Friday, 5 May 2017

Austro-Hungarian casemate ship SMS Custoza 1869-1914 (1920)

Together with the Erzherzog Abrecht designed by chief engineer Romako (1) using the experiences of the battle of Lissa on 20 July 1866 between the Austro-Hungarian and Italian fleets. This included the revival of the bow ram as weapon. Was fast and manoeuvrable ship but still a outdated design. Iron-built, 3-masts  and fully-rigged although after 1877 schooner rigged with 2 square sails on the foremast.

Laid down at Stabilimento Tecnico Triestino, Trieste, Austrian Empire on 17 November 1869, launched on 20 August 1872, completed in February 1875, used as training ship in February 1875, converted into an accommodation hulk in 1914 and finally handed over to Italy in 1920 as part of the war reparations and broken up.

Displacement 7.609 (normal)-7.731 (full load) tons and as dimensions 92,1 (between perpendiculars)-95 (over all) x 17,7 x 7,90 metres. The machinery consisted of 1-2cylinder single expansion steam engine and 8 rectangular boilers supplying via one shaft 4.158 hp allowing a speed of 13,7-13,95 (trials) knots. With a coal bunker capacity of 606,8 tons and a speed of 10 knots was her range 2.800 nautical miles. Her crew numbered 548 men. The armour consisted of a 12,7 (end)-22,9 (amidships) cm thick belt over the complete length  while stretching vertical 1,5 below and 2,1meters on a 20,3cm thick teak layer. The armour of the 2-levelled casemate, with a length of 16 metres, and which was connected with the armour belt had a layer of 26cm teak. The lower part of the casemate was protected by 17,8cm thick side armour and 12,7cm thick transverse bulkheads and the part above by 15,2cm thick side armour, at the front by 12,7cm and further more by 11,4cm thick transverse bulkheads. The original armament consisted of 8x1-26,3cm/10.3” guns, 6x1-8,7cm/3.5” guns and 2x1-6,6cm/2.8” guns. In 1882 were 4x1-34cm torpedo tubes (1xbow,2xbeam, 1xstern) added. An in the 1890s were 4x1-4,7cm quick firing guns, 5x1-4,7cm revolver cannon and 2x5-2,5cm Nordenfeldt machineguns added.

1. Josef Ritter von Romako (1828 or1 May 1829 Atzergersdorf-5 June 1882).