Admiral Miklós Horthy von Nagybánya
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Miklós Horthy von Nagybánya
Admiral Miklós Horthy von Nagybánya was born on 18 June 1868 in Kenderes, Hungary (Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok county).  He was married at Arad on 22 July 1901 to Magdolna Purgly de Jószás (1881-1959).  They had four children:  Magdolna (1902-1918), Paula (1903-1940), István (1904-1942), and Miklós (1907-1993).  Now, his son Miklós married Gräfin Consuela Karólyi von Nagykarólyi in 1927, who was a second cousin of Graf Mihály Karólyi von Nagykarólyi; his daughter Paula divorced her first husband and married Graf Gyula Karólyi von Nagykarólyi in 1930.  Gyula was  the younger brother of Consuela.

Vincze Bela György writes:  "After he finished the gymnasium in Ödenburg (Sopron), despite the fact that his brother died in an accident in Kriegsmarine, entered the Nautica, graduated, and entered the Navy in 1886. Took part in the "nickel" expedition (1892-1894) and in 1899, got his first ship, the
Artemisa ten-gun training goletta. From 1903, torpedo officer of the Habsburg, some months later moved to the new Sankt Georg. As Montecuccoli was appointed to be vice-admiral, in 1907 Horthy became the 1st officer (GDO) of the Lacroma naval yacht (formerly light cruiser). One year later he took over the command of Austria-Hungary's station ship in Constantinople for two years. After he returned from the mission, left the navy, and served as aide-de-camp on the side of the king until 1914 (see Franz Josef's page for the story). Meanwhile, he got the "Linienschiffskapitän" rank. At the outbreak of the World War, served as commander of the Habsburg, the flagship of the Third Battleship Division. He was not delighted with this ship as it was old, slow, and poorly armed. His first task in the war was the organization of the defences of the major naval harbour, with mines, nets, booms and similar devices.  In December 1914, he was unexpectedly appointed captain of the new scout cruiser Novara which, being the fastest ship of  the Kriegsmarine, was intended for special assignments."

Following the end of the war, Horthy retired from Pola and settled in Hungary.  Like most nationalists, he was disturbed by the defeat of his country and the takeover of  the government by the socialists led by
Mihaly Karolyi.  But worse was to come.  Horthy was practically in hiding during the red terror of Bela Kun, and conspired with many other officers and magnates for the overthrow of the bolshevik regime in Budapest.  Following  the unsuccessful battle against Rumania, Kun fled from Budapest to Vienna, and the regime collapsed.  Horthy returned to Budapest shortly after the Rumanians entered the city, looting without hindrance or concern for the populace. 

The
Archduke Josef took charge and proclaimed himself "Royal Governor" in the style of the Palatines of his forebears, and soon he was referred to as the Regent.  But the Entente would not treat with him and he was forced out by the middle of October.  By December, the Rumanians had quit Budapest after removing all that could be uprooted, and a new sovereign government came into being.  At first it was a Republic, but disputes arose as to whether the Kingdom should be preserved.  "Governor" Karoly Huszar resigned his office over his opposition  to a monarchy, which cause Horthy came into the forefront as chief supporter.  Horthy as "Royal Governor" or Regent accepted the position on 1 March 1920 and held it until 3 November 1944. 

From the time of his acceptance of governorship, Horthy was unable to solve the question of the missing King.  Twice, the ex-King,
Karl IV, attempted to regain the throne during 1921, but these putsch attempts were thwarted by Horthy (see Karl's page for the stories).  By the end of the 1920s, Horthy's rule had become so effective, that many ministers were openly calling for the "House of Horthy" to reign as Kings in Hungary.  For his part, the Regent preferred the title he had earned, "Admiral," and he wore his Admiral's uniform and designations until the bitter end of his tenure.

Miklós Horthy von Nagybánya died on 9 February 1957 in Estoril, Portugal.

GWS, 1/01 [rev. 11/03]
Horthy's Captaincy:  The Novara
Name(s): Novara, Thionville
Class: Modified Admiral Spaun class (sister ships : Admiral Spaun, Helgoland, Saida)
Dimensions: 130,6 / 12,77 / 5,29 m (428 / 42 / 17 feet)
Displacement: 3.444 tons (3.946 at full load)
Propulsion: 16 Yarrow coal burning boilers (coal bunkerage : 771 tons coal and 635 tons briquette), Melms-Pfenniger steam turbines, 30.178 shp, double-screw
Speed: 33-35 knots
Range: 1.600 NM (at 24 knots)
Builder: Ganz és társa Danubius Gép-,Wagon és Hajógyár Rt., Fiume
Laid: 1912.2.15.
Launched: 1913.2.15.
Commissioned: 1915.1.10.
Crew: 340+8

Data presented by Vincze Bela György
Sketch of the Novara
This ship is a living legend... Altough her armament sometimes proved to be inadequate, under the command of Miklós Horthy, she was definitely the most successfull warship of the Austro-Hungarian fleet. She had many interesting, mainly experimental equipment, like fog-screen apparatus, some kind of passive sonar and a special device, that was able to determine the approximate distance and course of a wireless telegraph source.

Partial History of the
Novara:

1915.5.2.-1915.5.7: Towed a german submarine (UB.8) from Pola to Sapienza island.

1915.5.23.-1915.5.24: Took part in the first great attack against the italian coastline. Attacked Porto Corsini with destroyer Scharfschütze and four torpedo boats.

1915.6.17.-1915.6.18: With cruiser Admiral Spaun, destroyers Wildfang, Ulan, Scharfschütze, Uskoke, and four torpedo boats, took part in the attack against the italian coastline. Bombed military targets around Fano and Pesaro.

1915.7.26.-1915.7.27: Attacked Ancona with Helgoland, Saida, Balaton, and Csepel attacked the Otranto Barrage.
SMS Novara, 1915
The Attack against Porto Corsini, May 1915
Narrative  by Vincze Bela György
On 23 May 1915 at 3:30 PM, Italy declared war against the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. At 8:00 PM, Novara captained by Miklos Horthy took part in the first big attack on the Italian coastline.  She left Pola with destroyer Scharfschütze and four torpedo boats. At 3:00 AM on May 24, the formation reached Porto Corsini. Scharfschütze destroyed the signal station, while Novara bombed the munition depots and barracks. The Italian batteries did succeed in placing a few hits on the Novara. Five sailors were killed, including torpedo officier Lt. Emil Perisch von Köstenheim. Torpedo boat 80T was damaged, so Horthy instructed the Scharfschütze to tow her home. At 4:50 AM,  Horthy stopped the fire, and set course to Triest to attack an italian squadron that was thought to be returning from Venice.  Later, reconnaissance planes reported that not a ship had left Venice, so Novara rejoined the main forces, and returned to Pola.
Captain Horthy (far right) orders the Novara to weigh anchor at Cattaro, 13 May 1917
The Novara in the Battle of Otranto, May 1917
Narrative  by Vincze Bela György
1917.5.13: Preparating operations : Tátra with two torpedo boats attacked Fasano and destroyed the blockade ship base, including the docks, shipyards, and depots. Meanwhile, naval air forces ruined the airport and destroyed about twenty allied airplanes.

1917.5.14. morning: To deceive the enemy, Horthy made use of camouflage and had the second masts of the scout cruisers shortened, to look like italian Indomito class destroyers.  Mission started; the destroyers Balaton and Csepel left Cattaro.  Cruisers Novara, Helgoland, and Saida left Cattaro.  The Novara passed by the Italian Tribad torpedo boat. Although the distance was about only three kilometers, due to the shortened mast and the prohibition of communications, the Italians did not recogonize her.
  
1917.5.15  afternoon: Silhouettes of unsuspetcing Italian cargo vessels and their escorting destroyer were spotted from Balaton and Csepel, near Corfu.  Balaton attacked the three cargo vessels, while Csepel pounced on the destroyer Borea. The 7th or 8th salvo of the Csepel damaged the steering gear of the Italian destroyer, which became uncontrollable. However Borea bravely continued the fight, the following two salvos destroyed the bridge and one of the guns. Some minutes later the 11th salvo hit her side, and made a huge leak. Then, Borea slowly started to roll over and began to sink.  The formation of scout cruisers separated : Helgoland turned right, Novara left, Saida went straight on. (She had some engine troubles, and could reach only 25 knots.)   The Balaton did her job: two cargo vessels were sinking, the third one was burning, but managed to escape. 

Later, the
Saida reported a blockade ship convoy on her course.  The distance between the Saida and the convoy was about two kilometers, but drifter ships did not try to escape, as they thought Saida to be an Italian destroyer, which came to protect them against the Austro-Hungarian destroyers.  Saida opened fire. In just a few minutes, three ships (Quarry Crown, Coral, Serene) sank, others were burning. By 4:20, Novara reached Fano, without seeing any convoys.  Twenty minutes later, Helgoland attacked two convoys, sank five drifters (Admirable, Haven, Girl Rose, Helenore, Donovan) and heavily damaged the others. Captain Heysser ordered his men to save the seamen of the sunken drifters.
  
At 5:00, two escaping convoys were sighted from the
Novara.  Horthy's guns opened fire, very effectively. Five ships immediatly sank (including Young Linnet, Avondale, and Felicitas). The British sailors tried to cut the blockade nets and cables to make their runaway easier, but the Austro-Hungarian cruiser was faster. Only one damaged ship could escape (Royal Frisby), but never returned to service again.  At 6:00, Helgoland and Saida met.  Meanwhile, Novara set her course north, to meet the other two cruisers. 72 (mainly British) sailors were saved by the three cruisers. The blockade of the Otranto Straits was no more!

Just before 7:00, an unsuccessful air attack on
Novara by two Italian CA-42 planes with eight 50 kg bombs occurred, but then  Novara joined Helgoland and Saida.
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