Wednesday, September 1 – We drove into Mobile, AL this morning to tour the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park. WOW!....there is much more than just the battleship here! There are helicopters, sea planes, B-52 bombers, tanks, a submarine, an airplane hanger full of planes, and of course the battleship.
With a fighting name to live up to, Battleship USS ALABAMA BB-60 commenced her shakedown training on 11 November 1942. Her first major Pacific engagement was in the Gilbert Islands in November and December 1943.
On the morning of 4 May 1945, several of the Japanese penetrated the combat air patrol defense and, in the midst of the attack, a Kamikaze plunged through the low clouds into Admiral Mitcher's flagship, USS ENTERPRISE. Of the four other planes which attacked the surface formation, ALABAMA's gunners shot down two which crashed only about 1,000 yards away.
The ship has two anchors. Each weighs 25,000 lbs. and is attached to 170 fathoms (1020 feet) of chain which leads from the anchor around the “wildcat” on the anchor windiass and down into the chain locker.
A little about the color of the battleship.
The USS Alabama (BB-60) is 680 feet in length, with a beam (width) of 108 ft. She weighs 35,000 tons (70 million pounds) but under battle conditions the weight increases to 90 million pounds. Her assigned crew was 127 officers and 2500 enlisted men. She earned 9 Battle Stars, and shot down 22 enemy planes during World War II.
Her 16 inch/45 caliber guns could accurately hit a target 21 miles away!
BB-60 had 4 different types of guns, 129 guns in all.
We took the self guided tour climbing all over the ship. They had three routes marked on the ship: Route A – Red Arrows – was below deck in the after part of the ship. Route B – Green Arrows – was below deck in the forward part of the ship. Route C – Yellow Arrows – was the upper decks of the ship.
We climbed all the way to level 8 on the upper decks. We tried out the guns
We like the sign on the back of Paul’s gun.
and walked from the rear to the front crawling inside the huge guns. Two people sat in this little area.
Look how tight it is.
The bridge has 16 inches of armor to protect the ship's captain during battle.
We then climbed down inside the ship to see the crew quarters.
Gedunk Stand – You ask what is this? Simply the Soda Fountain. It dispensed well over 100 gallons of ice cream DAILY! As well as Cokes and sodas.
Laundry - In war there is no time for the men to wash their clothes in buckets in the traditional way. Also, it was essential that men going into battle be in clean clothes to prevent infection in case of wounds. Hence this elaborate laundry,
Officer Cabins – This cabin served more as a ceremonial and entertainment space, rather than as regular living quarters for the ship’s commanding officer. At sea, the Captain remained in his sea cabin on the bridge, and seldom, if ever, came below.
Sleeping Quarters – Boy did we get a surprise. A famous Cleveland Indians pitcher, Bob Feller, served on this ship from July 1942 – February 1945. They even have a plaque next to his bunk. Yes, this was the highlight of Marsha’s visit…GEESH!
Brig – We actually got to see someone behind bars. Now who could that be?
Latrine – Now this was interesting.
Wouldn’t want to be down stream.
Stateroom – In war time there were generally two officers to a room and these rooms served as offices as well as living quarters.
There is so much more to this ship than what we can show in this blog. It was a very interesting and enlightening tour. We just couldn't stop thinking how scary it would have been to serve aboard this ship during an enemy attack.
One last parting picture.
Some other interesting facts:
She was called the Lucky A because, during World War II, she lost no American lives aboard her due to enemy fire.
Coffee in the morning took 4 big 80 gallon pots to make 320 Gallons of coffee. How’d you like to have that last cup of joe?
The cooks had to prepare more than 7,500 meals a day, over 50,000 a week, and more than 2.5 million meals a year, ALL IN THE MIDDLE OF THE OCEAN!
When the big guns were firing, more than 58,000 pounds or 29 TONS left the battleship each minute!
Read lots more interesting facts about the USS Alabama here.
This blog only covered the USS Alabama. Our next blog will show the rest of the Memorial Park.
Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see y’all back real soon.