Friday, May 31, 2013

Fullbore Friday

I had a new FbF ready to go ... but decided to delay it a bit, as it was a bit personal and needs time to settle.

Instead, I want to go back to one of the more quirky ones. I still like it - and the lessons it has for us even today.

From 2007;

The Imperial Austrian triple-decker wooden battleship Kaiser. Yes the AUSTRIAN Navy, again.  

Why her for Fullbore? Well, the year was 1866 and this wooden warship held her own in the first major naval battle of ships of iron and steam against the Italian Navy at the Battle of Lissa.  

Sure, she was outdated and the Fleet Admiral Wilhelm Freiherr von Tegetthoff was only 39, but what a glorious effort for a Navy that had only a little more than a half a century left.
Encountering the Italian fleet early on the morning of 19 July 1866, Tegetthoff sailed straight for the center of the Italian fleet, hoping to ram the ships to make up for his own fleet's lack of firepower. The smoke from the Italian ships made visibility very poor, however, and the Austrians missed the Italian fleet completely. Swinging around, Tegetthoff again charged, this time setting two Italian armored ships on fire and damaging several more.

After Tegetthoff's flagship, the Erzherzog Ferdinand Max, rammed and sank the armored Italian frigate Re d'Italia, the Italian fleet retreated the next day. Tegetthoff returned in triumph to his base at Pola (Pula). Nevertheless, his victory did not materially affect the outcome of the war, as Italy emerged victorious.
Seeing things going badly, Persano found the courage to throw himself into battle, deciding to ram the unarmoured screw battleship Kaiser rather than one of the armoured ships engaged with the Italian 2nd Division much nearer him. However, Kaiser managed to dodge Affondatore. Taking heart from his admiral, the captain of Re di Portogallo decided to hurl his ship at Kaiser, maintaining a heavy fire with her rifled guns as he did so. At the last moment, von Petz turned the tables on her and turned into the ram, in effect conducting a counter ram. The impact tore off Kaiser’s stem and bowsprit, leaving her figurehead embedded in Re di Portogallo. The Italian used the opportunity to rake Kaiser with fire, putting her mainmast and smokestack into the sea. The smoke was so great that as they backed off for another ram they lost sight of each other and ended the duel.
It's all here. Using 2,000 yr old tactics to win. Making the best of the Fleet you have. Aggressive action. Leaders who lead and win without waiting for specific direction to do so. More on the Kaiser, she survived the battle, here and here.


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