Essex Class Aircraft Carrier

This most successful class began as a logical development of the Yorktown design and, though less strictured by treaty considerations, grew further as Europe plunged into war. The order for a single Essex was increased to four in June 1940, then within weeks to eleven. Deck size and hanger space was expanded to accomodate more and larger aircraft of which ninety were required. Horizontal and vertical protection were both increased although the actual flightdeck remained a light structure. This latter contributed to improved stability - necessary as the ships came badly overweight - and sat atop a hanger with many opening which allowed aircraft engines to be warmed up below. Flightdeck operations were improved by a deck-top elevator, an innovation pioneered in the earlier Wasp. Unusually, the specification called for a 20 knot astern speed, to be capable of being maintained for one hour, to allow over-the-bow landings. Forming the backbone of the Pacific Fleets carrier battlegroups, the Essexes took considerable punishment but all survived.

Ships in Class

USS Antiedam
USS Bennington
USS Bon Homme Richard
USS Boxer
USS Bunker Hill
USS Essex
USS Franklin
USS Hancock (ex-Ticonderoga)
USS Hornet (ex-Kearsarge)
USS Intrepid
USS Kearsarge
USS Lake Champlain
USS Lexington (ex-Cabot)
USS Leyte (ex-Crown Point)
USS Oriskany
USS Philippine Sea (ex-Wright)
USS Princetown (ex-Valley Forge)
USS Randolph
USS Shangri-La
USS Tawara
USS Ticonderoga
USS Valley Forge
USS Wasp (ex-Oriskany)
USS Yorktown (ex-Bon Homme Richard)

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