When Frank "Spig" Wead is taking command of the aircraft carrier during WWII the car that drives up to the docked carrier is a 1950 or '51 Chevrolet or Pontiac yet the scene is supposed to be during the war, which ended in 1945.
When Jughead is showing Spig the "new" carrier, Saratoga a flight of airplanes goes overhead. The airplanes are Douglas AD-1s (Later A1E). The AD-1 wasn't developed until late 1945 and the first ones were delivered to the Navy in December 1946 - thus, totally wrong for 1927 when the Saratoga was commissioned.
When Wead takes the Army pilot for a flight in the seaplane, he uses an electric starter to get the engine going. Planes of that era had to be started by hand-pulling the propeller blades, called "propping," a very dangerous and tricky procedure.
When Jughead is showing Spig the carrier, Saratoga the carrier appears to be a Midway class carrier. The Midway carriers didn't appear until late 1945. Also, the aircraft on the deck are Grumman TBF Avengers and Chance Vought F4U Corsairs - both types were developed in the late 30's - not available in 1927.
When on board the aircraft carrier, as "Spig" Wead (John Wayne) is leaving the ship, a plane is being towed in the background. The national insignia on the side of the aircraft is incorrect. There was no red stripe in the white bars that bordered the star during WWII. This version did not come into being until after the war.
When on board the aircraft carrier, as "Spig" Wead is leaving the ship, a plane is being towed in the background. The national insignia on the side of the aircraft is incorrect. There was no red stripe in the white bars that bordered the star during WWII. This version did not come into being until after the war.
Early in the picture, when the characters are discussing the battle of the Coral Sea (May 1942), there is a mention of a kamikaze attack. In fact, it was not until the battle of Leyte Gulf more than two years later (October 1944) that Japan sent out the first kamikazes.
There is a drawing of a cowboy's head on the wall outside Dodge's office. It appears in three different places when Wead first meets Dodge. It can be seen initially three pictures from the right of Dodge's door as Wead approaches the secretary, then it is seen on the opposite wall behind Wead when he enters Dodge's office, and finally it can be seen immediately to the left of Dodge's office door behind Dodge's head when they leave the office.
Shortly after Spig rejoins the navy, he is shown reporting on the sinking of the USS Hornet. Later, just before Spig gives a brief overview of the "jeep carrier" idea, the admiral is briefed on the Japanese carriers Akagi, Kaga and Soryu. Clearly he is being informed on the Battle of Midway, where those carriers were sunk. The Hornet had yet been sunk at that tine. It did in fact take part in the Battle of Midway and came through unscathed.
When John Wayne's character "Spig" Wead flies through the hanger in the first flight scene, he's initially flying from the front seat, his passenger (Hazard) ducks into the rear seat. As the plane goes through the hanger the pilot is flying alone, from the rear seat.
When the float plane crashes into the pool, the guide line it's attached to slide down on is visible, and the airplane's attitude (angle of attack) and altitude (height off the ground) stays the same regardless of the obstacles it hits as it crashes.
When Wead meets John Ford to discuss film writing, the director has four Oscars in his office. Presumably the date is 1930-31 but Ford's first Oscar for "The Informer" was 1935. His fourth was 1942. Furthermore, Wead already had contributed to three previous films from 1929 onward.
When Wead meets Captain "Jocko" the aircraft carrier bears the side number 3, which was USS Saratoga. Jocko Clark's ship was Yorktown (CV-10), which Wead joined in January 1944. Furthermore, the plane being hoisted aboard is an F4U Corsair, which did not deploy on carriers until December 1944.
During Spig's first solo flight, the aircraft markings are wrong for Pensacola in 1920. The white-blue-red roundels were correct for WWI years but only in the European combat theater. The stateside markings did not change during the war. In Pensacola in 1920, the markings should have been white stars on blue discs with a circular red spot in the center of the star.
When Spig is narrating the newsreels where he describes the loss of the carrier Hornet, the film footage is of the carrier Bunker Hill damaged by two kamikaze planes off Okinawa in May 1945. Secondly, Spig describes the Hornet as being hit by 2 kamikaze planes. Hornet was sunk by bombs in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands in Oct 1942, a full 2 years before the Japanese implemented the kamikaze doctrine. Hornet was struck by one plane that was thought to have intentionally crashed into the ship after being heavily damaged by anti aircraft fire but this is not the same as a kamikaze attack.
When Jughead and Pincus present Wead with a check for his first published work, they refer to him as Frank Wead, Jr. Wead was not a Junior. Frank Wead, Jr. was the infant son of Frank and Min who died while they were at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola. The baby is buried in St. Michael's Cemetery in Pensacola.
Spig Wead was not transferred off the carrier at sea as shown at the end of the film. He actually remained aboard USS Essex until it docked at NAS Alameda in San Francisco Bay. He was given his official send off on the pier alongside Essex.
When Spig and Dodge are screening the dailies of "Hell Divers", the smoke they exhale goes behind the movie screen on the wall. During the take they were sitting in front of a blank wall and the dailies they were "watching" were added later causing them to obliterate the exhaled cigarette smoke.