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United States' Yorktown class aircraft carriers

Photos

CV-5 USS Yorktown aircraft carrier in Haitian waters:
United States' CV-5 USS Yorktown aircraft carrier in Haitian waters
US Navy, National Archives #80-G-5132
CV-5 USS Yorktown aircraft carrier at Hampton Roads in 1937:
United States' CV-5 USS Yorktown aircraft carrier at Hampton Roads in 1937
US Navy, National Archives #NH-50304
USS Yorktown being hit in the port side during the Battle of Midway on June 4, 1942:
CV-5 USS Yorktown being hit in the port side during the Battle of Midway on June 4, 1942
Imperial War Museum, NYF-42432
CV-6 USS Enterprise aircraft carrier, 1940:
United States' CV-6 USS Enterprise aircraft carrier, 1940
US Navy, National Archives #19-N-29688
CV-6 USS Enterprise aircraft carrier during Battle of Midway:
United States' CV-6 USS Enterprise aircraft carrier during Battle of Midway
US Navy, National Archives #80-G-32225
CV-8 USS Hornet aircraft carrier April 30, 1942:
United States' CV-8 USS Hornet aircraft carrier April 30, 1942
US Navy, National Archives #80-G-16865
CV-8 USS Hornet aircraft carrier, May 26, 1942:
United States' CV-8 USS Hornet aircraft carrier May 26, 1942
US Navy, National Archives #80-G-66129
Lieutenant Colonel James H Doolittle taking off in a B-25 from the CV-8 USS Hornet during the Doolittle raid:
Lieutenant Colonel James H Doolittle taking off in a B-25 from the CV-8 USS Hornet during the Doolittle raid
Imperial War Museum, NY-7343

Design

The Public Works Administration authorized the manufacturing of the Yorktown class in 1933.5 In 1938 the USS Hornet was authorized.5

The Yorktown class owes it's design to experience that the United States fleet obtained during maneuvers in the 1930s.1 Also it was felt that a carrier needed more protection.1,3

Torpedo Protection

There were two tanks with water and one empty tank that were along the hull and under the waterline that were intended to absorb the explosion of a torpedo.1

Hangar Deck

Around the hangar deck were roller shades that could be opened so that aircraft could be warmed up before being brought up to the flight deck.1,5,6 This also allowed for the dissipation of fuel vapors.6

There was a catapult in the hangar deck.1,3,4

Flight Deck

There were three 15,000 lb elevators and two catapults in the Yorktown class.1,2,3,4,6 The deck was made of 6" wood planks.6

Island

The island on the Yorktown was the first American carrier to contain the smoke stack.1

Defenses

The 5" L/38 dual purpose guns were first installed on the Yorktown class.1

In front and behind the island were four 1.1" quadruple gun mounts.1 On the gallery deck were 24 .50 cal machine guns.1

Cost

Cost approximately $25 million.4

Ships

CV-5 USS Yorktown

  • Manufacturer: Newport News2,3,6
  • May 21, 1934: Laid down.6
  • April 4, 19362,3,6, April 19361, 19364: Launched.1,2,3,4,6
  • September 30, 19373,6, September 19371,5: Completed.1,3,5,6
  • 1940: Joined Pacific Fleet.1
  • April 1941: Joined Atlantic fleet.1
  • December 7, 1941: Norfolk Navy Yard.6
  • 1942: Four 1.1" quad mounts added.6
  • February 1, 1942: Raids on Marshall and Gilbert Islands.1
  • May 8, 1942: Coral Sea1,2,5,6 Air Group 5 had 20 F4F Wildcats, 38 SBD Dauntlessness, and 13 TBD Devastators.5 Damaged.6 Repairs at Pearl Harbor.6
  • June 1942: 24 20 mm guns added.1
  • June 7, 19421,2,3,4,5, June 19421,2,4: Sunk.1,2,3,4,5 Midway.1,2,4

CV-6 USS Enterprise

  • Manufacturer: Newport News2,3,4,6
  • July 16, 1934: Laid down.6
  • October 3, 19362,3,4,6, October 19361: Launched.1,2,3,4,6
  • May 12, 19383,6, May 19381: Completed.1,3,6
  • December 7, 1941: On way back to Pearl Harbor after delivering planes to Wake Island.1
  • December 10, 1941: Aircraft from Enterprise sank I-170.5
  • 1942: Four 1.1" quad mounts added.6
  • February 1, 1942: Kwajalein1,2, Marshall Islands1
  • February 24, 1942: Wake Island1
  • March 3, 1942: Marcus Island1
  • April 1942: Doolittle Raid1,5
  • June 1942: hangar deck catapult removed.1 32 20 mm guns added.1
  • June 1942: Midway2,5
  • August 1942: 6 20 mm guns added.1 Eight 20 mm guns added.1
  • August 1942: Guadalcanal2,5, Eastern Solomons1,2
  • August 24, 1942: Battle of Eastern Solomons.5,6 Hit by three bombs.5,6
  • October 26, 1942, October 19421,2: Battle of Santa Cruz.1,2,5,6 Hit by three bombs.5,6
  • November 1942: Four 40 mm quadruple mounts replaced 1.1" mounts.1
  • November 13, 1942: TBF Avenger's sank the damaged battleship Hiei.5,6
  • July 1943: Armament updated to six 40 mm quadruple mounts, eight 40 mm twin mounts, and 48 20 mm guns.1 Catapults made more powerful.1
  • November 1943: Gilbert Islands1,2
  • November 25, 1943: An Avenger did the first at sea kill at night.5
  • January 1944: Marshall Islands1
  • February 1944: Became a night operations carrier.1
  • February 1944: Truk1,2,5
  • March 1944: Palau1,2
  • April 1944: Hollandia1,2, New Guinea1, Truk1
  • June 1944: Saipan1,2, Battle of Philippine Sea (Marianas Turkey Shoot)2,5
  • October 1944: Leyte Gulf1,2
  • 1945: Armament updated to eleven 40 mm quadruple mounts, five 40 mm twin mounts, and 16 20 mm twin mounts.1
  • February 1945: Japan1, Iwo Jima2
  • March 1945: Japan1
  • March 18, 1945: Damaged1
  • April 1945: Okinawa1,2
  • April 11, 1945: Hit by kamikaze.1,2
  • April 13, 1945: Hit by kamikaze.2
  • May 14, 1945: Hit by kamikaze which blew off an elevator and caused a large fire in the hangar deck.1,5,6
  • Awards: Presidential Unit Citation1, Navy Unit Citation1, 19 Battle Stars1,5

CV-8 USS Hornet

  • Manufacturer: Newport News2,3,6
  • September 25, 1939: Laid down.6
  • December 14, 19402,3, 19404: Launched.2,3,4,6
  • October 20, 19413,5,6, October 19411: Completed.1,3,5,6
  • January 1942: Shake down cruise in Caribbean5
  • March 1942: Joined Pacific fleet.1
  • April 2, 1942: Left for Doolittle Raid5
  • April 18, 1942, April 19426: Doolittle Raid1,2,5,6
  • June 1942: hangar deck catapult removed.1 24 20 mm guns added.1
  • June 1942: Midway1,2
  • June 4 - 6, 1942: Midway5
  • August 1942: Eight 20 mm guns added.1
  • August 1942: Ferrying Marine Corps fighters.5
  • October 26, 1942: Battle of Santa Cruz1,2,4,5
  • October 24, 19423, October 27, 1942: Sunk1,2,3,5,6

Usage

First Japanese Submarine Sunk

On December 10, 1941 aircraft from the USS Enterprise sank the first Japanese submarine of the war, the I-170.5

Doolittle Raid

In March 1942 the USS Hornet loaded 16 B-25 bombers and sailed for Japanese waters where on April 18, 1942 launched the B-25s in a raid on Japan.1,5,6 The USS Enterprise provided escort.5

Coral Sea

The USS Yorktown and USS Lexington participated in the first carrier vs. carrier battle on May 8, 1942.1 Dive bombers from the Yorktown hit the Shokaku two times.1

On May 8, 1942 the Japanese carrier Shoho was sunk within 10 minutes.5,6 Dive bombers from the USS Yorktown damaged the Zuikaku.5

A bomb penetrated the flight deck of the USS Yorktown and exploded wounding or killing 66 crew members.1,5

Midway

Despite the damage to the Yorktown it was repaired in three days and was able to join the Enterprise and Hornet near the island of Midway.1,5 The American forces located the Japanese carriers first and launched an attack.1 Three carriers were destroyed in the initial attack.1 Dive bombers from the Enterprise sunk Akagi and Kaga.1,5,6 The surviving Hiryu launched a strike that hit the Yorktown with three bombs and two torpedos.1 Eventually the I-168 was able to hit the Yorktown with two more torpedoes and she sank.1,5,6

Aircraft from the USS Hornet damaged the cruisers Mikuma and Mogami.5

Eastern Solomons

In support of the landings at Guadalcanal the Enterprise was hit by three bombs in the Battle of the Eastern Solomons.1,5,6 The Enterprise returned to Pearl Harbor for repairs.1,5

Santa Cruz

The USS Enterprise and USS Hornet took part in the Battle of Santa Cruz.1,5,6 Aircraft from the Hornet did damage the Shokaku.1 The Hornet was hit by two torpedoes, three / six5 bombs, and two kamikazis.1,5 That same day the Hornet was hit by another torpedo and two more bombs.1 The crew abandoned ship and US destroyers shot nine torpedoes and 400 / 4305 rounds into the Hornet but it took four torpedoes from Japanese destroyers to sink her.1,5

On October 26, 1942 the Enterprise was hit by two bombs.1,5

Specifications

  Yorktown class
Crew 1,8906, 2,2002
Crew - 1942 2,1753
Displacement 19,872 tons6, 19,900 tons2
Displacement - Loaded 25,500 tons6
Physical Characteristics  
Length 809'3, 809' 6"2,6
246.58 m3, 246.7 m6
Length - Water Line 761'2, 770'3,6
234.69 m3, 234.7 m6
Length - Flight Deck 802' x 86'6, 824' 9"3
244.45 m x 26.21 m6, 251.38 m3
Beam 83' 2"3, 83' 3"2,6
25.37 m6, 25.54 m3
Draft / Height 21' 6"6, 21' 9"2, 25' 11"3
6.55 m6, 7.9 m3
Draft / Height - Loaded 25' 11"6
7.9 m6
Performance  
Speed 32.5 knots3,6, 34 knots2
Range at 15 knots 12,000 nautical miles3,6
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft 5"2,6, 5" L/383: 82,3,6
1.1": 163
0.5": 243
Aircraft 963,6, 1002
Aircraft - 1938 Fighters3, F2F6: 183,6
Torpedo Bombers3, TBD6: 363,6
Dive Bombers3, SBC6: 373,6
Utility3,6: 53,6
Armor  
Belt 2.5 - 4"3,6
Bulkheads 1.5"6, 4"3
Deck 1.5"3
Deck - Machinery 1.5"6
Deck - Magazine 1.5"6
Engines  
Boilers Babcock & Wilcox3,6: 93,6
Shafts 42,3,6
Turbines Geared2, Parsons geared3,6
HP 120,0002,3,6
Oil 2,754 - 4,360 tons3, 4,360 tons6
Aviation fuel 177,950 gallons3
  USS Yorktown
Crew 2,2171, 2,9195
Displacement 19,800 tons5, 19,576 tons1, 19,900 tons4
Displacement - Loaded 27,500 tons5
Physical Characteristics  
Length 809' 6"5, 810'1
246.7 m5
Length - water line  
Beam 83'5, 110'1
25.3 m5
Draft / Height 25'1, 28'5
8.53 m5
Performance  
Speed 33 knots1,5
Range at 10 knots 11,200 nautical miles1
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft - 1942 5" / 127 mm: 85
1.1" / 27.94 mm quadruple: 45
0.5" / 12.7 mm machine guns: 165
Aircraft - 1942 Fighters: 205
Dive Bombers: 385
Torpedo Bombers: 135
Armor  
Belt 4"5
102 mm5
Main Deck 3"5
76 mm
Lower Deck 1 - 3"5
25 - 76 mm5
Bulkheads  
Engines 4 shaft geared steam turbines5
HP 120,0005
  USS Enterprise
Crew 2,0724, 2,9195
Displacement 19,800 tons5, 19,875 tons3, 19,900 tons4
Displacement - Loaded 25,448 tons3, 25,500 tons5
Displacement - Loaded 1943 32,060 tons1
Physical Characteristics  
Length 809' 6"4,5, 827'2
246.74 m5
Length - water line 761'4
Beam 83' 3"4
Beam - Over Flight Deck 114'2,5
34.75 m5
Draft / Height 21' 8"4, 29'5
8.84 m5
Performance  
Speed 33 knots5, 34 knots4
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft 5" L/38: 84
40 mm: 402
1.1" machine gun: 164
Anti-Aircraft - 1942 5" / 127 mm: 85
1.1" / 27.94 mm quadruple mounts: 45
0.5" / 12.7 mm machine guns: 165
Anti-Aircraft - 1945 40 mm quad mounts6: 116
20 mm twin mounts6: 86
20 mm6: 166
Aircraft 81 - 854
Aircraft - 1942 Fighters: 275
Dive Bombers: 375
Torpedo Bombers: 155
Armor  
Belt 4"5
102 mm5
Main Deck 3"5
76 mm5
Lower Deck 1 - 3"5
25 - 76 mm5
Bulkheads  
Engines Geared turbines4
4 shaft geared steam turbines5
9 Babcock & Wilcox Express boilers4
HP 120,0004,5
  USS Hornet
Crew 2,9195
Displacement 19,000 tons5, 20,000 tons2,4
Displacement - Loaded 29,100 tons5
Physical Characteristics  
Length 825'1, 827' 5"5
252.2 m5
Length - water line  
Beam 114'1, 114' 2"5
34.8 m5
Draft / Height 29'5
8.84 m5
Performance  
Speed 33 knots5
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft - 1941 1.1" quad mounts6: 46
0.5"6: 246
Anti-Aircraft - 1942 5" / 127 mm: 85
1.1" / 27.94 mm quadruple mount: 45
20 mm: 305
0.5" / 12.7 mm machine guns: 95
Aircraft - 1942 Fighters: 365
Dive Bombers: 365
Torpedo Bombers: 155
Armor  
Belt 2.5 - 4"5
64 - 102 mm5
Main Deck 3"5
76 mm5
Lower Deck 1 - 3"5
25 - 76 mm5
Engines 4 shaft geared steam turbines5
HP 120,0005

Sources:

  1. US Navy Aircraft Carriers 1922-45 Prewar Class, Mark Stille, 2005
  2. US Warships of World War 2, Paul H. Silverstone, 1965
  3. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946, Robert Gardiner, 1987
  4. Janes' Fighting Ships of World War II, 1989
  5. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  6. The World's Aircraft Carriers 1914 - 1945, Roger Chesneau, 1986
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site