USS Saratoga

Unit Card:


Set - Rarity - Number

Task Force - Rare - 31/60


USS Saratoga (CV-3) was one of two unfinished battlecruisers, along with USS Lexington for which the class is named, that were converted to fleet aircraft carriers (CV) as a result of a provision in the Washington Naval Treaty that allowed two CV at 33,000 tons each. The carriers in fact exceeded this tonnage, but the United States Navy used some clever wording added to the treaty to allow 3,000 additional tons for defense against air and submarine attack. By the end of WWII Saratoga was almost 38,000 tons standard. These were the first American fleet carriers and they were initially armed with eight 8-inch guns to defend against heavy cruisers. These were finally removed just before the war and replaced on the Saratoga with twelve 5-inch guns. The two Lexington class carriers were the least maneuverable ships in the US fleet. The closed hanger limited the aircraft complement relative to their size, and the elevators were slow which limited air operations. However, they were extremely rugged with additional hull bulges installed at the start of the war and very good machinery dispersal. Saratoga was commissioned in 1927 and was soon assigned to the US Pacific Fleet where she remained throughout her operational life. Saratoga was hit by a submarine torpedo on two different occasions and survived. She also survived four bomb hits and three kamikazes during the Iwo Jima operation in 1945. She was conducting air operations within an hour after the attack, but had to leave for permanent repairs. Saratoga was finally sunk during the atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll in 1946.


Saratoga is the biggest and most expensive US Carrier. She also has the advantage of heavy cruiser like surface firepower. Saratoga is the most powerful overall carrier in the game. However, she is higher cost and lacking in flag bonus.

This is a very flexible and survivable CV. It has Expert Torpedoes, Bomber, and Dogfighter so it can help any type of aircraft. It also has very good armor values and five hull points making it a tough cookie to destroy. Cruiser-like mains and secondaries also give it a fighting chance if you have to get into a melee for the objectives late in the game. It's main weakness is a relatively low AA value. Make sure you put a good AA escort in the same sector with it.

Plastic Figure Notes:

One of the nicest - and largest - sculpts in WaS. This one will look impressive and intimidating even if your game is not impressive. The nicely detailed 6inch twin turrets prove WotC can do small turrets if they really want to. It is too bad the turrets on the battleships and heavy cruisers in Set 2 and 3 are not as nicely done. Strangely, for all its size it is hard to park three aircraft miniatures on the deck because of the large island superstructure. Overall, this is one of the good ones.
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