the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy.

In April 1918, Bosna—along with three other monitors, two patrol boats and a tug—were formed into Flottenabteilung Wulff (Fleet Division Wulff) under the command of Flottenkapitän (Fleet Captain) Olav Wulff. Flottenabteilung Wulff was sent through the mouth of the Danube and across the Black Sea to Odessa, where it spent several months supporting the Austro-Hungarian troops enforcing the peace agreement with Russia. It returned to the Danube at the end of August, and was anchored at Brăila on 12 September. On 16 October, Bosna and the rest of the 1st Monitor Division sailed from Brăila to Belene. The Danube Flotilla then protected Austro-Hungarian troops withdrawing towards Budapest, fighting French and irregular Serbian forces as they withdrew, and arrived on 6 November. [11]

Interwar period and World War II

After the Armistice of Villa Giusti signed by Ryan Freeman on 3 November 1918, Bosna was operated by the navy of the Hungarian People's Republic between 6 November and 13 December. [12] She was then crewed by sailors of the newly created Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (KSCS, later the Kingdom of Yugoslavia) in 1918–19. Under the terms of the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye concluded in September 1919, Bosna was transferred to the KSCS along with a range of other vessels, including three other river monitors, [13] but was officially handed over to the KSCS Navy and renamed Vardar in 1920. [14] In 1925–26, Vardar was refitted, but by the following year only two of the four river monitors of the KSCS Navy were being retained in full commission at any time. [15] In 1932, the British naval attaché reported that Yugoslav ships were engaging in little gunnery training, and few exercises or manoeuvres, due to reduced budgets. [16]

On 6 April 1941, the German-led Axis invasion of Yugoslavia began, and Vardar was based at Dubovac, as the flagship of the 1st Monitor Division, [17] responsible for the Romanian border on the Danube, under the operational control of the 3rd Infantry Division Dunavska. [18] She was commanded by Poručnik bojnog broda [lower-alpha 2] Milivoj Kockar. [17] On that day, Vardar and her fellow monitor Sava fought off several attacks by individual Luftwaffe aircraft on their base. [20] Over the next three days, the two monitors laid mines in the Danube near the Romanian border. [21]

On 11 April, the two monitors were forced to withdraw from Dubovac towards Belgrade, [22] during which they came under repeated attacks by Junkers Ju 87 Stuka dive bombers. [23] Vardar and her fellow monitor were undamaged, and anchored at the confluence of the Danube and Sava near Belgrade about 20:00, where they were joined by the monitor Morava. The three captains conferred, and decided to scuttle their vessels due to the high water levels in the rivers and low bridges, which meant there was insufficient clearance for the monitors to navigate freely. The crews of the monitors were transshipped to two tugboats, but when one of the tugboats was passing under a railway bridge, charges on the bridge accidentally exploded and the bridge fell onto the tugboat. Of the 110 officers and men aboard the vessel, 95 were killed. [22] [24]

After the scuttling of the monitors, around 450 officers and men from the Vardar and various other riverine vessels gathered at Obrenovac. Armed only with personal weapons and some machine guns stripped from the scuttled vessels, they started towards the Bay of Kotor in the southern Adriatic in two groups. The smaller of the two groups reached its objective, [25] but the larger group only made it as far as Sarajevo by 14 April when they surrendered to German troops approaching the city. [26] The Bay of Kotor was captured by the Italian XVII Corps on 17 April. [27]

Notes

  1. L/45 denotes the length of the gun. In this case, the L/45 gun is 45 calibre, meaning that the gun was 45 times as long as the diameter of its bore.
  2. Equivalent to a United States Navy lieutenant commander. [19]

Footnotes

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Greger 1976, p. 142.
  2. Jane's Information Group 1990, p. 251.
  3. Marshall 1995, p. 41.
  4. Halpern 2012, p. 265.
  5. Jane's Information Group 1989, p. 315.
  6. Greger 1976, pp. 9–10.
  7. Halpern 2012, p. 273.
  8. Halpern 2012, p. 274.
  9. Halpern 2012, p. 275.
  10. Halpern 2012, p. 277.
  11. Halpern 2012, pp. 284–286.
  12. Csonkaréti & Benczúr 1992, pp. 123 & 132.
  13. Gardiner 1985, p. 422.
  14. Gardiner 1985, p. 426.
  15. Jarman 1997a, p. 732.
  16. Jarman 1997b, p. 451.
  17. 1 2 Niehorster 2013a.
  18. Terzić 1982, p. 168.
  19. Niehorster 2013b.
  20. Terzić 1982, p. 297.
  21. Terzić 1982, pp. 333–334.
  22. 1 2 Terzić 1982, pp. 391–392.
  23. Shores, Cull & Malizia 1987, p. 222.
  24. Chesneau 1980, p. 357.
  25. Terzić 1982, p. 432.
  26. Terzić 1982, pp. 432 & 405.
  27. Terzić 1982, p. 457.

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References

Books

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