USS Alabama (BB-8)

Alabama c.1904, wearing the classic white and ochre paint scheme of the pre-World War US Navy. Note the two funnels mounted side by side, rather than in line. Photo by August Loeffler, believed to be in the public domain.

Laid Down

An Illinois-class pre-dreadnought, USS Alabama (BB-8) was laid down in 1896. Launched shortly after the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, Alabama commissioned in 1900. She served with the Atlantic Fleet until 1907, with a cruise through the Mediterranean in the Summer of 1904. In 1907, Alabama was one of the ships selected for the Great White Fleet, President Theodore Roosevelt's round-the-world tour to display American seapower, although Alabama separated from the main fleet at San Francisco, and conducted an abridged circumnavigation with the USS Maine. Placed in reserve in November, 1908, Alabama received an extensive overhaul and recommissioned in 1912 as part of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. She rejoined the main fleet in July, but was back in reserve in 1914. Alabama served as a training ship through World War I, and was decommissioned in 1920. She was expended as a target for Billy Mitchell's anti-shipping bombing trials.

Bonus Photos

Alabama at Philadelphia in 1919. Note the new masts and bridge, but the same funnel formation. Photo in the collection of the US Navy History & Heritage Command.