1955 US ARMY FILM “THE CORPORAL STORY” MGM-5 CORPORAL MISSILE JET PROPULSION LAB CALTECH JCXD13954
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This film depicts the MGM-5 Corporal Missile produced by the US Army in partnership with Caltech’s pioneering Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It was initially manufactured by Douglas Aircraft Company and was to be for use in Cold War hostilities. The film opens with an introduction provided by Leonard K. Firestone, President of the Rubber Company of California (:49). The missile’s story began in 1944 in Washington, DC (1:27). At the Pentagon (1:27), the Office Chief of Ordinance had authorized experimental work in applications of rocket propulsion to artillery range missiles. The program was to be put under the charge of Lieutenant General E. L. Cummings (1:51). The control and coordinator base for the missile projects stemmed from the Redstone arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama (2:04). This was under the charge of General Holger Toftoy (2:28) whom was a pioneer in the guided missile program (2:28) and one of the key men behind Operation Paperclip. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of technology served as a research and development agency (2:36). Scientific activities were headed by Dr. Bill Pickering (2:50), whom was an internationally known rocket scientist. Laboratories within Caltech conducted research and development functions for several years (2:58). Field testing was conducted at White Sands Proving Grounds in New Mexico (3:13). A missile is seen launched for one of these tests (3:51). The missile’s production began in 1951 as Gilfillan Brothers Incorporated manufactured guidance equipment (4:06). The Los Angeles Firestone Guided Missile Division produced the missile as well as the ground handling equipment for the Corporal Missile system (4:20). Some of the hundreds of engineers and scientists who comprised the development and production team are seen (4:27). Production specialists hover over engineer drawings (4:48). Missile sub-assemblies are formed from raw metals (4:57). Within metal shops, workers utilize precision machining to compose missile components (5:02). Electrical components and electronics are seen constructed (5:35). Workers constructing the missile, attach the fuel and oxidizer tanks (5:43), as well as the rocket engine (5:51). The missile then moves to undergo final inspection (6:01) and is seen being painted in field colors (6:14). A Southern Pacific Railway railcar (6:49) loads the missile from the factory to the field (6:49). It is taken to the Anti-Aircraft artillery and guided missile center in Fort Bliss, Texas (6:59). Activities here were directed by Major General Robert J. Wood (7:27). The missile arrives to the field and is then routed to the base ordinance depot for preliminary inspection (7:34). As the missile is removed from its container (7:40), stabilizers are attached (7:40). The missile is then sent for the missile battalion in the field (7:49). Convoy vehicles move down the road headed for an undisclosed location in the New Mexico desert (8:00). The battalion is split into three; some are sent to the guidance area, others to the launching and fueling sites and the third group to the preflight testing area (8:11). The missile is removed from the transport trailer (8:27) and portable work tents are seen being constructed (8:36). Preliminary missile inspection is conducted (8:48). A mobile test station was used to perform pre-flight tests (8:55). Technicians install the carbon veins (9:16) and check the missile’s rudders (9:34). The specialized vehicles which provided radar commands (10:16), the Doppler van (10:23), and the computer trailer are pointed out (10:27). For this demonstration a dummy war head is used (11:00). Filling personnel are seen in protective clothing (11:16) and the process is to be carried out in two identical steps. The oxidizer is loaded prior to fueling, and the workers are hosed off with water as a decontaminant (11:47). As the missile is prepared to be transferred, the erector boom is seen being rotated (12:01). The missile is secured for transfer (12:19) and the battalion command post follows (12:28). Final pre-firing tests are conducted (13:04) and the missile is then ready for launching (13:25). The vehicle which is to provide remote control connections between the missile and the firing pit is shown (13:43). In the computer van, technicians keep a close watch on the oscilloscope patterns (14:14). The countdown to launching begins (14:28), and the missile is fired (14:42). Footage of explosions follow to show how it would look in the event of actual combat (15:32).
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