Yugoslav torpedo boat T3

Yugoslav torpedo boat T3
a black and white photograph of a small ship underway
The first of the 250t-class, T-group,
74 T
Name: 78 T
Builder: Stabilimento Tecnico Triestino
Laid down: 22 October 1913
Launched: 4 March 1914
Commissioned: 23 August 1914
Out of service: 1918
Fate: Assigned to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes
Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Name: T3
Acquired: March 1921
Out of service: April 1941
Fate: Captured by Italy
Name: T3
Acquired: April 1941
Out of service: 16 September 1943
Fate: Captured by German forces at Rijeka
Nazi Germany
Name: TA48
Acquired: 16 September 1943
Out of service: 1945
Fate: Sunk at Trieste by Allied bombing on 20 February 1945
Notes: Crewed by Croatian sailors
General characteristics
Class and type: 250t-class, T-group sea-going torpedo boat
  • 262 t (258 long tons)
  • 320 t (315 long tons) (full load)
Length: 58.2 m (190 ft 11 in)
Beam: 5.7 m (18 ft 8 in)
Draught: 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in)
Installed power:
Speed: 28 knots (52 km/h; 32 mph)
Range: 980 nmi (1,810 km; 1,130 mi) at 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph)
Complement: 39 officers and enlisted

The Yugoslav torpedo boat T3 was a sea-going torpedo boat that was operated by the Royal Yugoslav Navy between 1921 and 1941. Originally built as 78 T, a 250t-class torpedo boat built for the Austro-Hungarian Navy in 1914, she was armed with two 66 mm (2.6 in) guns, four 450 mm (17.7 in) torpedo tubes, and could carry 10–12 naval mines. She saw active service during World War I, performing convoy, escort and minesweeping tasks, and anti-submarine operations. Following Austria-Hungary's defeat in 1918, she was allocated to the Navy of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, which subsequently became the Royal Yugoslav Navy, and was renamed T3.

T3 was captured by the Italians during the German-led Axis invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941 and, after her main armament was modernised, she served with the Royal Italian Navy under her Yugoslav designation, although she was only used for coastal and second-line tasks. Following the Italian capitulation in September 1943, she was captured by Germany, and after being fitted with additional anti-aircraft guns she served with the German Navy or the Navy of the Independent State of Croatia as TA48. In German/Croatian service her crew of 52 consisted entirely of Croatian officers and enlisted men. She was sunk by Allied aircraft in February 1945 while in the port of Trieste.


In 1910, the Austria-Hungary Naval Technical Committee initiated the design and development of a 275-long-ton (279 t) coastal torpedo boat, specifying that it should be capable of sustaining 30 knots (56 km/h) for 10 hours. This specification was based an expectation that the Strait of Otranto, where the Adriatic Sea meets the Ionian Sea, would be blockaded by hostile forces during a future conflict. In such circumstances, there would be a need for a torpedo boat that could sail from the Austro-Hungarian Navy (German: kaiserliche und königliche Kriegsmarine) base at Cattaro to the Strait during darkness, locate and attack blockading ships and return to port before morning. Steam turbine power was selected for propulsion, as diesels with the necessary power were not available, and the Austro-Hungarian Navy did not have the practical experience to run turbo-electric boats. Stabilimento Tecnico Triestino (STT) of Trieste was selected for the contract to build eight vessels, ahead of one other tenderer.[1] The T-group designation signified the builder, STT.[2]

Description and construction

The 250t-class, T-group boats had a waterline length of 58.2 m (190 ft 11 in), a beam of 5.7 m (18 ft 8 in), and a normal draught of 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in). While their designed displacement was 262 tonnes (258 long tons), they displaced about 320 tonnes (310 long tons) fully loaded. The crew consisted of 39 officers and enlisted men. The boats were powered by a Parsons steam turbine driving two propellers, using steam generated by two Yarrow water-tube boilers, one of which burned fuel oil and the other coal. The turbine was rated at 5,000 shp (3,700 kW) with a maximum output of 6,000 shp (4,500 kW) and designed to reach a top speed of 28 knots (52 km/h; 32 mph). They carried 18 tonnes (17.7 long tons) of coal and 24 tonnes (23.6 long tons) of fuel oil,[3] which gave them a range of 980 nmi (1,810 km; 1,130 mi) at 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph).[2] The T-group had one funnel rather than the two funnels of the later groups of the class. While the 250t-class T-group boats barely exceeded the specifications laid down for a coastal torpedo boat, they were classified as capable of operating on the open sea. The 250t-class, T-group were the first small Austro-Hungarian Navy boats to use turbines, and this contributed to ongoing problems with them.[1]

The boats were originally to be armed with three Škoda 66 mm (2.6 in)L/30[lower-alpha 1] guns, and three 450 mm (17.7 in) torpedo tubes,[1] but this was changed to two guns and four torpedo tubes before the first boat was completed,[2] to standardise the armament with the F-group to follow. They could also carry 10–12 naval mines. 78 T was the fifth of its class to be built. She was laid down on 22 October 1913, launched on 4 March 1914, and completed and commissioned on 23 August 1914. Eight T-group boats were completed between February and December 1914, designated 74 T81 T.[2] In 1914, one 8 mm (0.31 in) machine gun was added.[1]


World War I and interwar period

During World War I, 78 T was used for convoy, escort and minesweeping tasks, and anti-submarine operations.[1] She also conducted patrols and supported seaplane raids against the Italian Adriatic coast. Due to inadequate funding, 78 T and the rest of the 250t class were essentially coastal vessels, despite the original intention that they would be used for "high seas" operations.[4] In late November 1915, the Austro-Hungarian fleet deployed a force from its main fleet base at Pola to Cattaro in the southern Adriatic; this force included six of the eight T-group torpedo boats, so it is possible that one of these was 78 T. This force was tasked to maintain a permanent patrol of the Albanian coastline and interdict any troop transports crossing from Italy.[5] In 1917, one of the 66 mm (2.6 in) guns on each boat was placed on an anti-aircraft mount.[2] On 11 May 1917, the British submarine HMS H1 stalked 78 T off Pola, firing two torpedoes at her. The British captain had kept his submarine's periscope extended too far and for too long, and the tell-tale "feather" had alerted the crew of 78 T, allowing her to avoid the incoming torpedoes.[6]

78 T survived the war intact,[1] and under the terms of the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye concluded in September 1919, she was transferred to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (KSCS, later Yugoslavia) in March 1921,[7] along with three other 250t-class, T-group boats, 76 T, 77 T and 79 T, which all served with the KSCS Navy (later the Royal Yugoslav Navy, Serbo-Croatian: Kraljevska Jugoslovenska Ratna Mornarica, KJRM; Кpaљeвcкa Југословенска Pатна Морнарица). In Yugoslav service, 78 T was renamed T3. At the time of their transfer, the 250t-class torpedo boats were the only modern warships in the Yugoslav fleet.[2][8] In 1925, exercises were conducted off the Dalmatian coast, involving the majority of the navy,[9] but by 1932, the British naval attaché was reporting that Yugoslav ships were engaging in few exercises or manoeuvres due to reduced budgets.[10]

World War II

In April 1941, Yugoslavia entered World War II when it was invaded by the German-led Axis powers. At the time of the invasion, T3 was assigned to the Southern Sector of the KJRM's Coastal Defence Command based at the Bay of Kotor, along with her sister ship T1, several minesweepers and other craft.[11] T3 was captured in port by the Royal Italian Navy (Italian: Regia Marina) and was operated by them under her Yugoslav designation. She was fitted with two 76 mm (3 in) L/30 anti-aircraft guns in place of her 66 mm (2.6 in) guns, but no other significant alterations were made to her.[12] Due to her obsolescence, the Italians only used T 3 for coastal and second-line duties.[13]

When the Italians capitulated in September 1943, the German Navy (German: Kriegsmarine) seized T3 in the port of Rijeka and renamed her TA48. She was commissioned on 15 August 1944, and was used for patrol and escort work in the northern Adriatic.[14] The Germans added to her armament, fitting her with two single 20 mm (0.79 in) anti-aircraft guns in addition to the guns fitted by the Italians, and removing two of her torpedo tubes.[15] She was either crewed exclusively by Croatian officers and sailors but remained under German control,[1] or was transferred to the Navy of the Independent State of Croatia but then repossessed by the Germans on 14 December 1944 due to the unreliable nature of the Croatian personnel.[14] Her complement was also increased to 52 during her German/Croatian service.[1] She was active in the northern Adriatic but saw little action.[16] She was sunk in the port of Trieste by Allied aircraft on 20 February 1945.[1][17][lower-alpha 2]


  1. L/30 denotes the length of the gun. In this case, the L/30 gun is 30 calibre, meaning that the gun was 30 times as long as the diameter of its bore.
  2. Sources conflict on who sank TA48. Gardiner and Lenton state that they were Allied aircraft without specifying their nationality,[1][18] while Chesneau states they were British aircraft,[17] and Wilmott states that US aircraft carried out the attack.[19]



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