Warship That Fired First Shots of WWI Now a Barge in Serbia

monitor-sava-ex-bodrog3If you saw this ship at a marina you would think barge or even a boat heading to the breakers.  Yet this hulk has the distinction to be the ship to fire the first shot of The Great War.

For most people if the think of The Great War (for most World War I) at all it involves trenches, biplanes and mud, lots of mud. Yet it started over an assassination and than a dispute between a second tier power and their smaller neighbor. The war started between two countries Austro-Hungarian Empire and Serbia. When the Dual Monarchy did not get all they demanded from Serbia war was declared and the alliance system kicked in. When Germany invaded little Belgium Britain entered the war and the Western Front became the point of focus in the war.

Back on the border between Austro-Hungarian Empire and Serbia, the Austrians started the war with a bombardment of the capital Belgrade and the barge above, and others like it, were the weapon of choice to carry out this bombardment.

httpwww.worldwar1.comtripwiresmtw0708.htmThe Körös Class river monitors were heavily armed and armored river craft with a distinct Victorian look. Armed with two 4.7″/35 cal Skoda rifles (120 mm/35) mounted 2×1 in centerline turrets, two 3″ (70 mm) Skoda guns atop the conning towers, and two 8 mm machine guns made these one of the most heavily armed warships for their size.

At the end of the war and the Austro-Hungarian Empire the monitors were given to the countries in the Balkans including the successor states of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  The Bodrog is now a storage hulk at the Port of Novi Sad, Serbia.

I am grateful to the Latin American Herald Tribune for bringing this to the attention of the world. It is ashamed that nothing is being done to preserve this priceless piece of history. We may not have examples of historical ships like the HMS Dreadnought or HMS Furious preserved but this small gem in the rough needs to be preserved.

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