SMS Bodrog

The units of the Danube monitor flotilla were low-build river vessels equipped with cannons in rotating turrets. The first one built was SMS Lajta (1871). The sample was provided by the steel-hulled, swivel gun turret and steam-powered USS Monitor (1862), built during the American Civil War. A total of 10 monitors were built in the Monarchy before and during the war, one of which was SMS Bodrog. The monitors were built in a variety of designs. Bodrog  was built in Újpest, 1904. The ship’s body was 58 meters long, 10 meters wide and weighed 440 tons. Its draught was 1,2 meter. It had a maximum speed of 13 knots (24 km/h). The ship is easily recognizable from its two turrets on the sides with 120 mm guns. Another 120 mm howitzer and two 37 mm machine guns were placed on the middle of the ship. Its armor’s thickness varied from 25 to 75 mm.

This ship fired the first cannon shot at dawn on July 29, 1914, to Belgrade, which began the Monarchy’s participation in the Great War. In 1915, the Monarchy repeatedly attempted to deliver munitions by water to allied Turkey, without success. One of the ships used to cover the transporters was the Bodrog. After Romania’s entry into war, the Bodrog participated in the bombing of Giurgiu as part of a counterattack by the Central Powers. On 2 October, together with the Körös monitor, the ship destroyed the pontoon bridge on the Danube at Orjahovo, opposite the estuary of Zsil. In February 1917, after the capitulation of the Romanians, the Bodrog and Körös monitors were installed in Braila. In addition, Bosna and Szamos monitors were involved in the invasion of Ukraine following the Russian collapse. SMS Bodrog was stationed in Cherson.

At the end of the war, Serbian troops advanced along the Danube and captured the ship that ran aground in the mist. It was taken up by the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. She also participated in World War II, renamed Sava. In 2014, the Serbian Defense Ministry purchased the ship and donated it to the Military Museum in Belgrade. Like SMS Lajta, it’s going to be a museum ship. The badge is from Arkanzas. Two monitors were depicted by the company, the other was Bodrog’s sister ship, SMS Temes. Why these two ships have been honored, we can only speculate. Perhaps it is because Olaf Wulff, the later commander of the Danube flotilla, was captain of the Bodrog from October 1915.

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