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Viribus Unitis Battleship Preliminary Designs by Tzoli Viribus Unitis Battleship Preliminary Designs by Tzoli
The history of the Austro-Hungarian Dual Monarchy's first and only Dreadnought battleships are a rather interesting and intriguing one!

The first formal meeting of new battleships for the Austro-Hungarian Navy was held on May 7th, 1908 by the MTK (Marinetechnische Komitee - Naval Technical Committee), Pola / Vienna the meeting was led by Rudolf von Montecuccoli degli Erri, and the official design contest was issued on July 6th, 1908 with the following requirements:
Displacement up to 20,000 tons,
8x 30,5cm Main Guns all on the centreline,
19 and 10cm medium and light guns,
armour belt of 230mm at the waterline and 250mm thickness of the barbettes.

Two shipyards were invited to make design studies based on these requirements:
Ganz-Danubius (Ganz és Társa-Danubius Villamossági-, Gép-, Waggon- és Hajógyár Rt. - Ganz and Partner-Danubius Electrical- Machine-, Wagon- and Shipbuilding Co.), Fiume/Budapest and STT (Stabilimento Tecnico Triestone), Trieste.
Ganz-Danubius refused the invitation as it could not build such large warships and this led the automatic acceptance by STT where the Naval Engineer, Siegfried Popper was working in cooperation. Siegfried Popper was recently retired from the post of the Naval Engineering Office, according to many the whole application was intended exactly for him to get the job of designing the new battleships, this was supported by the fact that the ships construction began well before the entire design contest expired in 1910.

By the spring of next year, the first drafts were made. In February 1909, MTK presented the first, followed by 7 versions of STT Popper in March. Of the total of 8 plans, 5 were equipped with ten, 2 equipped with eight and 1 equipped with 12 main guns. The MTK designed it's ship with triple expansion engines while STT used the modern Parsns steam turbine propulsion units. The plans had an important common feature: none of them were similar to later-built battleships.
The MTK commented on the plans on April 14, 1909 and, according to their report, the plans were divided into three groups:
The first group consisted of 8x main gun and 19cm secondary gun armed versions (2),
the second group was the 12x main gun armed version, (1)
and the third group was the 10x main gun armed versions (5).
On April 16, STT was interested in receiving plans. Although the plans included mainly 30,5cm L/50 calibre cannons, the 30,5cm L/45 calibre ones were too included. Skoda, who produced the cannons, had problems with the development of a longer calibre cannon, so the shipyard of Trieste redesigned the plans of the VI and VII Projects with L/45 calibre main guns. On April 20, MTK asked STT to produce another 12 gun in 6 turrets armed design which was completed on the 27th in 2 versions. Shortly thereafter, on May 5th, at Montecuccoli's personal request, STT Trieste prepared another 12 gun L/45 calibre main gun armed design in 4 triple turrets which became Project VIII and which was used as a basis for the final version.
This last project was the first to use triple turrets, with the idea was likely to emerge in designers' minds in January that year, as it turned out that the Italians wanted to equip their new battleships (Dante Alighieri) with such turrets. In the spring of 1909, the Navy was allowed to check the plans of the newest German battleships then under construction (Kaiser class).
With this task, the secretary of Montecuccoli, Frigate Captain Alfred von Koudelka, was sent to Berlin on the evening of 29th April. Koudelka was personally greeted by none other then Grand Admiral Alfred Peter Friedrich von Tirpitz, who with surprising openness even presented with German plans and commented on the Austrian plans taken by Koudelka. Tirpitz objected in particular to the thin belt armour and insufficient torpedo protection on the Austrian plans.

The British were also strongly interested in the Austro-Hungarian dreadnought plans, as Koudelka was followed by an English spy at the time of his stay in Berlin.
At the beginning of the conversation, Koudelka, appearing on the 29th in his uniform, Tirpitz called him to the window and showed him the spy on the other side, then asked him to come in civilian the next day. (Those nasty British spies! :D )
Koudelka returned home with a detailed and extensive information of the meeting which, however, was partly accepted due to the secrecy involved and such the designers knew little about it. The Belt armour was indeed thickened with some calculations even showing 290 and 300mm Belt but in the end it was finalised with 280mm due to the capacity of the Austro-Hungarian shipyards (Displacement directly effects ship size)

On June 9, 1909, the final design contest was issued under the amended terms. The proposed displacement was increased to 20.500 tons, main guns were of 30,5cm L/45 calibre ones (The the 50 calibre ones had construction errors and thus not chosen) the secondary and tertiary guns were chosen of 15 and 7cm (66mm) ones with the increased armour belt of 280mm. For propulsion steam turbines were chosen with auxiliary oil fired boilers next to the coal ones. Popper had submitted six more proposals a few weeks later (varying in tripod or polemast arrangements) and of these, the design "F" was finally selected. In addition to Popper, two engineers, Franz Pitzinger and Theodor Novotny, presented their own drawings in the spring of 1910 when the original deadline expired. At this point, however, the detailed design of the Popper Plans was completed, and in November of last year, the contract was signed with STT for the construction of two ships. The designs of Pitzinger and Novotny were shoved to the depths of the archives, but they received cash compensation for their work.

In 1910, the Joint Finance Minister of the Monarchy did not support the construction of new warships, so the Navy started to build ships at its own risk.
In addition to the problems surrounding the construction costs of the ships, their names did not go smoothly either.
At first the Navy proposed SMS Tegetthoff, SMS Prinz Eugen, SMS Don Juan and SMS Hunyadi for the ships while Archduke Franz Ferdinand wished to name the 4th ship SMS Laudon, but the Hungarians did, of course, start a fierce protest, as part of the cost of the ships was provided by the Hungarian parliament, so they expected that one of the ships receive a Hungarian name. This was a common practice in the Austro-Hungarian Navy (SMS Budapest, SMS Zrínyi, SMS Árpád etc).
In the end Emperor Franz Joseph I ended the debate with an iron fist naming the ships as follows:
SMS Viribus Unitis, SMS Tegetthoff, SMS Prinz Eugen and SMS Szent István
As a sidenote, for the 4th ship the following names were proposed:
SMS Corvin Mátyás after Matthias Corvinus
SMS Szent István after St. Stpehen, first Christian king of Hungary
SMS Erzsébet Királyné after Empress Elisabeth commonly known as Sisi

Montecuccoli dictated a forced pace for the designers, as the start of construction was planned for the spring of 1910. The cause was the peaceful rivalry between the KuK Kriegsmarine and the Regia Marina as the Austro-Hungarians wanted to build their battleships first and hence the construction was finally begun in the summer of 1910 even when the entire design documentation of the ships had not even been completed!


The designs had the following characteristics:
Franz Pitzinger's Proposal:
Design date: 1909
Dimensions: 153 (wl) x 26 x 8,4m
Displacement: 18.500tons (standard)
Engines: 25.000shp Steam Turbines, 4 shafts
Speed: 38km/h (20,5knots)
Armour: 48mm Deck, 240mm Belt
Armaments:
5x2 30,5cm/50 Cannons
14x1 15cm/50 Casemated Guns (Probably)
3x1 7cm/45 Guns (Probably)
4x1 53cm Underwater Torpedo tubes (Probably)

Theodor Novotny's Proposal:
Design date: 1910
Dimensions: 155 (wl) x 27 x 8,6m
Displacement: 20.000tons (standard)
Engines: 27.000shp Steam Turbines, 4 shafts
Speed: 39km/h (21knots)
Armour: 48mm Deck, 280mm Belt
Armaments:
2x3,2x2 30,5cm/50 Cannons
16x1 15cm/50 Casemated Guns
8x1 10cm/50 Casemated Guns
2x1 7cm/45 Guns (Probably)
4x1 53cm Underwater Torpedo tubes (Probably)

Siegfried Popper's Proposals:
Design date: 1909/10
Dimensions: 151,5 (wl) x 26 x 8,6m
Displacement: 20.000tons (standard)
Engines: 25.000shp Steam Turbines, 4 shafts
Speed: 38km/h (20,5knots)
Armour: 48mm Deck, 230mm Belt
Armaments:
Project I:
4x2 30,5cm/50 Cannons,
10x1 19cm/50 Casemated Guns,
20x1 10cm/50 Guns,
2x1 7cm/45 Guns,
4x1 53cm Torpedoes

Project II:
4x2 30,5cm/50 Cannons,
4x2 19cm/50 Guns,
20x1 10cm/50 Casemated Guns,
2x1 7cm/45 Guns,
4x1 53cm Torpedoes

Project III:
5x2 30,5cm/50 Cannons,
10x1 15cm/50 Casemated Guns,
14x1 10cm/50 Guns,
3x1 7cm/45 Guns,
4x1 53cm Torpedoes

Project IV:
5x2 30,5cm/50 Cannons,
14x1 12cm/50 Casemated Guns,
14x1 10cm/50 Guns,
3x1 7cm/45 Guns,
4x1 53cm Torpedoes

Project V:
6x2 30,5cm/50 Cannons,
24x1 10cm/50 Casemated and Shielded Guns,
4x1 7cm/45 Guns,
4x1 53cm Torpedoes

Project Va:
6x2 30,5cm/45 Cannons,
8x1 15cm/50 Casemated Guns,
16x1 7cm/45 Guns,
4x1 53cm Torpedoes

Project Vb:
6x2 30,5cm/45 Cannons,
18x1 10cm/50 Casemated Guns,
16x1 7cm/45 Guns,
4x1 53cm Torpedoes

Project VI:
5x2 30,5cm/50 Cannons,
14x1 15cm/50 Casemated Guns,
11x1 7cm/45 Guns,
3x1 53cm Torpedoes

Project VIa:
5x2 30,5cm/45 Cannons,
14x1 15cm/50 Casemated Guns,
14x1 7cm/45 Guns,
3x1 53cm Torpedoes

Project VIb:
5x2 30,5cm/45 Cannons,
14x1 15cm/50 Casemated Guns,
11x1 7cm/45 Guns,
3x1 53cm Torpedoes

Project VII:
5x2 30,5cm/50 Cannons,
18x1 12cm/50 Casemated Guns,
11x1 7cm/45 Guns,
3x1 53cm Torpedoes

Project VIIa:
2x2 30,5cm/45 Cannons,
18x1 12cm/50 Casemated Guns,
14x1 7cm/50 Guns,
3x1 53cm Torpedoes

Project VIII:
4x3 30,5cm/45 Cannons,
10x1 15cm/50 Casemated Guns,
14x1 7cm/50 Guns,
4x1 53cm Torpedoes


I hope this post was informative to you all!
Add a Comment:
 
:iconthelordtaxus:
TheLordTaxus Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2017
Wonderful class of ships. So poorly used and wasted.
Reply
:icontzoli:
Tzoli Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
ou know these are only preliminary designs and not actual ships?
The Project VIII was used as a base for the final Viribus Unitis clas which was built.
Reply
:iconthelordtaxus:
TheLordTaxus Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2017
Yes. But the Viribus Unitus was like the South Carolina class and superior in its main
armaments layout than the Dreadnought's layout.
Reply
:icontzoli:
Tzoli Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
No. Viribus Unitis is more like the Gangut or Dante Alighieri class but with superfiring turrets
Reply
:iconthelordtaxus:
TheLordTaxus Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2017
What are the differences between the South Carolinas  and Viribus Unitis besides the extra four guns it carried? I know the SC class is sometimes called a 'super' pre-dreadnought because of its inferior speed. 
Reply
:icontzoli:
Tzoli Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Viribus Unitis is more modern, larger, heavier more heavily armed both main guns and secondary guns wise. It's faster though shorter ranged and had thinner belt but thicker deck armour. Engine too is more modern using Parsons steam turbines instead of Vertical Tripel Expansion engines. Better hull shape and different armour layout. The Viribus Unitis could be called a flush deck with some superstructure on the main deck while the South Carolina has a massive or fully built in superstructure between the turrets.
Reply
:iconthelordtaxus:
TheLordTaxus Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2017
So what is your opinion of the South Carolina class?
Reply
:icontzoli:
Tzoli Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I have no issues with it, a very conservative and traditional evolution of the Mississippi class, but I'M not an expert in USN designs. I will ask my friend about it.
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconsiveir:
Siveir Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2017
Damn great job on the research of that! Very nice, very thorough.
Reply
:iconyamato74:
yamato74 Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2017
Nice work! It's a pity there is not much information available about never-were projects of ships, really love your works!
Reply
:iconsiveir:
Siveir Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2017
I think that comment belongs to the author?
Reply
:iconyamato74:
yamato74 Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2017
Indeed but I make the same researches because i build 3d models of never-were ships, and believe me it's sometimes very difficult to get hands on reliable information.
Reply
:iconsiveir:
Siveir Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2017
I don't built models, i don't draw exact plans, but i looks for some data of intended designs myself from time to time, and thus I know well how difficult it is :)
Reply
:iconyamato74:
yamato74 Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2017
:) I really love BBs above everything else. Not because of their power, but as status symbols. And because there are never-were projects that are simply amazing!
Reply
:iconsiveir:
Siveir Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2017
Well BBs are fine, but i like all warships equally because of the complexity in their designes, status (just like you) and their place in history. I also like to see their strong and weak sides, and their design faults and how they affected them and their crews, both minor and major. And, of course, stories behind them, behind single ships, classes and entire categories :). It's a world of its own, and amazing to me even more that I myself saw the sea once iny my life when I was about 5 :D
Reply
:iconyamato74:
yamato74 Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2017
Wow :D I too became obsessed about that age with the sea and warship, gradually evolving from the age of sail (I have some 80 little resin models of sailing ship on my desk XD) to the age of steam and modern warships. Now I collect (and build) mainly 1/350 scale models of warships ranging from the 1900s to the 1940s.
Reply
:icontzoli:
Tzoli Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks :)
Reply
:iconmidway2009:
Midway2009 Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Impressive battleline. :D
Reply
:iconfriend711:
FRIEND711 Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
coool XD
Reply
:icontzoli:
Tzoli Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thx
Reply
:iconfriend711:
FRIEND711 Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
NP! nice job! love what you did here ;3
Reply
:iconavarus-lux:
Avarus-Lux Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2017   General Artist
looks like tegetthoff class variants :), very interesting.
Reply
:icontzoli:
Tzoli Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Not variants, not exactly :)
Reply
:iconavarus-lux:
Avarus-Lux Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2017   General Artist
Ok, hmmmm, maybe the description of these being alternate history designs with some mix and match ideas from the various axis forces implemented fits better then "variants"

Looking forward to how these will turn out.
Reply
:icontzoli:
Tzoli Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You will see when I finish them, (16 altogether)
Reply
:iconavarus-lux:
Avarus-Lux Featured By Owner Edited Nov 3, 2017   General Artist
well, i was wrong, and off course a good bit :) i did not expect proposal designs.

these are looking great, i especially like the "SPP VIII" and "SPP II" designs, but all of these have wonderful detailing. 

sidenote: if the displacement was to be ignored a little (cheating on numbers) the i would probably mix up the 2 designs i favor to create something using elements of both which would be a bit over the 20.000 displacement limit :P (and if going a bit more into the future then i would add some elements from the battlecruiser designs you showed as well).


very nicely done. really looking forward to future works :D
Reply
:icontzoli:
Tzoli Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
SPP VIII? YOu Mean Seigfried Popper's Project VIII? That is ismply Project VIII :)

The 20.000tons limit was due to the depth limit the Fiume dry docks could handle and such for reasonable protection  this was the smallest ship which could carry 12x 30cm guns. Russians had similar issue but for them the shallow baltic waters and ports which demanded shallow draught ships, hence no superfiring turrets on the WW1 battleship and battlecruiser designs as well as built ships.
Reply
:iconavarus-lux:
Avarus-Lux Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2017   General Artist
yeah, project VIII and Project II.

i thought the limit to tonnage was a limit set by some treaty or contract, i did not know it was an actual drydock limit. ah well, learning something every day :).
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:iconeltf177:
eltf177 Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2017
Just keeps getting better and better...
Reply
:icontzoli:
Tzoli Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:D
Reply
:iconangelisgoodwen:
AngelisGoodwen Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2017
Are this pre-WW1 ships?
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:icontzoli:
Tzoli Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yes
Reply
:iconangelisgoodwen:
AngelisGoodwen Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2017
I thought so!  They're very cool, I kind of draw so insiration from the ships of the Spanish American War to Post WW2 for my own ships.
Reply
:icontzoli:
Tzoli Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I draw mostly never-were designs or preliminaries of WW2 Interbellum or occasionally Cold War and WW1 warships
Reply
:iconangelisgoodwen:
AngelisGoodwen Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2017
That cool!  I just design starships.
Reply
:icontzoli:
Tzoli Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I would like to design them as well but they are more troublesome as require more views, and also I lack time :)
Reply
:iconangelisgoodwen:
AngelisGoodwen Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2017
True, time seems to be the biggest problem for most.  For me I have just a little too much, that's why I can design some.  Although Legos are my medium of choice. 
Reply
:icontzoli:
Tzoli Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Me too used LEGO for quite some time for my creativity:
tzoli.deviantart.com/gallery/2…
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconuglygosling:
uglygosling Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2017
9.4"/24cm secondaries for design 3? The Radetskys had them, if I am correct.
Reply
:icontzoli:
Tzoli Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Nope, look at the turrets! 24cm is almost as large as 30,5cm and these are smaller.
Reply
:iconeltf177:
eltf177 Featured By Owner Edited Sep 12, 2017
I really like Design #3 with the twin 5.9-inch Secondary Batteries. Looking forward to seeing it finished.

Has the design been done with Springsharp yet?
Reply
:icontzoli:
Tzoli Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Those are not 15cm guns :)

Not yet made a SS (lol!) simulation yet but will make one later and post it for you
Reply
:icondarkwanderer123456:
My pure guesses is 19cm (in twin turret and casemate) and 9cm secondaries for 2nd and 3rd proposal judging by the barrel length and size different than 1st proposal when i zoomed in.
Reply
:icontzoli:
Tzoli Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
19cm is correct but not 9cm (88mm) but 7cm (66mm)
Reply
:iconeltf177:
eltf177 Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2017
Thanks. And if not 15cm then I wonder...
Reply
:icontzoli:
Tzoli Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Note sent
Reply
:iconyamato74:
yamato74 Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2017
Wow time for the big guys!
But wait a second generation dreadnought with twin funnels abreast? Wasn't this a feature of the ironclads of the 1880s?
Reply
:icontzoli:
Tzoli Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Reply
:iconavarus-lux:
Avarus-Lux Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2017   General Artist
thank you for sharing these links here, i love looking at these things :D
Reply
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