Saturday, August 31, 2019

War is Hell

I ran across this series on Amazon Prime the other day, gripping television it is. Juvat and I have written of Gallipoli before, here and here. Having a relative who fought there, makes the tale just a bit more personal.

Uncle Robert survived that campaign, many of his fellow soldiers did not. Uncle Robert did not survive the war, he was wounded and died shortly before the war ended. He's buried in Gaza.

Yes, that Gaza.

If you have Amazon Prime or IMDb TV, watch the series, though it is definitely not for the faint of heart.

I've watched the first four episodes so far.

It's left me a bit pensive.

More later...

Friday, August 30, 2019

The Drought Continues

As much as I wanted to do another theme week, you can't capture lightning in a bottle very often. Last week, Battleship Week if you will, was rather popular and garnered a lot of great comments. Juvat got back to his aviation roots this week and I thought of following that up with a series of posts on the history of military aviation...

Well, you got one post out of that.


Anyhoo, I spent quite a bit of time today trying to figure out what to post for Friday (which is tomorrow as I write, today -- or later -- as you read). I thought about writing about the use of synchronization gear and how it arose during World War One, I learned as a youth (no, it wasn't shortly after the Great War ended) that Anthony Fokker invented the thing. Seems the story is more complex than that. I realized that when I saw the thousands of barrels of ink and scads of computer bytes which have been spilled and filled describing the increasing sophistication of firing a machine gun through one's propeller arc without blowing the damned thing off. Which leaves you with nothing to fight the drag of gravity.

The synchronization gear of a Messerschmitt Bf 109E is adjusted (January 1941). A wooden disk attached to the propeller is used to indicate where each round passes through the propeller arc.
Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-2006-0002
Isn't that something, bolt a wooden disk onto the propeller hub, fire the engine up, loose a burst and see the pattern of hits on the disk!

Fokker Synchronization gear set up for ground firing test. The wooden disc records the point on the disc of the propeller where each round passed. The diagram below shows the probable result for a properly working gear. Inherent inaccuracies in both the gear and the triggering of the gun itself, small faults in normal service ammunition, and even the differing RPM rates of the engine, all combine to produce a "spread" of hits, rather than every bullet striking the disc in precisely the same spot.
Correctly functioning synchronization gear: all rounds fired well within "safe" zone (well clear of propeller).
As Buck, no doubt, would have said, "I had no ideer."


Of course, jet engines obviate the need for all that.

I'm hoping that the four-day weekend I am currently enjoying will allow me to rest up and provide you with, as Suldog would say, "More and better stuff."

Before I go, Chanter RHT447 provided me with a link to inspire my efforts on the throne (which is where a drummer sits) as I endeavor to be "the man behind the kit" (which is the proper term - I guess - for the drum set/kit). All pomposity and wishful thinking aside, this young lady can play the drums like nobody's business.

This is the clip RHT447 provided a link to, great song and I love her take on it.

While perusing her channel over at the Tube o' You, this next one caught my ear, a bit more complicated (to me anyway) it's another great song by Dire Straits. (Hey, it ain't all Foo Fighters avec moi.)

I like the way she has the cameras positioned so you can see exactly what she's doing. I am getting conversant enough with drumming technique so that I can kinda tie it all together. Now it's just getting the two feet and two hands to all cooperate. Right now my drumming style can best be described as spastic, uncoordinated, yet enthusiastic. Yup, herding cats I am.

This next one is a lot more complex. Damn but the lady knows her stuff.

Yeah man, I should'a learned to play them drums...

Working on it!

I would've posted the clip of the 7-year old boy playing the drums, and playing them quite well, that Tuna sent me, but damn it, my morale is low enough regarding my progress in the percussion area!

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Random Musings

Running on empty the past cuppla, work goes very well but that whole get up early thing and head off to work begins to be tiresome. No doubt I will soldier on for another year or so. The money is good, the work is interesting, and the people are grand. That's worth holding on to for a while longer.

It's a rather damp Wednesday as I write this, hence the nice photo above, to cheer me up.

Weather doesn't generally affect my moods, unless it's pouring rain while I'm attempting to cross the parking lot from the car to the building. Then it's bloody annoying as I can't stand starting work all wet. Umbrellas are rather ineffective here in the 401 as the wind off the bay tends to drive the wind sideways.

Don't mind (much) getting wet going from the building to the car, much easier to change and dry off at home.

But enough of that.

Finger is healing but is rather misshapen, no doubt I shall need to have a professional assess that one of these days, the tip looks rather like a pillow top mattress. Sucker still hurts if I bump it into something, so it's still wearing its little samurai helmet for protection.

The eye is frustrating as Hell, the retina isn't healing as quick as I'd like and I can still remember how good my vision used to be. Oh well, beats the heck out of being blind.

I am sore tempted to comment on politics...

But I just ate.

Talk quietly amongst yourselves, I'll be back. Just not feeling it today.

Topic for discussion - Do animals have souls? Defend your answer.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Real Life Gets a Vote

Leutnant Werner Voß's Last Flight
Editor's Note: Check out the source link on the artwork above, the artist, who goes by the pseudonym rOEN911, does some brilliant work.

Anyhoo, I am out of time for posting on what is (was) a fine Tuesday evening. A long (somewhat) productive day at work combined with minimal sleep the previous evening* leads me to shirk my blogging duties a wee bit. Hey, you get what you pay for. Yes, it annoys me as well, I like (love?) blogging and am irked when life gets in the way.

Hhmm, maybe I'm doing it wrong. But at any rate, there are days when I need to stop and smell the roses. As the weather seems to be cooling off here in New England, fall, then winter are in the offing. (Said word also having a nautical meaning, no, I'm not going to quiz you on that.) So the roses don't have much time left. No doubt we'll have another hot stretch before all is said and done, but this week, le temps est magnifique!

Speaking of yesterday's quiz...


For 50 points, what the heck was that thing in that preceding photo and what was it's significance?

For 50 points, where did the Wright's first powered flight take place?

For 100 points, what specific unit is the direct statutory ancestor of the mighty United States Air Force?

Correct answers:

Q1 The Rosetta Stone in the British Museum has the same decree written in Greek, Ancient Hieroglyphic, and common script which then enabled the ability to read all the hieroglyphic inscriptions on Egyptian ruins, monuments, etc., a pretty big deal for Egyptologists.

Q2 Kill Devil Hill, North Carolina

Q3 The Aeronautical Division, Signal Corps (1907–1914) was the first heavier-than-air military aviation organization in history and the progenitor of the United States Air Force. A component of the U.S. Army Signal Corps, the Aeronautical Division procured the first powered military aircraft in 1909, created schools to train its aviators, and initiated a rating system for pilot qualifications. It organized and deployed the first permanent American aviation unit, the 1st Aero Squadron, in 1913. The Aeronautical Division trained 51 officers and 2 enlisted men as pilots, and incurred 13 fatalities in air crashes. During this period, the Aeronautical Division had 29 factory-built aircraft in its inventory, built a 30th from spare parts, and leased a civilian airplane for a short period in 1911.

John in Philly Q1 10, partial credit
STxAR Q1 10, partial credit
Tom in NC Q1 50
Juvat Q1 10, partial credit
Juvat Q2 50

Winner, winner, chicken dinner:

Juvat with 60 points is the clear winner, Tom in NC is a respectable second with 50 points.

John in Philly and STxAR both correctly identified the Rosetta stone but didn't explain it's significance (as did juvat). Ten points for a partially correct answer. Tom in NC nailed the answer on the Rosetta stone (his comment is reproduced above for the correct answer).

Juvat answered question 2 correctly, in school we learned Kitty Hawk was the place, but that's actually a wee bit north of the actual site, Kill Devil Hill.

I'm rather stunned that no one got close on the third question, I would have accepted the Aviation Section of the Signal Corps, as I assumed everyone knew that, though it was actually the successor of the Aeronautical Division.

John Blackshoe gets an honorable mention for his Pershing story as does Rob for the mention of Pancho Villa State Park in New Mexico, I had no ideer.

Beans, see me after class, juvat I was going to give you detention for the kindergarten crack but hey, I cheap shot you all the time, I had that one coming. Didn't Old NFO man one of those aircraft on the Mexican Expedition? I could have sworn I recognized him...

Tomorrow is another day mes amis, but I'll leave this with you as a topic for discussion in the comments: whither goest Hong Kong? (Well, Beans mentioned China, blame him.)


* I stayed up too damned late listening to music and beating on the drums...

Tuesday, August 27, 2019


Bataille de Fleurus
Jean-Baptiste Mauzaisse
Seems to be a recent theme for me, I see what juvat posts on Monday, then I piggy-back off of that to milk one or more posts from whatever topic juvat talked about on Monday. Last week it was battleships, this week it's about the editorial staff of The Chant's aviation roots.

So Alex Haley, er, I mean juvat said this on Monday:
Now that we're all caught up on the highlights of the week, I thought I'd discuss a subject that, as of lately, has been sadly lacking on what should be the main topic of this blog. No, Beans, not battleships!
I mean Really? SHIPS?
And the title of the post was Back to our Roots...

So, mesdames et monsieurs, it's time for another rendition of Sarge's "Off the top of my head history." Today it's the history of military aviation. I know your first question is, "Sarge, what the Hell does a battle fought in 1794 have to do with military aviation?"

Well, take a closer look at that painting...

Yes indeed, upper right hand corner.

Yes, it's a lighter-than-air weapon of war, a balloon which the French Compagnie d'aérostiers used to monitor the movements and dispositions of the Austrian Army. The balloon even had a name, L'Entreprenant, which translates to The Enterprising. Or Enterprise, if you will.

Yes, there is the Enterprise floating over the Battle of Fleurus. Weird, neh?

Anyhoo, whereas I hinted the other day that I might move on to submarines for material, the concept of exploring the roots of military aviation rather intrigued me. Even though Kunte Kinte, er, I mean juvat, hinted that aircraft carriers would be acceptable as a topic (them being used to lug aircraft about for combat uses), I have to follow my Muse and go with my gut (substantial as it is though I am working on that issue. fighting my very own Battle of the Bulge, as it were).

So yes, balloons for starters. The first air force on the planet didn't last long, founded in 1794, disbanded by 1802. Two companies existed, the 1st was disbanded in 1799, the 2nd hung on until 1802 but hadn't used their balloons in a while. Ya see, the generals didn't see much use for them, and truth be told, once placed they weren't really mobile...

Observations by the second company at the Battle of Mainz.
In May 1794, the new corps joined Jourdan's troops at Mauberge, bringing one balloon: L'Entreprenant. They began by constructing a furnace, then extracting hydrogen. The first military use of the balloon was on 2 June, when it was used for reconnaissance during an enemy bombardment. On 22 June, the corps received orders to move the balloon to the plain of Fleurus, in front of the Austrian troops at Charleroi. This was achieved by twenty soldiers who dragged the inflated balloon across thirty miles of ground. For the three following days, an officer ascended to make further observations. On 26 June, the Battle of Fleurus was fought, and the balloon remained afloat for nine hours, during which Coutelle and Antoine Morlot took notes on the movements of the Austrian Army, dropping them to the ground for collection by the French Army, and also signaled messages using semaphore. (Source)
By the way, those chaps on the ground with flags in that last picture? No, they're not surrendering (damn it), they're signaling to those chaps in the balloon. Back then Les Français were botteurs de cul, not t'other way round. So there...

Ahem, yes, the 2nd Company lasted until 1802, why, you might be asking? Well, they were in Egypt with Bonaparte (he's not going by just his first name yet). When Admiral Nelson showed up...

Oops, sorry Admiral, not you. This chap...

Careful now, I've got my eye on you Sarge.
Ahem, yes, 2nd Company of aérostiers, were on land, all of their equipment were still on the French ships. Which Admiral Lord Nelson and his band of jolly Jack tars blew all to smithereens, stranding the 2nd Company of aérostiers and Bonaparte and his army. About the only good thing to come out of Bonaparte's Egyptian campaign was this...

Quiz time! For 50 points, what the heck is that thing in the preceding photo and what was it's significance? (Two can play that game, Monsieur juvat!)

After 1802 balloons weren't really used again until the War of the Rebellion (1861-1865) when they were again hoisted aloft to sneak peeks at what the enemy was up to. I do believe by then they weren't waving flags at each other as the telegraph had been invented and the apparatus was small enough to go up in a balloon. So instead of wig-wagging back and forth, they dot-dashed.


Military aviation rather languished until a couple of chaps named Wright managed to get a heavier than air machine aloft, if only for a short distance. Now it's time for our second quiz question. For another 50 points, where did the Wright's first powered flight take place? No, I'm not looking for the obvious answer, which is only semi-correct. The actual location was a bit south of that. There's an airport nearby these days, rather fitting I think.

So the French were the first to go aloft for warlike purposes. What were a few other milestones in military aviation? Think Italians versus Turks, around 1911...
Heavier-than-air aircraft were recognized as having military applications early on, despite resistance from traditionalists and the severe limitations of early aircraft. The U.S. Army Signal Corps purchased a Wright Model A on 2 August 1909 which became the first military aircraft in history. In 1911, the Italians used a variety of aircraft types in reconnaissance, photo-reconnaissance, and bombing roles during the Italo-Turkish War. On October 23, 1911, an Italian pilot, Captain Carlo Piazza, flew over Turkish lines on the world's first aerial reconnaissance mission, and on November 1, the first ever aerial bomb was dropped by Sottotenente Giulio Gavotti, on Turkish troops in Libya, from an early model of Etrich Taube aircraft. The Turks, lacking anti-aircraft weapons, were the first to shoot down an airplane by rifle fire. (Source)
Yeah, the Italians and the Turks. (Hhmm, if one can use rifles to down aircraft, doesn't that make them, ipso facto, anti-aircraft weapons? Asking for a friend...)

Etrich Taube at the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, Blenheim, New Zealand.
Rather looks like a bird doesn't she? Incidentally, "Taube" is the German for "dove," rather appropriate don't you think? Note that the observer, that dude with a rifle, is sitting in front of the pilot. Not an odd arrangement for a pusher-type aircraft but rather odd for a tractor-type.

So here we are, right at the doorstep of World War I, airplanes are still rather primitive beasties and very few of the generals are paying the aircraft any notice at all. The flying machines are a novelty still and, quite frankly, aren't all that reliable as of yet.

Things are going to change.

Before I go on, one last question: For 100 points, what specific unit is the direct statutory ancestor of the mighty United States Air Force?

To be continued...

Monday, August 26, 2019

Back to our Roots

I'm writing this on Friday, after having watched the County Fair parade, because CINCHOUSE Admiral of the Fleet Mrs J has issued the execute order for OPLAN MoveMBD.  Said OpOrd will be commence NLT 1230Z 24Aug19 and will terminate when mission goals (ALL boxes moved, unpacked, contents stored in final location and debris removed) have been met or forces are exhausted but NLT 2130Z 25Aug19. (Edited.  OpOrd successfully executed, all objectives met, friendly forces established in new AOR, tasked forces returned to base.  Request immediate resupply of water, rations and sleep.)

Since force exhaustion is the much (much, much) more likely condition, I decided to get ahead of the power curve and put this post in the hopper on Friday.

The parade was very nice, not too hot, which is unusual as Texans in August can usually grill hamburgers on the hoods of their trucks.  Which I might have to try the next time I run out of charcoal for the grill.

We had invited two new Texans to watch it with us.  They had emigrated from the People's Republic of Washington (western edition) and were settling in to small town Texas.  I think they enjoyed it,  Mrs J and I certainly did.

Now that we're all caught up on the highlights of the week, I thought I'd discuss a subject that, as of lately, has been sadly lacking on what should be the main topic of this blog.  No, Beans, not battleships!

I mean Really? SHIPS?


3 of the 5 Authors, (Yes, Beans, I know LUSH has not actually authored a post....yet.  Sarge has high hopes though) are Aviators.  Sarge fixed Aviation Training Aids, and Beans....Well, his father was an Aviator, so there!

So...To bring us back to our aviation roots....we'll focus on the Airplane group of what Mrs J and I have referred to as the "Boat Trip".
Wait, what's that thing on the right doing in an AVIATION posting Source

Clearly a much better suited picture to the topic. (That's a Kleenex box reflected on the HUD if you must know, I sometimes get teary eyed when I see things like this.)
An F-4C, as one can clearly tell because it has only a single bump protrusion on the nose as opposed to the double bump protrusion the F-4D had.
F-4D See the extra bump on the bottom of the nose?
What was that protrusion and what is the difference in capabilities between the two?  I think it was a non-functional (by the time I got to the airplane) IR detector so don't really have a clue.  Ask Sarge, he'll know right down to the 1.21 gigawatt power requirements.

Here's Sarge and I discussing it back one day at Kunsan. I'm the young one in the historically accurate video reenactment.

But, as we're wandering around the park, I notice something very near and dear to my heart.

Yes, she's in the position of advantage behind the "Half-a-Jet".

What's a Half-a-Jet, juvat?

Well, it's only got one tail, one engine, two missiles and half the range.  Ergo.... And No, the object in the top right is not a quad-o-jet (8 engines, a bunch of weapons, and more range than endurable).  It's a Target!

As I got closer, I saw something which made this jet special,  Two specifically.  I've got to admit, I spent a long time there staring at her, basically doing the pre-flight walkaround.  I could hear Murphy whispering in my ear,  "Do it!  You know you want to!"

But I honored the yellow, do not cross, tape.  Besides there were no engines in it.  Probably no gas either.  But, I can dream can't I?

OK,  Time for Quiz #1

What is this Aircraft?

Be very careful on your answer.

There was another of my Favorite Aircraft outside also.

Unfortunately, she wasn't in too good shape.

The F-105 was damaged in Hurricane Katrina, along with Bean's favorite, the F-84G, and both have yet to be restored.  She weathered the storm itself, but I was told the storm surge afterward banged her around quite a bit.  The docent said that both aircraft will be repaired  as funds become available.

I believe that will probably happen, as this B-25 was being restored with someone actually working on it as we walked by.  A museum can only do so much at any one time.  The docent says this Southwest Pacific AOR B-25 (note the guns on the front)  will be restored to replicate a bomber from the Doolittle raid.  I think it's cool as is, but....I'm not in charge.  Shut up, and color, juvat.

So, Mrs J and I have been walking around outside on a very H & H day, it's time to go inside and cool off with all the coolness there in.

But before, that ... Quiz Question #2

In Air Force Terms, what is this object?

Picture was taken on a Battleship.  The Navy uses something feline like in their terminology.

It was used to get this aircraft airborne. 

Right next door, and you can see how close next door is above, is this aircraft.  One of my favorites.

Now, as I said, Mrs J had been touring outside for quite a while.  See those seats right up front.  Yes,  we sat there and watched the entire video regarding the Tuskegee Airmen trying to get our core body temperatures down to non-lethal levels.

It (the film) was actually fairly interesting.  As I expected, "just doing my job" was a common statement.  "just doing my job extraordinarily well and much better than expected by most" would have been how I would have stated it.

I used the 5'4" Mrs J as a indicator of how massive the Spad is.  I'd seen one when I was a kid at Webb at one of the graduations, but the memory of how big it is was colored by the fact that I was 12.

There was quite a bit of subtle humor in this section of the museum.

The Spad's (the A-1's unofficially official name.  It actually was the AD-4N Skyraider to the Navy) weapon's load.

Next door to the P-51 was this beauty.  Now, much like the F-84G is to Beans, this F-86D is to me for the same reason.  Dad flew them at Hamilton, where he met and married Mom and 2 days more than 9 months later, I arrived.  We all then moved to Kadena AB Japan where he flew them for 3 more years.

A little more subtle humor.  Sarge, if your bionic eye can't enlarge the Top Line on the chart enough, it says "Engine runs better with this removed".  I would certainly think so.
BTW the thing sticking down from the fuselage behind the nose gear is a retractable rocket pod.  This model was the first in the line of fighters to suffer from a really bad decision by the Air Force.  It was the first air to air fighter to not have a gun, being armed only with these rockets.

I hadn't ever seen an F-8 Crusader other than a model I'd built as a kid.  Cool airplane.  It's mission was air to air.  It had a gun.  And missiles.

Also in the vicinity was an A-4.  I knew quite a few A-4 drivers in my day. All said that it was a fun aircraft to fly, but couldn't go very far, very fast, stay very long or carry very much.  Other than that...

Now, this aircraft on the other hand, didn't suffer from the same restrictions.  Well...except for the "go very fast" one.  Carried a metric crap ton* of ordnance a very long way and delivered it in almost any weather condition...accurately.  I say almost because I don't know how accurate it would be in the midst of a hurricane.

Which brings us to Quiz Question #3

What is this weapon?  You're cheating if you scroll in!

They also had an F-14 and F-18 on display.  There was so much stuff in the hangar, and those aircraft are so large, I couldn't get a good picture.  However, I do have pictures from another venue we visited and from which most of the Navy aircraft above were borrowed.

So, stay tuned.

Addendum.  While shopping for
matériel for MBD's new encampment, I happened across this year's Christmas present for Sarge. It seemed appropriate.

Shhh! Don't tell him.

*Metric Crap Ton -  A very, very big weapons load.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Battleship Week Concludes, With a Blast from the Past

USS Wisconsin (BB-64)
Now a museum ship in Norfolk, VA
Being thoroughly bitten by the "battleship bug" I was somewhat loathe to end the week without one last battleship post. As I have actually visited one of the old battlewagons in the not-so-distant past and as the old girl isn't far from Chez Sarge, I thought I'd revisit an old post, the one where Murphy and I visited Battleship Cove over in Fall River, MA.

Because the Big Badger Boat is one of "My" Ships, and because she's the favorite of a certain badger of my acquaintance, I have USS Wisconsin gracing the top of the post. A fine ship from a bygone era.

So 'tis with a bit of a tear that I conclude "Battleship Week" (thanks again juvat) with this Sunday rerun. Harking back to the day Murphy and I walked the decks of Big Mamie, USS Massachusetts (BB-59).

USS WISCONSIN (BB-64) followed by the amphibious assault ship USS TRIPOLI (LPH-10)
I saw my first battleship in 1987. I was TDY (temporary duty) to Biloxi, Mississippi. I was able to bring the family so we lived just up the road in Long Beach, literally across the road from the Gulf of Mexico. As The Missus Herself had a sister living in Fort Walton Beach over Florida way, we did get a chance to go over and visit.

On the way there we had seen the signs for the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park, which piqued my interest, a lot. As we rolled east on I-10 I just happened to notice, off to the starboard side, a rather large, gray warship. I was awe struck, an honest to goodness battleship, queen of the seas. The Naviguesser expressed some interest in seeing that wondrous sight again, perhaps up close and personal.

"Let me find a spot to turn around and we can..."

"Eyes front Mister! Maintain course and speed!" commanded The Missus Herself.

"Maintaining course and speed AYE!" I barked in my most manly voice.

"MOM!!!" sayeth my son, the future black shoe, er, the future Professional Surface Warfare Officer I mean, of course.

Now the matriarch of our little clan explained to the male members of the tribe, in no uncertain terms, that we were going to Florida, to visit Uncle Smitty (yes, that Uncle Smitty) and we would by God enjoy ourselves. Perhaps, if all and sundry managed to exhibit good behavior, we could maybe, possibly, stop at the park on the way back to Mississippi.


Needless to say, the progeny behaved as angels all weekend. Even I managed to maintain a certain decorum and "kept my nose clean." The beach was fun, the visit was grand and...

"MOM!!! We need to leave now so we can see the battleship!"

So off we went and there I was able to walk the decks of the mighty USS ALABAMA. She is...
a South Dakota-class battleship and was the sixth ship of the United States Navy named after the state of Alabama. She was commissioned in 1942 and served in World War II in the Atlantic and Pacific theaters. She was retired in 1962. In 1964, ALABAMA was taken to Mobile Bay and opened as a museum ship the following year. The ship was added to the National Historic Landmark registry in 1986. W
USS ALABAMA (BB-60) today.
There's something about these big gray ladies. Whether tied up to the pier or on the high seas, battleships inspire awe.

I remember the opening scenes from the movie Under Siege, not a bad film, not a great film, but that opening was breath taking. (Fast forward to the 0:31 mark and, yeah, go full screen.)

That's USS MISSOURI, BB-63, in the opening scene. From what I understand most of the exterior shots in the movie are of MISSOURI, but the interior scenes were done on ALABAMA. No doubt there were other sets involved but at least they had real battleships on hand.

One battleship with which I have a fairly close relationship is not too far from Chez SargeMurphy and I paid her a visit on a beautiful fall day last year. That would be the ship over at Battleship Cove over in the Bay State. The USS MASSACHUSETTS of course. Now it hit me the other day that I had never shared the photos I took on board Big Mamie. Their website has this to say (in part) about the old girl -
Battleship MASSACHUSETTS was built in Quincy, Massachusetts at the Fore River Shipyard of the Bethlehem Steel Corporation. The ship was launched on September 23, 1941, the heaviest ship ever launched in Quincy. “Big Mamie”, as her crew knew her, was delivered to the Boston Navy Yard in April 1942 and commissioned the following month.

Battleship MASSACHUSETTS went into action on November 8, 1942 as part of Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa. While cruising off the city of Casablanca, Morocco, the Battleship engaged in a gun duel with the unfinished French battleship Jean Bart, moored at a Casablanca pier. In this battle, Massachusetts fired the first American 16″ projectile in anger of World War II. Five hits from Big Mamie silenced the enemy battleship, and other 16″ shells from Battleship MASSACHUSETTS helped sink two destroyers, two merchant ships, a floating dry-dock, and heavily damaged buildings and docks in Casablanca. The ship’s battle flag, holed by a shell from the Jean Bart, is on display in the Battleship.
Big Mamie’s 16″ guns pounded Iwo Jima and Okinawa before their invasion in 1945, and by July of that year she was off Japan with the Third Fleet. The Battleship bombarded the Imperial Iron and Steel Works at Kamaishi, and then sailed south to bombard a factory at Hamamatsu. Returning to Kamaishi, Battleship MASSACHUSETTS fired the last American 16″ projectile of the war. With peace achieved, “Big Mamie” returned to the United States and operated with the Pacific Fleet until mid-1946, when she was ordered deactivated. 
You can still see shrapnel damage from her fight with Jean Bart near the ship's bell on the quarterdeck -

She's an awesome warship, it's nice having the old girl nearby.

I tried to get a few people into some of the shots to give you an idea of how big these ships were. The guy in the red shirt above is obvious. I didn't realize there was anyone in the next photo until I got home. So in the shot immediately below I drew you an arrow. The one after that, he's not so obvious.

These next three shots were taken inside the number one main battery turret. (Any battleship sailors can correct me on that terminology if I got it wrong. I'm only used to modern destroyers, the 
Arleigh Burkes only have a single turret, Mount 51 = 5 inch gun, most forward mount. Zumwalts have two, both forward, Mount 61 and Mount 62. She has 6 inch guns.)

Powder charges on the loading tray.

Inside the turret isn't 
that claustrophobic, though it's not that roomy. Getting into the turret was an adventure. The hatch is underneath the aft overhang of the turret. Ya gotta get low, ya gotta get small. Going in was kinda easy. Going out, not so much. I should have taken a picture, I was just too excited about being able to get into the gun mount!

The deck is in rough shape in spots.

Yup, that's a BIG anchor.

Get Seaman Schmuckatelli out here on the double. I think he missed a spot when he was scraping and painting.

View from the bridge.
Dude, you can't sit there!
East German corvette alongside, prepare to repel boarders!

Man, that was a good day!