Sinking of battleship Roma

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Sinking of battleship Roma

Post by mfy4444 » 03 Jun 2016 14:47

Hello everyone. I got such a quick and good answer to my last question here that I thought I would try another one! :D

Can anyone tell me exactly how many German planes were in the attack on Roma and the rest of Bergamini's fleet, September 9, 1943? Specifically, how many Do 217s armed with "Fritz X" glider bombs? Most online sources seem to indicate six planes in the attack, a few 12. O'Hara and Cernuschi in one of their older books (2009), "Dark Navy" give a figure of 28, which seems too high if only counting Do 217s armed with Fritz X (it would indicate a lot of misses, or failures to launch, by these radio-guided bombs if that were the case), but would be a feasible number if it included a fighter escort or if there were aircraft armed with conventional bombs in the attack. Also, it seemed the attack lasted quite a while-- the hit on Italia's bow that passed through the ship apparently came 54 minutes after the first near-miss to Italia's stern (with the hits on Roma coming 11 minutes and 17 minutes after that first Fritz X almost hit Italia). Would the German force have been able to linger that long (and if so, wouldn't the single Re.2000 launched by Vittorio Veneto have been able to gain enough altitude to intervene? The bombers were at 18,000 feet... of course, if the Do 217s had fighter escort the lone Re.2000 was probably out of luck...). So the composition of the German force, if more than 6-12 unescorted Do 217s, is also of interest to me.

So a lot of questions, really. Though I'm most interested in the exact number of German planes in the attack-- and how many of them were Do 217s carrying the "Fritz X"-- I'm interested to hear any discussion of any of the above.

Thanks in advance for your comments

Mike Yaklich

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Re: Sinking of battleship Roma

Post by hucks216 » 03 Jun 2016 15:22

Balke in his KG 100 history and Bollinger in his 'Warriors & Wizards' book (believe he used Balke's figures) state that 6 aircraft (all Do 217K2 fitted with Fritz X) from III./KG 100 were used in that particular attack. Of the 6 weapons carried 5 were guided and one unguided with 3 definite hits.
There was a second raid scheduled that day from III./KG 100 but of the 7 aircraft involved, one crashed and the other 6 aborted.

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Re: Sinking of battleship Roma

Post by Messe62 » 23 Feb 2017 04:55

My great uncle (still living) was on board the Roma on that day. He told me he was sure the ship was struck twice. He said the first greatly slowed them down but the second sank her. He said the german planes dropped the bombs from very great altitudes. He said the ship sank after the second hit in under 15 minutes. He said it literally broke and sank. there were 595 survivors out of a crew of 1850. Amazingly? this was the second ship he served on that was sunk. he was on the cruiser Bartolomeo Colleoni when it was sunk in action in 1940.

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Re: Sinking of battleship Roma

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 26 Sep 2018 19:43


I thought a message I found in the war diary of British 10th Corps at SALERNO of 9 September 1943 might be of interest for this subject (WO169/8593):
From: C-in-C Med
To: Minister of Marine Rome.
Ref bombing of Italian Fleet. (Serial 151). This was carried out by German aircraft, and was observed by one of our Recce planes.
I'd be interested to hear whether the Italians originally thought the attack was a mistake by the Allies and whether the Allied recce plane produced any useful information about the type of attack.

It's also interesting to see that there were direct lines of communication between Allied military forces and those of Italy.



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Re: Sinking of battleship Roma

Post by Dili » 26 Sep 2018 20:07

2 guided bombs hit Roma and 1 at least hit former Littorio(at that time due to fall of Fascism was renamed Italia)

Thanks for your close input Messe62 did your uncle said what happened in the ship? I think the ammunition of 2nd turret went off.

Where he was located?

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Re: Sinking of battleship Roma

Post by jwsleser » 26 Sep 2018 20:24

This video is a pretty good recounting of the attack.

L'Affondamento della Corazzata Roma

Pista! Jeff
battaglione Alpini sciatori Monte Cervino (Reenacted)
5th Greek Regiment
9th reggimento bersaglieri

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