USS Alabama
A Virtual Tour

USS Alabama Virtual Tour

USS AlabamaSmall.jpg

Bird's Eye View


Click the photo for an interactive "Bird's Eye View"












Work Begins on the USS Alabama Battleship


The Battleship, USS Alabama, was built at the Norfolk Navy Yard in Portsmouth, Virginia.

Work began on the massive ship in February, 1940.









Ship Construction


The construction of the ship took two years. When completed, the USS Alabama was 680 feet long. The ship was194 feet tall. Fully loaded for battle, the ship weighed 45,000 tons – that's a lot of pounds, isn't it?










Launching the Ship


The launch of this huge vessel involved 36 precisely timed steps over twelve hours on February 16, 1942.












Propulsion System

paste_image6.jpg The USS Alabama's propulsion system used oil-fired steam turbines to turn four propeller shafts. It had a cruising speed of 27.5 knots. Would you like to drive or ride in a car going at this speed?









The Battleship Crew


The battleship had a crew of 127 officers and 2,205 enlisted men and served in World War II in both the European and Pacific theaters of World War II.










Battleship Museum




The USS Alabama was docked in Mobile Bay in 1964 and opened the following year as a museum.

Ship's Top Deck


Visitors are permitted to tour most of the vessel, including living quarters, engine rooms, the main gun turrets and anti-aircraft guns.









A Floating City



While at sea, the battleship USS Alabama had to be self-sufficientand function like a floating city this included having its own power system, as well as support facilities like restaurants, guest accomodations, and medical facilities.


Second Deck - Mess Deck


The second deck, called the "Mess Deck" served three meals a day to the 2500 men on the ship.








Eating in Shifts



The mess crew worked in four shifts to prepare food for all the men onboard the chip. Meals for the chief petty officers, petty officers and enlisted men were free.










Eating at Battle Stations


Bag lunches were distributed at breakfast and the crew ate lunch at battle stations when combat was expected.











Thousands of Dishes and Utensils

Twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, thousands of dishes and eating utensils had to be cleaned and stored. Meals were free but they paid a few dollars a month extra for special food items not part of the regular crew's ration. 



Waste Disposal

Food waste and other garbage was ground up in the machines pictured below and flushed away underwater. This procedure ensured that refuse disposal would not leave a trail behind the ship divulging its location to enemy aircraft or submarines.


Chief Petty Officers


The 53 chief petty officers on board held the highest non-commissioned rank in the Navy. These officers had their own cook and staff of attendants that served them in their own private mess.










Beds were suspended from the ceiling and stacked three and four high! Although efficient, these accomodations offered the crew members no privacy. In the alternate arrangement on the right, crew bunks were tightly arranged in a very narrow space.



The Chief Master of Arms

The Chief Master at Arms occupied separate quarters nearby. His duty was to maintain discipline and order on board.



The Business Office

paste_image22.jpg Some areas were set up as business offices for record keeping and accounting perferred by "yeomen." The technology of the day was the manual typewriter. This was long before computers and copy machines were available for use. Can you spot the typewriter?









Paying the Crew




Payrolls and accounts were handled in the ship's Disbursing Office, which served as a bank. Monthly payroll was about $400,000; so, large amounts of cash were kept in the ship's safes. The men who worked in the office slept in beds suspended from the wall

Movies for Recreation




When not in combat, movies were shown every night on the deck of the ship. In bad weather films were shown in the crew's mess hall. The photo on the right shows the Motion Picture Locker where movie projectors and film were stored.

Doors and Hatches


Water-tight doors positioned at intervals along the ship's corridors protected the ship against flooding if combat activities breached the hull of the ship.

There were also water-tight hatches to seal the openings to the ship's lower deck. This particular hatch was normally open when in port and during routine cruising, but kept closed during battle.



Command Information Center


The Combat Information Center was on the lower deck. All battle information was analyzed here where the ship could be navigated by radar.Battle information from this room was constantly communicated to the Captain, the Admiral's command center and other ships in the task force.



Damage Control Center

Repair parties of highly trained sailors were located throughout the ship to repair damage during battle. Their actions were coordinated from the Damage Control Center under the command of the Engineer Officer or First Lieutenant.


Central Station

The ship could be steered from the Central Station which was the Executive Officer's battle station.


Communications on the Ship


The Central Station contained communications equipment connected to every part of the ship and housed one of two master gyroscopic compasses on board.

This is a picture of the ship's Main Communication Station. Incoming messages were typed on these typewriters and then delivered to the recipient.



Sick Bay and Specialists' Clinics

The ship's Sick Bay included complete medical facilities. The eye, ear, nose and throat specialists' clinic is pictured on the right.



Medical Facilities Onboard the Ship


This duty Doctor's Office served as the interview and examination location for patients. The ship's doctors included specialists from all fields of medicine. Three dental officers and one an oral surgeon took care of the crew's teeth.



The Dispensary

The Dispensary was a complete drug store prescription department.


Caring for the Sick and Wounded



The Sick Bay was a completely equipped and staffed hospital. Wounded men from smaller ships were often brought to the USS Alabama for treatment. The ship's operating room was fully equipped and included complete x-ray facilities.

Lower Deck

One of four machinery spaces was located on the lowest deck.


Powering the Ship




The two turbines in this room drove one of the four propeller shafts. Each set of turbines in the other three machinery rooms drove a propeller shaft.

Electrical Needs of the Ship


The turbines also generated the alternating current that provided for the ship's electrical needs.



Ammunition Handling Room

This is a picture of the lower handling room for 5-inch gun mounts numbers one and three. Inside this room all explosive cartridges of powder and projectiles were secured to the deck.




Ammunition - Big and Small


Due to the volitility of explosives all ammunition had to be kept dry and handled with extreme caution. During combat operations, projectiles and power cartridges were placed one after another into the hoists and sent to the handling room directly below the gun mount.



An Officers' Stateroom




This is a picture of an officers' stateroom. There were usually two officers per room when the ship was fully staffed for combat duty.

Officer's Quarters

Officers' rooms were spacious compared to the crew quarters.


The Captain's Accomodations


Most spacious of all was the Captain's cabin. The Captain also was assigned a room to hold meetings, dinners, or to entertain senior officers and visiting guests.





On the upper deck, USS Alabama visitors can get a close-up view of the ship's weaponry.



Other Weapons


This is a picture of an anti-aircraft gunsight.

The 16-inch big gun could shoot a 2,700 pound shell and strike a target up to 21 miles away.



No Loss of Life from Enemy Fire



The USS Alabama was in many battles during its 37 months of active duty during the World War II, but suffered only five non-combat fatalities.










Battlefield Memorial Park


Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile is an amazing firsthand look at an important era in America's military history.










 Hyperlink to Ordering Activity 


This inquiry based lesson gives students the opportunity to acquire and practice map skills while applying the knowledge to real life experience based on the USS Alabama Battleship.

This is a whole group inquiry lesson that is largely, but not entirely, technology-based. Through the use of a PhotoStory-created movie, students will learn about several basic concepts related to life in Alabama during World War II. More specifically, aspects of life that affected children growing up during this time will be discussed.

This lesson, from National Geographic' Xpeditions, introduces students to the reasons why the United States became involved in World War II and asks them to consider the reasons Japan decided to attack Pearl Harbor. Students will view a detailed interactive map showing the events at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and they will conclude by writing statements that Japanese and American servicepeople in Pearl Harbor might have made immediately before and after the attack.

This lesson, one of a multi-part unit from EDSITEment, focuses on the overall strategies pursued by the Japanese and the Allies in the initial months of World War II in Asia and the Pacific. By examining military documents and consulting an interactive map, students will gain a better understanding of the war.


Alabama Courses of Study

Social Studies

Grade 2 - Exploring Our Nation and World: People and Places

2.) Identify past and present contributions of a variety of individuals who have overcome difficulties or obstacles to achieve goals.

8.) Identify continents, oceans, and the equator using technology, maps, and globes.


Grade 3 - People, Places, and Regions: Geographic Studies

1. Locate the prime meridian, equator, tropic of Capricorn, tropic of Cancer, international date line, and lines of latitude and longitude on maps and globes.

6. Identify conflicts involving use of land, economic competition for scarce resources, different political views, boundary disputes, and cultural differences within and between different geographic areas.


Grade 4 - Alabama Studies

13.) Describe the economic and social impact of World War II on Alabamians.

Examples: entry of women into workforce, increase in job opportunities, rationing, utilization of Alabama's military installations

• Recognizing Alabama participants in World War II

Grade 6 - United States Studies: 1877 to the Present

8.) List key figures, significant events, and reasons for the involvement of the United States in World War II.

Examples: key figures-Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Harry S. Truman, Joseph Stalin, Adolph Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Michinomiya Hirohito, Hideki Tojo;

- significant events-Battles of Normandy, Stalingrad, and Midway; Battle of the Bulge;

- reasons-Pearl Harbor, threat by Axis powers to Europe and Asia

• Locating on a map or globe countries controlled by the Axis powers from 1939-1942

• Locating on a map or globe Allied countries and key battles in World War II

• Describing social costs associated with World War II

Examples: Holocaust, civilian and military casualties

Grade 9 - World History: 1500 to the Present

14.) Describe causes and consequences of World War II.


- causes-unanswered aggression, Axis goal of world conquest;

- consequences-changes in political boundaries; Allied goals; lasting issues such as the Holocaust, Atomic Age, and Nuremberg Trials

• Explaining the rise of militarist and totalitarian states in Italy, Germany, the Soviet Union, and Japan

• Identifying turning points of World War II in the European and Pacific Theaters

• Depicting geographic locations of world events between 1939 and 1945

• Identifying on a map changes in national borders as a result of World War II

Grade 11 - United States History: 1877 to the Present

7.) Explain the entry by the United States into World War II and major military campaigns in the European and Pacific Theaters

Examples: Operation Torch, Operation Overlord, island hopping

• Identifying roles of significant leaders, including Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin, and Adolph Hitler

• Explaining Alabama's participation in World War II, including the Tuskegee Airmen, the Aliceville Prisoner of War (POW) camp, the growth of the Port of Mobile, Birmingham steel, and military bases

• Describing consequences of World War II on the lives of American citizens

Examples: Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 (GI Bill), desegregation of the military



* Unless otherwise noted, photgraphs were taken by Alabama Public Television.

* Other photos are from the U.S. Navy Archives or the National Archives.

* Definitions for words are from