The Decisive Weapons of WWII
famous military truism says that generals always fight the previous war. Although that does occur, weapons technologies have often, especially in modern times, advanced in significant ways since the previous conflict. In World War II, Japan and the United States both thought that their battleships would prove the decisive weapons in fleet-to-fleet combat, as had occurred in the Russo-Japanese War and the First World War. American battleships did play a key role in the war in the Pacific, but primarily as a powerful bodyguard to the decisive weapon, the aircraft carrier. For the U. S., they also served to pulverize Japanese island positions with broadsides, to enable the Army and Marines to wade ashore for decisive infantry battle. We began our tour aboard one of the mightiest battleships of WWII, the USS Alabama.
Historian Bill Potter tells the story of the USS Alabama
Dads and sons slept overnight in the berthing areas of the great ship, anchored in the harbor of Mobile, Alabama. We learned all about battleships as we explored the great ship from stem to stern on all the decks. We got to see and hear the 20mm guns fire in simulation at a Kamikaze attack, with seagulls as stand-ins. BB-60 is more than a floating museum when it comes to life in our imaginations — as we walk the decks, climb the ladders, handle the guns, bang our knees in the hatches, and lie in the bunks wondering “how it must have been.”