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|Excerpt relevant to the ROHNA attack
Tactical Guided Missile Use http://www.concentric.net/~drake725/missiles.htm
A page from: USS Savannah CL-42 http://www.concentric.net/~drake725/
The Luftwaffe's Use of Tactical Radio Guided Missiles
The deployment of radio guided missiles was well practiced. A bomber would circle enemy ships and activate the missile's guidance system. The commander, pilot or bombardier singled out a target from a high altitude. The port side missile was released first. As the missile was in free fall, the missile's speed and radio guidance were rechecked. The bombardier would attempt to guide the missile onto its target, while the pilot maintained a parallel course to the target. Once the first missile hit or passed the target, the bomber circled again and launched the starboard missile in the same manner. The time spent circling in the air by the Luftwaffe bombers might exceed an hour. This depended on the type of Allied fighter flown in to engage these high altitude bombers.
Luftwaffe bombers equipped with the Henschel Hs 293 guided missiles had to make their runs close to 4,500 feet, which put them at risk of being hit from Allied anti-aircraft shelling or fighter aircraft. The Luftwaffe scored more hits with the Hs 293's close to dusk. The deployment of the Fritz-X could be done at anytime during daylight hours. These specially equipped bombers flew between 18,000 and 20,000 feet and were rarely shot down by Allied forces. When the P-38 Lighting entered service in Europe, the Luftwaffe ended its use of radio guided missiles against Allied ships.
A list of Luftwaffe attacks on Allied ships:
OPERATION AVALANCHE (Invasion of Salerno, Italy - 9 Sept. 1943)
9 Sept. - Italian Battleship Roma sunk at 1552 hours by two Fritz-X missiles.
11 Sept. - USS Philadelphia attacked at 0930 hours by a Fritz-X; hull missed by about 15 yards.
11 Sept. - USS Savannah hit at 0944 hours by a Fritz-X and put out of action.
13 Sept. - HMS Uganda (British cruiser) hit by Fritz-X at 1440 hours. The missile penetrates seven decks and explodes underneath the ship which is put out of action.
13 Sept. - HMS Nubian and HMS Loyal (British destroyers) escape near hits an hour later.
14 Sept. - SS Bushford Washington (merchant-ship) hit by Hs 293 and put out of action.
15 Sept. - SS James Marshall (merchant-ship) hit by Hs 293 and put out of action.
16 Sept. - HMS Warspite (British battleship) hit by two Fritz-X missiles near the hull and put out of action at 1427 hours.
18 Sept. - USS Philadelphia (US cruiser) attacked by two Fritz-X; no damage.
CONVOY KMF - 25A (6 November 1943)
Convoy KMF - 25A en route from Mers-El-Kebir to Naples, Italy with 15 American and eight British transport ships carrying troops and war supplies is attacked. These ships sail in seven and nine ship columns.
Task Group 60.2 consists of a destroyer screen made up of US, British, and two Greek destroyers.
Two US destroyer escorts, the USS Frederick C. Davis (DE-136) and the USS Herbert C. Jones (DE-137), are assigned along with the HMS Colombo.
The Luftwaffe attack begins close to 1800 hours. Heinkel 111's release F5B torpedoes. The Dornier 217's drop Fritz-X missiles and the Junkers 88's launch the Hs 293 missiles.
The SS Santa Elena and the SS Aldegonde are torpedoed and both are sunk.
The USS Beatty (DD- 640) is torpedoed and sunk.
CONVOY KMF - 26 (26 November 1943)
Luftwaffe attacks Convoy KMF-26 at dusk; SS Rohna (British troop transport ship) hit by Hs 293; sunk; 1015 US and British crew killed.
HMS Coventry,HMS Catterick, HMS Atherstone, HMS Cleveland, HMS Slazak (All British warships); the SS Banfora, and SS Clan Campbell (British transport ships); and the USS Frederick C. Davis and USS Herbert C. Jones (US destroyer escorts) come under attack.
USS Pioneer (US minesweeper) attacked by several Hs 293's; no hits; employed evasive action.