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Battleship Massachusetts 5 Inch and 40mm Guns BB-59 Sixteen Inch Turrets

Battleship USS Massachusetts BB-59

USS Massachusetts Exterior Photos
Deck Views
Sixteen Inch Turrets
Sixteen Inch Turret Interior
Five Inch Turrets
Five Inch Turret Interior
40 MM Bofors Anti Aircraft Guns
20 MM Oerlikon Cannons
Crew's Quarters
Galley & Heads
BB-59 Interior Photos

Battleship Cove Naval Museum Website
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BB-59 Crew's Bunks USS Massachusetts Brig BB-59 Galley

USS Massachusetts BB-59

The USS Massachusetts is one of four WWII South Dakota Class Battleships. BB-59's specifications are:

Length: 680 feet
Beam: 108 feet
Draught: 26 feet 9 inches
Crew: 2,500
Displacement: 35,000 tons (42,000 tons fully loaded)
Max Speed: 30kts (35mph)
Fuel Capacity: 7,000 tons of fuel oil
 9 16" 50 caliber rifled guns in 3 triple turrets
 20 5" 38 caliber rifled guns in 10 twin enclosed gun mounts
 68 40mm Bofors AA guns
 40 20mm Oerlikon AA guns
Aircraft: 3 Vought Kingfisher Seaplanes with 2 Catapults
Armor: 16" at the sides
Power Plant: 8 oil fired boilers powering geared steam turbines driving 4 screws with 130,000 Shaft Horsepower
Launching Date: September 23, 1941 at the Bethlehem Steel Company Quincy, MA

You can visit the Battleship USS Massachusetts in Fall River, Massachusetts. Allow yourself a full day and get there early. There is a LOT to see and if you enjoy naval history and hardware you'll feel like a kid in a candy store.

Tip of an armor piercing 16 inch shell fired from USS Massachusetts during the battle of Casablanca.
The armor piercing tip of a 16 inch shell fired from the USS Massachusetts at fortifications that was recovered from the shore after the Battle of Casablanca in 1942.

The USS Massachusetts is a very impressive ship. There's a great deal to see inside and you really get a feel for what it might have been like for our fathers and grandfathers to have lived and fought in such a crowded environment. Many of the crew's areas have been restored to a very high standard. Some are accessible and others can be viewed through plexiglas screens. Staff and volunteers continue to paint and scrape and get more compartments ready for visitors. The interior is like a small city, complete with a barber shop, post office, laundry, sick bay, dentist's office, brig, and more. They even have a snack bar/grill on board and the food was quite passable (although it may have seemed that way as I was starved after spending a full morning climbing through and exploring the ships and submarine).

Don't miss a visit into BB-59's aft turret. You can pass by and miss the open hatch quite easily. The entrance hatch is on the bottom of the back of the turret and it is not well marked but you can climb inside and see the components and workings of the turret interior (You will need to be somewhat flexible as there is some climbing and bending involved in getting around the turret interior. It is not handicapped accessible). There is a short audio tape playing on the starboard gun which is lowered to give the visitor a better view of the breach and loading mechanisms. One of the 5" turrets (gun mount is the more correct term) is open also. It's even more of a climb but there is more headroom than in the 16" turret.

If you visited the ship a few years ago, you may want to make another visit. While I was there the USS Massachusetts staff and volunteers were busy painting and scraping two more compartments that had not been open before, so there will be more compartments open to see today. Hopefully one day the engine rooms will be accessible as that is one area of the ship I thought would be really interesting.

Before you leave the museum, take a stroll along the boardwalk along the shore of the river. From here you can best take in the whole scene of the Battleship USS Massachusetts towering over the other ships moored before you. It really is a spectacular scene (If your camera has a panorama mode, this is the best place to shoot pans). The ship is positioned roughly north/south, on the east side of the river, so the most interesting lighting is early in the morning.

Along with USS Massachusetts at Battleship Cove in Fall River there are two restored WWII PT Boats (the Elco PT Boat PT 617 and a Higgins PT 796), a WWII US Fleet Submarine USS Lionfish, the Destroyer USS Joseph P. Kennedy, and the Soviet Missile Corvette Hiddensee.

If the Battleship USS Massachusetts in Fall River MA is too far for you to travel for a day trip and you live closer to the Philadelphia area, pay a visit to the USS New Jersey in Camden. It is a huge spectacular ship, and the interior compartments have been restored to a very high standard. Battleship USS New Jersey Photo
Other Battleship Cove Naval Museum Exhibits
PT Boat PT 796 PT Boat PT-617 - Elco Model USS Lionfish USS Joseph P Kennedy Soviet Missile Corvette Hiddensee