Yugoslav submarine Nebojša

Yugoslav submarine Nebojša
a black and white photograph of a submarine underway on the surface
Nebojša's sister submarine Hrabri underway in 1934
Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Name: Nebojša
Namesake: Fearless
Builder: Vickers-Armstrong Naval Yard, River Tyne, United Kingdom
Launched: 1927
In service: 1927–45
Out of service: 1945
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Name: Tara
Acquired: 1945
Out of service: 1954
Fate: Scrapped in 1958
General characteristics
Class and type: Hrabri-class diesel-electric submarine
  • 975 long tons (991 t) (surfaced)
  • 1,164 long tons (1,183 t) (submerged)
Length: 72.05 m (236 ft 5 in)
Beam: 7.32 m (24 ft)
Draught: 3.96 m (13 ft)
  • 2 × shafts
  • 2 × diesel engines 2,400 bhp (1,800 kW)
  • 2 × electric motors 1,600 shp (1,200 kW)
  • 15.7 knots (29.1 km/h; 18.1 mph) (diesel)
  • 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) (electric)
Range: 3,800 nautical miles (7,000 km; 4,400 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)
Test depth: 60 metres (200 ft)
Complement: 45

The Yugoslav submarine Nebojša was the second of the Hrabri-class diesel-electric submarines built by the Vickers-Armstrong Naval Yard on the River Tyne in the United Kingdom, for the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later Yugoslavia) and was launched in 1927. Her design was based on that of the British L-class submarine of World War I, and she was built using parts originally assembled for a Royal Navy L-class submarine that was never built. She was armed with six bow-mounted 533 mm (21 in) torpedo tubes, two 102 mm (4 in) guns and one machine gun, and could dive to 60 metres (200 ft).

Prior to World War II Nebojša participated in cruises to several Mediterranean ports. During the German-led Axis invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941, she evaded capture by Italian forces, and joined British naval forces in the Mediterranean where she performed a training role. After the war she was taken over by the new Yugoslav government and renamed Tara. She was eventually stricken in 1954, and scrapped in 1958.

Description and construction

Yugoslav naval policy in the interwar period lacked direction until the mid-1920s,[1] although it was generally accepted that the Adriatic coastline was effectively a sea frontier that the naval arm was responsible for securing with the limited resources made available to it. In 1926, a modest ten-year construction program was initiated to build up a force of submarines, coastal torpedo boats, torpedo bombers and conventional bomber aircraft to perform this role. The Hrabri-class submarines were one of the first new acquisitions aimed at developing a naval force capable of meeting this challenge.[2]

Nebojša (Fearless) was built in 1927 for the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later Yugoslavia), by the Vickers-Armstrong Naval Yard on the River Tyne in the United Kingdom.[3] Her design was based on that of the British L-class submarine of World War I, and she was built using parts originally assembled for HMS L-68, which was never completed.[4] Along with her sister submarine Hrabri, she had an overall length of 72.05 metres (236 ft 5 in), a beam of 7.32 m (24 ft 0 in), and a surfaced draught of 3.96 m (13 ft 0 in). Her surfaced displacement was 975 long tons (991 t) or 1,164 long tons (1,183 t) submerged, and her crew consisted of 45 officers and enlisted men.[3] She had an operational depth of 60 m (200 ft).[5]

The Hrabri-class had two shafts driven by two diesel engines (when surfaced) or two electric motors (when submerged). Their diesel engines were rated at 2,400 brake horsepower (1,800 kW) and the electric motors at 1,600 shaft horsepower (1,200 kW), and they were designed to reach a top speed of 15.7 knots (29.1 km/h; 18.1 mph) under diesel power while surfaced, and 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) on their electric motors when submerged. They were armed with six bow-mounted 533 mm (21 in) torpedo tubes, and carried twelve torpedoes.[6] They were also equipped with two 102 mm (4 in) deck guns (one forward and one aft of the conning tower), and one machine gun.[3] Their radius of action was 3,800 nautical miles (7,000 km; 4,400 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph).[7]

Service career

Nebojša was launched in 1927 as the second submarine of the navy of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, which later became the Royal Yugoslav Navy.[3] Along with her sister submarine Hrabri, she left the Tyne in late January 1928.[8] In company with the Yugoslav submarine tender Hvar, the two submarines arrived in the Bay of Kotor on the southern Adriatic coast on 8 April 1928.[9] In May and June 1929, Hrabri, Nebojša, Hvar and six torpedo boats accompanied the light cruiser Dalmacija on a cruise to Malta, the Greek island of Corfu in the Ionian Sea, and Bizerte in the French protectorate of Tunisia. The British naval attaché observed that the ships and crews made a very good impression while visiting Malta.[10] On 16 May 1930, Nebojša was exercising her crew at periscope depth near the entrance to the Bay of Kotor when she collided with a Yugoslav steamship. The damage was not serious and there were no injuries, but her forward 102 mm gun was lost overboard. The necessary repairs were carried out at the dockyard in the Bay of Kotor.[11]

In June and July 1930, Hrabri, Nebojša and the fleet auxiliary Sitnica again cruised the Mediterranean, visiting Alexandria and Beirut.[12] In 1932, the British naval attaché reported that Yugoslav ships engaged in few exercises, manoeuvres or gunnery training due to reduced budgets.[13] In September 1933, Nebojša and the submarine Osvetnik cruised the southern part of the central Mediterranean.[14] In August 1936, Nebojša and Osvetnik visited the Greek island of Corfu.[15]

During the German-led Axis invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941, she and two Orjen-class motor torpedo boats evaded capture by Italian forces at the Bay of Kotor, arriving at Suda Bay, Crete, on 23 April,[16] after eight days at sea.[17] Despite this, the Italians claimed that they had sunk all the Yugoslav vessels.[18] Nebojša then sailed to Alexandria, but the Royal Navy considered her unfit for combat duties. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill suggested her crew might be retrained and used to operate the recently captured German Type VIIC U-boat U-570, but this idea was soon abandoned.[19] She was based at Valletta in Malta as an anti-submarine warfare training vessel,[20] serving with the British 2nd Submarine Flotilla in 1942 and the British 3rd Submarine Flotilla in 1943.[3] She continued working in the Mediterranean until the end of the war,[21] but her service with the Royal Navy appears to have been limited to a training role.[22]

After the war she was towed first to Bari in Italy, then in August 1945 to the port of Split where she was overhauled, renamed Tara and given the pennant number 801. She was then transferred to Pula on the Istrian peninsula in the northern Adriatic. Used to train the fledgling Yugoslav Navy submarine arm,[20] she was stricken in 1954.[3][6] One of her guns was removed at the end of her career,[23] and she was eventually scrapped in 1958.[24]


In 2011, to mark the 70th anniversary of the invasion of Yugoslavia, the Military Museum in Belgrade, Serbia hosted an exhibit which included a flag from the Nebojša.[25] In April 2013, the 85th anniversary of the arrival of the first Yugoslav submarines at the Bay of Kotor was marked by an event in Tivat, Montenegro, attended by dozens of former Yugoslav submariners.[9]

See also





  • Hood, A.G. (1928). "The Jugo-Slavian Submarines Hrabri and Nebojsa". The Shipbuilder and Marine Engine-builder. 35. London, England: Shipbuilder Press. OCLC 2450525. 
  • The Ottawa Journal (1 May 1941). "Official Reports". The Ottawa Journal. 56 (121). Ottawa, Ontario: The Ottawa Evening Journal. ISSN 0841-4572. Retrieved 18 April 2014. (subscription required (help)). 


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