Yugoslav monitor Vardar

Yugoslav monitor Vardar
a black and white photograph of a ship on a river
Vardar underway in 1933
History
Austro-Hungarian Empire
Name:
  • Bosna/
  • Temes (II)/Bosna
Namesake:Bosna River/Temes River
Builder:Stabilimento Tecnico Triestino
Laid down:1914 (Linz)
Launched:1915
In service:9 July 1915
Out of service:6 November 1918
Fate:Transferred to the Hungarian People's Republic
Notes:
  • Reverted to SMS Bosna on 9 May 1917 after the raising and repair of the original .
  • Sister ship was ceded to Romania and renamed Bucovina.
Hungarian People's Republic
Name:Bosna
Namesake:Bosna River
Acquired:6 November 1918
Out of service:13 December 1918
Fate:Assigned to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (KSCS)
Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Name:Vardar
Namesake:Vardar River
Acquired:1918
In service:1920
Fate:Scuttled by her crew on 11/12 April 1941
General characteristics
Class and type:Sava-class river monitor
Displacement:580 tonnes (570 long tons)
Length:62 m (203 ft 5 in)
Beam:10.3 m (33 ft 10 in)
Draught:1.3 m (4 ft 3 in)
Installed power:
Propulsion:2 Triple-expansion steam engines
Speed:13.5 knots (25.0 km/h; 15.5 mph)
Complement:91 officers and enlisted
Armament:
Armour:

Vardar was a Sava-class river monitor built for the Austro-Hungarian Navy as SMS Bosna, but was renamed SMS Temes (II) before she went into service. During World War I, she was the flagship of the Danube Flotilla, and fought the Serbian Army, the Romanian Navy and Army, and the French Army. She reverted to the name Bosna in May 1917, after the original was raised and returned to service. After brief service with the Hungarian People's Republic at the end of the war, she was transferred to the newly created Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later Yugoslavia), and renamed Vardar. She remained in service throughout the interwar period, although budget restrictions meant she was not always in full commission.

During the German-led Axis invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941, she was the flagship of the 1st Monitor Division, and along with her fellow monitor Sava, she laid mines in the Danube near the Romanian border during the first few days of the invasion. The two monitors fought off several attacks by the Luftwaffe, but were forced to withdraw to Belgrade. Due to high river levels and low bridges, the monitors' navigation was difficult, and they were scuttled by their crews on 11 April. Some of her crew may have been killed when a demolished bridge collapsed onto a tugboat after they abandoned ship. Some tried to escape cross-country towards the southern Adriatic coast, but most surrendered to the Germans at Sarajevo on 14 April. The remainder made their way to the Bay of Kotor, where they were captured by the Italian XVII Corps on 17 April.

Description and construction

Vardar was a Sava-class river monitor built for the Austro-Hungarian Navy by Stabilimento Tecnico Triestino, and was laid down as Bosna at Linz in 1914,[1] as part of the Austro-Hungarian 1914–15 Naval Program.[2] She was named after the river Bosna, but was renamed Temes (II) during construction, after the sinking of the original by a mine on the Sava River on 23 October 1914.[3][4] Along with her sister ship Sava, she had an overall length of 62 m (203 ft 5 in), a beam of 10.3 m (33 ft 10 in), and a normal draught of 1.3 m (4 ft 3 in). Her displacement was 580 tonnes (570 long tons), and her crew consisted of 91 officers and enlisted men.[1] The ship was powered using steam generated by two Yarrow boilers driving two triple-expansion steam engines,[1] and the ship carried 75 tonnes (74 long tons) of fuel oil.[5] Its engines were rated at 1,750 ihp (1,300 kW) and she was designed to reach a top speed of 13.5 knots (25.0 km/h; 15.5 mph).[1]

Her main armament was a twin gun turret of 120 mm (4.7 in) L/45[a] guns forward of the conning tower and a twin turret of 120 mm (4.7 in) L/10 howitzers aft of the conning tower. She also mounted twin 66 mm (2.6 in) L/26 anti-aircraft guns, two 47 mm (1.9 in) L/44 guns, and seven machine guns.[1] The maximum range of her Škoda 120 mm (4.7 in)L/45 guns was 15 kilometres (9.3 mi), and her howitzers could fire their 20 kg (44 lb) shells a maximum of 6.2 km (3.9 mi).[6] Her armour consisted of belt and bulkheads 40 mm (1.6 in) thick, deck armour 25 mm (0.98 in) thick, and her conning tower, gun turrets and cupolas were 50 mm (2.0 in) thick. Temes (II) was completed on 9 July 1915.[1]

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