We've toured a couple of other WWII ships but they were both aircraft carriers. This ship is one of the ones who surrounded aircraft carriers, protecting them. That, of course, is the reason for her 129 guns. The biggest ones are the nine 16" guns on the main deck. These shoot projectiles that weight 2,700 pounds, and can hit a target up to 20 miles away.
The turret they are mounted on turns 120 degrees to each side. An armored tube that protects the turret extends down to the lowest level of the ship. In front and on each side of it are big catapults that boosted Kingfisher floatplanes out to do reconnaissance.
The planes couldn't land on the deck when they came back, but since they had pontoons, they landed on the water. Then they were picked up by a huge crane, which is mounted at the front of the ship.
As we went inside, we passed the "Roster of Officers". This little gizmo is how they kept track of which officer was ashore. It's a simple and effective system; the little knob can be twisted to flip the rod to either show or hide the name plate.
Inside the ship were the kinds of accommodations we saw on the other ships: medical, laundry, chapel, sleeping quarters, etc. The bunks were different, though. These were just metal racks hung by chains from the ceiling.
On one of the lower levels, the tube that protects and supports the main turret runs through the mess area, so they ran a table all the way around it and attached chairs. The table has a lip on it, to keep the trays from sliding to the floor as the ship tilts in rough seas. I guess you can get used to anything.
I learned there is a "Degaussing Room" on board. Because the ship is steel, it's can explode magnetic mines or torpedoes. In the Degaussing Room a large electric current is generated and sent through copper coils around the ship, to neutralized the ship's own magnetic field.
This is the first ship we've been on that has a big ice cream station. I imagine this was a very popular area!
The technology looks so old and complicated, but they did amazing things with what they had.
This ship has an unusual exhibit; guests can go down into the Barbette. The Barbette is the protective armour support for the main gun turret, and it is also where the process of loading the big 16" guns start. Big projectiles are stored along the round walls of its upper level.
The 16" guns are "bag" guns, which means they get their thrust from powder. One of those projectiles was loaded into a gun chamber, and six big powder bags were packed in behind it.
Outside is one of the ship's four propellers. Each propeller weighs more than 18 tons - that makes me feel skinnier already!
There are a lot of other interesting things to do and see in this area - there is a submarine right next door - but we decided we were done for today. We drove to Foley to eat at Lambert's Cafe, Home of the Throwed Rolls. As usual, the food was great and there was way too much of it. They serve great rolls, plus pass-arounds like tomatoes-and-macaroni, cabbage, fried okra, fried potatoes, black-eyed peas, all in addition to the actual dinners. Lambert's never disappoints!