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Wreck of battleship Roma found

Discussion in 'North Africa and the Mediterranean' started by TiredOldSoldier, Jun 28, 2012.

  1. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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  2. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

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    Thanks for posting. There has to be more than 1 photo of the wreck. I'm interested in seeing how badly damaged she is.
     
  3. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    For now there is only one I've seen published, bit surprised at the condition of that mount as the 90mm had a reputation for light construction, will post what becomes available, interestingly the pic is labeled Marina Militare .....
    The video is here looks like they found just the mount for now.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wF529Tf4DUU&feature=youtu.be
     
  4. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    I love the cammo shemes on the pre 1943 pictures
     
  5. Clementine

    Clementine Member

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    Wow! Great photo of the wreck.

    I wondered about the camouflage scheme - what does that camouflage them from out on the water? I completely admit I know nothing about the subject, but my first thought when I saw it was that it would make it more obvious.
     
  6. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    My understanding that most "camo' for ships was designed to break up the outline to both confuse the enemy as to what ship it actually is and to make it harder to judge how fast they were going for targeting purpose's. Otherwise camo is only realy good for low light/poor conditions.
     
  7. Clementine

    Clementine Member

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    Okay. Now it makes sense to me. Thank you.
     
  8. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    It was also designed not to be spotted by the enemy when it when it was not navigating and would be a potential easy target for air attacks.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Enroute to Malta, when in the Golf of Sardinia, she was attacked by German aircraft the “Fritz X”. Truly the RN Roma was sunk by a powerful new type of guided missile, specifically designed for use against heavily armored targets. Of a total of 1,849 officers and men on board, only 596 survived. :(
     
  10. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    to be noticed it was sunk on the very day the Italian Armistice was signed
     
  11. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    curious if anyone has a full schemeatic of the Roma and exactly where the Fritz X hit onboard ? othere shipping was also attacked with the Roma am I correct on the date.
     
  12. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    though am not a Wiki fan there is a good article about the operation and here is another - scroll about midway point downward

    The Sinking of the Roma
     
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  13. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    One thing that isn't clear in most accouts is did the fleet fire at the attacking aircraft before launch.

    There are some good drawings in Bagnasco's book, his guess is that the second bomb exploded in the forward engine room, close to the 6" magazines that in turn ignited the firing charges for B turret that blew up throwing the whole 15" turret overboard, the ship broke in two before sinking.
    Littorio was also hit by a Fritz-X, between A and B turret, and a near miss aft that caused some flooding, but suffered only light damage.

    View attachment 16892
     

    Attached Files:

  14. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    my understanding is the LW Do 217K's stood out of range of Italien optics ? as they seemd to be accepted as Allied protection for the fleet and only when the attack with the Fritz-X on the runs did the fleet open up with it's AA. Bernhard Jope led the attack though he did not pilot the Dornier that sank the Roma as often accounted. 11 Do 217 K-2's of III./KG 100 "Wiking" took part against the Italien fleet.
     
  15. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    "out of range of Italien optics ?", makes little sense to me. At least one of the ships had a functional radar and as a rule ships have much better optics than planes, glass quality apart bigger lenses mean more magnification for a given loss of luminosity, and the planes needed to track the fast and small bomb to guide it not just the large ship, the tail light on the Fritz-X helps but not that much.
    From my recollections of US 6th fleet planes "having fun" with a rock that stands 3 miles out of my summer house you can see a lot of detail with a standard 7x50 binocular, trained observers with telescopes would be able to distinguish a Do 217K, with it's distinctive nose glasshouse, from a Beaufighter.

    AFAIK the fleet had orders not to fire unless attacked, one Italian report states the unusual launching pattern of the Fritz-X, that doesn't require the plane to come as close above as a conventional bomb, (it glides at 60 degrees to the horizontal while a bomb drops at something close to 80) left enough doubt that the launch went unopposed. What is sure is that the Re 2000 self defence fighters the battleships carried were not launched, but then climb time of the Re 2000 to 5500m was over 5 minutes so they would need to be launched on first radar contact to be of any use.

    Looking at the balistics, though unlike my father I'm no expert there, 60 degrees makes sense looking at the small wing area of the bomb, and according to wiki prefered release height was 5.500 meters with minimum at 4000, assuming the 5.500 figure that puts the launch point around 2.750m out. The ansaldo 90/50 had a horizontal range of 13.000m firing at 45 degrees elevation, and 10.800m max altitude, those figures should mean the shell would be at around 6000m at 6500m (mid course) for 45 degrees elevation so it could engage a plane at 5.500m at over 6Km, things get a little worse for 60 degrees but not by much.
    But it is likely that with those orders the fleet would not open up at maximum range as the planes would need to get a lot closer to drop converntional bombs so a plane 3Km out is not yet "attacking".

    I know there is a German film of the sinking, my father worked with guided missiles in the sixties and was shown it by his German colleagues, pieces of it also show up on the net from time to time, there are also a number of Italian photos both of the explosions and of the ship listing but the one in Bagnasco's book of the ship sinking after capsizing and breaking in two is credited to an allied recon plane. With all that evidence it's amazing it took over 60 years to locate the wreck even if she is 1000 meters down and badly broken up .... AFAIK there is very little stuff capable of operating that deep compared to what is available for ASW work, from the little they published it appears they used a derivative of a mine hunting remote controlled verhicle for the search.

    BTW my previous reference to Littorio should be Italia to be (politically?) correct as she had been renamed after the removal of the fascist party from power, but then most people think of her with her initial name.
     
  16. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    Everybody thanks for the salutes and likes, researching this is fun but it's nice to know someone aprreciates the results.
    Erich your LW information is, as usual, encyclopedic, do you know where one can find the full camera take from the attacking planes, there are bits and pieces of it in propaganda clips but I never saw the full original ?
    Now if only someone came up with the info on the allied plane that took the final picture, the ship took around 20 minutes to sink but the Italian ships left behind to pick up survivors were probably too busy to take photos. As a sign of the uncertainity that reigned after the rescue some of those ships made steam for the neutral Spannish Baleares islands instead of following the main body of the fleet to Malta.
     
  17. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    yes does not make sense my statement about Italien optiks but from a notation the fleet did not recognize the LW force of the Dorniers or at least this is what was reported. also another notation describes the Dorniers coming in low over the ocean and then a swift climb upward to launch the missles. how frustrating not to have the original documentation of KG 100 III. gruppe in our hands for this operation.

    now for the films I think they were copied ? possibly on Deutsche Wochenschau propaganda films. there also seems on the net from one site I checked yesterday a series of 7 or so single photos not necessariloy in order of the roma being hit and exploding magazines - (horrible impressins) and then a settling of the two sections. I salute these sailors ...........

    ToS didn't the Italia though severly damged make it back to Malta and if so what happened to her, was she just written off or repaired ?
     
  18. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    The Baleares episode is comprehensive. Think about what happened to some German U-boote in May 1945. Some of them went as far as Argentina to make sure they'd end up in neutral hands. When the Italians realised they would have to side with the former enemies after the 1943 Armistice, some were enthousiastic, others not so much and others refused. The options were: join a German held harbor which would be considere das high treason , scuttle the vessel, which would be heart breaking and dangerous for the saftery of the men, surrender to the allies and not knowing whether they'd be taken in their army or sent to prison, or go to a neutral country like Spain and wait and see...
     
  19. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    AFAIK Italia was not badly damaged, the bomb pierced the upper decks but came out of the side above the main armoured deck , destroying a section of 70mm side arnour plate in the process but finally leaving just some holes, the 50cm entry hole in the deck was immediately plugged with some wood and cement and the exit hole on the side was similarly fixed later. The underwater explosion of the bomb damaged two "cilindro pugliese" sections and she suffered 1066t of flooding plus 180 voluntary on the other side to reduce the list, but no water penetrated to the inner compartments and her steaming ability was unimpaired, AFAIK the damage was never fully repaired before she was scrapped.
    The earlier near miss had resulted in the contamination of 54t of fuel in an external tank and temporarily disabled her main rudder (the Littorios had 3 rudders) because the electrical breakers triggered, so she manouvered using her engines and side rudders during rest of the engagement. AFAIK she suffered only one wounded in the whole action and no fatalties.

    Her final fate is identical to the one of Vittorio Veneto, they never served again and both were eventually scrapped post war because of the armistice clauses, the damage was thoroughly inspected by an allied team when the two ships were in interned in the Suez canal but I think it was more in the hope of recoverring parts or data from the fritz-x than with repairs in mind.

    EDIT: Was in Rome's naval bookstore this afternoon and came across a book from one of the ship's survivors, but finally opted for an ufficio storico book on the "other" convoy routes that I was planning to buy for some time. Apparently they had a brush with some Germans on the previous day that ended up with the Germans taking an unexpected swim in La Spezia harbour, (BTW the armistice was announced on the 8th by allied sources while the attacks on the fleet were on the 9th).
    The survivor, and other Italian accounts claim the attacks continued well after the sinking, but we have detailed records of 5 bombs and the bombers only carried one each so it looks like all the KG100 planes launched at around the same time, where other LW units involved?

    EDIT: The navy's reaction to the armistice is a particular interest of mine, the uncle that got me interested in military history was serving as junior officer on RN Baionetta at the time of the armistice, he never talked much about it (besides a funny story involving the queen's maids he gave his cabin to and a precious bar of soap), if that ship hadn't made it to an allied controlled port Italian history could have been pretty different, but the Germans learned too late about her to do anything about it.
    At least most of the sailors had a viable choice, with some exceptions like the submariners that where at Bordeaux or in Japanese ports at the time, the fate of the Italian army units left stranded in the Balkans was often tragic.

    EDIT: Erich a loaded Dornier (the figure is for a 217M1 but the K2 was not that different) is credited with around 300m per minute climb speed, if the minimum launch height was 4000m it would take a long time to get there.
     
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  20. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    ToS thank you for the first hand info's. yes only II. and III./KG 100 seem to be active with He 111 and the Do 217K-2 and the Fritz-X in fact September was a busy month for the Dorniers sinking or damaging severly 3 other notable British/US warships. will have to search more but I do not think there was a fighter cover flight for KG 100 activities which makes no sense and of course the units gruppen suffered usually heavy losses for the ships they hit. gruppen activities include not all it's allocated Dorniers as in all appearances not more than 10 were ever flown on a single mission for ? reasons. Again to confirm this would be nice to have a copy of III. gruppes KTB.

    another link with small thumbnails

    http://www.bobhenneman.info/roma.htm
     

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