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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Our Anniversary Gulf Coast Trip - Part 2 - The Battleship Alabama

In the upper portion of Mobile Bay resides a beautiful and magnificent sight. I speak of the museum ship, USS Alabama, (BB-60). The Alabama is a World War 2 South Dakota class battleship, steeped in history and tradition.

In my humble opinion there is nothing more beautiful and impressive than the World War 2 battleship. The lines, the colors, the huge guns, the thick armor, the speed and power, and the thousands of officers and men that lived aboard and fought those ships in battle are absolutely awesome and are second to none.

Of course these ships have now faded into history being completely supplanted by the aircraft carrier and the guided missile destroyer. Indeed they are monuments to a simpler and more straightforward time never to be experienced again by mankind.

Aircraft carriers are OK, but lets face it, They are nothing more than an airport on top of a big ship. There’s nothing much beautiful about that.
Our first full day in Mobile included a visit to Battleship Park.
The feature attraction is the USS Alabama, (BB-60).
She's a big sucker, displacing around 35,000 tons. Actually this is pretty average among battleships. The largest battleships in history were the Yamato and Musashi, built by Japan, and displacing about 65,000 tons. The Yamato and Musashi were both sunk by air attack and were never a factor in surface engagements. The Nimitz Class aircraft carriers displace around 100,000 tons and are the largest warships ever built.

Just about anywhere on the deck of the Alabama, you're usually within arm's reach of a gun.
Like this 20mm antiaircraft gun.
Or this twin 40mm antiaircraft gun.
Or these 5 inch dual purpose guns.
How about these triple 16 inch guns,
which can launch this 2800 pound projectile over 20 miles with precision? YEAH BABY!
There's just nothing better than big guns and a HOT CHICK!

One of my favorite places was the fire bridge where you could hide behind 16 inches of armor and direct fire from the big guns.

I could go on and on about the Alabama. In wartime, this ship had a crew of about 2500 officers and men. We visited the quarters of all from the captain down to the cramped quarters of the lowly seaman recruit. We visited the galley, the laundry, the sickbay, the dental office, the chapel, the ship’s store, the brig, the engine and boiler room, the magazines, and all those other places you might imagine might be required to meet the needs of all those men during weeks or months at sea. It’s all there, like a floating city.

Battleships park also contains other interesting attractions such as the submarine, USS Drum.
Also there are a variety of aircraft.
Last but not least are the Alabama Korean and Vietnam War memorials.
We finally went back to our hotel, the Drury Inn, a very nice place and not nearly as expensive as the Embassy Suites. That evening we found dinner at Felix's Fish Camp. We enjoyed delicious seafood and a beautiful sunset over Mobile Bay.
What a great day in Mobile, AL. Go HERE to enjoy all our pictures of the day's events. The saga continues in part 3.

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