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WWI Warships: Austro-Hungarian



Revision Log
31 January 2008page first published

2,149 hits since 31 Jan 2008
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Mal Wright Fezian Inactive Member writes:

Pre-war, these ships were painted in dark green. This continued through at least the early part of WWI for some ships. However, capital ships had started to convert to light grey in the weeks before war was declared. Some of the models in the Arsenal Museum in Vienna are shown in both schemes. However, a diorama of the fleet in 1917 shows all ships in pale grey.

Decks were pale wood. Cortesine does not seem to have been as much used - it was probably not considered important, as Austrian major ships rarely stayed at sea long enough for anyone to get uncomfortable! I know of only one instance where the battleships 'over-nighted' at sea, during the war. The cortesine was light tan.

Waterlines were red, if the ship was in dark green. Later, when grey was adopted, they became mid-green. Lifeboats were pale grey, but with light tan canvas tops. The shade was similar to that of the wooden decks.

Torpedo boats were also painted in dark green for most of the war, particularly smaller types, but this appears to be a darker, almost black shade. From 1916 onward, destroyers were painted in the same grey as capital ships, and new-construction torpedo boats adopted the same colour.

Identification of units was achieved with numbers or number-and-letter combinations 20% of the ship's length, back from the bow. Some smaller torpedo boats had these numbers further forward, due to hull design constraints.

When Austrian ships changed to a light grey, this was undoubtable to take advantage of the frequent misty conditions in the Northern Adriatic at some times of the year. This type of weather condition was less common in the southern Adriatic.

Austrian submarines were usually painted pale grey. Some appear to have dark grey decks.