In January 1918, a wave of major strikes paralyzed the empire’s cities, the naval arsenal at Pola (10,000 South Slavs and Italians worked there), the commercial shipyards, and Austrian Lloyd in Trieste. News of these strikes spread down to the naval base complex in and around Cattaro. Equally suffering from hunger, cold, lack of decent clothing and quarters, on February 1 the sailors there rose in mutiny.
Men on armored cruiser Sankt Georg (flagship of Hansa’s cruiser flotilla), refused orders, broke into the ship’s armory, and swiftly seized control of the vessel. In the process, they shot an officer and a petty officer. Rebellion soon spread to armored cruiser Kaiser Karl VI, depot ship Gaa and harbor guardship Kronprinz Erzherzog Rudolph.
Helgoland, (Heyssler) and Novara (von Liechtenstein) managed to keep control of their ships, although both light cruisers and all of the destroyers and torpedo boats were eventually compelled to raise the Red Flag. There was never any question, however, but that Cattaro would be defended against the enemy.
At the uprising’s height, some 4,000 rebels must have joined