It still amazes though me just how many hits these ships were able to take and still stay in action. I was watching (again) a documentary on the sinking of the Yamato. Multiple hits from two waves of dive bombers and torpedo planes and she was still in action. It was the third wave of U.S. planes that finally sank her. She was listing so badly at that point that torpedo strikes were hitting almost at her keel and below her armoring. Shortly after those hits, she rolled completely. Then one of her magazines touched off in a massive explosion. The blast wave from the magazine explosion crippled seven attacking aircraft according to the documentary.
I have been on the South Dakota class battleship Alabama BB-60 on display in Mobile Bay many times over the years and I never fail to be impressed by the displays of firepower and toughness of the ship. I found out the Alabama could be steered and fought from 5 areas around the ship if the main command center were too damaged ( 16 inch armor there ). The ship was armed with a main battery of nine 16" guns in three triple-gun turrets on the centerline, two of which were placed in a superfiring pair forward, with the third aft. The secondary battery consisted of twenty 5-inch caliber dual-purpose guns mounted in twin turrets clustered amidships, five turrets on either side. Additionally, she was was armed with a battery of six quadruple 40 mm (1.6 in) Bofors guns and thirty-five 20 mm (0.79 in) Oerlikon autocannon in single mounts.
Alongside the Alabama, is the SS Drum (SS228) submarine that saw extensive action in WW2 in the Pacific. The Drum was commissioned November 1, 1941. She was conducting her 14th war patrol when the Japanese surrendered. She earned 12 battle stars in that time. She is the oldest American submarine on display in the world. The thing that always struck me the most when touring the interior, besides the lack of room was the fact that I could still smell the body odor and the mustiness of the crew. Obviously, subs had to have hot swapping of bunks for the crew in such a crowded space.
As an aside, the first time I toured the Alabama, there was a sign posted on the deck in front of a taped off area that announced that the Alabama was being used as a prop for certain scenes in a Hollywood movie starring Steven Segal and Tommy Lee Jones. The working title of the film was Dreadnaught
. I have a picture of that sign around somewhere. Of course the movie was released as Under Siege
. The scenes that were filmed on the Alabama were the night action scenes when Segal's character climbs up the hull of the battleship and engages in a firefight on the deck during which a chopper crashes on the deck.