THE FIGHTING LADY – WWII Documentary of a U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier in action

The Fighting Lady: The Lady and the Sea

Produced by the Department of the Navy, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.

This film is a military documentary told from the point of view of the crew of the aircraft carrier the Fighting Lady — a pseudonym for the Yorktown. Scenes highlight the functions and duties of The Fighting Lady and crew activities, and maps illustrate the movement of the Pacific fleet and its engagement with the Japanese in 1943 and 1944. Footage shows the following: A-24 Dauntlesses, TBF Avengers, Hellcats and other aircrafts as they flew out to the carrier, and the August 30, 1943, strafing and bombing mission over Japanese – held Marcus Island — from preparation on the carrier to debriefing. Later scenes cover 1944, when the U.S. forces took Kwajalein Island, the Marshall Islands, Truk Islands, and Caroline Islands through air assaults and troop landings. Mitsubishi Zero-Sens (Zekes) engaged the U.S. Navy assault force and the ship squadron returned to the Marshall Islands for repairs, munitions, and rest and recreation. En route to the battle area, the Fighting Lady encountered and downed a Japanese reconnaissance plane. On the eve of battle, sailors attended church services. Prior to the U.S. assault, the Japanese attacked the U.S. squadron and U.S. planes took off for the Marianas and the Guam Islands where they successfully fought at the Tinian and Mariana Islands. The Japanese and U.S. task forces then fought in the Philippine Sea, where planes engaged in dogfights while ships performed evasive maneuvers. Final scenes show U.S. casualties buried at sea.

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Public domain status: all works created by an employee or official of the US government under official capacities are automatically and indisputably in the public domain


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19 thoughts on “THE FIGHTING LADY – WWII Documentary of a U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier in action

  1. 70 years ago I joined Fighting Lady (Fighting Squadron One) as a fighter pilot. My life was not as exciting as the edited video but I had enough action. I do not remember the date, around July 10th possibly, I was shot up on a raid on Yap. I was taken aboard and the plan was to get me out of the aircraft, then using the arresting gear motor, they were going to throw away the aircraft after I left the cockpit. However 2 men wanted to salvage the clock and they were working in the cockpit to get the clock and the ditching was delayed. I never knew if they got the clock but they did delay the ditching of my plane.

  2. Well done….thanks for posting. My late father was a Navy officer from 1943-69 and was on the Hancock in 1945 as catapult & arresting gear officer. The first time I saw this film as a boy struck me hard…especially when "Smokey" was lost. God bless all the souls of these men who have passed on.

  3. The high quality of the "Fighting Lady" documentary,with its its skillful balance of facial close-up shots (unusual at the time), raw aerial combat camera footage and composed panoramic views, is due in large part to the skill and imagination of its director (Commander) Edward Steichen — himself one of the greatest photographers of his time.

  4. Don't forget the Laffey is there also…the ship that wouldn't die. Multiple kamikaze and bomb hits and wouldn't sink and kept fighting.

  5. This historic aircraft carrier is now docked in Charleston, SC harbor at Patriots Point. I have toured it twice with visiting family and friends. What an incredible history this ship had!

  6. But isnt it a pity, that all this effort and material could be performed 60+ years ago, while today there is still poverty and unhappiness ? I think someone is fooling the majority of peoples. 

  7. Awesome documentary. Amazing gun camera footage. All color. The end is creepy though, seeing the pilots who didn't make it back or died from their wounds. Must have had balls of steel to fly into those Japanese battle groups. But they did it, and did it well.

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