Admiral Spaun and Novara-class scout cruisers
A class of handsome cruisers which were the most active large units of the KuK navy during the war. They were among the first light cruisers with vertical armour (60mm) and were capable of 27 knots. The prototype Admiral Spaun had a complicated and unreliable four-shaft Parsons turbine plant and was armed with seven 100mm guns and two single 450mm torpedo tubes.
During the war, she had her aft mast shortened (which was apparently a temporary measure, because the cut down mast parts were carried at the ship's side) and received two more single torpedo tubes; a 66/50 HA gun was monuted aft.
The other three had simpler and more reliable two-shaft turbine plants, from Melms&Pfenniger of Munich on Saida and AEG-Curtis on the other two. Saida's plant was more reliable than Spaun's but less so than the engines of Novara and Helgoland. They had nine rather than seven 100mm guns and six rather than two 450mm torpedo tubes; the aft twin set was monted eccentrically dead aft, overhanging the stern. Saida was easily distinguishable from the other two by her flat, square ventilators.
Helgoland and Novara were quite identical. Photos labeled 'Helgoland' don't show the yardarm on the foremast; if she indeed didn't have it, that would be the only distinguishing factor.
Helgoland and Novara were modernized by replacing their 450mm torpedo tubes with the same number of 533mm tubes; they also had their mainmast shortened. All three received a single 66/50 HA gun.
For some reason, Saida retained her 450mm torpedo tubes.
After the war, the ships were divided up between the victorious Entente powers: Spaun was allotted to Great Britain and scrapped forthwith, Novara to France (commissioned as Thionville, scrapped 1936) and Saida and Helgoland to Italy (commissioned as Venezia and Brindisi, also scrapped in the late 1930s).