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

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 conditions, from petrol poisoning to exploding bathrooms to trigger-happy Turks. All symptoms aspect to the entire cave in of the bloated empire he serves, yet Otto refuses to desert the Habsburgs of their hour of want.

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Additional resources 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)

Sample text

Then there was a blue flash and a loud bang from somewhere behind me. The inside of the boat filled with acrid smoke as the two electric motors faltered and died. Lehár’s voice called out: “Sorry, Herr Kommandant, but the main fuse in the E-motor net has blown. ” No sooner had he said this, however, than the boat began to rise of its own accord. Some air had been left in the small regulator tank amidships to give us reserve buoyancy, clean contrary to standing instructions, which were to dive with the tank completely full 55 A Sailor of Austria and the boat slightly heavy by the bow.

It was difficult for me to put my finger on it, but there seemed to be a detectable reluctance to try anything risky. Matters finally came to a head one morning during diving trials in the Fasana Channel. Our long labours seemed to be paying dividends at last. The boat had behaved impeccably all morning and we were now submerged at about ten metres just south of Fort Barbariga, cruising at three knots in the deepest part of the channel. Well, I thought to myself, this vessel is rated as safe to fortyfive metres’ depth, so let’s go down to forty metres to see whether the hull leaks at all.

Well, I thought to myself, this vessel is rated as safe to fortyfive metres’ depth, so let’s go down to forty metres to see whether the hull leaks at all. I looked over at Steinhüber, controlling the diving-rudder wheel behind the main depth gauge. ” There was a distinct hesitation before the reply came back.  . then nothing more; the boat seemed to have bottomed at thirty-two metres. I turned round in some annoyance. “Come on Tauchführer, for God’s sake—there’s forty-five metres on the chart here.

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