Download A Sailor of Austria: In Which, Without Really Intending to, by John Biggins PDF

By John Biggins

During this ironic, hilarious, and poignant tale, Otto Prohaska is a submarine captain serving the almost-landlocked Austro-Hungarian Empire. He faces a number of not likely situations, from petrol poisoning to exploding toilets to trigger-happy Turks. All symptoms element to the whole cave in of the bloated empire he serves, yet Otto refuses to desert the Habsburgs of their hour of desire.

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Extra info for A Sailor of Austria: In Which, Without Really Intending to, Otto Prohaska Becomes Official War Hero No. 27 of the Habsburg Empire (The Otto Prohaska Novels)

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Up in Poland, the previous autumn had seen the Imperial, Royal and Catholic armies of His Apostolic Majesty executing a great many Orderly Tactical Withdrawals to Carefully Prepared Positions—in other words, running away until they ran the soles off their boots and the Russians nearly came pouring through the Carpathian passes into Hungary. Nor had things gone much better with Austria’s other war, the short, sharp little campaign against Serbia that had set off the greater conflict. And this was a matter close to my own heart that morning, for my elder brother Anton, a captain in the 26th Jäger Regiment, had been part of General Potiorek’s punitive expedition which had crossed the Drina the previous August, only to cross it again a few days later, running for its life and leaving tens of thousands of dead and missing on the other side.

The truth is, though, that for all her insignificant appearance when he next three weeks 50 John Big gins I first saw her that April morning, U8 had already achieved a considerable notoriety as the centre of a long-standing bureaucratic muddle such as only Old Austria knew how to contrive. In fact, by the time that I took command of her, I think it hardly an exaggeration to say that the little vessel had generated at least her own weight in official correspondence. And like so many of the great official muddles of the old Monarchy, this one was rooted in the uneasy relationship between Austria and Hungary.

Valves leaked, the hull leaked, battery cells leaked, pipes blocked, fuel filters clogged, crankshafts broke and carburettor jets blocked. We toiled day and night to get the boat ready, my crew and I. At first it seemed an utterly hopeless enterprise. But little by little, in those last weeks of April, we sorted out the technical problems to a point where U8 might perhaps make Venice without having to be towed back. 52 John Big gins My crew were an extraordinary collection of men. But then, AustroHungarian naval crews were always the subject of amazed comment, recruited as they were from all the tribes and sub-tribes of that black-andyellow ethnic ragbag of an Empire of ours.

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