Sunday, September 9, 2012

Mobile - U.S.S Alabama

Since my childhood years I've been slightly obsessed with WWII. You'll have to forgive a young boys childish impression of a war as a great adventure. The evil nazis, the battered allied forces that barely manage to turn the tides of war. It's one of those moments in time where fact is greater than fiction. Growing up witnessing the wars of our time I realize of course wars are terrible, terrible things, however I have kept my fascination with anything WWII-related. On with the story.

Between the coast of Florida and the coast of Mississipi, the state of Alabama claims a small piece of the coast of the mexican gulf. Located here is the city of Mobile. And in this city there is something I had been dying to see. An actual WWII battle ship, the U.S.S Alabama, which served in the pacific campaign.

It was a good stop anyways for us travelling from the panhandle to New Orleans. We arrived noon-ish and the drive there was pretty neat following the coast. Even from a distance you could make out the gigantic landmark that the ship has now become. Compared to a modern time aircraft carrier I guess it's not as impressive but I was in awe for sure. The ship is now a museum and besides the ship there is an old WWII submarine, a bunch of airplanes and some tanks, all from that era. Admission is damn cheap if you ask me. 2 dollar parking and 12 dollar admission to the park for each adult. And for that you get a lot. We started out touring the ship and as we boarded I was awe struck once more. What a beast of a war machine. There is guns in any direction and caliber you could think of. And that brought a certain reality check to what life must have been like on a ship like this during wartime. The feeling intensified as you toured the crews living quarters. This was their home and only life support out on the great ocean. With nowhere else to go their only chance of survival was to fight of their attackers or perish. All the sudden the guns made a lot of sense.

It's pretty weird standing on the deck of a warship in the hot july sun, staring down the barrel of a machine gun, while kids are running around laughing and tourists are taking photographs. But you get a small sense of what it must have felt like back in the days. Staring at the sky, waiting for what's to come. The ship is a labyrinth of stairs and ladders, and it does take a lot of climbing and squeezing through narrow passages to get around. Funny enough my two greatest fears are heights and narrow spaces, but I guess the pure excitement made me forget all about it. I made it all the way to the top while M decided to wait a few storeys down.

On the way to the submarine you pass trough a hangar with some really neat fighter aircrafts. Best part of the hangar though is that it is air-conditioned. The submarine, the U.S.S Drum also served during WWII. Sinking cargo ships and laying out mines were some of her tasks. This is the most claustrophobic part of the tour. I had to push myself to go in there. The ship is in really great condition and most def worth it if you have it in you. It blows my mind that people lived here for weeks during missions. After just twenty minutes I was dying to get out. It's small, dark and extremely hot in there.

To end the tour we went and checked out some WWII-tanks on display out by the parking lot. By then we felt like we'd seen more war memorabilia then you can take in, in a day so we gave em a quick look and huddled back to the car. If you ever pass this way I do recommend a stop. It's fairly cheap and I doubt you'll ever find such a collection in one place somewhere else. Stay tuned for more. Next up is the big easy!


  1. Schysst att du fullföljde resedagboken.
    Jag undrade länge vad som hänt...?
    Säga vad man vill om olika vapenslag, men man kan ju skatta sig lycklig att man sluppit tillbringa sitt liv i en u-båt!

  2. Vad kul att ni kom till Alabama och fick njuta lite av Alabamas vackra kust och Mobile. Vi har också besökt USS Alabama. Mobil är en vacker gamal stad. Det sägs att Mardi Gras traditionen som New Orleans är betydligt mer känd för först firades här.
    Roligt att få läsa om resten av er härliga road trip. Ledsen att höra att ni drabbades av tråkiga nyheter men skönt att höra att allt är bättre nu.