Essex class Fleet Carriers

Based on the successful prewar Yorktown class, these wartime construction carriers were a bit bigger and faster, and they were the backbone of the U.S. Navy's fast carrier groups in the latter half of the Asian-Pacific War.

American carriers typically lacked the (armored flight deck) protection of the Royal Navy's carriers: the philosophy was to defend with many fighter aircraft (like the superlative Grumman F6F Hellcat) and air-to-air interception, rather than armor. And if interception failed, they and their escorts possessed extremely heavy antiaircraft armament and high speed.

The effectiveness of this doctrine was demonstrated during the Marianas landings. Suffering no damage themselves, our carriers' aircraft shot down well over 300 attacking Japanese aircraft.

17Apr09