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ALABAMA / BB-60
Notes: The SOUTH DAKOTA class was designed to achieve effective protection against 16" gunfire on the 35,000 ton displacement set by the London Treaty, without dropping below the 27 knot speed set by the preceding NORTH CAROLINA class. Improvements in machinery allowed the SOUTH DAKOTA class to be nearly 50' shorter (with the same beam) than the NORTH CAROLINA class; this reduction in size allowed their armor to be thicker, and the increased output from engines allowed the design speed to remain at 27 knots. Although cramped in space, the design was considered to be successful; the class was extremely maneuverable, and with their stacks fared into the superstructure, they were difficult to visually target. An unusual feature was a "tunnel stern", in which the two outboard propellers were encased in massive skegs, with the two inboard propellers revolving in the "tunnel" thus formed. Among the functions of the skegs was torpedo protection for the propellers on the opposite side. Anti-aircraft armament was augmented during World War II; by 1945, ALABAMA had 48-40mm guns in 12 quadruple mounts and 56-20mm guns in single mounts.
ALABAMA served with the British Grand Fleet in the spring and summer of 1943 as an escort for the convoy runs to Murmansk. In August 1943, she was transferred to the Pacific Theatre, where she served for the remainder of the war. ALABAMA took part in many shore bombardments, and was present with Task Force 58 at the Battle of the Philippine Sea on 19-20 June, 1944. She also served as an escort for the aircraft carriers for many raids against Japanese-held targets. Following World War II, ALABAMA was decommissioned and placed in reserve at Bremerton in January, 1947. Various conversion schemes considered, such as fleet missile ship, satellite-launching ship, and helicopter assault ship -- none of which appeared to be economically feasible. ALABAMA was deleted from the U. S. Navy roster on 1 June 1962; on 16 June 1964, she was handed over to the State of Alabama to be preserved as a historical monument. Since September, 1964, the ALABAMA has been moored near Mobile, Alabama. Reports that her engines had first been removed were in error; however, her propellers were removed and placed for display on her upper deck.