SMS Zenta

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SMS Zenta
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Name: SMS Zenta
Laid down: 8 August 1896
Launched: 18 August 1897
Commissioned: 25 May 1899
Homeport: Pola
Fate: Sunk, 16 August 1914
General characteristics
Class and type: Zenta-class light cruiser
Displacement: 2,500 t (2,461 long tons) full load
Length: 317 ft 10 in (96.88 m)
Beam: 34 ft 6 in (10.52 m)
Draft: 13 ft 11 in (4.24 m)
Propulsion: 4-cylinder Vertical Triple Expansion engines
Speed: 20.8 knots (38.5 km/h; 23.9 mph)
Range: 3,800 nmi (7,000 km) at 12 kn (22 km/h; 14 mph)
Complement: 308 officers and men
Armament: • 8 × 4.7 in (120 mm) guns
• 8 × 47 mm guns
• 2 × 42 mm guns
• 2 × torpedo tubes
Armor: Belt : 25 mm (0.98 in)
Conning Tower : 25 mm (0.98 in)
Casemates : 35 mm (1.4 in)

SMS Zenta was a small light cruiser for the Austro-Hungarian Navy, and lead ship of her class, named after the town of Senta. SMS Aspern and SMS Szigetvár were sister ships. Zenta was originally conceived for foreign cruise deployment, primarily to show the flag abroad despite the Austro-Hungarian empire having no great colonial ambitions.

Service history

Cruise to the Far East

Built during 1898-1899 she left Pola in November 1899 for a cruise to Asia, calling at Port Said, Suez, Aden, and Colombo. She reached Singapore in January 1900 where she stayed for 14 days, continuing her voyage to Hong Kong, Macau, and onwards to Shanghai. Thereafter she went to Japan, visiting Nagasaki, Kagoshima, and Sasebo.

Boxer Rebellion

News reached Austria-Hungary that the Boxer Rebellion in China was fast getting worse. Zenta was recalled to assist in the evacuation of international embassy staff as well as the Austro-Hungarian delegation. Seventy-five members of her crew were attached to the relief expedition led by Admiral Seymour, which headed for Tientsin.

Zenta was joined by the armoured cruiser SMS Kaiserin und Königin Maria Theresia, and 160 sailors from both ships (and two landed guns) assisted German marines in the assaults on the Taku forts. Zenta had her commanding officer, Kapitän von Thomann, killed in the action.

South American cruise

She returned home in December 1901 and was placed in reserve until October 1902 when she was sent on another foreign tour to Cape Town. From there she sailed for South America, to Montevideo and then to Buenos Aires, arriving in May 1903. She then went to Rio de Janeiro in June before heading back across the Atlantic, visiting among other ports Funchal, Cadiz, Tangier, Malaga, Tunis and Corfu prior to returning home to Trieste. Thereafter she was placed in reserve and partook in annual naval exercises until the outbreak of the First World War.

World War I

On 16 August 1914 the combined Anglo-French Fleet under Admiral Archibald Berkeley Milne, made a sweep of the Adriatic Sea. Zenta was escorted by a destroyer blockading the coast of Montenegro. She was trapped by seventeen French and British naval units consisting of battleships and armoured cruisers, which prevented her escape North. After allowing the destroyer SMS Ulan to get away, she was sunk by gunfire off the coast of Bar, with the loss of 179 lives. Surviving commander Paul Pachner, officers and crew swam ashore and were interned until 1916.

File:SMS Zenta1.jpg
SMS Zenta after commissioning 1899

See also

External links

cs:SMS Zenta de:SMS Zenta hu:SMS Zenta ja:ツェンタ (巡洋艦) pl:SMS Zenta