home

fighting ships of the world

UNITED STATES NAVY (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)

AIRCRAFT CARRYING SHIPS

LEXINGTON aircraft carriers (1927) (ex-battlecruisers)

Lexington 1939

Saratoga 1944

Saratoga 1944

No Name Yard No Builder Laid down Launched Comm Fate
CV2 Lexington 300 Bethlehem, Quincy 8/1/1921 3/10/1925 14/12/1927 sunk 8/5/1942
CV3 Saratoga 199 New York SB, Camden 25/9/1920 7/4/1925 16/11/1927 sunk as target in nuclear tests 25/7/1946
  

Displacement standard, t

37681

Displacement full, t

43055

Length, m

259.1 wl 270.7 oa

Breadth, m

32.1

Draught, m

10.2

No of shafts

4

Machinery

4 electric motors, 4 General Electric turbo-generators, 16 Yarrow boilers

Power, h. p.

180000

Max speed, kts

33.2

Fuel, t

oil 2400 - 3600

Endurance, nm (kts) 10500 (15)

Armour, mm

belt: 178 - 127, lower deck: 32 on 19mm plating, CT: 51 sides, 51 roof

Armament

4 x 2 - 203/55 Mk 9, 12 x 1 -127/25 Mk 10/11/13, 63 aircraft (FB, F6C Hawk, FU, F2B, F3B fighters, DT, SC, P2D, T2D, T3M torpedo-bombers, UO, O2U Corsair reconnaissance planes, VE-7, VE-9 multipurpose planes)

Complement

2327

Aircraft facilities (fd - 7,349 m², ha - 2,920 m² / 18,687 m³): Flight deck: 268.2 x 27.4 m. Hangar: 129.2 x 22.6 x 6.4 m. Elevators: fore (9.0 x 18.1m, 7.3t) and aft (8.9 x 10.6m, 2.7t). One 47m catapult F Mk 1. Aircraft fuel stowage in 1942: 520 500 l.

Year fighters dive bombers reconnaissance torpedo-bombers
1937 (Lexington) 18 F2F-1, 18 F4B-4 18 BG-1, 20 SBU-1 3 O2U-3 Corsair, 2 JF-1 ---
5/1942 (Lexington) 22 F4F Wildcat 36 SBD Dauntless --- 12 TBD Devastator
8/1942 (Saratoga) 36 F4F Wildcat 37 SBD Dauntless --- 15 TBF Avenger
4/1944 (Saratoga) 27 F6F Hellcat 24 SBD Dauntless --- 18 TBF Avenger

Ship project history: Largest and fastest aircraft carriers of their time. They were laid down as battlecruisers, but after Washington conference re-ordered as aircraft carriers (CV2 and 3 22/11/1922 and 30/10/1922 respectively). Concerning applied construction and architecture decisions Lexington and Saratoga appreciable effected on the further development of aircraft carriers. Their flight deck and outside hangar sides were designed as a part of hull construction, participating in providing of the longitudinal strength (unlike the subsequent ships, having the flight deck and a hangar fulfilled as a superstructure). Similar constructive decision has ensured a certain prize in hull weight and allowed to make a single-level hangar completely closed. Aft from hangar there were repair shops, there were holds for taken apart planes below it. Two elevators were arranged close enough to each other. Aft one was intended only for fighters, and fwd for heavy planes. Curious feature of fwd elevator was that it could lift aircrafts with the length of a fuselage bigger of elevator length with help of additional folding 6x8m hatch. At the same time presence of only two elevators on so huge ships became serious miscalculation of designers and later negatively affected efficiency of combat usage of carrier aircraft.

Lexington and Saratoga had unusual turbo-electric machinery with huge power: 180000hp. Turbo-generators were installed in central compartments, and boiler rooms at the left and to the right of them alongsides. According to 1920th tactical doctrines, aircraft carriers were armed by 8 203mm guns in four turrets.

Ship protection:  Main 178mm belt had 161.5m length and 2.9m height. It was connected with flat 51mm main deck at upper edge. Underwater protection had 4.8m depth and included 4 compartments.

Modernizations: 1929, Lexington: + 2 x 6 - 7.6/90

1929, Saratoga: + 2 x 2 - 12.7/90

early 1930s, Lexington: - 2 x 6 - 7.6/90

1934, both: catapult was removed

1936, Lexington: + 28 x 1 - 12.7/90

1937, Saratoga: - 2 x 2 - 12.7/90; + 28 x 1 - 12./790

spring 1940, both: + 4 x 1 - 12.7/90, CXAM-1 radar

1940, both: - 4 x 1 - 12.7/90; + 5 x 1 - 76/50 Mk 20

1941, both: - 5 x 1 - 76/50; + 5 x 4 - 28/75 Mk 1

early 1942, Saratoga: - 28 x 1 - 12.7/90; + 4 x 4 - 28/75 Mk 1, 32 x 1 - 20/70 Mk 4

4/1942, Lexington: - 4 x 2 - 203/55; + 7 x 4 - 28/75 Mk 1, 32 x 1 - 20/70 Mk 4, 2x Mk 4 radars

5/1942, Saratoga: - 4 x 2 - 203/55, 12 x 1 - 127/25, 4 x 4 - 28/75, 2 x 1 - 20/70; + 4 x 2 - 127/38 Mk 12, 8 x 1 - 127/38 Mk 12, 4 x 4 - 40/56 Mk 1/2, 2 H II catapults, SC, 2x Mk 4 radars. Breadth was increased by starboard bulge to 34.1m, and displacement rose to 40000 / 48552t. Flight deck was lengthened, length oa was 277.2 m (fd - 7,595 m², ha - 2,920 m² / 18,687 m³). Maximal fuel stowage rose to 9748t. Complement was 3373.

10/1942, Saratoga: - 5 x 4 - 28/75; + 5 x 4 - 40/56 Mk 1/2, 22 x 1 - 20/70 Mk 4

1/1944, Saratoga: - 36 x 1 - 20/70; + 14 x 4 - 40/56 Mk 1/2, 2 x 2 - 40/56 Mk 1/2, SK radar

summer 1944, Saratoga: + SM radar

5/1945, Saratoga: aft elevator was deleted, new fwd elevator was fitted

1/1946, CV3 Saratoga: 4 x 2 - 127/38 Mk 32, 8 x 1 - 127/38 Mk 33, 23 x 4 - 40/60 Mk 2, 2 x 2 - 40/60 Mk 1, 16 x 1 - 20/70 Mk 10, 2 catapults, 63 aircraft, SC, SK, SM, 2x Mk 4 radars

Naval service: Lexington 7/5/1942 during battle in Coral sea was badly damaged by Japanese carrier aircraft (from carriers Shokaku and Zuikaku, received two torpedo and two 60kg bomb hits), abandoned by crew and torpedoed by destroyer Phelps. She foundered 8/5/1942.

Saratoga 11/1/1942 was damaged by a torpedo from Japanese submarine I16 and was under repair till late May, 1942; 31/8/1942 she was again torpedoed by Japanese submarine I26 and returned to service in late November, 1942; during Iwo Jima landing 21/2/1945 she was badly damaged by Japanese aircraft (hits of four bombs and two kamikazes), returned to service in May, 1945; later she was used at nuclear tests at Bikini, damaged 1/7/1946 and sunk after explosion 25/7/1946.

Saratoga 1945

Ivan Gogin, 2014-15