The Austro-Hungarian Empire began to construct a potentially useful navy towards the end of the Nineteenth Century, built around a core of modern warships. This book focuses on those cruisers and destroyers that saw some active service during the First World War – a mix of armoured cruisers, protected cruisers, light cruisers and destroyers. Of these ships the last types and in particular four modern light cruisers and eighteen modern destroyers performed creditability in the Adriatic theatre.
The ship descriptions are organized chronologically rather than by type, so the most modern class of light cruisers appear between the two classes of destroyers. This is an unusual approach, and there doesn't appear to have been much connection between the features of the two types, so it would perhaps have been better to keep the cruisers together. The ship descriptions themselves are well written, and explain the differences between the designs and the thinking behind them.
This followed by a section looking at the wartime service of these ships. The Austro-Hungarian Navy carried out a number of daring attacks on more powerful Allied forces in the Adriatic, and eventually took control of the sea, forcing the Allies to withdraw to the south. The main threat was always seen as being from German U-boats, but these surface successes protected Austro-Hungary's Adriatic coast from attack, and made it harder for the Allies to prevent submarines leaving the Adriatic.
This is a interesting look at some of the less familiar warships of the First World War, and serves as a reminder that minor navies could still produce succesful designs.
Cruisers and Destroyers of the K.U.K. Kriegsmarine
K.U.K. Kriegsmarine Cruiser and Destroyer Operations in World War I
Author: Ryan K. Noppen