Aircraft Carrier - United States (Revised 2004)

Aircraft Carrier - United States (Revised 2004)

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Part Number:REV04_USAC

Yorktown Class Fleet Carrier (CV)

Ship/ Class

Length

Beam

Disp.

Main Arm.

Speed

#

Date

Yorktown

770’

83’

19,875 t

96 aircraft

32.5

1 Wasp & 3 Yorktown

1937

 

Wasp (& Yorktown) Class Carrier

 

ID: Plastic aircraft carrier gaming piece: Wasp class aircraft carrier from the game Axis & Allies Europe 40 & Pacific 40.

 

The Story of the Wasp & Yorktown Classes:  The Yorktown class was the best class of purpose-built, pre-war carriers.  The previous Lexington class were handsome and formidable ships, but they had been built on the foundation of battlecruiser hulls that had been slated for scrapping due to the Washington Treaty.  With no more battlecuisers to convert, the Yorktown represented the US Navy’s finest of the new carriers built within the limitations of the Washington Treaty regime.  Once they had constructed 2 such Yorktown-class carriers, the US found themselves with about 15,000 tons of left-over carrier tonnage to use and so created the USS Wasp, as single-ship class that was essentially a cut-down Yorktown-class carrier.  When the Japanese repudiated the treaty system, and ss the storm clouds of coming war appeared on the horizon, the US built one more Yorktown-class carrier, and then switched to the less compromised and considerably larger Essex class of fleet carriers.  Along with new classes of battleship, (like the Iowa class) heavy and light cruiser (Cleveland and Baltimore), destroyer (Fletcher) and submarine (Gato), the Essexes would be the core of a mighty war fleet that would soon sweep over the Pacific, carrying all before them.  The first Essexes (and the bulk of these other new ships) would not be ready until 1943, however, so the first year of the war in the Pacific was carried on by by what the US Navy had on hand.  As the US battle-fleet had been devasted at Pearl Harbor, in contrast to the expectations of the old “battleship admirals” the bulk of this fighting would be carried out by the “treaty cruisers” and fleet carriers on hand.  It is thus not surprising that the war took such a heavy toll on these ships.  Of the 8 total carriers with which the US started the war, only 3 survived (and one of those that did, the USS Ranger, served mostly in the Atlantic.)  The Wasp itself was something of a compromised design, sacrificing some of its protection and capabilities in order to come in under the treaty limits, and some attribute its loss to a submarine partly to this deficiency (though the loss of carriers to submarine-launched torpedoes was hardly an unusual occrance, the Taiho, thought to be the pinnacle of Japanese carrier design, being perhaps the most famous victim on the other side.)

 

Usage Notes: Use this piece for “Global 1939” and “Invasion of Italy” Variants as an aircraft carrier unit.  Other US warships of interest may be: Iowa class battleship, & Portland class cruiser.

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