The Rohna was a seventeen year old British liner/troopship carrying 2,193
passengers including 1,988 U.S. troops and a crew of 198. It was part of a
convoy travelling east from Oran to the Far East via the Suez Canal. when
the convoy was attacked by about 30 German Heinkel 177 bombers. The
Rohna was hit by a HS 293 ‘glider bomb’ considered to be the world’s first
guided missile. The ship sank in less than 30 minutes taking 1,015 U.S.
troops and 102 crew members to a watery death.
The attack was the largest loss of U.S. troops at sea in a single incident. For
reasons of national security, details of the tragedy were kept secret for many
years and were not fully released until 1967 as a result of the Freedom of