Italian battleship "Roma": features, port of registry, military service. The Royal Navy of Italy


2019-01-08 19:00:35




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Roma – ship of the line (battleship) type Littorio, which was part of the Royal naval forces of Italy. The ship was named in honor of the Italian capital and became the third battleship in the series. Despite successfully passing all tests, it never had to prove themselves on the battlefield. Today we look at the history of the creation, service and death of the battleship «Roma», as well as its technical characteristics.

Battleship "Roma"


Battleship “Roma” is the third ship of the type Littorio. However, he differs from other ships in the series. The battleship did not take an active part in naval confrontations of world war II, however, it is considered to be a member for at least two reasons. First, in the summer of 1943, the ship came under attack by American planes. And secondly, when the ship wanted to surrender to the anti-Hitler coalition allies, the German air force destroyed it.

As mentioned above, the battleship received its name in honor of the Italian capital-Rome. Besides, the honor of Rome still called the two ships: armored frigate in 1865, and the squadron battleship in 1907.

Building and testing

According to the plan of the Naval Ministry of Italy in 1935, the Royal Navy was the war, only two of the first model type battleship Littorio. However, in the winter of 1935, the chief of staff of the Italian Navy Admiral Cavagnari invited Benito Mussolini to lay two more vessels. Mussolini at first refused the idea, however in January 1937, still gave his consent.


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On 18 September 1938 at the shipyard, Cantieri, Rhiniti del Adriatico at Trieste was laid battleship "Roma". 9 June 1940 it launched, and on June 14, 1942 the ship was completed. Compared to Vittorio Veneto – the predecessor series, the battleship has been improved in technical terms. The ship has received increased dimensions freeboard and increased armament: 24 machine guns instead of the Breda model was set to 32.

ship of the battleship


Italian battleship got the hull is elongated: its length (240 m) higher than the width (32.9 m) almost seven and a half times. The width is three times higher than sediment (9.7 m), and block coefficient was equal to 0.57. The hull was divided into watertight compartments 23 through 22 main transverse watertight bulkheads. The case had a couple of continuous decks: upper and lower, as well as the deck of the forecastle and three platforms, occupying only part of the length of the vessel. Throughout the length of the ship stretched a double bottom. Between the barbettes of the 1st and 3rd towers added a third layer. Standard displacement of the vessel was about 40, and full – about 45 thousand tons. The displacement of different models can vary in the range 500 t


The Main feature of the battleships of the Littorio class was the underwater protection of Pugliese system. It consisted of two concentric cylinders, passing through the underwater part between the barbettes of the 1st and 3rd artillery towers of the main fire. According to the engineers, the resilience of the protection of the underwater explosion was the equivalent of 350 pounds of TNT. In practice, to bring protection to such indicators failed, mainly because of the low strength of the riveted joints. The thickness of the reservation of the bead ranged from 70 to 280 mm. the Individual elements of the vessel had the following thickness of reservation:

  1. Main deck – 90-162 mm.
  2. Top deck – 45 mm.
  3. Tower of the main caliber – 200-350 mm.
  4. Cutting – 280-350 mm.

Power plant

The Littorio class Ships were equipped with eight boilers and four turbines with a total capacity of 128 was more than a thousand horsepower. That was enough to make four propellers broke up the ship to a speed of 30 knots. The range of the vehicle at an average speed of 14 knots was almost 5000 miles.

Thus, from the point of view of ride quality, ships of the line such as “Littorio” was one of the best in his time in the class. At the speed the ships could compete with American ships of the type Iowa and French ships Richelieu. However, the cruising range of the Italian battleships several times yielded to these rivals. Due to the small capacity of the fuel system battleship «Roma» could not manifest itself in full measure.

Spezia (Italy)


The crew of the battleship consisted of 92 officers, 122 non-commissioned officers, and 134 officers and sailors 1506. If he has served as a flagship, the crew was supplemented by officers (11 to 38) and also petty officers and sailors (20 to 30).


Ship of the line “Roma” armed with such instruments:

  1. 65 Breda Mod (20 mm).
  2. 54 Breda Mod (37 mm).
  3. 50 Mod (90 mm).
  4. 55 Mod (152 mm).
  5. 50 Ansaldo Mod (381 mm).

In parentheses after the name of the specified caliber.


Benito Mussolini ordered not to conduct any naval rearmament until 1933. In 1933 the old type battleships Conte di Cavour went for modernization, and the following year was laid for two new ships, called Vittorio Veneto and Littorio. In the following may the Naval Ministry began to prepare a five-year program of naval construction, which included the construction of 4 battleships, 4 cruisers, 3 aircraft carriers and 54 submarines.

At the end of 1935, Mussolini received from Admiral DomenicoCavagnari a proposal to build in the framework of the programme two more Littorio battleship type, in order to enhance your chances in opposition to a possible attack by the Franco-British Alliance. It was about ships Roma and Impero. Benito Mussolini did not take sudden decisions about the future development of battleships, but in early 1937, still endorsed the proposal Cavagnari. By the end of this year, the projects of the ships were approved, and the funds for their construction are transferred to the responsible persons.

Italian Navy

21 August 1942 battleship «Roma» arrived in the port of Toronto and joined the ninth division. Despite the fact that battleship participated in exercises and visited various military bases, for it was not combat missions. The reason was that the naval forces of Italy dramatically saving on fuel. 12 November 1942, ship such as Roma, Littorio and Vittorio Veneto, were moved from Toronto to Naples in response to the invasion of allied troops in North Africa. In the way of a ship attacked by the British submarine HMS Umbra, which, however, would not cause them any harm.

Attack Americans

4, when America began a full-scale attack on Naples, hoping to destroy the Italian Navy, one cruiser was completely destroyed and two suffered serious injuries. Two days later, the ships Roma, Littorio and Vittorio Veneto again went in search of more peaceful places. At this time, this place became the port of La Spezia (Italy). It the vessel received the status of the flagship ships of the Royal Navy. Until April 1943 the port of La Spezia (Italy) avoided military action. But on 14 April lull was broken, and the ship «Roma» for the first time came under strong air attack Americans. On 19 April, the airstrike was repeated. The ship survived and did not receive any serious damage.

On 5 June 1943, the battleship has not succumbed to the pressure of the aviation of the allies. At him, with the b-17 were dropped two armor-piercing projectile, with a weight of 908 kgs each. One of the bombs struck the deck of the forecastle, and the boat at about 222-th frame. Falling into the water, it exploded near the starboard side, damaging 32 m 2 Its underwater part. Water entered the region from 221 to 226 frame. The second shell exploded in the water from the left side, about 200-th frame and damaged 30 m2 The underwater part of the boat. Water flooded the district with 198 to 207-th frames. In the end, the ship was 2350 tons of sea water. It sank only because the bombs were not explosive, and armor piercing.

ship of the line "Roma"

The Night of June 23rd the battleship was struck by two bombs. The first struck the cabin and the tubing that led to the rapid flooding of adjacent areas. The second shell hit the frontal plate of the 3rd 381 mm turret, resulting in slight damage to nearby structures. Since the place of the falling bombs was well armored, serious damage to the battleship is not received. However, the port of registry of the ship had to once again change, as it was in need of repair. On 1 June the ship arrived in Genoa, and on 13 August it returned to La Spezia.

The death of the battleship

9 September 1943 under the flag of Admiral Bergamini ship of the line «Roma» went to sea at the head of the Italian squadron, headed allegedly by Salerno to attack the landing forces of the allies. Soon, the Italians changed course and headed for Malta. German intelligence officers quickly identified the intentions of their former allies, and soon, when the Italian squadron approached the Bay of Sardinia, the German planes Dornier Do 217, the arms of which had heavy radio-controlled glide bombs “Fritz-X”, was ready to attack battleships. The Italians did not take action for two reasons. First, the planes were high enough to identify their markings was impossible. And second of all, – Bergamini believed that the allied aircraft that arrived to cover the fleet from the air.

The Plans of the Germans were not allied, and 15:37 and they began to attack the battleships Littorio and Roma. Due to the fact that the ships immediately began to maneuver to confuse the pilots, they managed to thwart the first attack. However, after 15 minutes, one bomb hit the ship Littorio, not far from the artillery, and the other – straight to the ship «Roma».

The Bomb "Fritz-X” hit the right deck of the forecastle, in the period between 100 and 108 frames. It struck the underwater protection compartments and exploded already in the water directly under the ship's hull. The explosion led to serious damage of the underwater part of the ship, and he rapidly began to fill seawater. In minutes they were flooded: aft engine compartment, the third power, and the seventh and eighth boiler compartment. Due to damage to electrical cables in the aft began to happen circuit, and after them – the fire of the electrical equipment.

the Linear ships of the Littorio

At 16:02 Royal Navy of Italy finally lost the battleship “Roma”: the second bomb hit the starboard forecastle between 123 and 126 frames, broke through the deck and exploded in the forward engine room. Started a large fire that caused the detonation of nasal artillery cellar. Flames burst from the second Barbet 381-mm of towers up to several tens of meters, and the tower fell overboard. After a series of massiveexplosions of the ship's hull broke around the bow of the superstructure. Roll to starboard, it capsized and sank.

1849 sailors that day on Board «Roma», only 596 survived. According to some sources, several officers stayed on the ship with families. Ship Littorio more fortunate – he, at least, drowned. When the attack began ships, the Italians immediately asked Malta air cover, and received a failure: allied aircraft engaged in air cover for amphibious landing at Salerno.

After the death of the battleship “Roma” command of the squadron was assumed by Admiral Da Zara. He was determined no matter what to break through to Malta. In the end, picking up the surviving sailors from the ship Roma, the cruiser Attilio Regolo, 3 destroyers and escorts went to Port Mahon.

Results services

The Battleship had serious prospects, but had to serve in the Italian Navy in just 15 months. During this time he made two dozen trips, but never participated in any combat operations. In total, the ship passed 2492 miles. In the sea it has played 133 running hours. During this time was spent 3320 tons of fuel. 63 days the ship was under repair.

In June 2012 underwater robot Pluto Palla found a sunken ship. It is located at a depth of about 1000 meters, about 30 kilometers from the Northern coast of Sardinia. September 10, 2012, at the place where Roma sunk, the Italian frigate were organized a memorial ceremony.

Italian battleship


Italian battleship (battleship) «Roma», had enormous potential and could become an outstanding ship, but unfortunately, his story ended almost before it began. Perhaps the fate of the ship was predetermined at the time when Benito Mussolini rejected it. However, the history knows many cases when issuing the results have shown that the technique, which did not want to adopt.

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