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Probable front and rear photos here and below showing formations of aircraft flying over U.S. Navy battleships during exercises at sea, circa late 1930’s – 1940.

Pictured here is a New Mexico (BB-40 /42) class battleship in the van with other battleships of the Pacific Fleet and a carrier air group, led by the Air Group Commander in a Curtiss SBC Helldiver.
The aircraft following are:
A torpedo squadron of eighteen Douglas TBD-1s;

A bombing squadron of eighteen Northrop BT-1s;


A scouting squadron eighteen Curtiss SBCs;


A fighting squadron of eighteen Grumman F2F-1s or F3F-3s from either the Yorktown (CV-5) or F3F-2s from the Enterprise (CV-6), plus possibly nine additional aircraft.


The Yorktown and Enterprise were the only two carriers whose bombing squadrons were equipped with the Northrop BT-1.

The text for the photo reads:

“The Navy uses enormous amounts of rubber. At least seventy-five tons of rubber, enough to makes 17,000 tires, are used in the construction of each of these battleships. Tons more are needed for the naval planes that are making history over the world. Medical and communication requirements–and countless other needs of the Navy–are met.”

Grumman F3F-3s from Fighting Squadron Five (VF-5), USS Yorktown (CV-5) flying in a three-plane formation over the Southern California coast, circa 1939-40.