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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 Yorktown
Overhead view of USS Yorktown, Patriots Point, SC
(Photo by Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum, 1985)

Name:USS Yorktown (CV-10)
Location:Charleston Harbor, Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina
Owner:Patriots Point Development Authority, State of South Carolina
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:January 21, 1943
Commissioned:April 15, 1943


USS Yorktown (CV-10) was laid down at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company on December 1, 1941. After the outbreak of the war, work on USS Yorktown was accelerated and she was launched on January 21, 1943 and was commissioned on April 15, 1943. USS Yorktown was to have been named USS Bon Homme Richard but soon after the Battle of Midway, in which the old USS Yorktown (CV-5) was sunk, the navy announced that CV-10 would be renamed USS Yorktown. Another Essex class carrier (CV-31) was later named USS Bon Homme Richard.

USS Yorktown was the second Essex class carrier to be laid down by the United States. The Essex class 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 outbreak 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 hangar level. [2]

During the Korean War USS Yorktown had all guns, except four-5 inch guns, removed; updated electronics installed; and steam catapults and stronger arresting cables, capable of handling jets, installed. USS Yorktown was extensively modernized by the Navy in 1955-58 and was converted from an attack (CVA) carrier to an antisubmarine (CVS) carrier. During this modernization a new angled flight deck, hurricane bow and escalators were added. USS Yorktown has remained in this configuration since 1958 with ultimate tonnage rising to 45,000 tons. [3]

USS Yorktown is in good condition and although extensively modernized since the war she retains much of her World War II integrity. Her basic hull design, machinery, operational equipment and hundreds of compartments remain intact. USS Yorktown is now operated as a memorial and museum ship in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina by the Partiots Point Naval and Maritime 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 preview to the surrender of Japan in 1945.


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

  • 1. USS Yorktown 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 Yorktown was the second Essex Class carrier built by the United States. She was commissioned in April 1943 and fought against Japan for more than two years. Her planes inflicted heavy damage on the Japanese at Truk and the Marianas, and she supported American ground troops in the Philippines, at Iwo Jima, and at Okinawa. She received eleven battle stars and a Presidential Unit Citation for her World War II service.

  • 3. USS Yorktown is in good condition and although extensively modernized her basic hull design, operational-machinery, engines and hundreds of compartments remain intact from World War II. No World War II Essex class carrier has survived intact. USS Intrepid, the only other World War II Essex class carrier preserved as a memorial ship, has also been modernized.


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.

3. Dr. Clark G. Reynolds, "National Register of Historic Places Inventory USS Yorktown" (Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina: Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum, 1982), pp. 2-3.


Belote, James H. and Belote, William H. 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.

Reynolds, Dr. Clark G. "National Register of Historic Places Inventory USS Yorktown." MT. Pleasant, South Carolina: Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum, 1982.


USS Yorktown USS Yorktown USS Yorktown

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

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