USS Yorktown (CV-10 / CVA-10 / CVS-10) Conventionally-Powered Aircraft Carrier
USS Yorktown CV-10 survived World War 2, the Vietnam Conflict and the Cold War to become a floating museum in Charleston, South Carolina.
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The USS Yorktown (CV-10, CVA-10, CVS-10) was born from the fighting of World War 2 and persevered through some of the more important battles of the Pacific Campaign. She became one of the special vessels to emerge complete from the fighting and graduate into the jet age where her decks were not filled with technologically-advanced navy fighters. The Yorktown was commissioned, decommissioned and reclassified twice during her time at sea before settling into a life of retirement off the coast of South Carolina as a museum ship. A well-decorated veteran of two major wars concerning America, Yorktown saw her keel laid on December 1st, 1941 by shipbuilder Newport News Shipbuilding at Newport News, Virginia. She was launched to sea on January 21st, 1943 and officially commissioned (as US Yorktown CV-10) on April 15th, 1943.
Yorktown's design was consistent with newer aircraft carriers of the period, doing away with the exclusive "flat top" deck approach of pre-war designs and incorporating an island superstructure off of the starboard side. The remainder of the design was a straight-line deck area with accompanying hangar elevators providing access to maintenance, repair, fuel and munitions below. Three deck elevators were provided - two along the ship's centerline and one along portside - for preparing and reclaiming fighter and attack types. The hull's appearance was conventional as was her propulsion, the latter centering on 8 x boilers fueling 4 x Westinghouse geared steam turbines which, in turn, powered 4 x shafts under the stern at 150,000 shaft horsepower output. This provided the vessel with a maximum speed of 33 knots in ideal conditions and allowed for an operational listed range of approximately 20,000 nautical miles.
Structurally, the Yorktown was given a running length of 872 feet with a beam of 147 feet, 6 inches and a draught of 34 feet, 2 inches. She displaced at 27,100 tons under standard load and up to 36,400 tons under full combat load. Her crew complement amounted to 2,600 officers and enlisted personnel including onboard security, air wing and specialists. As built, her decks and hangar storage could support up to 100 aircraft - generally fighters, torpedo bombers and dive bombers. This number was eventually reduced in the post-war period where larger jet-powered aircraft became accepted norms on US Navy carrier decks. During her World War 2 service, the aircraft carrier did not field catapult-assisted launching for her aircraft.
The Yorktown was built with a collection of cannon for anti-aircraft defense (the primary foe would become the Empire of Japan's Navy). 4 x 5" (127mm) /38 caliber twin-barreled cannons were coupled with 4 x 5" single-barreled mountings for form the principle line of defense. This was backed by 8 x 40mm /56 caliber cannons in quadruple mountings. Up to 46 x 20mm /78 caliber single-barreled cannons allowed for a final line of defense. Weapons were stationed at the island superstructure and around the general periphery of the deck area.
In turn, the vessel was given various layers of physical armor for point defense against bomb and torpedo strikes. This included up to 4 inches of armor at the belt and 1.5 inches at the hangar areas. 4 inches were added to bulkheads and 1.5 inches afforded to the upper and side sections of the pilot house. Some 2.5 inches were granted at the steering section to help protect this critical area of the ship.
The USS Yorktown was one of a 26-strong class group of aircraft carriers under the Essex-class name (led by the USS Essex CV-9). The Essex-class could further be broken down into two distinct hull groups known as the "short-hull" and "long-hull" groups. Yorktown was the second of the short-hull group led by Essex and followed by the USS Intrepid (), USS Hornet (), USS Franklin (), USS Lexington (), USS Bunker Hill (), USS Wasp (), USS Bennington () and USS Bon Homme Richard (). The Essex-class was devised as a replacement for the single-ship-class USS Wasp and was, itself, replaced by the Midway-class appearing from September 1945 onwards.
Operational History: World War 2
The USS Yorktown was laid down just days before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii - December 7th, 1941. To this point, militaries of the world began adoption of larger project scopes and greater funding in anticipation of war. The Japanese began their conquest of the Pacific by invading several neighbors, including China, and had always considered the powerful US Navy their primary threat to completing their kingdom in the Pacific. Standing in their way were also Britain, Australia and other commonwealth allies. Originally named the USS Bon Homme Richard, Yorktown received her finalized name on September 26th, 1942 in honor of the previous USS Yorktown (CV-5) which was lost to the Japanese during the Battle of Midway (June 4th-7th, 1942). CV-10 was launched under ceremony with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt presiding and its first command fell to Captain Joseph J. Clark.