The Yugoslav torpedo boat T5 was a sea-going torpedo boat operated by the Royal Yugoslav Navy between 1921 and 1941. Originally 87 F, a 250t-class torpedo boat of the Austro-Hungarian Navy built in 1914–1915, she was armed with two 66 mm (2.6 in) guns and 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, patrol, escort and minesweeping tasks, anti-submarine operations and shore bombardment missions. Following Austria-Hungary's defeat in 1918, 87 F was allocated to the Navy of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, which became the Royal Yugoslav Navy, and was renamed T5. At the time, she and the seven other 250t-class boats were the only modern sea-going vessels of the fledgling maritime force.

Yugoslav torpedo boat T5
a black and white photograph of a medium-sized ship underway
T5's sister ship, T3, the only significant external difference was that T5 had two funnels
Name: 87 F
Builder: Ganz & Danubius
Laid down: 5 March 1914
Launched: 20 March 1915
Commissioned: 25 October 1915
Out of service: 1918
Fate: Assigned to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes
Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Name: T5
Acquired: March 1921
Out of service: April 1941
Fate: Captured by Italy
Name: T5
Acquired: April 1941
Out of service: September 1943
Fate: returned to Yugoslavia
Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Name: T5
Acquired: December 1943
Out of service: May 1945
Name: Cer (Цер)
Namesake: Battle of Cer (1914)
Acquired: May 1945
Out of service: 1962
Fate: Broken up in 1962
General characteristics
Class and type: 250t-class, F-group sea-going torpedo boat
  • 266 t (262 long tons)
  • 330 t (325 long tons) (full load)
Length: 58.5 m (191 ft 11 in)
Beam: 5.8 m (19 ft 0 in)
Draught: 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in)
Installed power:
Speed: 28 knots (52 km/h; 32 mph)
Range: 1,200 nmi (2,200 km; 1,400 mi) at 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph)
Complement: 38–41

During the interwar period, T5 and the rest of the navy were involved in exercises of training and cruises to friendly ports, but activity was limited by reduced naval budgets. The ship was captured by the Italians during the German-led Axis invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941. After her main armament was modernised, she served with the Royal Italian Navy under her Yugoslav designation, conducting coastal and second-line escort duties in the Adriatic Sea. Following the Italian capitulation in September 1943, she was returned to the Royal Yugoslav Navy-in-exile and served as T5. At the end of the war, she was transferred to the new Yugoslav Navy and served as Cer until she was broken up in 1962.


In 1910, the Austria-Hungary Naval Technical Committee initiated the design and development of a 275-tonne (271-long-ton) coastal torpedo boat, specifying that it should be capable of sustaining 30 knots (56 km/h) for 10 hours. This specification was based on 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 the Bay of Kotor to the Strait during the night, locate and attack blockading ships and return to port before morning. Steam turbine power was selected for propulsion, because 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 the first eight vessels, designated the T-group. Another tender was requested for four more boats, but when a competing boatbuilder, Ganz-Danubius, reduced their price by ten percent, a total of sixteen boats were ordered from them, designated the F-group.[1] The F-group designation signified the location of Ganz-Danubius' main shipyard at Fiume.[2]

Description and constructionEdit

The 250t-class F-group boats had a waterline length of 58.5 metres (191 ft 11 in), a beam of 5.8 m (19 ft 0 in), and a normal draught of 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in). While their designed displacement was 266 tonnes (262 long tons), they displaced about 330 tonnes (325 long tons) fully loaded.[2] The crew consisted of 38–41 officers and enlisted men.[1][2] The boats were powered by two AEG-Curtiss steam turbines driving two propellers, using steam generated by two Yarrow water-tube boilers,[1] one of which burned fuel oil and the other coal. The turbines were rated at 5,000 shaft horsepower (3,700 kW) with a maximum output of 6,000 shp (4,500 kW) and were designed to propel the boats to a top speed of 28 knots (52 km/h; 32 mph).[2] They carried 20 tonnes (19.7 long tons) of coal and 34 tonnes (33.5 long tons) of fuel oil,[3] which gave them a range of 1,200 nautical miles (2,200 km; 1,400 mi) at 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph).[2] The F-group had two funnels rather than the single funnel of the T-group.[1] Due to inadequate funding, 87 F 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] They were the first small Austro-Hungarian Navy boats to use turbines, and this contributed to ongoing problems.[1]

The boats were armed with two Škoda 66 mm (2.6 in) L/30[a] guns, and four 450 mm (17.7 in) torpedo tubes.[1] They could also carry 10–12 naval mines.[2] 87 F was laid down on 5 March 1914, launched on 20 March 1915 and completed on 25 October of that year.[5]


World War IEdit

During World War I, 87 F was used for convoy, patrol, escort and minesweeping tasks, anti-submarine operations,[1] and shore bombardment missions.[4][6] On 3 February 1916, 87 F and two other 250t-class boats were involved in a shore bombardment operation against Ortona and San Vito Chietino, led by the armoured cruiser Sankt Georg.[6] Three days later, the scout cruiser Helgoland, 87 F and five other 250t-class boats were intercepted by the British light cruiser HMS Weymouth and French destroyer Bouclier north of Durazzo in Albania, during which the only damage was caused by a collision between two of the other 250t-class boats. On 9 July, the scout cruiser Novara led a force which included 87 F and two Kaiman-class torpedo boats in a raid on the Otranto Barrage, the Allied naval blockade of the Strait of Otranto, which resulted in the sinking of two drifters.[7] On 4 November, three Italian destroyers and three torpedo boats were involved in a brief encounter in the northern Adriatic with two Austro-Hungarian destroyers accompanied by 87 F and two other 250t-class boats. The following day, the same three torpedo boats conducted a shore bombardment of Sant'Elpidio a Mare.[8] In 1917, one of her 66 mm guns was placed on an anti-aircraft mount.[2] On 28 November 1917, a number of 250t-class boats were involved in two shore bombardment missions. In the second mission, 87 F joined seven other 250t-class boats and six destroyers for the bombardment of Porto Corsini, Marotta and Cesenatico.[9]

By 1918, the Allies had strengthened their ongoing blockade on the Strait of Otranto, as foreseen by the Austro-Hungarian Navy. As a result, it was becoming more difficult for the German and Austro-Hungarian U-boats to get through the strait and into the Mediterranean Sea. In response to these blockades, the new commander of the Austro-Hungarian Navy, Konteradmiral Miklós Horthy, decided to launch an attack on the Allied defenders with battleships, scout cruisers, and destroyers.[10] During the night of 8 June, Horthy left the naval base of Pola in the upper Adriatic with the dreadnought battleships Viribus Unitis and Prinz Eugen. At about 23:00 on 9 June 1918, after some difficulties getting the harbour defence barrage opened, the dreadnoughts Szent István and Tegetthoff,[11] escorted by one destroyer and six torpedo boats, including 87 F, also departed Pola and set course for Slano, north of Ragusa, to rendezvous with Horthy in preparation for a coordinated attack on the Otranto Barrage. About 03:15 on 10 June,[b] while returning from an uneventful patrol off the Dalmatian coast, two Royal Italian Navy (Italian: Regia Marina) MAS boats, MAS 15 and MAS 21, spotted the smoke from the Austrian ships. Both boats successfully penetrated the escort screen and split to engage the dreadnoughts individually. MAS 21 attacked Tegetthoff, but her torpedoes missed.[13] Under the command of Luigi Rizzo, MAS 15 fired two torpedoes at 03:25, both of which hit Szent István. Both boats evaded pursuit. The torpedo hits on Szent István were abreast her boiler rooms, which flooded, knocking out power to the pumps. Szent István capsized less than three hours after being torpedoed.[12] In October 1918, 87 F was at Durazzo in Albania when the port was bombarded by a multinational Allied naval force. She escaped with minor damage, in what was the last major action involving the Austro-Hungarian Navy.[14]

Interwar periodEdit

87 F survived the war intact.[1] In 1920, under the terms of the previous year's Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye by which rump Austria officially ended World War I, she was allocated to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (KSCS, later Yugoslavia). Along with three other 250t-class F-group boats, 93 F, 96 F and 97 F, and four 250t-class T-group boats, she served with the Royal Yugoslav Navy (Serbo-Croatian Latin: Kraljevska Jugoslovenska Ratna Mornarica, KJRM; Краљевска Југословенска Ратна Морнарица). Transferred in March 1921,[15] in KJRM service, 87 F was renamed T5.[2] In 1925, exercises were conducted off the Dalmatian coast, involving the majority of the navy.[16] In May–June 1929, six of the eight 250t-class torpedo boats accompanied the light cruiser Dalmacija, the submarine tender Hvar and the submarines Hrabri and Nebojša, on a cruise to Malta, the Greek island of Corfu in the Ionian Sea, and Bizerte in the French protectorate of Tunisia. It is not clear if T5 was one of the torpedo boats involved. The ships and crews made a very good impression while visiting Malta.[17] In 1932, the British naval attaché reported that Yugoslav ships engaged in few exercises, manoeuvres or gunnery training due to reduced budgets.[18]

World War II and post-war serviceEdit

In April 1941, Yugoslavia entered World War II when it was invaded by the German-led Axis powers. At the time of the invasion, T5 was assigned to the 3rd Torpedo Division located at Šibenik, which included her three former F-group sisters.[19] On 8 April, the four boats of the 3rd Torpedo Division, along with other vessels, were tasked to support an attack on the Italian enclave of Zara on the Dalmatia coast. They were subjected to three Italian air attacks and, after the last one, sailed from the area of Zaton into Lake Prokljan, where they remained until 11 April.[20] On 12 April, the 3rd Torpedo Division arrived at Milna on the island of Brač, and refused to follow orders to sail to the Bay of Kotor.[21] All four former F-group boats were then captured by the Italians.[22]

T5 was then operated by the Italians under her Yugoslav designation, conducting coastal and second-line escort duties in the Adriatic. Her guns were replaced by two 76 mm (3.0 in) L/40 anti-aircraft guns,[23] but no other significant alterations were made to her.[24] After the Italians capitulated in September 1943, she was returned to the KJRM-in-exile in December of that year.[1] T5 was commissioned by the Yugoslav Navy after the war,[25] and renamed Cer. She was fitted with two 40 mm (1.6 in) guns on single mounts and one 20 mm (0.79 in) gun, and her torpedo tubes were also removed. She served until 1962, when she was broken up.[26]

See alsoEdit


  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 differ on what the exact time was when the attack took place. Sieche states that the time was 3:15 am when the Szent István was hit,[12] while Sokol claims that the time was 3:30 am.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Gardiner 1985, p. 339.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Greger 1976, p. 58.
  3. ^ Jane's Information Group 1989, p. 313.
  4. ^ a b O'Hara, Worth & Dickson 2013, pp. 26–27.
  5. ^ Greger 1976, p. 60.
  6. ^ a b Cernuschi & O'Hara 2015, p. 169.
  7. ^ Cernuschi & O'Hara 2015, p. 170.
  8. ^ Cernuschi & O'Hara 2015, p. 171.
  9. ^ Cernuschi & O'Hara 2016, p. 68.
  10. ^ Sokol 1968, pp. 133–134.
  11. ^ a b Sokol 1968, p. 134.
  12. ^ a b Sieche 1991, pp. 127, 131.
  13. ^ Sokol 1968, p. 135.
  14. ^ Halpern 2012, pp. 259–261.
  15. ^ Vego 1982, p. 345.
  16. ^ Jarman 1997a, p. 733.
  17. ^ Jarman 1997b, p. 183.
  18. ^ Jarman 1997b, p. 451.
  19. ^ Niehorster 2016.
  20. ^ Terzić 1982, p. 333.
  21. ^ Terzić 1982, p. 404.
  22. ^ Greger 1976, pp. 58 & 60.
  23. ^ Brescia 2012, p. 151.
  24. ^ Chesneau 1980, p. 304.
  25. ^ Chesneau 1980, p. 357.
  26. ^ Gardiner 1983, p. 388.


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