This silent U.S. Navy film shows K-class blimps touching down on the deck of the escort carrier USS Mindoro for refueling. The date this was shot was certainly after WWII, most likely in 1946. K-class blimps were used extensively for ASW operations during WWII.
The K-class blimp was a class of blimps (non-rigid airship) built by the Goodyear Aircraft Company of Akron, Ohio for the United States Navy. These blimps were powered by two Pratt & Whitney Wasp nine-cylinder radial air-cooled engines, each mounted on twin-strut outriggers, one per side of the control car that hung under the envelope. Before and during World War II, 135 K-class blimps were built, configured for patrol and anti-submarine warfare operations and were extensively used in the Navy’s anti-submarine efforts in the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean areas. The ability of the K-ships to hover and operate at low altitudes and slow speeds resulted in detection of numerous enemy submarines as well as assisting in search and rescue missions. The K-ships had an endurance capability of over 24 hours which was an important factor in the employment of ASW tactics. The last of the K-blimps was retired in 1959.
The K-ships were used for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) duties in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans as well as the Mediterranean Sea. All equipment was carried in a forty foot long control car. The installed communications and instrumentation equipment allowed night flying. The blimps were equipped with the ASG-type radar, that had a detection range of 90 mi (140 km), sonobuoys, and magnetic anomaly detection (MAD) equipment. The K-ships carried four Mk-47 depth bombs, two in a bomb bay and two externally, and were equipped with a .50 in (12.7 mm) Browning machine gun in the forward part of the control car. An aircrew of 10 normally operated the K-ships, consisting of a command pilot, two co-pilots, a navigator/pilot, airship rigger, an ordnanceman, two mechanics, and two radiomen.
USS Mindoro (CVE-120), an escort carrier, was laid down by Todd-Pacific Shipyards, Inc., Tacoma, Washington, 2 January 1945; launched 27 June 1945; sponsored by Mrs. R. L. Bowman; and commissioned at Tacoma 4 December 1945, Capt. Edwin R. Peck in command.
After shakedown along the west coast, Mindoro sailed for the east coast late in January 1946 and arrived Norfolk, Va., 15 February. Assigned to Carrier Division 14, she began carrier air training operations along the east coast, and in May she joined ships of the 8th Fleet for exercises in waters of the West Indies. During the remainder of the year she ranged the Atlantic from New England to Cuba, training naval aviators and taking part in ASW hunter-killer exercises.
Mindoro continued to carry out a busy schedule of training and readiness operations. During the next nine years she operated out of Norfolk. Her numerous type training and fleet exercises sent her the length of the eastern coast of North America from Davis Strait to the Caribbean, and across the Atlantic to the British Isles and the Mediterranean. In 1950 and again in 1954 she deployed to the Mediterranean where she joined the 6th Fleet.
After completing exercises off the Virginia Capes, Mindoro steamed to Boston 17 January 1955. She decommissioned at Boston 4 August 1955 and joined the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. While berthed at Boston, she was reclassified AKV-20 on 7 May 1959. Later that year she was authorized for disposal, and her name was struck from the Navy list 1 December. Subsequently, she was disposed of in June 1960 and scrapped at Hong Kong later that year.
This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD and 2k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com