USS Arizona underway during the 1930s

(phto: Official U.S. Navy Photograph, Naval

History and Heritage Command).

The Movie HERE COMES THE NAVY (1934)

In 1934, the USS Arizona appeared in the romantic comedy by

Warner Bros., “Here Comes the

Navy”, starring James Cagney,

Gloria Stuart, Pat O‘Brien and

Frank McHugh. The film was

shot in collaboration with the US

Navy, with some of the scenes

taking place directly aboard the

USS Arizona and a number of

Naval facilities. The film features

footage from the Bremerton shipyards, the San Diego training

station, and the San Pedro and

Sunnyvale Bases in California.

The film also includes interesting footage of warships, activities aboard the Arizona and

details of the deck. Interestingly,

the battleships have the original

masts visible. The film concludes aboard the USS Macon and

Moffett Field in California and

features nice shots of both the

airship and the Moffett Field

airship hangar. Scenes from the

film, and indeed the entire film,

can be found on Youtube:







The final layout saw four machine guns

located on a newly built platform at the

very top of the main mast, two located on

the sides of the smokestack on the platforms vacated after the searchlights were

moved and the last two on a platform on

the front mast above the bridge. Final

modifications were made while docked in

a shipyard from October, 1940 to January, 1941. Besides the aforementioned definitive relocating of the 12.7mm machine

guns, these included two sighting system

for the 127mm (5-inch) anti-aircraft cannon placed on newly erected platforms

with a massive supporting structure on

both sides of the front mast at the same

level as the main 6m rangefinder on the

roof of the bridge. The unprotected 127mm

anti-aircraft gun positions on the deck

superstructure received protective shielding against shrapnel, as did the 12.7mm

machine gun positions. A pair of 127mm

anti-aircraft guns outside of the casemates on the superstructure deck along

the sides ahead of the bridge were also

removed, and in their place, there were

positions set up for two 28mm (1.1-inch)

four barrel weapons, together with their

anti-shrapnel protection, an elevator for

munitions, and room for a supply of ammunition. Another two such accommodations were made on both sides of the

ship, on the main deck at the level of the

main mast. Mounting further weapons or

installing anti-shrapnel measures for the

127mm anti-aircraft guns was not realized.

Platforms for 60cm searchlights on the

sides of the bridge behind the command

tower remained empty. There were plans

to install radar equipment. A new platform was set up at the top of the forward

mast above the main gun fire control station in anticipation of the installation of

an SC anti-aircraft early warning radar

antenna and a Mk.3 gun radar in front of

it. The installation of the remaining weapons and equipment was slated for the

beginning of 1942. Final changes were

made to the crew living quarters, and the

new crew complement grew to 2,037 men.

With the growing tensions in the Pacific,

it was decided to relocate the bulk of the

Pacific Fleet from the base at San Diego,

California, on the west coast of the United States closer to the expected area of

conflict with Japanese naval power, and

this put the fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

This occurred after the “Fleet Problem

XXI” maneuvers in May 1940, making Pearl

Harbor the last operational base of the

USS Arizona.

After returning from her last visit to the

naval yard in June, The USS Arizona remained anchored at Ford Island, which

she left only for training exercises. From

August 7, 1938, she was the flagship

of Battleship Division 1, which included,

at the time of the Japanese attack, the

USS Nevada and the USS Oklahoma. The

Flagship Officer was Rear Admiral Isaac

C. Kidd. The ship‘s last commanding officer was Captain Franklin Van Valkenburg,

who took the position on February 5, 1941.


INFO Eduard

March 2022