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Roma file photo [1748]


Ship ClassVittorio Veneto-class Battleship
BuilderCRDA, Trieste, Italy
Laid Down18 Sep 1938
Launched9 Jun 1940
Commissioned14 Jun 1942
Sunk9 Sep 1943
Displacement41,377 tons standard; 45,752 tons full
Length778 feet
Beam107 feet
Draft31 feet
Machinery8 x Yarrow boilers, 4 x Belluzzo steam turbines
Power Output134,000 shaft horsepower
Speed30 knots
Range4500nm at 18kts
Armament3x3 381/50 mm, 4x3 155/55 mm, 12x 90/50 mm anti-aircraft, 20x 37/50 mm, 30x 20/65 mm
Armor13.8in at belt and barbettes, 8.1in on deck
Aircraft2 Reggiane Re2000 on 1 catapult


ww2dbaseRoma was commissioned into the Italian Navy in mid-1942, but by then Italy was already showing signs of a fuel shortage, thus this powerful warship remained in port often. As according to the secret Short Military Armistice signed on 3 Sep 1943 between General Dwight Eisenhower and Marshal Pietro Badoglio, the Italian fleet was to surrender to the Allies. After Italy announced her surrender in the evening of 9 Sep, an Italian fleet centered around battleships Roma (flagship of Admiral Carlo Bergamini), Vittorio Veneto, and Italia left La Maddalena. At 0800 next morning, the fleet was spotted by German reconnaissance, and Admiral Meendsen Bohlken reported to Berlin that "[t]he Italian fleet has departed during the night to surrender itself to the enemy". Berlin's response was clear in retrospect; the Italian fleet was to be destroyed to deprive the Allies of usage of those ships. At 1400, while in Gulf of Asinara near Sardinia, German aircraft began appearing and dropped some bombs, though all missed. At 1530, fifteen Do 217 attack aircraft began their attack with the new type FX-1400 "Fritz X" rocket-propelled and guided bombs. At 1545, Roma was hit on the port side, amidships between 90mm AA gun mounts, piercing deck and side; the first hit reduced her speed to 10 knots. Five minutes later, she was struck by a second FX-1400 bomb between turret #2 and conning tower, causing a fire that exploded the main magazine, killing many men including Bergamini his staff. At 1612, she turned upside down, broke into two pieces, and sank. 1,350 officers and sailors were lost in the inferno.

ww2dbaseSource: Regia Marina Italiana.

Last Major Revision: Sep 2006

Battleship Roma Interactive Map


Aerial view of battleship Roma, date unknownBattleship Roma at anchor, 1942
See all 18 photographs of Battleship Roma

Roma Operational Timeline

14 Jun 1942 Roma was commissioned into service.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Commenter identity confirmed Hobilar says:
1 Sep 2007 11:41:31 AM

For some weeks the Elite Luftwaffe unit Kampfeschwader 100 had been operating a new anti-shipping weapon with some considerable success. Early in the morning of the 9th of September 1943, Major Bernhard Jope of the third Gruppe (IIIKG 100) led a strike force of eleven Dornier Do.217K-2 bombers, each armed with two underwing Fritz-X Command guided bombs in an attack on the modern Italian Battleships Roma, Italia and Vittorio Veneta, en-route to Malta to surrender. A near miss jammed the rudder of the Italia and a few minutes later a direct hit was made on the Roma. The Romas speed dropped to 16 knots and the mighty battleship began to list to starboard.

Oberleutnant Heinrich Schmetz with Feldwebel Oscar Huhn as observer, then attacked the stricken vessel. Their Felix-X slammed into the ship squarely in front of her bridge, piercing deep inside her vitals before detonating. The resultant uncontrollable fire reached a magazine and with a violent explosion the Roma broke into two, taking 622 officers and ratings to their deaths. The Italia also took a second hit on her bow, but despite taking in about 800 tons of water was able to limp into Malta unaided.
2. Alec says:
11 Jun 2011 04:35:11 PM

Battleship Roma red barber stripes, how many on the front plate were there ?
3. Alan says:
8 Jul 2011 09:42:51 AM

Six white and five red
4. Phil says:
5 Aug 2012 10:43:33 AM

My father was on the Roma when it was sunk , he was injured and rescued - spent time recovering in Spain.
5. Bruno says:
27 Mar 2014 03:34:59 AM

Hello, I'm also a son of a battleship Roma survivor, I have seen books stating the crew of the german Dornier which launched the second bomb was composed by: Kurt Steinborn (pilot), Degan, Anders and Walther. (not Schmetz nor Huhn)
6. Marco says:
18 Aug 2016 10:21:25 AM

My uncle was also on the Roma when it was attacked. He survived. He told me the story 30 years ago just before he died, so I can't ask to hear it again. Can anyone tell me about what happened to the survivors after? Did they all get rescued by the same ship? Did all recover in Spain? I heard that my uncle was denied benefits for his injuries for years, did this happen to others?
7. Bruno De Marchi says:
13 Feb 2017 02:27:26 AM

Answering Marco's questions: the survivors were rescued by several ships, some injured recovered at the Balearic Islands, others died. If you want more information about your uncle perhaps IO could provide something if I knew his name and surname. You can contact me at:
8. zoe cosciani says:
9 Jun 2021 05:32:34 AM

Hello I believe My grand father was on this ship, can someone please confirm for me? where can I check?

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Battleship Roma Photo Gallery
Aerial view of battleship Roma, date unknownBattleship Roma at anchor, 1942
See all 18 photographs of Battleship Roma

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