USS Saratoga – Squadron at Sea

Published on
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
David Doyle
Other Publication Information
Softcover, 160 pages, 383 color and b&w photos, 11 line drawings, 25 profiles
Product / Stock #
Provided by: Squadron - Website: Visit Site

A new item recently sent to the IPMS-USA for review by the folks at Squadron is the fourth release in their Squadron at Sea series, and this edition covering the USS Saratoga (CV-3). The book is dedicated to “the crew of the Saratoga – the Ship of Happy Landings – who helped pioneer naval aviation in peacetime, fought valiantly in wartime, and who brought many of the comrades safely home…” The publication is 160 pages long, and as one would expect from the publishers at Squadron, it is filled with many black-and-white photographs as well as a few color pictures and some color drawings. Author David Doyle once again does an outstanding job of telling the story of the Saratoga, from her beginnings in New York Shipbuilding in Camden, New Jersey, to her current resting place at the bottom of the Bikini Atoll. I would highly recommend this book as both a reference and, as well, as a historical telling of the life of the third aircraft carrier of the US Navy.

To share a little history, the USS Saratoga started life when her keel was laid on 25 September 1920 as the second ship of a new class of battlecruisers that were originally to be armed with ten 14-inch, 50 caliber main guns, and later with eight 16-inch, 50 caliber guns. Due to the 1922 Washington Naval Treaty and the ship building limitations that it imposed, the two ships of the class furthest along in construction, the USS Lexington, and the Saratoga, were changed from CC-1 and CC-3 to CV-2 and CV-3. The Saratoga was launched on 7 April 1925, and was commissioned on 16 November 1927. The ship was used as a setting in the filming of two movies – Hell Divers (released in 1932) and Son of a Sailor (released in 1933). The Saratoga would serve during World War II in the Pacific, being struck twice by torpedoes from Japanese submarines, the first from I-6 in January of 1942, and the second by I-26 in August of the same year. During exercises with the USS Clark (DD-361) in October 1944, the ships collided, causing some damage to the port side of the carrier. In February 1945, while supporting the operations on Iwo Jima, the Saratoga was hit by five kamikaze planes, which caused heavy damage to the ship. The end came for the USS Saratoga during Operation Crossroads during the second atomic bomb test of the operation, which took place on 25 July 1946. Sara had survived the first test (an air blast) on July 1, but the second test lifted the ship from the water and sank her approximately eight hour later. Divers can reach the ship today to explore it, as the bridge is only about forty feet below the surface of the water in the Atoll.

As always, I want to close with some thanks and recognition. Thanks to the fine individuals at MMD Squadron for providing this book to IPMS-USA for review, thanks to Steve Collins for allowing me the opportunity to appraise the book and to the others who keep the Review Corps running, and finally to you for taking the time to read these words.


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