Aircraft Carriers of the United States Navy: Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives (Images of War)
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In 1922 the US Navy commissioned its first small experimental aircraft carrier. This was followed into service by two much larger and capable carriers in 1927 with five more being built prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor including three large Yorktown class. To take the offensive against the Japanese Navy, the American Congress funded by far the largest carrier building programme in history based on the Essex class, a larger version of the pre-war Yorktown vessels. Of the twenty-six ordered, fourteen were commissioned in time to see Second World War service. These were joined by many smaller classes of carriers, including light carriers and escort carriers. Post-war ever larger and more capable carriers were commissioned. Since 1975, when the first of a fleet of ten nuclear-powered Nimitz class carriers was commissioned, they have epitomized United States superpower status and worldwide power projection. These are due to be replaced in the decades to come with the even more sophisticated nuclear-powered Gerald R. Ford class. Compiled and written by Michael Green, Aircraft Carriers of the United States Navy contains superb images of all the different types of classes of carriers employed by the US Navy since 1922. These and its highly informative text and captions give the reader a broad overview of this fascinating subject.
class, the USS St. Lo (CVE-63) and the USS Gambier Bay (CVE-73), were lost to enemy action during the Battle of Samar on 25 October 1944. This was one of four major naval engagements that took place during the Battle of Leyte Gulf which ran from 23 to 26 October 1944. The St. Lo was sunk by a kamikaze attack and the Gambier Bay by naval surface fire. Three others were also lost to enemy action during the Second World War. Commencement Bay-Class Carriers The Casablanca-class escort carriers were
150 of these between 1942 and 1945. The flight decks on the Independence-class carriers were 552 feet long and 73 feet wide, while the hangar decks were 285 feet long and 55 feet wide. (RWP) Pictured is the USS Essex (CV-9) during its sea trials prior to commissioning. It was launched in July 1942. Note the port-side deck-edge elevator is in its upward stored position. This was the first carrier in the twenty-four-ship Essex class and when commissioned on 31 December 1942, it was the largest
undergone the Project SCB-27C modernization process. The first of the three carriers to be re-commissioned with the Project SCB-125 upgrade was the USS Shangri-La in 1955. The USS Antietam was never modernized under Project SCB-125, other than having been fitted with the experimental angled flight deck. Other improvements to the three Essex-class carriers selected for upgrading under Project SCB-125 included the relocation of their primary flight control to the aft end of their islands. To
‘meatball’ or just the ‘ball’. It guides approaching pilots to a safe landing by using coloured Fresnel lenses. (DOD) A view taken from a pilot’s perspective as he approached the angled flight deck of the post-war USS Essex (CVS-9) with a nylon safety-net barrier erected on the flight deck. Prior to the adoption of the nylon safety-net barrier in the post-war era, US navy carriers employed wire barriers that were raised by crewmen if a prop-driven plane failed to catch any of the flight-deck
carriers and almost all of these saw action against the Japanese. The Yorktown class was a truly excellent design which demonstrated the US navy’s emphasis on ships that could carry a large air group, thus giving the ship maximum offensive fighting power. Built around the three Yorktown-class carriers, the Pacific Fleet was able to stem the Japanese tide in 1942 and take the first steps on the road to Tokyo. If the pre-war carriers stopped the Japanese, the flood of Essex-class carriers provided