From the daily pics thread:
A ROV chartered by the Italian Navy has found the wreck of the Italian WW2 Battleship Roma, sunk in September 1943 by german "Fritz X" guided bombs while underway to join the allies.
Always wondered how she came to be sunk considering that Italian naval architecture was quite advanced, and they would have taken the effect of aerial bombing into account in her design.
When the Vittorio Veneto class was designed in the 1930s, the largest bombs were around 1000 kilograms of high explosive and the largest practical bombs 500 kg. For dive bombers (the only sure way to hit a moving target back then) it was even less, more like 250 kg.
The italian designers protected the ship well against that sort of bomb.
The most serious threat was seen in the torpedo, and the italians tried to counter that with the Pugliese system of bulkheads and expansion cylinders, as system not unlike the crash protection of modern automobiles.
And given how often Vittorio Veneto and Littorio/Italia survived british torpedo hits, it worked.
All in all, the Vittorio Veneto class was a very good design: fast, with good firepower and very survivable.
Some experts rate it higher than the Bismarck class or even the US treaty battleships.
Naval architects were beaten by the rapid development of aircraft. If you compare the state of the art aircraft when the design was finalized (1934) with the Do 217 bomber that sank Roma in 1943, you see a 200% incease in speed and a tenfold increase in ordnance capacity.
And something not expected at all, guided weapons.
The germans had, in the early years of the war, developed a armor piercing high explosive bomb, the PC 1400. It weighed 1400 kilograms and could penetrate even the most heavily armored battleship imaginable.
The problem was that it was extremely heavy and even a Ju 88 could carry only one.
Somebody came up with the idea to add radio guidance to this bomb, and so the PC 1400X (Fritz X) was born.
The bomber wing that carried out the raids, Kampfgeschwader 100 was a special unit that earlier had pioneered radio bombing and other new methods and had undergone extensive training before its first deployment during autumn of 1943.
For that late in the war, these bomber pilots were the best available.
The allies finally defeated the guided weapons by a mixture of jamming and extensive fighter cover and KG 100 was all but anihilated over Normandy
As shown in the losses at Jutland and other battleship losses during both world wars, a magazine explosion is fatal to any ship irrespective of the cause of the magazine explosion.
The numbers (from wiki)
The charge was contained in six cloth bags. Each bag contained 45 kg (100 lb) of smokeless powder. High explosive (HE) shells weighed only 774 kilograms (1,710 lb). that's an **** tonne of ordnance being carried in the magazines.
A photo of the sinking of the Roma, taken from the bomber, was displayed prominently in the corridor of my company building in the Bundeswehr. I always found it to be very impressive. It was basically this one:
A Greek in the Netherlands who struggles with the bad weather every day..
Originally Posted by Redox
A photo of the sinking of the Roma, taken from the bomber, was displayed prominently in the corridor of my company building in the Bundeswehr. I always found it to be very impressive. It was basically this one..
Nice photos, thank you. It always impress me the development of the weapons through the years of WWII, at the end they were jets and missiles in the battlefield.