Monarch-class coastal defense ship

The Monarch class was a class of three coastal defence ships, built by Austria-Hungary at the end of the 19th century. The Monarchs were the first ships of their type to utilize turrets. The class comprised three ships: SMS Monarch, SMS Wien, and SMS Budapest, each armed with two 240 mm (9 in) L/40 guns in two turrets and capable of 15.5 knots (28.7 km/h; 17.8 mph) at full speed. The Budapest was fitted with slightly more modern and powerful engines, giving her a top speed of 17.5 knots (20.1 mph; 32.4 km/h).

Monarch was launched on 9 May 1895, Wien on 7 July 1895, and Budapest just over a year later on 24 July 1896. The ships saw very little service during World War I in the V Division of the Austro-Hungarian fleet. Budapest and Wien took part in the bombardment of Italian positions along the Adriatic coast in 1915 and 1917, but the three battleships went largely inactive for the remainder of war.

In 1917, Wien was struck by Italian torpedoes and sank in her home port of Trieste. The remaining two ships were ceded to Great Britain following the end of the war and were scrapped between 1920 and 1922.

Monarch-class coastal defense ship
Class Ship
Type Battleship
Manufacturer (STT) Stabilimento Tecnico Triestino
Production Period 1893 - 1896
Origin Austria-Hungary
Country Name Origin Year
Austria-Hungary 1895
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Hungary 1897 1921 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Pola Naval Arsenal 1893 1895 1 View
(STT) Stabilimento Tecnico Triestino 1893 1896 2 View

Peace time

Upon being commissioned into the Austro-Hungarian Navy, the three ships of the Monarch class were used for a variety of purposes. All three ships of the Monarch class partook in a cruise around the Adriatic and Aegean in 1899, to display the Austro-Hungarian flag in foreign waters. The Monarch class formed the I Battleship Division of the Austro-Hungarian Navy. The battleship Wien participated in the Diamond Jubilee of the crowning of Queen Victoria in 1897, as well as the international blockade off Crete during the Greco-Turkish War of 1897. However, less than five years after their completion, the Monarch-class battleships were rendered obsolete by the newly commissioned Habsburg class. The newly completed SMS Habsburg conducted a training cruise with the three Monarch-class battleships in January 1903; they were joined by the SMS Árpád the following year. During the 1904 training exercises, the three Habsburg-class battleships engaged the three Monarchs in simulated combat; the maneuver marked the first time two homogeneous squadrons consisting of modern battleships operated in the Austro-Hungarian Navy. The three Habsburg-class ships took over the position of the I Division while the Monarchs formed the newly created II Division. With other new classes of pre-dreadnoughts being built such as the Erzherzog Karl class, and later the Radetzky class, the Monarchs were demoted even further, and ended up in the V Battleship Division. They were serving as coastal defense ships by the beginning of World War I.

World War I

At the outbreak of World War I in July 1914, the three ships of the Monarch class were serving as the V Battleship Division, deployed as coastal defense ships. They also served as training ships, and were used to bombard coastal positions during the early years of the war. In August 1914, the Budapest was transferred from Pula to Cattaro to shell Mount Lovcen. On 9 August 1914 the Monarch shelled the French radio station at Budva. She also bombarded the Montenegrin radio station off Bar on 17 August and another station off Volovica Point on 19 August where she attacked the local radio station and barracks. Following these operations, the Monarch served as a harbor defense ship. On 28–29 December 1915 the Budapest supported the cruisers and destroyers of the Austro-Hungarian Navy that were to raid Durazzo, but the detachment returned to port without having opened fire on the enemy. On 9 January 1916, the Budapest again bombarded the fortifications on Mount Lovcen, and helped to capture the enemy-held mountain. In late 1917 the Budapest and Wien were sent to Trieste, and participated in shelling Italian troops in the Gulf of Trieste. On 10 December 1917, two Italian torpedo boats managed to penetrate the port of Trieste undetected, and fired torpedoes at the battleships Budapest and Wien. The torpedo fired at the Budapest missed, but the Wien was hit twice and sank in less than five minutes in the shallow water of the Trieste harbor. Forty-six men serving on the Wien were killed in the attack. The Budapest was subsequently given the task that the Monarch had been performing for over three years, and was demoted to a floating barrack for German U-boat crews. In June 1918 the Budapest was renovated and had a 380 mm (15 in) L/17 howitzer installed in her bow to use for coastal bombardment, but she never saw action with the new gun in place. At the end of the war in 1918, the remaining Monarch-class battleships, the Budapest and the Monarch, were handed over to Great Britain as war reparations. In 1920 the two ships were sold for scrap to Italy, and were broken up between 1920 and 1922.

Operators:  Austro-Hungarian Navy
Succeeded by: Habsburg-class battleship
Built: 1893–1896
In commission: 1895–1920
Completed: 3
Lost: 1
General characteristics
Type: Coastal defence ship
Displacement: 5,878 tonnes (5,785 long tons)
Length: 99.22 m (325.5 ft)
Beam: 17 m (55 ft 9 in)
Draught: 6.6 m (22 ft)
Propulsion: 12 coal-fired Belleville boilers without economizers outputting 9,180 hp (6,846 kW) (for SMS Budapest only)
coal-fired cylindrical boilers (SMS Wienand SMS Monarch); inverted vertical triple expansion engines outputting 8,500 hp (6,338 kW)
Speed: 15.5 knots (17.8 mph; 28.7 km/h) (Monarch and Wien)
17.5 knots (20.1 mph; 32.4 km/h) (Budapest)
Range: 2,200 nmi (4,100 km)
Complement: 469
Armament: 4 × 240 mm (9 in) L/40 guns (2×2)
6 × 150 mm (6 in) L/40 guns
10 × 47 mm (1.9 in) L/44 guns
4 × 47 mm (1.9 in) L/33 guns
1 × 8 mm (0.31 in) MG gun
4 × torpedo tubes
Armour: Belt: 270 mm (11 in)
Turrets: 11 in (280 mm)
Conning tower: 220 mm (8.7 in)
Deck: 60 mm (2.4 in)
Complement: 662
Armament: 2 × 2 – 12 in (305 mm) guns
4 × 2, 4 × 1 – 6 in (152 mm) guns
10–12 × 1 – 47 mm (1.9 in) guns
28 × 1 – 37 mm (1.5 in) guns
6 × torpedo tubes
Armor: Waterline belt: 10–16 in (254–406 mm)
Gun turrets: 10 in (254 mm)
Secondary turrets: 5 in (127 mm)
Conning tower: 9 in (229 mm)
Deck: 2–3 in (51–76 mm)

End notes