History Of The USS Saratoga

Saratoga IV

On 16 February 1911, cruiser New York (q.v.) was renamed Saratoga.

USS Saratoga (CC-3), 1917 Program -- construction cancelled in 1923 USS Saratoga, a 43,500-ton Lexington class battle cruiser, was laid down at Camden, New Jersey, in September 1920. Her construction was suspended in February 1922, under the terms of the Washington Naval Limitations Treaty. As the treaty allowed, she was converted to the aircraft carrier Saratoga (CV-3), beginning later in that year.

This page features all our views of USS Saratoga (CC-3) while she was under construction as a battle cruiser.


 
Keel laying, at the New York Shipbuilding Company shipyard, Camden, New Jersey, 25 September 1920. She was the yard's hull number 199. Note U.S. flag flying from the keel structure as it is lowered into place.
Under construction at the New York Shipbuilding Company shipyard, Camden, New Jersey, 25 September 1920, immediately after the keel was laid.

 
Under construction at the New York Shipbuilding Company shipyard, Camden, New Jersey, 30 September 1921. View looks aft from over the bow area.

 
Under construction at the New York Shipbuilding Company shipyard, Camden, New Jersey, 30 September 1921. View looks forward, showing third deck structure.

 
Under construction at the New York Shipbuilding Company shipyard, Camden, New Jersey, 30 September 1921. View shows the stern plates, seen from starboard, extending out over the Delaware River.

 
Under construction at the New York Shipbuilding Company shipyard, Camden, New Jersey, 28 February 1922. View was taken from the starboard side of the third deck, amidships, looking forward.

 
Incomplete hull, looking aft, at the New York Shipbuilding Company shipyard, Camden, New Jersey, 8 March 1922. Construction had been suspended, pending her conversion to an aircraft carrier. Note barbette structure resting on blocks on her deck.

 
Incomplete hull, looking aft from over # 3 barbette, at the New York Shipbuilding Company shipyard, Camden, New Jersey, 8 March 1922. Construction had been suspended, pending her conversion to an aircraft carrier. Note bulkhead and other uninstalled materials stowed on deck.

 
Incomplete hull, looking forward, at the New York Shipbuilding Company shipyard, Camden, New Jersey, 8 March 1922. Construction had been suspended, pending her conversion to an aircraft carrier. Note barbette structures resting on blocks on her deck.
  U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph

 

 

U.S. NAVY SHIP TYPES -- BATTLE CRUISERS --

Lexington Class (CC-1 through CC-6)
1917-1919 Building Programs. Construction cancelled in 1923

The six battle cruisers of the Lexington class, authorized under the 1917-1919 building programs, were the only ships of their type ever ordered by the U.S. Navy. Intended as fast combat scouts for the battle fleet, these large ships had a prolonged development history. Their original 1916 design was to displace 34,300 tons with a main battery of ten 14-inch guns, relatively light armor and a speed of 35 knots. By 1919, the plans had been recast on the basis of World War I experience to produce larger ships armed with 16- inch guns, better protection and a slightly lower speed.

Construction of the Lexington class ships was held up by other priorities during the First World War, and none of them were laid down until mid-1920. The following year's naval limitations conference in Washington, D.C., had these expensive battle cruisers, and their Japanese and British contemporaries, among its main targets. Following adoption of the Washington Treaty, their construction was stopped in February 1922. The treaty allowed the conversion of two of the battle cruiser hulls to the aircraft carriers Lexington (CV-2) and Saratoga (CV-3). The other four were formally cancelled in August 1923 and scrapped on their building ways.

The Lexington class consisted of six ships, under cons truction at four locations:

  • Lexington (CC-1). Keel laid at Quincy, Massachusetts, January 1921. Became the aircraft carrier CV-2.
  • Constellation (CC-2). Keel laid at Newport News, Virginia, August 1920. Cancelled and scrapped.
  • Saratoga (CC-3). Keel laid at Camden, New Jersey, September 1920. Became the aircraft carrier CV -3.
  • Ranger (CC-4). Keel laid at Newport News, Virginia, June 1921. Cancelled and scrapped.
  • Constitution (CC-5). Keel laid at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 1920. Cancelled and scrapped.
  • United States (CC-6). Keel laid at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 1920. Cancelled and scrapped.

Lexington class design characteristics (1919 design):

  • Displacement: 43,500 tons
  • Dimensions: 874' (length overall); 105'5" (maximum beam)
  • Powerplant: 180,000 horsepower steam turbines with electric drive, producing a 33.25 knot maximum speed
  • Armament (Main Battery): Eight 16"/50 guns in four twin turrets
  • Armament (Secondary Battery): Sixteen 6"/53 guns in single mountings (eight guns on each side of the ship)

 

Lexington Class (CC-1 through CC-6)Battle Cruiser

Artwork by F. Muller, circa 1919, depicting the definitive design for these ships, whose construction was cancelled under the Washington Naval Limitations Treaty of 1922.

"New Naval Vessels Now Building for Our Fleet"

Poster from the "What the Navy is Doing" series, published by the Navy Recruiting Bureau, New York, circa 1919.

It depicts the Lexington (CC-1) class battle cruisers and South Dakota (BB-49) class battleships then planned or in early stages of construction. These twelve ships were cancelled under the naval limitations treaty of 1922.

"16 Inch Guns for Our Dreadnaughts"

Poster from the "What the Navy is Doing" series, published by the Navy Recruiting Bureau, New York, circa 1919.

It depicts the manufacture of 16"/50 guns at the Washington Navy Yard, D.C., for installation in the Lexington (CC-1) class battle cruisers and South Dakota (BB-49) class battleships then planned or in early stages of construction. Also shown are pictures of the battle cruiser design, a firing test at Indian Head, Maryland, and the effect of 16-inch shells on heavy armor.

Sixteen-inch, 50 Caliber, Mark 2, Mod. 1 Gun Barrel

On display in East Willard Park, Washington Navy Yard, D.C., in October 1972. This gun is Number 111, built at the Washington Navy Yard in 1922 for planned installation on the abortive South Dakota (BB 49-54) class battleships and Lexington (CC 1-6) class battle cruisers.
Note railway trucks supporting the gun barrel.
The two sixteen-inch projectiles displayed alongside the gun are inert shells fired by USS New Jersey into San Clemente Island, California, during shore bombardment practice in 1968.

Sixteen-inch, 50 Caliber, Mark 2, Mod. 1 Gun Barrel

On display in East Willard Park, Washington Navy Yard, D.C., in October 1972. This gun is Number 111, built at the Washington Navy Yard in 1922 for planned installation on the abortive South Dakota (BB 49-54) class battleships and Lexington (CC 1-6) class battle cruisers.
Note railway trucks supporting the gun barrel.
The two sixteen-inch projectiles displayed alongside the gun are inert shells fired by USS New Jersey into San Clemente Island, California, during shore bombardment practice in 1968.

Rear Admiral David W. Taylor, USN (left), Chief of the Bureau of Construction and Repair, and 
Rear Admiral John K. Robison, USN (right), Chief of the Bureau of Engineering, 
Hold a model of the battle cruisers (CC-1 class) then under construction, 8 March 1922. In the foreground is a model of an aircraft carrier design converted from the battle cruiser hull. This photo illustrates the genesis of the Lexington (CV-2) class aircraft carrier design.
Standing in the background are (from left to right):
Rear Admiral William A. Moffett, USN, Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics;
Congressman Frederick C. Hicks, of New York;
Congressman Clark Burdick, of Rhode Island; and
Congressman Philip D. Swing, of California.
Photographed at the Navy Department by Harris & Ewing.