USS Alabama BB60

USS Alabama BB60

USS Alabama BB60

The USS Alabama BB60 was a South Dakota class battleship that entered service with the British Home Fleet in 1943 but that spent most of the war operating in the Pacific, where she provided cover for the fast carriers and performed some shore bombardments.

The Alabama was laid down in February 1940, launched on 16 February 1942 and commissioned on 16 August 1942, an impressive six months later. The Alabama began the war with six quad mountings for 40mm guns and twenty two 20mm guns. By the end of the war this had risen to twelve quad 40mm mountings and fifty six 20mm guns.

The Alabama entered service in June 1943 when she joined the South Dakota at Scapa Flow. This allowed the British battleships Howe and King George V to take part in the invasion of Sicily. While at Scapa the Alabama took part in a sortie off the Norwegian coast, designed to distract German attention away from Sicily. This was one of the less successful deception plans of the period as the Germans never actually noticed the fleet at sea.

The Alabama and South Dakota left the UK on 1 August 1943 and reached the US on 9 August. The Alabama reached the New Hebrides in mid-September and moved forward to Fiji on 7 November. Her first operation in the Pacific came soon afterwards when she supported Operation Galvanic, the invasion of the Gilbert Islands. She was used to protect the carriers as they attacked Jaluit and Mille atolls, and directly supported the landings on Tarawa on 20 November. On 8 December she took part in the first shore bombardment carried out by the fast battleships, attacking Japanese positions on Nauru Island.

Eight of the fast battleships took part in Operation Flintlock, the invasion of the Marshalls (29 January 1944). North Carolina, South Dakota and Alabama provided an escort for TG58.3 (the carriers Essex, Intrepid and Cabot) and were positioned off Maloelap Atoll, which was strongly garrisoned by the Japanese, but bypassed by American land forces. The Alabama bombarded Roi on 29 January and Namur on 30 January, firing an impressive 330 rounds of 16in shells.

On 17-18 February 1944 six of the fast battleships took part in a raid on Truk. Alabama, Massachusetts, North Carolina and South Dakota provided the close escort for the carriers as part of TG 58.3.

In March 1944 the Alabama supported the carriers as they attacked the Caroline Islands. In April she supported attacks on the New Guinea coast and the invasion of Aitape.

On 1 May New Jersey, Iowa, Alabama, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Dakota and the newly repaired Indiana took part in a bombardment of Ponape in the Caroline Islands. After this the Massachusetts went for a refit.

Seven of the fast battleships were present at the Battle of the Philippine Sea (June 1944). New Jersey, Iowa, Alabama, Washington, North Carolina, South Dakota and Indiana formed TG58.7 (Battle Line), under Admiral Lee. Their role was to serve as a bombardment force during the invasion of the Mariana Islands and to engage any Japanese surface force that threatened the carriers. The battle itself proved to be an entirely aerial affair, and so although the battleships were attacked from the air they were never involved in a surface battle. The Alabama did play one important part in the battle where her radar was the first to detect the incoming Japanese aircraft on 19 June.

In July the Alabama served as the flagship of Rear Admiral E. W. Hanson, commander of Battleship Division 9, during the invasion of Guam. She also took part in the invasions of Palau, Ulithi and Yap in September.

In September-October 1944 the fast battleships New Jersey, Iowa, Alabama, Washington, Massachusetts and Indiana formed part of Task Force 38 during Admiral Halsey's series of raids on targets around the Philippine Sea. Alabama, Washington, Massachusetts and Indiana formed part of TG 38.3 under Admiral Lee.

This powerful US fleet attacked Palau (6-8 September), Mindanao (10 September), the Visayas (12-14 September) and Luzon (21-22 September). Japanese resistance to this raid was so weak that the Americans decided to bring the invasion of the Philippines forward from December to 20 October and to skip the southern islands and begin with an invasion of Leyte.

The fleet then carried out a second set of raids, this time hitting Okinawa (10 October), Luzon (11 October and 15 October) and Formosa (12-14 October). This time the Japanese responded in some force, but the resulting battle off Formosa (12-16 October 1944) was a crushing defeat for them. The Americans shot down over 600 Japanese aircraft, crippling their air power just before the battle of Leyte Gulf.

The fast battleships had a frustrating time during the Battle of Leyte Gulf (23-26 October 1944). At first they were split into three pairs. Iowa and New Jersey formed TG38.2. South Dakota and Massachusetts formed TG38.3. Washington and Alabama formed TG38.4. Each of these groups protected part of Halsey's carrier force, which was spread out to the north of Leyte Gulf. They faced two of the four Japanese fleets approaching for the 'decisive battle' - Kurita's powerful battleships, approaching from the west, and Ozawa's empty carriers, coming from the north. On 24 October Kurita's fleet came under constant air attack, and the super-battleship Musashi was sunk. Halsey was convinced that Kurita no longer posed a threat, and so when Ozawa's carriers were detected late in the day he decided to take his entire fleet north to deal with them. The six fast battleships were formed into Task Force 34, and were sent north to act as the vanguard of a dash towards the Japanese carriers.

Admiral Lee, commanding the battleships, protested against this move, believing correctly that it would allow Admiral Kurita to pass unopposed through the San Bernardino Strait and potentially attack the weaker US 7th Fleet in Leyte Gulf. Halsey overruled Lee's protests and the battleships headed north. During the morning of 25 October the fast battleships moved ever further to the north, away from Kurita's powerful force, which was now engaged in a desperate battle with a group of escort carriers (Battle of the Samar Sea). During the morning Halsey received a series of increasingly desperate calls for help from the south, but it was a message from Nimitz at Hawaii that eventually convinced him to send the battleships south.

At 10.55 Lee was ordered to head south at top speed, at which point he was only 42 nautical miles from the Japanese carriers (all of Ozawa's carriers were sunk by American aircraft in the battle of Cape Engano). By this time the worst of the crisis to the south was over, but Kurita was still in a potentially dangerous position off the east coast of the Philippines. Once again Lee missed the chance for a surface battle. Kurita retreated through the San Bernardino Strait at 10pm on 25 October and Lee arrived off the straits at 1am on 26 October. This was the last occasion on which US and Japanese battleships were close enough for a possible surface battle. For the rest of the war the fast battleships would perform a valuable role, mainly providing anti-aircraft fire to protect the carriers along with some shore bombardment, but they would never again have a chance to perform their main role of surface warfare.

In November-December the Alabama supported the invasion of Mindoro. She then returned to Puget Sound for a refit, and was in dry-dock from 18 January to 25 February 1945. She returned to the fleet in late April, and in May sailed to Okinawa to join the forces supporting the invasion. She was also used to provide cover for the carriers as they attacked the Ryukyus and Kyushu.

On 10 June she bombarded the island of Minami Daito Shima, then in July took part in bombardments of industrial targets around Tokyo and Honshu.

After the Japanese surrender the Alabama provided marines for the first occupation forces. She sailed into Tokyo Bay on 5 September, embarked men from the occupation forces and then left Japan on 20 September. She stopped at Okinawa to pick up 700 sailors and reached San Francisco on 15 October.

The Alabama was decommissioned in January 1947 and struck off the Navy List in 1962. She was preserved as a monument at Mobile, Alabama.

Displacement (standard)


Displacement (loaded)


Top Speed



15,000nm at 15kts

Armour – belt

12.2in on .875in STS

- lower belt

12.2in-1in on 0.875in STS

- armour deck

5.75in-6in with 1.5in weather deck and 0.625in splinter deck

- bulkheads


- barbettes


- turrets

18in face, 7.25in roof, 9.5in side, 12in rear, 16in CT




108ft 2in

Armaments as designed

Nine 16in/45 guns in triple turrets
Twenty 5in/38 guns in twin turrets
Twelve 1.1in guns in quadruple turrets
Twelve 0.5in guns
Three aircraft

Crew complement


Laid Down

1 February 1940


16 February 1942


16 August 1942



USS Alabama (BB 60)

USS ALABAMA was the fourth and final SOUTH DAKOTA - class Battleship and the third ship in the Navy named after the state. Decommissioned after 4 1/2 years of service, the ALABAMA spent the next years at the Bremerton Group, United States Pacific Reserve Fleet, at Bremerton, Wash, until stricken from the Navy list on June 1, 1962. On June 16, 1964, the ALABAMA was donated to the "USS ALABAMA Battleship Commission" and was subsequently towed to her permanent berth at Mobile, Ala., arriving in Mobile Bay on 14 September 1964. There, she serves as a museum.

General Characteristics: Keel laid: February 1, 1940
Launched: February 16, 1942
Commissioned: August 16, 1942
Decommissioned: January 9, 1947
Builder: Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Norfolk, Va.
Propulsion system: boilers, four Westinghouse geared turbines
Propellers: four
Length: 680.8 feet (207.5 meters)
Beam: 108 feet (32.9 meters)
Draft: 36 feet (11 meters)
Displacement: Light: approx. 38,000 tons
Displacement: Full: approx. 44,374 tons
Speed: 28 knots
Aircraft: three planes
Catapults: two
Crew: 2354 (War), 1793 (Peace)
Last armament: Nine 16-inch / 45 caliber guns twenty 5-inch / 38 caliber guns twenty-four 40 mm guns and twenty-two 20 mm guns

This section contains the names of sailors who served aboard USS ALABAMA. It is no official listing but contains the names of sailors who submitted their information.

Accidents aboard USS ALABAMA:

USS ALABAMA was laid down on 1 February 1940 by the Norfolk (Va.) Navy Yard launched on 16 February 1942 sponsored by Mrs. Lister Hill, wife of the senior Senator from Alabama and commissioned on 16 August 1942, Capt. George B. Wilson in command.

After fitting out, ALABAMA commenced her shakedown cruise in Chesapeake Bay on Armistice Day (11 November) 1942. As the year 1943 began, the new battleship headed north to conduct operational training out of Casco Bay, Maine. She returned to Chesapeake Bay on 11 January 1943 to carry out the last week of shakedown training. Following a period of availability and logistics support at Norfolk, ALABAMA was assigned to Task Group (TG) 22.2, and returned to Casco Bay for tactical maneuvers on 13 February 1943.

With the movement of substantial British strength toward the Mediterranean theater, to prepare for the invasion of Sicily, the Royal Navy lacked the heavy ships necessary to cover the northern convoy routes. The British appeal for help on those lines soon led to the temporary assignment of ALABAMA and USS SOUTH DAKOTA (BB 57) to the Home Feet.

On 2 April 1943, ALABAMA - as part of Task Force 22 sailed for the Orkney Islands with her sister ship and a screen of five destroyers. Proceeding via Little Placentia Sound, Argentia, Newfoundland, the battleship reached Scapa Flow on 19 May 1943, reporting for duty with TF 61 and becoming a unit of the British Home Fleet. She soon embarked on a period of intensive operational training to coordinate joint operations.

Early in June, ALABAMA and her sister ship, along with British Home Fleet units, covered the reinforcement of the garrison on the island of Spitzbergen, which lay on the northern flank of the convoy route to Russia, in an operation that took the ship across the Arctic Circle. Soon after her return to Scapa Flow, she was inspected by Admiral Harold R. Stark, Commander, United States Naval Forces, Europe.

Shortly thereafter, in July, ALABAMA participated in Operation Governor, a diversion aimed toward southern Norway, to draw German attention away from the real Allied thrust, toward Sicily. It had also been devised to attempt to lure out the German battleship TIRPITZ, the sister ship of the famed, but short-lived, BISMARCK, but the Germans did not rise to the challenge, and the enemy battleship remained in her Norwegian lair.

ALABAMA was detached from the British Home Fleet on 1 August 1943, and, in company with SOUTH DAKOTA and screening destroyers, sailed for Norfolk, arriving there on 9 August. For the next ten days, ALABAMA underwent a period of overhaul and repairs. This work completed, the battleship departed Norfolk on 20 August 1943 for the Pacific. Transiting the Panama Canal five days later, she dropped anchor in Havannah Harbor, at Efate, in the New Hebrides, on 14 September.

Following a month and a half of exercises and training, with fast carrier task groups, the battleship moved to Fiji on 7 November. ALABAMA sailed on 11 November 1943 to take part in Operation Galvanic, the assault on the Japanese-held Gilbert Islands. She screened the fast carriers as they launched attacks on Jaluit and Mille atolls, Marshall Islands, to neutralize Japanese airfields located there. ALABAMA supported landings on Tarawa on 20 November and later took part in the securing of Betio and Makin. On the night of 26 November, ALABAMA twice opened fire to drive off enemy aircraft that approached her formation.

On 8 December 1943, ALABAMA, along with five other fast battleships, carried out the first Pacific gunfire strike conducted by that type of warship. ALABAMA's guns hurled 535 rounds into enemy strong points, as she and her sister ships bombarded Nauru Island, an enemy phosphate-producing center, causing severe damage to shore installations there. She also took the destroyer USS BOYD (DD 644), alongside after that ship had received a direct hit from a Japanese shore battery on Nauru, and brought three injured men on board for treatment.

She then escorted the carriers USS BUNKER HILL (CV 17) and USS MONTEREY (CVL 26) back to Efate, arriving on 12 December. ALABAMA departed the New Hebrides for Pearl Harbor on 5 January 1944, arrived on the 12th, and underwent a brief drydocking at the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard. After replacement of her port outboard propeller, and routine maintenance, ALABAMA was again underway to return to action in the Pacific.

ALABAMA reached Funafuti, Ellice Islands, on 21 January 1944, and there rejoined the fleet. Assigned to Task Group (TG) 58.2, which was formed around ESSEX (CV 9), ALABAMA left the Ellice Islands on 25 January to help carry out Operation Flintlock, the invasion of the Marshall Islands. ALABAMA, along with sister ship SOUTH DAKOTA and the fast battleship USS NORTH CAROLINA (BB 55), bombarded Roi on 29 January and Namur on 30 January she hurled 330 rounds of 16-inch and 1,562 of 5-inch toward Japanese targets, destroying planes, airfield facilities, blockhouses, buildings, and gun emplacements. Over the following days of the campaign, ALABAMA patrolled the area north of Kwajalein Atoll. On 12 February 1944, ALABAMA sortied with the BUNKER HILL task group to launch attacks on Japanese installations, aircraft and shipping at Truk. Those raids, launched on 16 and 17 February, caused heavy damage to enemy shipping concentrated at that island base.

Leaving Truk ALABAMA began steaming toward the Marianas to assist in strikes on Tinian, Saipan and Guam. During this action, while repelling enemy air attacks on 21 February 1944, 5-inch mount no. 9 accidentally fired into mount no. 5. Five men died, and 11 were wounded in the mishap.

After the strikes were completed on 22 February, ALABAMA conducted a sweep looking for crippled enemy ships southeast of Saipan, and eventually returned to Majuro on 26 February 1944. There she served temporarily as flagship for Vice Admiral Marc A. Mitscher, Commander, TF 58, from 3 to 8 March.

ALABAMA's next mission was to screen the fast carriers as they hurled air strikes against Japanese positions on Palau, Yap, Ulithi, and Woleai, Caroline Islands. She steamed from Majuro on 22 March 1944 with TF 58 in the screen of USS YORKTOWN (CV 10), On the night of 29 March, about six enemy planes approached TG 58.3, in which ALABAMA was operating, and four broke off to attack ships in the vicinity of the battleship. ALABAMA downed one unassisted, and helped in the destruction of another.

On 30 March, planes from TF 58 began bombing Japanese airfields, shipping, fleet servicing facilities, and other installations on the islands of Palau, Yap, Ulithi and Woleai. During that day, ALABAMA again provided antiaircraft fire whenever enemy planes appeared. At 2044 on the 30th, a single plane approached TG 58.3, but ALABAMA and other ships drove it off before it could cause any damage.

The battleship returned briefly to Majuro, before she sailed on 13 April with TF 58, this time in the screen of USS ENTERPRISE (CV 6). In the next three weeks, TF 58 hit enemy targets on Hollandia, Wakde, Sawar, and Sarmi along the New Guinea coast covered Army landings at Aitape, Tanahmerah Bay, and Humboldt Bay and conducted further strikes on Truk.

As part of the preliminaries to the invasion of the Marianas, ALABAMA, in company with five other fast battleships, shelled the large island of Ponape, in the Carolines, the site of a Japanese airfield and sea lane base. As ALABAMA's Capt. Fred T. Kirtland subsequently noted, the bombardment, of 70 minutes' duration, was conducted in a "leisurely manner." ALABAMA then returned to Majuro on 4 May 1944 to prepare for the invasion of the Marianas.

After a month spent in exercises and refitting, ALABAMA again got under way with TF 58 to participate in Operation Forager. On 12 June, ALABAMA screened the carriers striking Saipan. On 13 June, ALABAMA took part in a six-hour preinvasion bombardment of the west coast of Saipan, to soften the defenses and cover the initial minesweeping operations. Her spotting planes reported that her salvoes had caused great destruction and fires in Garapan town. Though the shelling appeared successful, it proved a failure due to the lack of specialized training and experience required for successful shore bombardment. Strikes continued as troops invaded Saipan on 15 June.

On 19 June, during the Battle of the Philippine Sea, ALABAMA operated with TG 58.7, providing antiaircraft support for the fast carriers against attacking Japanese aircraft. The ships of TF 58 claimed 27 enemy planes downed during the course of the action which later came to be known as the "Marianas Turkey Shoot."

In the first raid that approached ALABAMA's formation, only two planes managed to penetrate to attack her sister ship SOUTH DAKOTA, scoring one bomb hit that caused minor damage. An hour later a second wave, composed largely of torpedo bombers, bore in, but ALABAMA's barrage discouraged two planes from attacking SOUTH DAKOTA. The intense concentration paid to the incoming torpedo planes left one dive bomber nearly undetected, and it managed to drop its load near ALABAMA the two small bombs were near-misses, and caused no damage.

American submarines sank two Japanese carriers and Navy pilots claimed a third carrier. American pilots and antiaircraft gunners had seriously depleted Japanese naval air power. Out of the 430 planes with which the enemy had commenced the Battle of the Philippine Sea, only 35 remained operational afterward.

ALABAMA continued patrolling areas around the Marianas to protect the American landing forces on Saipan, screening the east carriers as they struck enemy shipping, aircraft, and shore installations on Guam, Tinian, Rota, and Saipan. She then retired to the Marshalls for upkeep.

ALABAMA - as flagship for Rear Admiral E. W. Hanson, Commander, Battleship Division 9 - left Eniwetok on 14 July 1944, sailing with the task group formed around USS BUNKER HILL. She screened the fast carriers as they conducted preinvasion attacks and support of the landings on the island of Guam on 21 July. She returned briefly to Eniwetok on 11 August. On 30 August she got underway in the screen of USS ESSEX (CV 9) to carry out Operation Stalemate II, the seizure of Palau, Ulithi, and Yap. On 6 through 8 September, the forces launched strikes on the Carolinas.

ALABAMA departed the Carolines to sail to the Philippines and provided cover for the carriers striking the islands of Cebu, Leyte, Bohol and Negros from 12 to 14 September. The carriers launched strikes on shipping and installations in the Manila Bay area on 21 and 22 September, and in the central Philippines area on 24 September. ALABAMA retired briefly to Saipan on 28 September, then proceeded to Ulithi on 1 October 1944.

On 6 October 1944 ALABAMA sailed with TF 38 to support the liberation of the Philippines. Again operating as part of a fast carrier task group, ALABAMA protected the flattops while they launched strikes on Japanese facilities at Okinawa, in the Pescadores and Formosa.

Detached from the Formosa area on 14 October to sail toward Luzon, the fast battleship again used her antiaircraft batteries in support of the carriers as enemy aircraft attempted to attack the formation. ALABAMA's gunners claimed three enemy aircraft shot down and a fourth damaged. By 15 October, ALABAMA was supporting landing operations on Leyte. She then screened the carriers as they conducted air strikes on Cebu, Negros, Panay, northern Mindanao, and Leyte on 21 October 1944.

ALABAMA, as part of the ENTERPRISE screen, supported air operations against the Japanese Southern Force in the area off Suriago Strait then moved north to strike the powerful Japanese Central Force heading for San Bernardino Strait. After receiving reports of a third Japanese force, the battleship served in the screen of the fast carrier task force as it sped to Cape Engano. On 24 October, although American air strikes destroyed four Japanese carriers in the Battle off Cape Engano, the Japanese Central Force under Admiral Kurita had transited San Bernardino Strait and emerged off the coast of Samar, where it fell upon a task group of American escort carriers and their destroyer and destroyer escort screen. ALABAMA reversed her course and headed for Samar to assist the greatly outnumbered American forces, but the Japanese had retreated by the time she reached the scene. She then joined the protective screen for the ESSEX task group to hit enemy forces in the central Philippines before retiring to Ulithi on 30 October 1944 for replenishment.

Underway again on 3 November 1944, ALABAMA screened the fast carriers as they carried out sustained strikes against Japanese airfields, and installations on Luzon to prepare for a landing on Mindoro Island. She spent the next few weeks engaged in operations against the Visayas and Luzon before retiring to Ulithi on 24 November.

The first half of December 1944 found ALABAMA engaged in various training exercises and maintenance routines. She left Ulithi on 10 December, and reached the launching point for air strikes on Luzon on 14 December, as the fast carrier task forces launched aircraft to carry out preliminary strikes on airfields on Luzon that could threaten the landings slated to take place on Mindoro. From 14 to 16 December, a veritable umbrella of carrier aircraft covered the Luzon fields, preventing any enemy planes from getting airborne to challenge the Mindoro-bound convoys. Having completed her mission, she left the area to refuel on 17 December but, as she reached the fueling rendezvous, began encountering heavy weather. By daybreak on the 18th, rough seas and harrowing conditions rendered a fueling at sea impossible 50 knot winds caused ships to roll heavily. ALABAMA experienced rolls of 30 degrees, had both her Vought Kingfisher float planes so badly damaged that they were of no further value, and received minor damage to her structure. At one point in the typhoon, ALABAMA recorded wind gusts up to 83 knots. Three destroyers, USS HULL (DD 350), USS MONAGHAN (DD 354), and USS SPENCE (DD 512), were lost to the typhoon. By 19 December, the storm had run its course and ALABAMA arrived back at Ulithi on 24 December. After pausing there briefly, ALABAMA continued on to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, for overhaul.

The battleship entered drydock on 18 January 1945, and remained there until 25 February. Work continued until 17 March, when ALABAMA got underway for standardization trials and refresher training along the southern California coast. She got underway for Pearl Harbor on 4 April, arrived there on 10 April, and held a week of training exercises. She then continued on to Ulithi and moored there on 28 April 1945.

ALABAMA departed Ulithi with TF 58 on 9 May 1945, bound for the Ryukyus, to support forces which had landed on Okinawa on 1 April 1945, and to protect the fast carriers as they launched air strikes on installations in the Ryukyus and on Kyushu. On 14 May, several Japanese planes penetrated the combat air patrol to get at the carriers one crashed Vice Admiral Mitscher's flagship. ALABAMA's guns splashed two, and assisted in splashing two more.

Subsequently, ALABAMA rode out a typhoon on 4 and 5 June, suffering only superficial damage while the nearby heavy cruiser USS PITTSBURGH (CA 70) lost her bow. ALABAMA subsequently bombarded the Japanese island of Minami Daito Shima, with other fast battleships, on 10 June 1945 and then headed for Leyte Gulf later in June to prepare to strike at the heart of Japan with the 3rd Fleet.

On 1 July 1945, ALABAMA and other Third Fleet units got underway for the Japanese home islands. Throughout the month of July 1945, ALABAMA carried out strikes on targets in industrial areas of Tokyo and other points on Honshu, Hokkaido, and Kyushu on the night of 17 and 18 July, ALABAMA, and other fast battleships in the task group, carried out the first night bombardment of six major industrial plants in the Hitachi-Mito area of Honshu, about eight miles northeast of Tokyo. On board ALABAMA to observe the operation was retired Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd, the famed polar explorer.

On 9 August, ALABAMA transferred a medical party to the destroyer USS AULT (DD 698), for further transfer to the destroyer BORIE (DD 704). The latter had been kamikazied on that date and required prompt medical aid on her distant picket station.

The end of the war found ALABAMA still at sea, operating off the southern coast of Honshu. On 15 August 1945, she received word of the Japanese capitulation. During the initial occupation of the Yokosuka-Tokyo area, ALABAMA transferred detachments of marines and bluejackets for temporary duty ashore her bluejackets were among the first from the fleet to land. She also served in the screen of the carriers as they conducted reconnaissance flights to locate prisoner-of-war camps.

ALABAMA entered Tokyo Bay on 5 September to receive men who had served with the occupation forces, and then departed Japanese waters on 20 September. At Okinawa, she embarked 700 sailors - principally members of Navy construction battalions (or "Seabees") for her part in the "Magic Carpet" operations. She reached San Francisco at mid-day on 15 October, and on Navy Day (27 October 1945) hosted 9,000 visitors. She then shifted to San Pedro, Calif., on 29 October. ALABAMA remained at San Pedro through 27 February 1946, when she left for the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for inactivation overhaul. ALABAMA was decommissioned on 9 January 1947, at the Naval Station, Seattle, and was assigned to the Bremerton Group, United States Pacific Reserve Fleet. She remained there until struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 1 June 1962.

Citizens of the state of Alabama had formed the "USS ALABAMA Battleship Commission" to raise funds for the preservation of ALABAMA as a memorial to the men and women who served in World War II. The ship was awarded to that state on 16 June 1964, and was formally turned over on 7 July 1964 in ceremonies at Seattle. ALABAMA was then towed to her permanent berth at Mobile, Ala., arriving in Mobile Bay on 14 September 1964.


The Navy brought USS Alabama into service with her commission in August 1942. For her first year of service, she patrolled Atlantic waters guarding against German movements. In August 1943, the ship reported for duty in the Pacific. During the late part of that year, the ship participated in the invasion of the Gilbert Islands. The following year saw her in action at the Marshall Islands, the Marianas, and Leyte. USS Alabama participated in the Battles of the Philippine Sea and the Leyte Gulf. She had parts in raids in other parts of the Pacific as well.

Early 1945 saw the ship getting an overhaul and participating in training missions. She returned to action to participate in attacks on the Japanese islands. She was there to occupy Japan after the surrender. After the war, she helped bring troops home to the West Coast. The Navy decommissioned her in January 1947. The ship’s second home was as part of the Reserve Fleet for the next fifteen years. In June 1962, the Navy removed USS Alabama from the Naval Vessel Register. A couple of years later, the ship became the property of the State of Alabama. The state berthed the ship permanently at Mobile, Alabama and she remains there today.

USS Alabama (BB-60)

Authored By: Dan Alex | Last Edited: 11/20/2019 | Content © | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The American Navy became one of the most powerful fighting forces in the world during World War 2 (1939-1945) and American industry played a large and important role in supplying the Allies during their marches on Rome, Berlin, and Tokyo. While the aircraft carrier became the undisputed "King of the Sea" during the war, the United States Navy (USN) also invested in a massive submarine force and continued to provide newer and better battleship designs into the war's final months. In the case of the latter, the South Dakota-class was established that would number four total warships - USS South Dakota (BB-57), USS Indiana (BB-58), USS Massachusetts (BB-59), and USS Alabama (BB-60). The warships displaced in the 35,000-ton range under standard loads, held a primary battery of nine 16" main guns, and could field two floatplane reconnaissance-minded aircraft. All of the class managed to survive the war with two ending as preserved museums (USS Massachusetts and USS Alabama).

USS Alabama was to lead a storied career in the war effort when she was ordered on April 1st, 1939. World War 2 was not to officially begin until September of that year but the signs on the horizon were clear to many and shipbuilding programs around the globe smashed the naval limitations observed since the close of World War 1 (1914-1918). America's number one enemy would undoubtedly become the Empire of Japan in the West so naval superiority proved the call of the day.

Norfolk Naval Shipyard was tabbed with the new vessel's construction which saw her keel laid down on February 1st, 1940. With the December 7th, 1941 surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii by the Japanese Navy, America officially entered the war on the side of the Allies, ramping up its industry and manpower into and during 1942. While Germany would become the primary enemy for the United States-and-Britain-led coalition in Europe going forward, resources were also being gathered for combating the Japanese in the Pacific. USS Alabama was launched on February 16th, 1942 and formally commissioned into USN service on August 16th of that year.

As built, Alabama exhibited the standard 35,000-ton load and featured a length of 680 feet, a beam of 108.2 feet, and a draught of 36.2 feet. She was powered by oil-fired steam turbines which drove 130,000 horsepower to four shafts. Speeds could reach 27.5 knots in ideal conditions and range was out to 15,000 nautical miles (17,000 miles / 28,000 km). All told, her crew complement numbered 1,793 officers and enlisted. Alabama carried two recoverable Vought OS2U "Kingfisher" floatplanes to be used in the over-the-horizon reconnaissance and gun-directing roles.

Her primary armament was 9 x 16" (406mm) /45 caliber Mark 6 main guns installed as three gun tubes arranged across three total turrets - two held forward of the hull superstructure and one held aft. This provided the vessel with a powerful broadside and still-effective firepower at other engagement angles. To this was added 20 x 5" (127mm) /38 caliber support guns used when the sixteen inch weapons were deemed overkill. For anti-aircraft defense, the vessel was outfitted with 24 x 40mm Bofors autocannons and up to 22 x 20mm Oerlikon cannons. These weapons would become the last line of defense against attacking dive bombers, torpedo planes, and kamikaze strikes. With her entire armament suite (aided by radar), Alabama could be called upon to engage enemy warships directly or support amphibious landings through offshore bombardment of land-based targets. The 16" guns packed plenty of firepower and range for either action.

Alabama's initial action was as part of the British fleet in the Mediterranean in support of the invasion of Sicily during 1943. She then served in "Operation Government" off the southern coast of Norway. Her presence there failed to draw the German battleship KMS Tirpitz out of harbor. She arrived at Virginia in August of 1943 where she was given an overhaul before being called to her next assignment in Pacific waters. She reached the theater by way of the Panama Canal, passing through in August, and arrived at Havannah Harbor of Efate Island in the southwest pacific for mid-September.

Alabama conducted several training actions and took part in exercises during this lull. She served in the Gilbert Islands assault through "Operation Galvanic" during November and supported Marine landings on the Tarawa Atoll and Army landings at Makin Atoll. Beyond her big guns leveling inland positions, her AA defense network threatened Japanese aircraft in the area. Her guns were then brought to bear against enemy positions at Nauru Island. USS Alabama served as escort for the carriers USS Bunker Hull and USS Monterey before arriving herself at Pearl for a period of refit and overhaul during January of 1944. Before the end of the month, she was engaged with other warships in "Operation Flintlock" in the Marshall Islands region and then lent her support to American carriers in transit. This lasted until February 1944. A short patrol session ended with nothing of note.

Assigned as part of Task Force 58 (TF58), Alabama once against screen American carriers and managed to down several incoming enemy aircraft. On March 30th, Allied air raids were undertaken on several islands against enemy positions with Alabama providing support. Her guns covered Army amphibious landings on New Guinea in April and steamed with aircraft carriers during attacks on the Truk Atoll. She then joined other warships in leveling Ponape prior to the amphibious assault on the Marianas. The invasion followed through "Operation Forager".

USS Alabama took part in the Battle of the Philippine Sea, marking the last major aircraft carrier engagement of the war. The vessel provided a stout defense with her AA guns as the battle evolved to become the "Marianas Turkey Shoot" - scoring the Allies some 400 enemy warplanes downed in the action while the Japanese Navy were also to suffer the loss of three complete aircraft carriers - this turned the tide of naval power in the Pacific in favor of the Allies.

Alabama served in the bombardment role at Guam, Tinian, and Saipan thereafter and supported the Guam landings during July of 1944 before engaging enemy forces at the Carolines in September. She covered the liberation of the Philippines and supported carriers engaging targets in Okinawa and Taiwan. The warship was in drydock by the end of January 1945 and was put to sea as soon as March to which she trained personnel and tested new installations. This took her from California to Pearl and, finally, to Ulithi for April. Her guns aided in the Okinawa landings that month and she survived a deadly typhoon in June. For July, she joined other American warships en route to the Japanese mainland for the final assault to end the Pacific War. She supported air raids on key Japanese industrial centers during this time.

The Japanese Empire fell in August of 1945 and this found Alabama near Honshu. During the period, she helped to land Marines on Japanese soil before entering Tokyo Bay on September 5th. She took on troops and sailed for Okinawa where she brought aboard several hundreds more for the return trip to the United States ("Operation Magic Carpet"). She was deactivated in 1946 and formally decommissioned on January 9th, 1947. She was then laid up as part of the Pacific Reserve Fleet before being removed from the Naval Register on June 1st, 1962.

For her service in World War 2, Alabama earned a total of nine Battle Stars. Her nickname became "Lucky A".

A civilian-led initiative of 1963 ultimately saved Alabama from the scrap heap to become a floating museum in 1964. She remains a tourist destination today (2015) alongside the attack submarine USS Drum (SS-228) and many aircraft and armor exhibits in Mobile Bay, Alabama.

USS Alabama stood in for another World War 2-era veteran warship, USS Missouri (BB-63), in the 1992 Steven Seagal motion picture "Under Siege". USS Drum (SS-228), stood in for the French-made North Korean attack submarine in the same film. USS Alabama was also used in the television mini-series "War and Remembrance" and the 1942 Abbott and Costello motion picture "In the Navy".

USS Alabama, BB60

Post by _Derfflinger_ » Tue Aug 30, 2005 10:20 pm

Bad news. Among many other terrible things, Hurricane Katrina did some damage to the USS Alabama, BB60, and her surroundings. See the following news release from Mobile's Battleship Memorial Park:


USS ALABAMA Battleship Memorial Park has suffered immense damage from Hurricane Katrina as the killer storm ripped through the Central Gulf Coast area during the morning hours on Monday, August 29, 2005. A storm surge of at least 10 feet coupled with triple digit winds has dealt the Park a crippling blow. The unofficial surge is the largest ever recorded in Mobile Bay.

Initial damage assessments show that Battleship ALABAMA (BB-60) has shifted position and is listing some 5+/- degrees to the portside or landside. The aft concrete gangway leading up to the ship has been critically damaged. The Aircraft Pavilion has significant damage to all sides and may be a complete loss. Many aircraft and displays inside the Pavilion have been severely damaged. Submarine USS DRUM (SS-228) has apparently suffered little, if any, damage.

Although the Pavilion and Gift Shop were completely boarded for protection, Katrina’s winds, with a 108 mile-per-hour blast recorded at the Park while the Wind Guage was still operational, ripped the boards from both buildings. Breaches to the Pavilion exterior are numerous. The Gift Shop glass walls were broken, with two feet plus of water in the building, which houses the Ticket Office, Gift Shop, Inventory Stock Room, and Snack Bar.

As this report is being written in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane passing through Mobile, a minimum of five feet of water covers the entire Park as well as Battleship Parkway. Water is lapping at the bottom of the I-10 bridges. Downtown Mobile has severe flooding.

The entire Battleship family, which includes Park employees, Battleship Commission members, and especially her World War II crewmen, are optimistic about the Park's recovery. Park officials have pledged a full restoration to make the Park bigger and better in light of this natural disaster.

A more detailed release will be posted after a more in-depth analysis when water goes down in the Park and Internet access is available.

Even though "Big Al" is obviously stoutly built, one had to be concerned about her watertight integrity. I'm wondering if they were able to close up everything, and if all the watertight doors still were. She obviously took on some water as she has a 5-degree list to port. And, there is no doubt that a ten-plus foot wall of water will move a battleship! The surge wave hit her on the starboard side.

The Story Of This Haunted Alabama Ship Will Send Shivers Down Your Spine

The USS Alabama (BB-60) was the sixth ship of the United States Navy and served in World War II. This 680-foot ship, also known as “Lucky A,” was launched in 1942 and brought to Mobile Bay in 1965. Today, the USS Alabama (BB-60) operates as a museum. If you decide to visit this historic attraction, you may get much more than you paid for. To better understand what I mean, read on.

While the USS Alabama (BB-60) was under construction, two men died in the Norfolk shipyard. After launching in 1942, the ship served for 37 months without any fatalities due to enemy fire. However, death under friendly fire claimed the lives of eight men. These mens’ bodies were left unrecognizable.

Many visitors of the USS Alabama (BB-60) have reported hearing and seeing strange things. For example, several visitors have heard footsteps coming towards them. When they turned around, nobody was there. Many visitors have also reported seeing apparitions in the cooks’ galley and the officers’ quarters. The solid steel hatches have also been seen shutting on their own. What seems to be going on is the men who died aboard the ship have never left.

Brief History

The USS Alabama is a battleship and was the sixth ship of the United States Navy which was named after the state of Alabama. It was commissioned in 1942 and served in the Atlantic during the Second World War. She was decommissioned in 1947 and assigned to reserve duty. She was finally retired in 1962 and in 1964 the ship was taken to Mobile Bay and became a museum ship. It was added to the National Historic Landmark registry in 1986.

During the Second World War, USS Alabama escorted aircraft carriers bombarded Nauru Island and treated the wounded sailors. The ship is now a memorial to the men and women who served and lost their lives during the war. It was towed to its permanent location in 1964. It opened as a museum on the 9 th of January 1965. Visitors can view the inside of the main gun turrets, as well as anti-aircraft guns.

The ship has been recently used as a hurricane shelter in recent years and during Hurricane Katrina, it suffered damage. USS Alabama has been used for most of the battleship scenes of the movie Under Siege. It was also used as a stand-in for USS Iowa in the television series War and Remembrance.

Museum Ships on the Air

More information about the USS Alabama and Battleship Memorial Park may be found at the official web site.

Operating frequencies will be on or around those recommended for the MSOTA event. See the Battleship New Jersey Amateur Radio Station web site for details. Modes will be determined closer to the event. Additional details may be posted here as plans become more definite.

QSL to N4TRB with SASE or via the buro.

Operation will take place from aboard the battleship and we welcome visitors. Licensed amateur radio operators are encouraged to contact the station. Visitors of all ages are welcome to drop by the operating position to share their experiences and perhaps make a ham radio contact under the supervision of a licensed control operator.

For more information, please contact N4TRB: n4trb 'at'

The team at BB-60 had a wild and crazy weekend and we're all partially deaf from dealing with the noise particularly on 40 and 20 but overall the event was a success with over 800 contacts. I placed my order for QSL cards with Gennady on June 9th and once they arrive I will send them out in the order that I receive SASEs. Here's what it looks like:

I greatly appreciate all who made contact with W4A as well as those of you who weren't able to make it through. It's heartbreaking to be on this end of a pileup (for a change) and not be able to pull out everyone from the noise. I'm usually the guy with a little signal in a big pileup and I'm grateful when the DX op takes the time to work me. So if you called and didn't make a contact, it wasn't because we weren't trying.

For a bit more on the USS Alabama, here's a link to additional images from other visits.

Battleship Facts: the "talking notes" for operators to have facts at hand. This is a Microsoft Word document.

Visitor Handout: duplex 8.5 x 11 handout explaining Museum Ships on the Air, Amateur Radio, and the Historic Naval Ships Association (HNSA). This is also a Microsoft Word document.

World War Photos

The stern of the battleship USS Alabama Launch of battleship USS Alabama at the Norfolk Navy Yard – 16 February 1942 Snow falling over 16 Inch guns of battleship USS Alabama 1944 Launch of U.S. Navy battleship USS Alabama BB-60 at the Norfolk Navy Yard.16 February 1942
Battleship USS Alabama BB-60 Battleships USS Alabama USS North Carolina and light aircraft carrier USS Cowpens
  • On Deck USS Alabama – Al Adcock, Squadron/Signal Publications 1999 On Deck 1
  • Kent Whitaker, Bill Tunnell – USS Alabama, Images of America
  • Grzegorz Nowak – Amerykanski pancernik USS Alabama, Profile Morskie 18 (polish)
  • USS Alabama (BB60) – Leeward Publications Ship’s data 2
  • U.S. Battleships in Action, Part 2 – Robert C. Stern, Don Greer Squadron/Signal Publications Warships No. 4
  • U.S. Battleships: An Illustrated Design History – Norman Friedman Naval Institute Press 1985
  • The Age of the Battleship 1890-1922
  • Battleships The First Big Guns, Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives (Images of War) – Philip Kaplan
  • Battleships – Peter Hore Lorenz Books 2005
  • Battleships: United States Battleships, 1935-1992 – Naval Institute Press 1995
  • Battleships: An Illustrated History of Their Impact – Stanley Sandler
  • All the World’s Battleships: 1906 to the Present – Ian Sturton Conway Maritime Press 2000

Site statistics:
photos of World War 2 : over 31500
aircraft models: 184
tank models: 95
vehicle models: 92
gun models: 5
units: 2
ships: 49

World War Photos 2013-2021, contact: info(at)

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The Navy brought USS Alabama into service with her commission in August 1942. For her first year of service, she patrolled Atlantic waters guarding against German movements. In August 1943, the ship reported for duty in the Pacific. During the late part of that year, the ship participated in the invasion of the Gilbert Islands. The following year saw her in action at the Marshall Islands, the Marianas, and Leyte. USS Alabama participated in the Battles of the Philippine Sea and the Leyte Gulf. She had parts in raids in other parts of the Pacific as well.

Early 1945 saw the ship getting an overhaul and participating in training missions. She returned to action to participate in attacks on the Japanese islands. She was there to occupy Japan after the surrender. After the war, she helped bring troops home to the West Coast. The Navy decommissioned her in January 1947. The ship’s second home was as part of the Reserve Fleet for the next fifteen years. In June 1962, the Navy removed USS Alabama from the Naval Vessel Register. A couple of years later, the ship became the property of the State of Alabama. The state berthed the ship permanently at Mobile, Alabama and she remains there today.

February 21, 1944Marianas, Pacific