This beautiful home film from the 1930’s shows a visit aboard the USS Saratoga. It was shot by an unknown member of the “Amateur Cinema League” — a national club of amateur filmmakers who supported one another’s efforts and shared tips concerning 8mm and 16mm movie making. The ACL was founded in New York City in 1926. The film likely dates to 1932, as it shows aircraft that were deployed on the carrier in that time period, plus Captain George S. Steele is shown in command. Steele, who was widely viewed as a candidate for admiral, was appointed to the ship in July of 1932 but the vessel ran agound in a fog that same year. Although he successfully freed the vessel and it was not damaged in the incident, Steele was passed over for promotion and retired on December 31, 1932 after 36 years of naval service.
The USS Saratoga was a Lexington class aircraft carrier constructed in the 1920’s for the U.S. Navy. Initially laid down as a battlecruiser, it was then converted to an aircraft carrier after the Washington Naval Treaty in 1922. The Saratoga entered service as an aircraft carrier in 1928 for the Pacific Fleet. This vessel, the Enterprise and the Ranger all saw service throughout WWII. It was sunk in July of 1946 during atomic bomb tests.
The USS Saratoga is first seen from the air, from aboard a biplane, at (:50). The ship’s complement of planes are seen in formation in the sky above (1:11). Close up footage shows the carrier’s anchor being drug up as they prepare to move (1:32). The flight quarters of the vessel follow (2:07). Boeing F4B-4 aircraft are seen on the deck (2:14). (46 F4B-2s were assigned to Fighting Squadron (VF) 6B aboard Saratoga in 1931.) The aircraft then proceed down the flight deck for takeoff (2:30). Scout biplanes, probably Vought O2U-2 “Corsair” aircraft, are the first to move out (2:44) followed by fighter planes (3:31) and the bombers (4:30), probably Martin T4Ms. One of the bombers is seen lifting off from the carrier and returning to touch back down on the deck a moment later (5:37). A smoke screen is laid out to offer protection for the carrier (7:15). The USS Lexington (9:02) which had taken part, along with the Saratoga, in development and refinement of carrier tactics prior to WWII is then pictured. The Signal Officer is seen waving aircrafts in for landings on the Lexington (9:13). Admiral Harry Ervin Yarnell inspects the crew division (10:55) and stops as he is walking through to point out something on one of the men’s uniforms (11:01). The Saratoga’s long-range anti-aircraft guns are seen firing (11:11). Explosions are seen along the horizon (13:16). For recreational relief, the crewmen run across the deck tossing a football (13:42). Captain George W. Steele Jr. is seen talking with the coaches (14:03). Sailors are then filmed as they undergo physical conditioning (14:26). A Navy practice football game follows (14:37) as the Good Year blimp drifts overhead (14:48). The film begins to wrap up with footage of the men running across the deck and a note reading “Chow call” insinuating the men were running to the mess hall for meal time (15:12).
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This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD, 2k and 4k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com