||Michael C. Smith, Don Greer, Ernesto Cumpian
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During the WWII the USA built three major types of the aircraft carriers, namely the Essex class heavy fleet carriers (CVs), addressed in detail in the present publication, the Independence-class light carriers converted from cruiser (CVLs), and, finally, "escort" carriers - these have been converted from tanker or merchant hulls (CVEs). The twenty-four Essex-class vessels were not remarkable for any innovation in their design, but essentially they often were there in the right place at the right time - at the end of the day, they all did well the task history gave them. Fourteen of them saw action against Japanese navy fleet in the period 1943-1945, and all but the two most severely damaged in the war saw extensive postwar action as anti-submarine carriers, fleet carriers and amphibious assault ships and training carriers. But, despite all its success, the Essex class was still considered unsatisfactory in many respects. It was based on a class of ships restricted in treaty, the design was handicapped by a lack of proper operational experience, and it was forced to handle massive increases in aircraft size, anti-aircraft armament and crew, all of which resulted in serious overloading and overcrowding. Let us have a closer look...