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Aircraft Carriers






Torpedo Boats

Liberty Ships

Foreign Warships

Warships Associated With
World War II in the Pacific


Aircraft Carriers

Essex class

USS Intrepid
Overhead view of USS Intrepid
(Photo by Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum, 1982)

Name:USS Intrepid (CV-11)
Location:Intrepid Square, New York, New York
Owner:Intrepid Air-Space Museum
Condition:Good, altered

Displacement:27,000 tons standard / 36,000 tons full load
Length:872 feet
Width:148 feet
Draft:28 feet full load
Machinery:4-Shaft Westinghouse Turbines, 8 Babcock & Wilcox Boilers
Range:15,000 miles at 15 knots
Armour:Belt 4-2.5 inches, hanger deck 2.5 inches, armour deck over belt 1.5 inches
Armament:90 plus aircraft, 12-5 inch / 38 caliber guns, various combinations of antiaircraft guns
Crew:3,400 wartime

Builder:Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co.
Launched:April 26, 1943
Commissioned:August 16, 1943


USS Intrepid (CV-11) was laid down at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., on December 1, 1941. After the outbreak of the war, work on USS Intrepid was accelerated and she was launched April 26, 1943, and commissioned on August 16, 1943.

USS Intrepid was the third Essex class carrier to be laid down by the United States. The Essex class of carriers was a half-way design. Carriers of that class were developed after the end of the Washington Naval Treaty and were thus considerably larger than comparable ships designed earlier. However, the out break of the war and the need to rush ships into action meant that they would be developed from earlier treaty-bound designs. [1] The Essex class was essentially an enlarged improved version of the previous Yorktown class featuring added antiaircraft armament, new high pressure boilers, new en echelon machinery arrangement, better underwater protection, more powerful catapults, and a second armoured deck on the hanger level. [2]

USS Intrepid was extensively modernized by the Navy in 1954 to convert her to a modern attack carrier capable of handling jets. All heavy guns were removed, the centerline elevator was sealed, and a new heavy duty starboard side elevator was installed. In a later refit an angled flight deck was added to the port side of the ship.

USS Intrepid is in good condition and, although extensively modernized since World War II, she retains much of her wartime integrity. Her basic hull design, engines, machinery, operational equipment and hundreds of individual compartments remain intact from World War II. USS Intrepid is now operated as a memorial and museum ship in New York City by the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space-Museum.

Role of the Aircraft Carrier in World War II

In the years after World War I the nature and conception of naval power was changed by the perfection of the airplane and the rise of the aircraft carrier. Supporters of airpower argued that the battleship as the principal capital ship of the navy was obsolete because of the long reach of naval aircraft. This view was strengthened early in World War II when the British carried out a carrier strike on the Italian battlefleet at Taranto on November 11, 1940. Subsequent Japanese carrier strikes on the American battlefleet at Pearl Harbor and on the British ships HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse confirmed the new order of naval strategy. The Pacific war of 1941-1945 against Japan was fought over vast stretches of ocean employing aircraft carriers as highly mobile weapons capable of destroying enemy ships and bases at great distances. The. success of the Japanese in the early phases of the war and the Americans in the later stages of the war was attributed to a large extent to the successes of the carrier battlegroups deployed by each side. The defeat of the Japanese aircraft carriers by 1944 was a preview to the surrender of Japan in 1945.


USS Intrepid represents American aircraft carriers that fought against Japan in World War II for the following reasons:

  1. USS Intrepid is a representative of the Essex class aircraft carriers. These ships were first ordered in 1940 and were ready for action by 1943. The Essex class aircraft carriers formed the core of the fast carrier task forces that won the war in the Pacific. After 1945 the Essex class formed the core of the postwar carrier fleet of the United States.

  2. USS Intrepid was the third Essex class carrier built by the United States. She was commissioned in August 1943 and fought against Japan for two years. USS Intrepid was hit by enemy action on five occasions and fought in the largest naval battle in history at the Battle of Leyte Gulf in 1944. USS Intrepid helped to sink both of Japan's superbattleships, Yamato and Musashi. She received five battlestars for her World War II service.

  3. USS Intrepid is in good condition and although extensively modernized in the years since 1945 retains much of her wartime integrity. Her basic hull design, machinery, engines, and operational equipment and hundreds of compartments still date from World War II.


1. Norman Friedman, US Aircraft Carriers -- An Illustrated Design History (Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1983), p. 133.

2. Roger Chesnau, ed., Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946 (New York: Mayflower Books, 1980), p. 104.


Belote, James H. and Belote, William M. Titans of the Sea. New York: Harper & Row, 1975.

Chesnau, Roger, ed. Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships 1922 1946. New York: Mayflower Books, 1980.

Friedman, Norman. US Aircraft Carriers -- An Illustrated Design History. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1983.

Sowinski, Larry. USS Intrepid Album. Levittown, New York: Gerard Graphics, 1976.


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(click on the above photographs for a more detailed view)

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Last Modified: Fri, Aug 25 2000 12:00:00 pm PDT

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