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|Maximilian Njegovan was born in 1858. At the beginning of the war in late July 1914, Captain Njegovan commanded the First Battleship Squadron, which he held until February 1917. Then he was given command of the fleet at Pola after the death of Admiral Anton Haus, who was effectively master of the navy, though the supreme commander of the Imperial Navy was really Archduke Karl Stefan. Karl Kailer von Kagenfels was appointed head of the Naval Section in the Ministry of War for a few months. Njegovan was promoted to full Admiral later that year, and immediately assumed all of the responsibilities that Kailer had held, including being made head of the Naval Section in the Ministry of War, thus reuniting the two most powerful positions in the navy. Admiral Haus had gained an international reputation for his intelligent work, but Njegovan was unable to meet the necessities the war imposed on his fleet.
Critical shortages of fuel led to naval inactivity, shortages in food supplies brought dissatisfaction to the sailor, and the failure of the fleet to prevent Italy’s constant unopposed bombardment of shore towns in Dalmatia brought defeatism and mutinous behaviour to Njegovan. He was not capable of improving matters, as the Empire was virtually starving and the navy was the last in line, behind even the town and city garrisons.
After the Cataro mutiny in February 1918 was quelled peacefully by Admiral Miklós Hórthy, Njegovan was compelled to retire on 1 March. Hórthy was appointed his replacement as head of the Pola Fleet. Admiral Franz Holub was appointed head of the Naval Section in the Ministry of War but had fewer responsibilities than his predecessors.
The Admiral was the recipient of several awards during his service. He received the Order of Leopold for his bombardment of Ancona the night Italy declared war on the Empire, May 1915. He also received the Grand Cross of the Order of the Iron Crown on 15 May 1917 after the Battle of the Otranto. After the revolt at Cattaro, he was pensioned, and received the Grand Cross of the Order of Leopold for services rendered to his Kaiser. Njegovan moved to Venice after the war.
Maximilian Njegovan died in 1930.
GWS, 6/03 [rev. 11/03]
|Admiral Njegovan scans the horizon aboard his ship, SMS Tegetthoff, 1915|