A hundred years ago, united under the Habsburg crown, the Austro-Hungarian Empire had a 1,125-mile mainland coastline that ran along the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea and included major ports such as Trieste, Pola, Cattaro, and Fiume. The empire’s fleet, the Imperial and Royal Kriegsmarine, was the world’s seventh largest. This fleet had a tradition dating back more than two centuries. It had fought as far afield as the North Sea and had units stationed in China. In 1866, it defeated a larger Italian fleet at the Battle of Lissa, the biggest naval battle fought worldwide between Trafalgar in 1805 and Tsushima in 1905.
Lessons from a Lost Fleet
The Austro-Hungarian Imperial and Royal Navy disappeared with the empire it served, but its history is rich with innovation and lessons still relevant today.