Flashback Photos

Flashback Photo: The USS Massachusetts During a Lull in the Battle of Casablanca

The USS Massachusetts during a lull in the Battle of Casablanca

The USS Massachusetts

This flashback photo shows the deck of the USS Massachusetts during a lull in the Battle of Casablanca in the middle of World War II.

The Massachusetts was a highly decorated battleship launched from the Fore River Shipyard in Quincy, Mass., on Sept. 23, 1941. She was commissioned on May 12, 1942, and sponsored by Mrs. Charles Francis Adams III, wife of the former Navy Secretary and great-grandson of President John Quincy Adams.

Known as ‘Big Mamie’ to her crew, the Massachusetts joined a task force to support the invasion of North Africa. On Nov. 8, 1942, she was lying off the city of Casablanca when she came under fire from a shore battery. Massachusetts fired at a French battleship, Jean Bart, disabling its gun turret. She also sunk two French destroyers, two merchant ships and a light cruiser.

After the Battle of Casablanca, the Massachusetts was deployed in the Pacific, where she saw quite a lot of action. She was decommissioned in 1947 and entered a reserve fleet. In 1962 she was marked for scrap.

The veteran crew of the Massachusetts and Massachusetts schoolchildren saved the Massachusetts from the scrappers. The children raised money and the veterans persuaded the Navy to donate it as a museum ship in Fall River, Mass., in 1965. Big Mamie now rests in Battleship Cove, which features the largest collection of World War II naval vessels in the world.

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