French/Italian navies vs Austro Hungarian navy World War 1, who would win?

cpip

Kicked
The French and Italian fleets frankly outnumber the Austro-Hungarian fleet. Even allowing for issues operating together, they simply have a heavier weight of fire on the battle line, and more numerous small ships. There's no way it ends well for the K.u.K. navy in any sort of stand-up fight if the French and Italians come to play.

At best, if one fleet plays the role of the British Battlecruiser Fleet and absorbs early damage while the other fleet catches up ... well, one fleet takes losses, but ultimately the Austro-Hungarians are either driven back to port or utterly destroyed. There aren't many other options.
 
I think the more "fair" query might be how the A-H Navy might fare versus the French alone, Italy neutral, or Italy alone, no other power involved. I feel the Austrians are at a grave disadvantage versus either really, but potentially could at least tie down either and non-plus them. Geography is truly against A-H, more so against Italy, but I think against France there is a possibility they cannot block the Austrians effectively, especially if it boils to a cruiser and submarine raiding war. My theory would be Germany and the UK stand aside but support each side, so we might not have Germany holding off some portion of French strength, the RN safeguarding their back, or the RN or MN keeping Germany from threatening Italy and relieving A-H. I think this was what each nation thought of pre-1914. I am pondering a bootstrap of this for the later 1930s, Imperial Germany/A-H, UK, France and Italy with Italy drifting loose of the surviving entente, vaguely threatening the RN more than the surviving CPs. A sort of rationale to set up the Mediterranean as a multi-polar and incoherent theater for a pre-WW2 chose your navy versus navy fight(s). It is not so easy to presume who is the victor with "mostly" balanced Navies opposing each other without clear alliances to tip the scales, other Navies to draw off strength, etc.
 
On paper Austria matches up reasonably well with either the French or the Italians early in the war, with comparable numbers of dreadnoughts, some useful predreadnoughts, and capable light forces. This is also an excellent example of why paper can lie.

The big problem is that the Tegetthoff-class dreadnoughts suck. The Courbets and Italian dreadnoughts are no shining examples of naval architecture themselves, but they make their design speed, their turrets work for more than 30 minutes at a time, and they have at least some reserve stability. Not so the Austrian ships. In a pitched naval battle battle damage is going to bite harder and faster for the Austrians, probably to fatal degrees.

In terms of light forces, while the Tatras are probably better destroyers than anything the French or Italians have, it doesn't the change the fact that they're woefully outnumbered. Similarly, France and Italy can bring far more armored cruisers of reasonably recent vintage to the battle, and more fast predreadnoughts, too.
 
Without any other navies involved, who would win in a Jutland style battle? The French and Italian fleets may operate together or separately.
There wouldn't be a Jutland style battle.

The Imperial and Royal War Navy had determined iOTL to opt for a somewhat more aggressive fleet in being strategy. The removal of the British Mediterranean Fleet is unlikely to change that.

OTL the allied powers, even with the muscle of the British Mediterranean Fleet, decided that blocking the Strait of Otranto was preferable to committing to a major Adriatic campaign. The removal of the British Mediterranean Fleet makes this choice even more preferable.
 
I think the more "fair" query might be how the A-H Navy might fare versus the French alone, Italy neutral, or Italy alone, no other power involved. I feel the Austrians are at a grave disadvantage versus either really, but potentially could at least tie down either and non-plus them. Geography is truly against A-H, more so against Italy, but I think against France there is a possibility they cannot block the Austrians effectively, especially if it boils to a cruiser and submarine raiding war. My theory would be Germany and the UK stand aside but support each side, so we might not have Germany holding off some portion of French strength, the RN safeguarding their back, or the RN or MN keeping Germany from threatening Italy and relieving A-H. I think this was what each nation thought of pre-1914. I am pondering a bootstrap of this for the later 1930s, Imperial Germany/A-H, UK, France and Italy with Italy drifting loose of the surviving entente, vaguely threatening the RN more than the surviving CPs. A sort of rationale to set up the Mediterranean as a multi-polar and incoherent theater for a pre-WW2 chose your navy versus navy fight(s). It is not so easy to presume who is the victor with "mostly" balanced Navies opposing each other without clear alliances to tip the scales, other Navies to draw off strength, etc.
Blockading A-H is pretty hard considering that most of the overseas cargo sails from Hamburg and Antwerpen (as i read) - the A-H coast was criminally underutilized OTL. The A-H navy can sit that out fine enough and watch as French costs and wear/tear are taking their toll while nothing is happening in A-H.
 

cpip

Kicked
Blockading A-H is pretty hard considering that most of the overseas cargo sails from Hamburg and Antwerpen (as i read) - the A-H coast was criminally underutilized OTL. The A-H navy can sit that out fine enough and watch as French costs and wear/tear are taking their toll while nothing is happening in A-H.
This is, basically, what happened OTL. The French and Italians tried to simply hold Otranto, while A-H submarines slipped through to attack shipping, but no one wanted to chance a fleet action.
 
This is, basically, what happened OTL. The French and Italians tried to simply hold Otranto, while A-H submarines slipped through to attack shipping, but no one wanted to chance a fleet action.
Indeed, A-H cannot be defeated by a naval battle, but it can unravel either Italy or France at sea. The Austrian fleet became the ultimate "fleet in being", a vague menace that soaked up resources in her foes, earning far above its weight, the Straights becoming more of a burden on the blockader than ever a burden on the blockaded. The lesson is that when one pins an enemy with the surface fleet, one needs an offensive submarine arm to exploit it. Give A-H a truly good submarine force and it might win this war.
 

cpip

Kicked
Indeed, A-H cannot be defeated by a naval battle, but it can unravel either Italy or France at sea. The Austrian fleet became the ultimate "fleet in being", a vague menace that soaked up resources in her foes, earning far above its weight, the Straights becoming more of a burden on the blockader than ever a burden on the blockaded. The lesson is that when one pins an enemy with the surface fleet, one needs an offensive submarine arm to exploit it. Give A-H a truly good submarine force and it might win this war.
Indeed. If Italy and France attack together in a "Jutland-style battle" and are willing to absorb losses, they can win. None of the three really wanted to risk their very expensive dreadnought battleships, however, and so Italy and France held back from trying to force the issue, and the Austro-Hungarians knew better than to try and sortie.

If they had reason to believe that a sortie would be successful, things might be different, but the only possible hypothetical I could construct for that would be if the Turks were in the war and had both (a) taken possession of their two ordered dreadnoughts and (b) had managed to bring them (and possibly a German battlecruiser) out of the Aegean to risk the two fleets linking up and matching the Franco-Italian line. This almost definitely wouldn't happen -- the Ottoman fleet would be busy with the Russians in almost any conceivable scenario.
 
Indeed. If Italy and France attack together in a "Jutland-style battle" and are willing to absorb losses, they can win. None of the three really wanted to risk their very expensive dreadnought battleships, however, and so Italy and France held back from trying to force the issue, and the Austro-Hungarians knew better than to try and sortie.

If they had reason to believe that a sortie would be successful, things might be different, but the only possible hypothetical I could construct for that would be if the Turks were in the war and had both (a) taken possession of their two ordered dreadnoughts and (b) had managed to bring them (and possibly a German battlecruiser) out of the Aegean to risk the two fleets linking up and matching the Franco-Italian line. This almost definitely wouldn't happen -- the Ottoman fleet would be busy with the Russians in almost any conceivable scenario.
Albeit beyond the OP that sounds like a scenario for a Greco-Ottoman War post 1914, and weirdly what OP wants, A-H versus Franco-Italian forces. If one sidelines the UK with handwaivium, e.g. Ireland, then you could allow the German Mittelmeer-Division contribute to the A-H and nascent surviving Ottoman "fleet", opposing both France and Italy rushing in to support Greece and carve up the Turkey? A nice parallel no Great War but major Great Power war over some damn fool Balkan thing! I think we need to let Russia in to this mess. Once more escaping the OP, not solely A-H fighting but again a nice parallel to an Entente versus CP, adding Italy and OE respectively, Greece in the middle, Europe sliding backwards into general war? Well done!
 
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