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The Battle of Durazzo (28 — 29 December 1915) is a naval battle of World War I.

Early moves

In December 1915 the Austro-Hungarian Navy sent another cruiser Squadron into the Adriatic, this time to interfere with the Serbian Campaign. The new light cruiser Helgoland accompanied by five Tatra-class destroyers left Cattaro and headed for Durazzo late on 28 December, with the submarine U-15 on patrol off Durazzo. While on passage, they sighted the French submarine Monge on patrol to the south of Cattaro. Destroyer Balaton opened fire before ramming and sinking the Monge.

Early the next day the Austrian squadron arrived off Durazzo and opened fire on the town, with Helgoland sinking a Greek steamer. Then the destroyer Lika ran into a minefield and was sunk, then Triglav was badly damaged by another mine. Csepel attempted to take Triglav in tow, but fouled a propeller, and the job was taken over by Tatra. The crippled Austrian force now returned slowly north.

The battle

Allied forces in Brindisi were alerted to the Austrian force, and the British sent out the Town-class cruisers Dartmouth and Weymouth to intercept them. These were quickly followed by the Italian Quarto, Nino Bixio, and several French destroyers.

The Austrians also responded and despatched from Cattaro, the armoured cruiser Kaiser Karl VI, and the light cruiser Novara, to support the returning survivors of the raid, but they did not see action.

Early in the afternoon of 29 December, the advanced Allied ships came into action with the Austrian squadron which was still only half-way home. The French destroyers headed for the Austrian destroyer Triglav, still under tow, which was abandoned and scuttled off Cape Rondini, after being fired upon by the French destroyer Casque.

Meanwhile, the Allied cruisers attempted to cut off and deal with the Helgoland and the three remaining destroyers. In a long-range gunnery duel fought throughout the afternoon, Helgoland skillfully avoided the Allied cruisers and reached Cattaro safely but with the loss of the valuable Lika and Triglav. Tatra suffered a damaged engine from several shell hits.

See also

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