The Central Powers in the Adriatic, 1914-1918: War in a Narrow Sea

By Paul G. Halpern; Charles W. Koburger Jr. | Go to book overview

Appendix E: KuK Merchant Marine

A merchant marine being both a justification for and a necessary adjunct to a navy, a quick survey of the KuK handelsmarine here seems also in order. The first thing is, there was no KuK merchant marine. The KuK merchant fleet was really two distinct entities: the Austrian fleet, and the Hungarian.

In 1914, the Austrian merchant fleet counted some 190 steamers of 713,500 gross registered tons, about 1,550 sailing ships (mostly coasters), and 24,000 fishing boats and miscellaneous other craft. There were four major companies, and perhaps seventeen small carriers.

In 1914, the Hungarian fleet had perhaps 120 steamers of 227,900 tons, about 180 sailing ships, and 200 fishing boats. There were five major carriers.

Between them, these two fleets were manned by some 20,000 merchant personnel, all ranks. The fleets were home-ported mainly at Trieste and Fiume, respectively.

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