by Martin Deuretsbacher
1/700 SMS Erzherzog Ferdinand Max (WSW)
Here is my K.u.K. Austro-Hungarian pre-dreadnought battleship SMS Erzherzog Ferdinand Max in 1:700 from the WSW kit. It is one of the three ships from the Erzherzog Karl-class. The sisterships are SMS Erzherzog Karl and SMS Erzherzog Friedrich. The ship was laid down on 9 March 1904, launched on 21 May 1905 and completed on 21, December 1907. After the war she was scrapped in 1921. The displacement were 10.640 t. With 13.530 SHP she achieved 20 kts. The main armament are four 24 cm Skoda guns in two twin turrets. Her secondary armament consisted of twelve 19 cm Skoda guns. The tertiary armament for protektion against torpedo boats are twelve 7cm Skoda guns. All secondary and tertiary armament are QF guns. The AA armament were ten 4,7cm QF guns and several MG`s.
As Vice Admiral Hermann Freiherr von Spaun became the new CinC-Marinekommandant, he drew up his own "Fleet Development Plan 1898" in which he requested, among other units, twelve battleships, and as many medium and small cruisers. The" Crete Crisis" of 1897 and subsequent market problems of Austrian industries in the Near East had demonstrated that a strong fleet was essential as one oft he means in pursuing foreign politics befitting a world power. The heir to the throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand became the Emperors deputy in all military affairs on March 29, 1898. He built up the modern Austro-Hungarian Navy. Naval architect Siegfried Popper prepared the design of the ships. He was responsible for the design of the 10.500 ts Erzherzog Karl class which were launched at the Stabilimento Tecnico Triestino (STT) shipyard during 1901-1903. The caliber of their heavy guns were 24 cm. When the caliber of 30,5 cm became the minimum international standard these ships were no longer powerful enough. From January 1, 1911 on they were assigned to the reserve. They constituted the III. Division at the out-break of world war one and participated in the shelling oft he italian coast. The II. Division were the ships from the Radetzky-class 30,5 cm (SMS Erzherzog Franz Ferdinand, SMS Radetzky, SMS Zrinyi). The I. Division were the dreadnoughts 30,5 cm from the Tegetthoff-class (SMS Viribus Unitis, SMS Tegetthoff, SMS Prinz Eugen, SMS Szent Istvan).
Literature: Lothar Baumgartner, Erwin Sieche, Die Schiffe der K.u.K.
Kriegsmarine im Bild. Verlagsbuchhandlung Stöhr, Wien