Sunday, March 17, 2019

The USS Alabama

Images of America: USS Alabama
© 2013 Kent Whitaker & Battleship Memorial Park
128 pages

When visiting downtown Mobile, one can’t help but notice the enormous battleship parked in the bay.  It’s the USS Alabama, tenth to bear the name, and its proud history is recounted in this Images of America book which is as thorough as can be hoped for.  Not only does Kent Whitaker (on behalf of Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile) deliver a full history of the ship (which operated in both theaters of World War 2, earning numerous battle stars) and photographs which explore life aboard her, but  the book explores the histories of other ships named Alabama (including the CSS Alabama, sunk by the Kearsage after an illustrious career sinking Yankee shipping) as well as the particular story of how the Alabama came to be rescued from the scrapheap by children, and found instead a home in the port of its namesake state. 

Given that this Images of America book is image-heavy, I thought I'd share a few.

 The Alabama at work

Cleaning the "big guns", which...are very big indeed. 

Social life aboard the ship

One of the two Kingfisher planes being launched by catapult. These were used for artillery spotting and for search and rescue operations. 

The cross pennant indicated that religious services  were in progress.



  1. are there any battleships like that still around? i get the sense that they're mostly obsolete, in the present space age day...

  2. The closest the US Navy has to the old conventional BBs would be its cruisers, but I don't know what purpose they serve or are expected to serve -- support of shore invasions, showing the flag? Every time I hear about naval action they're projecting air/missle forces. If ship/ship combat is imagined it would be submarine -- ships hunting subs, subs hunting subs, subs hunting ships...

  3. These old ships are fascinating. I could dig into this book and others like it for hours. As your rely to Muddpuddle indicated. We will probably never see this type of warship on active duty again. When there were dozens of them on the seas under the flags of many different nations it must have been something.

    1. The high watermark of battleships was probably WW1 -- there were already primitive aircraft carriers then (HEAVILY modified ships, not built for the purpose) -- but ship/ship combat was still the norm. Airplanes didn't prove themselves against ships until after the war, in the 1920s I believe. It would have been something to see a WW1 navy arrayed for battle.


Thank you for visiting! Because of some very clever spambots, I've had to start moderating comments more strictly, but they're approved throughout the day.