The last Austrian armoured cruiser
After the Kaiser Karl IV’s departure, the admiralty impressed by the new cruiser immediately ordered an improved replica at the STT yard in Trieste. SMS Sankt Georg (Saint George) was, therefore, the closely derived and retained a generally similar appearance, but the differences were many so as not to make her a class:
She was longer by 5 meters, wider by 2 meters, more powerful – and therefore faster, reaching 23.8 knots on trials. Armor was redistributed, reduced in places, increased for others (like the citadel and turrets) leaning towards the “all or nothing” scheme.
SMS Sankt Georg line drawing
SMS St Georg launch in Pola
Above all her main artillery was grouped into a double turret at the front while the secondary artillery was reinforced by five 190 mm guns, alongside four 150 mm. These were grouped in central barbettes, two front and two aft, with a 90° traverse and a fifth in a single turret aft. This habit of privileging forward firepower (hunt) was common also to Italy and to other countries.
The 40-caliber Skoda 150-mm guns were divided into four barbettes at the front and rear of the battery deck, the light armament distributed between the upper deck, the superstructure decks and military masts.
SMS Sankt Georg in service
Unlike KuK Maria Theresia, SMS Sankt Georg stability had problems, like Kaiser Karl IV. She was finally launched on December 8, 1903 and pressed into service on July 21, 1905. Like Kaiser Karl IV she was very active, participating in all operations of the Austro-Hungarian Navy thanks to her speed. She was given an extra 77 mm/50 AA Skoda gun in 1916. She was offered as war reparations to Great Britain, which resold her to be broken up in Italy in 1920.
Sankt Georg class specifications
|Dimensions||124,30 x 19 x 6,8 m ()|
|Displacement||7300 tonnes standard – 8070 tonnes FL|
|Propulsion||2 shaft VTE 4 cyl. 16 boilers, 15,000 hp.|
|Speed||22 knots max (39 km/h; 20 mph)|
|Armament||2 x 240 (1×2), 5 x 190, 4 x 150, 8 x 47, 2 x 77, 2 x 37, 2 x 8 mm MGs, 2 x 450 mm TTs sub.|
|Armour||Turrets 210, citadel 190, belt 165, blockhaus 200, decks 50 mm|
Author’s illustration of the Sankt Georg in 1914