Italian battleship Roma (1940)

Italian battleship Roma (1940)

"Roma" was an Italian "Vittorio Veneto" class battleship that served in the Regia Marina during World War II. She was built in 1940 and commissioned in 1942.

Last cruise and sinking

On September 8 1943 "Roma", together with most of the remaining Italian fleet, set off from La Spezia to surrender to the Allies in the aftermath of the Armistice with Italy. It was the flagship of the fleet's commander, admiral Carlo Bergamini. The commander of the ship was Adone Del Cima. The fleet included two other battleships, "Vittorio Veneto" and "Italia" (formerly "Littorio"), three cruisers and eight destroyers (others joined later in the course of the cruise).

The following day the ships were intercepted near the Asinara island (northern Sardinia) by 12 German Dornier Do 217K-2s from the III. Gruppe of KG100, which had taken off from Istres, near Marseille.

Pietro Badoglio had ordered to open fire only after being attacked, and the order was initially respected. However, when the fleet finally opened anti-aircraft fire, it was clear that the German planes were keeping themselves outside the Italian guns (5,000 m), too far for a conventional bombing mission.

The first ship to be hit by the new weapons was the "Italia", which however kept her pace. "Roma "was then struck two times by Fritz X missiles, a weapon that was deployed first time on 21 July 1943, without success. Italians did not know Fritz-X control system was susceptible to electronic countermeasures. The first one hit amidship between 90 mm AA gun mounts, piercing deck and side, then exploded under the ship, reducing its speed to convert|10|kn|km/h|0; the other one hit above deck between turret #2 and the conning tower. It caused an explosion that threw the turret outboard and affected the boilers, starting a major fire that detonated the main magazines.

Bergamini, Del Cima and other 1,350 crew members were killed when at 16:12 the ship exploded, split into two parts and sank. Only 596 survivors, most badly burned, were rescued [] .

It was thus the first capital ship to be sunk by a guided missile.

ee also

*Fritz X


External links

* [ Page on the sinking of the Roma]

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