Croatian Navy

The Croatian Navy (Croatian: Hrvatska ratna mornarica or HRM) is a branch of the Croatian Armed Forces. It was formed in 1991 from what Croatian forces managed to capture from the Yugoslav Navy during the Breakup of Yugoslavia and Croatian War of Independence. In addition to mobile coastal missile launchers, today it operates 29 vessels, divided into the Navy Flotilla for traditional naval duties, and the Croatian Coast Guard. Five missile boats form Croatian fleet's main offensive capability.

Croatian Navy
Seal of Croatian Navy
Emblem of the Croatian Navy
Active1991–present
Country Croatia
TypeNavy
Size1,442 personnel[1]
29 vessels
H/QLora naval base, Split
PatronSaint Nicholas
MarchMi smo hrvatski mornari (We are Croatian sailors)
AnniversariesSeptember 18 - first recorded Croatian naval victory (under duke Branimir against Venetians near Makarska in 887)
EngagementsCroatian War of Independence
Operation Atalanta
Operation Triton
Decorations
Ribbon of an Order of Duke Domagoj
Order of Duke Domagoj
Commanders
CommanderCommodore Ivo Raffanelli
Deputy Commander,
Chief of Naval Staff
Ship-of-the-line cpt. Milan Blažević
Notable
commanders
Fleet Admiral Sveto Letica, Admiral Vid Stipetić, Viceadmiral Zdravko Kardum, Rear Admiral Janko Vuković
Insignia
Naval Ensign
Naval Ensign of Croatia
Naval Jack
Naval Jack of Croatia

History

Origins

Since the ninth century, the Duchy of Croatia (later Kingdom) engaged in naval battles, struggling to maintain control over the eastern Adriatic coast and Adriatic merchant routes. Commemorating the first recorded Croat naval victory, when the subjects of Croatian duke Branimir defeated the Venetian naval expedition on September 18, 887, the Croatian Navy Day is celebrated yearly on September 18.[2] Croatian fleet was particularly active under duke Domagoj and king Petar Krešimir IV. Royal Croatian-Dalmatian navy with 12-15 galleys existed under Louis I in central Dalmatia in the 14th century. Afterwards Venetian Republic established control over most of Croatian coast until 1797. Modern foundations of Croatian Navy can be traced back to Austro-Hungarian Navy (1797-1918) and Yugoslav Navy (1918-1941, 1942-1991) when Croatia was a constituent part of these states.

Prva hrvatska zastava 52 3 1919 dis
First Croatian flag ever hoisted on a naval ship, Pula, October 31st, 1918, with the crews saluting the flag.

When Croatia was a part of Austria-Hungary, its Adriatic coast was essentially the only access to sea this Central European state had. A Habsburg arsenal and a naval shipyard were established in Kraljevica in 1729, while naval bases, schools, shipyards, headquarters and a naval academy were later set up in Pula and Rijeka. Navy's emblem included Croatian coat of arms. Many highly ranked officers came from Croatia: grand admiral Maximilian Njegovan, ship-of-the-line captain Janko Vuković Podkapelski and others. In 1885, 44.9% of sailors and NCOs and 10.3% of naval officers were ethnically Croatian,[Note] while in 1910 those shares dropped to 29.8% and 9.8%, respectively.[3] At the end of October 1918, while Austria-Hungary was falling apart and the war was drawing to an end, emperor Charles handed the Navy over to the Zagreb People's Council, which promoted Vuković to the rank of the rear admiral and appointed him as a fleet commander. Croatian flag was hoisted on all ships in Pula (including, most notably, the flagship SMS Viribus Unitis) and some in Kotor, but the Entente navies soon captured nearly all vessels and divided them among themselves.

Croatian officers and sailors continued to man the new Royal Yugoslav Navy (1918-1941) until its demise during the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia. During World War II Croatian partisans formed a guerilla Partisan Navy consisting of makeshift vessels in 1942, resisting Italian (and later German) occupation of the Adriatic. In the later phases of the war, they cooperated closely with the Royal Navy. After the war, Socialist Yugoslav Navy, sprung up from the partisan navy, had Split as its HQ and mainly used shipyards in Šibenik, Split, Kraljevica, Rijeka and Pula.

Modern Croatian Navy

In 1991, after the federal Yugoslav armed forces sided with Serbian leadership under Milošević and decided to fight against democratically elected Croatian government which proclaimed Croatia's independence, ethnically Croat naval officers and rank-and-file led by admiral Sveto Letica started forming new Croatian Navy. Using coastal artillery batteries they forced Yugoslav ships to retreat from Croatian territorial waters while in commando actions Croatian forces and shipyard personnel seized naval equipment and 35 vessels. At least three Yugoslav patrol boats were disabled in action and two minesweepers sunk. The Croatian Navy played an important role during the Croatian War of Independence (1991-1995), especially after acquiring strategically important RBS-15B missiles.

After the war

RTOP-42 Dubrovnik lora
RTOP-42 Dubrovnik

In 2004 Croatia joined the NATO and the Navy was restructured in the process. In addition to that, in 2007 it was reorganized by dividing the personnel and vessels with newly founded Coast Guard, which remained a part of the Navy. Two former Helsinki class missile boats, FNS Oulu and FNS Kotka, were acquired from Finland. They were renamed Vukovar and Dubrovnik respectively (both cities were almost completely destroyed by Serbian and Montenegro shelling during Croatian war of independence), and entered service in December, 2008. They were acquired along with a considerable amount of spare parts (most notably three MTU engines - to be installed on Kralj class vesselshomeland war) due to a severe shortage of vessels at present. The price of these ships was €9 million and is considered rather symbolic, mostly because it was a part of the offset deal for the previous Croatian acquisition of Patria AMV armoured vehicles. The ships reached their full operational capability in June, 2009. The 2015 Strategic Defence Review envisages an overhaul and upgrade suitable for 'interception duties' to be completed in 2020. A revised out-of-service date is not known.

The Končar class missile boat Šibenik has been overhauled with new turbine engines and radars and is due to remain in service until 2018-2020. The Kralj class vessels were planned to be extensively modernized at a price of €20 million, but as a result of the recent acquisition of Helsinki class boats RTOP-11 has completed a basic overhaul and engine upgrade worth around €5 million. RTOP-12 will also be upgraded to this standard.

The RBS-15 missile system was due to be scrapped but this decision was reversed in 2014 and an upgrade to 20 units will be completed by 2018. Successful live firing of the upgraded missiles was conducted from a mobile launcher and from RTOP-12 during 2015 (the first missile firing exercise by the Croatian Navy since 1994)[4] and again from RTOP-42 during 2016.[5]

Purpose

ZERP
Croatian territorial waters and Protected Ecological Fishery Zone (blue)

The mission of the Croatian Navy (HRM) is to defend the integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Croatia, to promote and protect its interest in the Adriatic Sea, islands and coast-lands. It carries and organizes the naval defense of the Republic of Croatia. The Croatian Navy fulfils its role by preparing itself and carrying out the following main tasks:

  1. Deterring the threat to the Republic of Croatia by maintaining high level of competence, training and technical quality of equipment
  2. Constant control of the Adriatic Sea and coast-land and monitoring of foreign warships' movement
  3. Strengthening of the safety conditions on the Adriatic Sea and preserving the integrity of the maritime borders
  4. Implementation of the program "Partnership for Peace in the Mediterranean"

Croatian Navy organization

The following commands were created to carry out the mission of the Croatian Navy:[6]

Navy Staff

The Navy Command in Split was reshuffled into the Navy Staff in 2013.[7] The Navy Staff is led by a Ship-of-the-Line Captain, who apart from being the chief of the Navy Staff also serves as a deputy commander of the Navy. This position is currently held by SotL Capt. Milan Blažević. A Command company is attached to the Navy Staff.

Navy Flotilla

USS Vicksburg (CG-69) with German oiler Spessart (A1442) and Croatian missile boats in the Adriatic Sea 2015
NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) ships with Croatian missile boats Šibenik and Zvonimir during an exercise

The Navy flotilla handles all tasks regarding anti-ship and anti-submarine warfare as well as minelaying and mine countermeasures, anti-terrorist activities and VIP/residential transport. Flotilla is administratively based in Lora naval base in Split. Current commander is ship-of-the-line captain Damir Dojkić.[8] Today it is accordingly divided into three squadrons:

  • Surface Action Squadron includes 5 missile boats and 3 coastal mobile RBS-15 missile launchers, forming the main offensive capability of the Navy. Four missile boats and one mobile missile launcher have successfully fired missiles in live-fire exercises at sea targets as of 2016. Two Cetina-class minelayer-landing ships have also transported Croatian Army troops and AMVs to a NATO's "Trident Juncture" exercise in Spain in 2015.
  • Mine Countermeasures Squadron, currently with one mine-hunter (LM-51), two REMUS autonomous underwater vehicles that were donated by US Navy in October 2016.[9]
  • Support Squadron with various tugs and other vessels.
  • Naval infantry company at Ploče

Coast guard

Three Pilatus PC-9 arrive RIAT Fairford 7July2016 arp
Croatian Air Force Pilatus PC-9 are operationally attached to Croatian Coast Guard for maritime patrol duties

The Coast Guard, founded in 2007, deals with peacetime duties, e.g. environment protection, fishing control, control of tankers, ballast waters, anti-terrorist activities, combating narcotics and trafficking of people etc.[10] The Coast Guard's mission is to protect sovereign rights and carry out Croatia's jurisdiction in the Ecological and Fisheries Protection Zone, the continental shelf and the high seas. It also monitors vessels in the Croatian territorial waters. It provided training ship BŠ-72 Andrija Mohorovičić to EU's Operation Triton, rescuing migrants off the coast of Sicily in 2015. Its current commander is ship-of-the-line captain Ivo Raffanelli. It consists of two squadrons:

  • 1st Coast Guard Squadron, based in Split with two former Yugoslav Mirna class patrol boats and other vessels
  • 2nd Coast Guard Squadron, based in Pula handles Coast Guard tasks in northern Adriatic with two Mirna-class patrol boats and other vessels.

Four Air Force Mil Mi-8MTV-1 helicopters (based at Divulje airfield near Split) and two Pilatus PC-9 planes (based at Zemunik Air Base) are operationally attached to the Coast Guard for maritime SAR and navy support and maritime patrol duties, respectively.

Sea Surveillance Battalion

The Sea Surveillance Battalion operates four Enhanced Peregrine naval radar posts at Lastovo, Dugi otok, Mljet and Vis and additional nine GEM SC-2050XS naval radar posts at Savudrija, Brijuni, Mali Lošinj, Dugi otok, Žirje, Vis, Lastovo, Mljet and Molunat. The battalion also operates the navy's signals and communications equipment.

Split naval base

The Split naval base's task is to manage the Lora Naval Base in northern part of Split, including "St. Nicholas" naval barracks, and to provide logistic support for the ships and vessels in Pula (Naval Detachment North) and Ploče (Naval Detachment South). It also manages Naval Training Center in Split and a medical center specifically designed to treat maritime disease, such as decompression sickness.

Vessels

External video
RTOP-12 firing an RBS-15 missile, YouTube video
Navy's live fire exercise, October 2016, YouTube video

The Croatian Navy operates mostly vessels that were captured from the disintegrating Yugoslav Navy during the Croatian War of Independence in 1991. Most of those have been extensively overhauled or modernized (such as Šibenik (RTOP-21), extensively overhauled in 1991 to match the Kralj class), especially after the navy introduced RBS-15B missiles in its service instead of Soviet P-20s that used to be standard Yugoslav equipment. However, out of five missile boats, main combatant vessels, only Šibenik served under Yugoslav flag. Some ships were captured laid or unfinished in the docks and were finished by Croatians (such as Kralj Petar Krešimir IV (RTOP-11) in 1992). Kralj Dmitar Zvonimir (RTOP-12) (commissioned in 2001) as Krešimir's improved design and Cetina-class minelayer-landing ships were built and commissioned in Croatia (1993 and 1995, respectively). Two Helsinki-class missile boats RTOP-41 Vukovar and RTOP-42 Dubrovnik (built in 1985/6) were purchased from Finland in 2008, while a small minehunter LM-51 Korčula was built in 2006.

Krešimir underwent an extensive overhaul and engine replacement in 2014 while Zvonimir, being built during international arms embargo against former Yugoslav countries in the 1990s and thus featuring a mix of Russian and western equipment, also underwent an overhaul in 2015.

Navy also operates several armed landing crafts, while one school ship (BŠ-72 Andrija Mohorovičić) built in 1972 and one salvage ship (BS-73 Faust Vrančić) built in 1976 are a part of the Coast Guard. Croatian forces also operate about 20 other auxiliary vessels and crafts.

The Coast Guard's backbone are four Mirna class patrol boats built during the early 1980s. Their radar equipment was modernized in 2007 and stern anti-aircraft guns have been replaced with a hoist with semi-rigid-hulled inflatable boats in 2009-2012 to help in their intercepting duties. These aging patrol boats will be replaced in 2016-9 with 5 OOB-39 project ships currently under construction in Brodosplit shipyard, which is the first major modernization of Croatian Navy in a while. Construction of the first out of the projected 5 vessels was scheduled to start in 2007, however the international tender for the construction of 5 vessels was published only on April 24, 2013. The tender called for the acquisition of a total of 5 inshore patrol boats which are to be 43.5 meters long, with a displacement of roughly 220 tons and a maximum sustained speed of at least 28 knots.[11][12] They will be armed with a 30mm Typhoon Weapon System stabilized remote weapon station and two 12.7mm heavy machine guns along with a MANPADS launcher. The order was placed with Brodosplit in April 2015 and the keel of the first ship was laid in September of the same year. As projected, the first vessel is to enter service in the beginning of 2017, the second and third in 2017, the fourth in 2018 and the last one in 2019. Units are projected to cost around 10 million euros, respectively.[11] The first prototype ship, OOB-31 "Omiš" was accepted by the Croatian Navy on 7 December 2018. [13]

Previously reported plans for the purchase of 2-4 offshore patrol vessels (OPV) or corvettes have been cancelled due to budgetary constraints but the 2015 strategic defence review envisages the procurement of a second-hand OPV by 2024. Politicians and military figures continue to discuss construction of a domestic-build OPVs or surface combatants in the post-2020 time period but this is an unfunded project. The Navy commander, rear admiral Stipanović, stated in October 2016 that the introduction of a new missile system (replacing the existing RBS-15) will be planned accordingly and executed together with construction of new OPVs.[14]

Coastal and other equipment

Naval education

Croatia has a long history of naval education and training. Between 1857 and 1918 an Austro-Hungarian naval academy was located in Rijeka with NCO training school in Šibenik. Royal Yugoslav Navy founded a three-year naval academy in Gruž (Dubrovnik) in 1923 (later joined by naval staff college in 1937) while a school for petty officers was opened in Šibenik. Post-WWII Yugoslav Navy set up a "Maršal Tito" naval academy in Split.

After a distinct Croatian Navy was founded in 1991, naval education went through various reforms and changes. Currently officers to be commissioned into the Croatian Navy receive their undergraduate education at Croatian Military Academy in Zagreb, which also hosts staff colleges and war colleges. A specific naval education and training centre is set up in Lora naval base in Split. Croatian Military Academy and Split University as of 2016 are in the process of opening a new undergraduate 4-year naval program in Split which is to have two main course tracks: naval engineering and seamanship.[15][14]

Future projects

External images
New patrol boat (project OOB 39/42) under construction in Brodosplit Shipyard, October 2016.[16]
A digital model of a project OOB 39/42 patrol boat as envisaged by the designer, Brodarski institut. It's bearing racing stripes of Croatian Coast Guard.
  • Overhaul of existing 2 Kralj class fast attack craft, including new engines. Cost of program - 70 million Croatian Kuna - the project has been initiated with the complete overhaul of one of the vessels (RTOP-11).
  • Overhaul and upgrade of existing Helsinki class fast attack craft by 2020 for interception duties.
  • Overhaul of training ship Andrija Mohorovičić by 2024.
  • Five Omiš class patrol boats for Coast Guard. Cost of program is estimated at 380 million Croatian Kuna. First ship was laid down in September 2015 and delivered in 2018.
  • Following an endorsement by the Royal Norwegian Navy, the Strategic Defence Review has announced that the salvage ship Faust Vrančić will be upgraded by 2020 to make it an effective platform for conducting various ecological operations.

Gallery

RBS-15 na RTOP-41 Vukovar

RBS-15 anti-ship missile launchers

RTOP Kralj Petar Kresimir IV t 170909

AK-630 gatling gun

RTOP Vukovar p t 170909

Bofors 57 mm/70 Mk1 gun

SAKO 23mm 87 (1)

SAKO 23mm guns

Torpedo MK-44

MK-44 torpedo

Mina nekontaktna sidrena model 90

M90 mine

BŠ-72 Andrija Mohorovičić 2

BŠ-72 Andrija Mohorovičić

BS-73 Faust Vrancic 011

Salvage ship Faust Vrančić

MOL - mobilni obalni lanser

MOL anti-ship missile system

Croatian Navy

Current structure of the Croatian Navy

Notes

^ Official Austro-Hungarian statistics at the time counted personnel according to the language, at the time labeled as "Serbo-Croatian", thus encompassing all Croats and Serbs from the state. The vast majority of such naval personnel came from Adriatic regions of Croatia, where Serbs have been a negligible minority.

References

  1. ^ NAMA/OPĆENITO/20160222_Human_resources/Human_resources_EN.htm Human resources
  2. ^ "U Splitu obilježena 20. obljetnica HRM-a". Hrvatski vojnik (in Croatian). September 2011. Archived from the original on 2013-12-05. Retrieved 2012-07-27.
  3. ^ "Sprachen beim Militär im alten Österreich ", Günter Ofner.
  4. ^ "RBS15 Successfully Test-Fired By The Croatian Navy", Saab Group, 03 November 2015
  5. ^ "Successful Firing of RBS15 by the Croatian Navy", Saab Group, 27 october 2016
  6. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 21, 2008. Retrieved 2016-06-19.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ Strategic Defence Overview 2013, MoD (in Croatian), p. 19.
  8. ^ "Navy Flotilla", Armed forces of the Republic of Croatia.
  9. ^ "Podvodna vozila Remus stigla u HRM", defender.hr
  10. ^ "Interview with Admiral Kardum" Archived 2008-03-14 at the Wayback Machine, Hrvatski vojnik, 2005.
  11. ^ a b "Pokrenuta nabava obalnih ophodnih brodova (OOB) - 1+4". Archived from the original on 14 December 2014. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
  12. ^ "Ophodni brodovi: prototip za godinu dana, a ostali za deset miseci > Slobodna Dalmacija > Split". Retrieved 14 December 2014.
  13. ^ https://navaltoday.com/2018/12/07/croatia-takes-delivery-of-first-locally-built-inshore-patrol-vessel-omis/
  14. ^ a b Tabak, Igor. "kontraadmiral Stipanović za HTV o budućnosti HRM-a", obris.org, 14/10/2016
  15. ^ "Croatian Military Academy Day", Armed Forces, December 18th, 2015
  16. ^ Brodosplit Shipyard

External links

Admiral flote

Admiral flote (lit. Admiral of the Fleet) is the fifth and highest Admiral of the Croatian Navy. This officer is referred to as, and is considered the equivalent of, a five-star Fleet Admiral. The insignia for a Croatian Senior Admiral is two thick rank stripes on both the sleeve and shoulder board. Between 1995 and 2002, the rank was called Stožerni admiral, meaning "Staff Admiral", analogous to Stožerni general for the ground forces.

In the Croatian Navy, an admiral can be promoted to the rank of fleet admiral only for distinguished service during wartime, and there is currently no officer with this rank. There was only one fleet admiral, Sveto Letica (1926–2001), a senior admiral who commanded the fledgling Croatian Navy in the Croatian War of Independence and later retired.

Battle of the Dalmatian Channels

The Battle of the Dalmatian Channels was a three-day confrontation between three tactical groups of Yugoslav Navy ships and coastal artillery, and a detachment of naval commandos of the Croatian Navy fought on 14–16 November 1991 during the Croatian War of Independence. On 14 November, the commandos torpedoed the Mirna-class patrol boat PČ-176 Mukos close to the island of Brač in the Split Channel of the Adriatic Sea, prompting a Yugoslav naval bombardment of Brač and Šolta Island the same day. The drifting Mukos was salvaged by Croatian civilian boats and was beached at Nečujam bay.

The next day, a group of Yugoslav Navy vessels deployed to the Split Channel, organised into the Kaštela tactical group (TG) and bombarded the city of Split in retaliation for the loss of Mukos. In return, Croatian coastal artillery engaged the Kaštela TG. To draw off some of the artillery fire, the Yugoslav Navy deployed another group of vessels from the island of Vis, organised as the Vis TG, south of Šolta where the TG was engaged by more Croatian artillery. The Kaštela TG retreated east and joined with the Ploče TG consisting of three minesweepers.

On 16 November, the combined Yugoslav force sailed through the Korčula Channel—a strait separating the islands of Hvar and Korčula—to reach safety at the Yugoslav Navy base at Vis. The warships were then engaged by Croatian coastal artillery deployed on Korčula and the Pelješac Peninsula, losing two minesweepers to the artillery fire in the process.

The battle marked the last deployment of the Yugoslav Navy into one of the Dalmatian channels, the loosening of the naval blockade of the Croatian coast imposed in September and the largest Croatian Navy operation in the war. The Croatian Navy later towed the grounded Mukos to Šibenik, repaired the vessel and put her into service as OB-62 Šolta. During the battle, 22 Yugoslav Navy crewmen, two Croatian gunners and two civilian sailors in Split were killed. Thirty-three Yugoslav officers were charged in relation to the naval bombardment by Croatian authorities.

Corvette captain

Corvette captain is a rank in many navies which theoretically corresponds to command of a corvette (small warship). The equivalent rank in the United Kingdom, Commonwealth, and United States is lieutenant commander. The Royal Canadian Navy uses bilingual ranks, with capitaine de corvette being the French equivalent of lieutenant commander.

Notable users of the rank of corvette captain in Europe include the navies of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Croatia. Other users include many Latin American countries.

While the NATO rank code is OF-3, the official translation of the rank as per NATO STANAG 2116 varies between "commander junior grade" and "commander" (with the next senior rank being translated as "commander senior grade"). Some NATO members class their corvette captains as OF-4 when they are serving afloat.The Russian/Soviet equivalent is "captain, 3rd grade" (капита́н 3-го р́анга).

Croatian Coast Guard

The Croatian Coast Guard (Croatian: Obalna straža Republike Hrvatske) is a division of the Croatian Navy responsible for protecting the interests of the Republic of Croatia at sea. The Croatian Navy is composed of classical naval forces structured into a flotilla and the Coast Guard that solely consists of ships with peacetime duties, e.g. protection of ecology, fishing, control of tankers, ballast waters, combat against terrorism, trafficking of people, narcotics, and similar.

Croatian Naval Legion

The Croatian Naval Legion (Croatian: Hrvatska pomorska legija) was a contingent of volunteers from the Independent State of Croatia that served with Nazi Germany's navy, the Kriegsmarine, on the Black Sea and Adriatic Sea during World War II.

The legion was formed in July 1941, following the German invasion of the Soviet Union on 22 June. It was initially comprised some 350 officers and ratings in German uniform, but this eventually swelled to 900–1,000. Their first commander was Commander Andro Vrkljan, who was commissioned as a Fregattenkapitän (frigate captain) in the German navy. Vrkljan was later replaced by Captain Stjepan Rumenović. The Croats' purpose in posting a naval contingent to the Black Sea was to evade the prohibition on an Adriatic navy imposed by the Treaty of Rome (18 May 1941) with Italy. This prohibition effectively limited the Croatian Navy (RMNDH) to a riverine flotilla.The Croatian Naval Legion arrived at Varna in Bulgaria on 17 July 1941. It trained on minesweepers and submarines. On 39 September it was moved to Geniscek in the Ukraine, where it was activated as the 23rd Minesweeper Flotilla (23. Minensuchflottille). The unit did not have any ships upon its arrival in the Sea of Azov. It managed to scrounge up 47 damaged or abandoned fishing vessels, mostly sailing ships, and to man them with hired local Russian and Ukrainian sailors, many of them deserters from the Soviet Red Navy. Over the winter of 1941–42, the legionnaires dug trenches and fought as infantry in defence of the town. They only put to sea in April 1942.The legion patrolled a coastal sector of the Sea of Azov. On 24 September 1942, the Poglavnik Ante Pavelić visited the naval headquarters, where he reached an agreement with German authorities to train and equip a submarine chaser flotilla (Unterseebootsjagdflottille). At the end of 1942, the legion returned to Croatia to recuperate, and in the new year returned to Varna. In 1943, the legion was expanded by a single battery of coastal artillery.With the capitulation of Italy in September 1943, there was no impediment to a Croatian navy on the Adriatic Sea anymore. The Croatian Naval Legion returned to Zagreb on 21 May 1944. It was then posted to Trieste, where it operated as a Schnellboot flotilla under the 11th Security Division (11. Sicherungsdivision). It was disbanded in December 1944 to prevent defections, and its crews were incorporated into the RMNDH.

Croatian missile boat Šibenik

Šibenik (pennant number RTOP-21) is a Končar-class missile boat in service with the Croatian Navy. It was built for the Yugoslav Navy at the Kraljevica Shipyard in the 1970s as Vlado Ćetković (RTOP-402). In 1991 during the early stages of the Croatian War of Independence it was captured by Croatian forces while being overhauled at the "Velimir Škorpik" shipyard in Šibenik.

Croatian patrol boat Šolta (OB-02)

Šolta (pennant number OB-02) is a Mirna-class patrol boat in service with the Croatian Navy. Completed during the 1980s as Mukos (PČ-176), it was the sixth ship of a class that was being built for the Yugoslav Navy in the Kraljevica Shipyard.

During the Croatian War of Independence, Mukos was part of a tactical group tasked with enforcing a naval blockade of the city of Split. On 14 November 1991, Croatian Navy commandos disabled the vessel with an improvised torpedo, leaving the vessel drifting and abandoned by her crew. The crippled ship was then tugged away by Croatian locals to the nearby island of Šolta. She was subsequently repaired and entered service with the Croatian Navy as Šolta. As of 2014, Šolta remains in service with the Croatian Coast Guard, an integral part of the navy.

History of the Croatian Navy

The history of the Croatian Navy can be traced from the Middle Ages until modern times.

Kondura (ship)

Kondura or Condura (Greek: Condoira) was a type of ship used on the eastern shores of the Adriatic. It is first mentioned and described in the 10th century as part of the medieval Croatian navy. It is also mentioned in the 14th century as a type of ship used by the Republic of Ragusa. The condura was 7 to 8 metres (23 to 26 ft) long.

Končar-class missile boat

The Končar-class is a class of six missile boats built for the Yugoslav Navy during the late 1970s at Tito's Shipyard Kraljevica, SR Croatia. The boats featured a mixture of Western and Eastern equipment, including Soviet anti-ship missiles and Swedish guns.

During the Croatian War of Independence one ship, Vlado Ćetković, was captured by Croatian forces while being overhauled. It was eventually commissioned with the Croatian Navy as Šibenik and is still in use. The remaining five ships were relocated to Montenegro, entering service with the new FR Yugoslav Navy, with three of them being decommissioned in the early 2000s. The last two ships of the class are planned to be modified as patrol boats for service with the Montenegrin Navy.

Kralj-class missile boat

The Kralj class (English: King) is a class of two missile boats, one of which was on order for the SFR Yugoslav Navy and one of which, following the break-up of Yugoslavia, was built for the Croatian Navy. As of 2009 both vessels remain in service.

It is an upgraded version of the Rade Končar missile boat class and is 8.5 meters longer. Kralj Petar Krešimir IV and its sister ship Kralj Dmitar Zvonimir are the only ships in their class. A potential third ship was under consideration in 1999, but the ship was never commissioned due to budget restraints.

Kralj means "king" in Croatian - both vessels are named after historic kings of Croatia.

List of active Croatian Navy ships

This is a list of active Croatian Navy ships. As of 2013, the Croatian Navy operates over 30 vessels including five missile boats which, along with three MOL coastal defence batteries, represent its main offensive capability.

Due to constant reductions of the defence budget and the ongoing financial crisis, acquisition of new ships has proven to be problematic. The latest ships to enter service with the Croatian Navy were two used Helsinki-class missile boats, which were acquired as a offset agreement to the Croatian purchase of Patria AMV vehicles.Domestic production programs were limited to continuing existing Yugoslav designs and building a single missile boat (Kralj Dmitar Zvonimir) and a small mine hunter (Korčula), both of which took several years to complete.

Plans to start production of domestic patrol vessels (much needed for guarding the 6000 km long coastline) have been reduced and postponed over time with newest plans to start a prototype in 2015. The tender was in May 2014 and as projected, the first vessel will enter service in 2015. The second one will follow in 2016, the third and the fourth in 2017 and the last one in 2018. The units are projected to cost around 10 million euros each.

Lora (Split)

Lora is a harbor in the northwestern part of Split, Croatia, in the Bay of Kaštela. It is currently used as a naval base of the Croatian Navy. Located right next to the Brodosplit shipyard, it has been an important naval base of Yugoslav Navy (1945-1991) and its headquarters. During the Croatian War of Independence, it was the site of the Lora prison camp. Ever since its founding in 1991, Lora naval base has served as the HQ of Croatian Navy. In this capacity, it is the home port for nearly all ships of the fleet. Lora is also the HQ of Croatian Coast Guard.

Lora naval base hosts sport, educational and other naval facilities, as well as a naval memorial chapel dedicated to Croatian sailors who perished in Croatian War of Independence.

The only submarine that has served with Croatian Navy, Velebit, is on permanent display in Lora.

Mirna-class patrol boat

The Mirna class (referred to as the Type 171 in some sources) is a class of eleven patrol boats built for the Yugoslav Navy (Serbo-Croatian: Jugoslavenska ratna mornarica - JRM) by the Tito's Kraljevica Shipyard. Intended as a replacement for the earlier Type 131 boats, the new class was completed during the early 1980s and commissioned in the JRM Maritime Border Brigade.

Following the outbreak of the Croatian War of Independence, two boats were damaged and subsequently captured by Croatian forces, while another two were captured in the Šibenik Shipyard during the Battle of the Barracks. All four were commissioned in the Croatian Navy and are in active service as of 2017. The remaining seven boats were relocated to Boka Kotorska where they became part of the Navy of FR Yugoslavia. All seven were decommissioned during the early 2000s: two were handed over to the Ministry of Interior and scrapped in 2012 after seeing little service, while the remaining five were sold off to civilian owners.

Osa-class missile boat

The Project 205 Moskit (mosquito) more commonly known by their NATO reporting name Osa, are a class of missile boats developed for the Soviet Navy in the late 1950s. Until 1962 this was classified as a large torpedo boat.

The Osa class is probably the most numerous class of missile boats ever built, with over 400 vessels constructed between 1960–1973 for both the Soviet Navy and for export to allied countries. "Osa" means "wasp" in Russian, but it is not an official name. The boats were designated as "large missile cutters" in the Soviet Navy.

R-2 Mala-class swimmer delivery vehicle

The R-2 Mala is a class of swimmer delivery vehicles (SDVs) built for the Yugoslav, and later on, Croatian Navy. The two man wet SDVs are used for transporting naval commandos into hostile waters where they would perform sabotage on enemy warships and coastal installations. Weapons at their disposal included limpet mines.

With the start of the Croatian War of Independence SDVs in service with the Yugoslav Navy were relocated to FR Yugoslavia. Two new vehicles were completed for the Croatian Navy during the 1990s while a small number these vehicles were also exported to Syria and Sweden before the war.

Silba-class landing ship-minelayer

The Silba class (sometimes the Cetina class) is a class of three landing ships, also used as minelayers, built for the Yugoslav (JRM) and Croatian Navy (HRM) during the 1980s and 1990s. The ships were built at the Brodogradilište specijalnih objekata shipyard in Split with slight differences in armament configuration between the last two ships. By the time the Croatian War of Independence started, one ship was in service with the JRM while another was being completed.

The one in JRM service was relocated to Montenegro where it would be commissioned with the Navy of the new FR Yugoslavia. The second ship that was captured unfinished was completed by Croatian forces and entered service with the HRM, followed by a third that was laid down by Croatia in 1993. The two ships commissioned with the HRM remain in active service, providing assistance to civilian institutions aside from their regular military tasks. The fate of the first ship in the class remains unknown.

Una-class submarine

The Una-class submarine (also known as Type 911) was a class of six midget submarines built for the Yugoslav Navy at the Brodogradilište specijalnih objekata (English: Special objects shipyard) during the 1980s. They were designed with the purpose of laying small minefields and transporting naval special forces, with or without their submersibles, in shallow waters that were inaccessible for larger submarines. Due to their mission profile that called for a small design as well as the need to stay undetected, they lacked torpedo armament and a generator for battery recharging.

During the Croatian War of Independence and the dissolution of SFR Yugoslavia, five of the six boats were relocated to Boka Kotorska where they served with the SR Yugoslav Navy. One, Soča (P-914), was captured in drydock by Croatian forces. It was later modified and entered service with the Croatian Navy as Velebit (P-01). All of the boats have since been decommissioned.

Yugoslav Navy

The Yugoslav Navy (Serbo-Croatian: Jugoslavenska Ratna Mornarica, Југословенска Pатна Mорнарица, lit. Yugoslavian War Navy), was the navy of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It was essentially a coastal defense force with the mission of preventing enemy landings along the Yugoslavia's rugged 4,000- kilometer shoreline or coastal islands, and contesting an enemy blockade or control of the strategic Strait of Otranto.

In 1990 it had 10,000 sailors (4,400 conscripts), including 2,300 in 25 coastal artillery batteries and 900 marines in one light naval infantry brigade.

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