USS Lexington (CV-2)


Career USA
Ordered:1916 (as battlecruiser)
1922 (as aircraft carrier)
Builder:Fore River Ship and Engine Building Company
Laid down:8 January 1921
Launched:3 October 1925
Commissioned:14 December 1927
Reclassified:1 July 1922 battlecruiser to CV
Struck:24 June 1942
Status:Sunk by Japanese at the Battle of the Coral Sea, 8 May 1942
General Characteristics
Displacement:Design:
36,000 tons standard
38,746 tons Actual: 49,000 tons (1940) 50,000 tons (1942)
Length:888 feet (oa)
Beam:105 feet 5.25 inches (waterline)
106 feet (overall)
Draught:24 feet 3 inches (design)
Propulsion:Design:
16 × boilers at 300 psi
Geared turbines and electric drive
4 × shafts
180,000 shp; 209,710 hp reached in service
Speed:33.25 knots (design); 34.82 knots reached in service
Range:10,000 nautical miles at 10 knots
Complement:2,122 officers and men
Armament:As built:
4 × twin 8 inch 55 caliber guns
12 × single 5 inch guns
Armour:Belt: 5–7 inches
2 inch protective 3rd deck
3 inch flat to 4.5 inch over steering gear
Aircraft carried:As built:
91 aircraft
2 × elevators
1 × flywheel catapult
Honours and awards:American Defense Service Medal ("Fleet" clasp) / Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (2 stars) / World War II Victory Medal


The fourth USS Lexington (CV-2), nicknamed the "Gray Lady" or "Lady Lex", was an early aircraft carrier of the United States Navy. She was the name ship of the Lexington class.

She and her sister ship Saratoga were originally authorized in 1916 as battle cruisers of 35,300 tons with seven funnels and boilers disposed on two deck levels. After the war, and as a result of the lessons thereof, plans were to a large extent re-cast in 1919. Designated CC-1 and CC-3, they were laid down as smaller battle cruisers on 8 January 1921 by Fore River Shipbuilding Company, Quincy, Massachusetts.

Following the Washington Naval Conference, they were both redesignated and re-authorized to be completed as aircraft carriers on 1 July 1922. As such, they were reduced in displacement by 8,500 tons, achieved mainly by the elimination of eight 16 inch (406 mm) guns in four twin turrets (including mounts, armor, and so on). The main belt armor was retained, and the deck armor was heavily reinforced. The general lines of the hull remained unaltered, and the special system of underwater protection was adhered to. The flight deck was 880 feet (244m) long and 85 to 90 feet (25.9-27.4m) wide, mounted 60 feet (18.3m) above the waterline. The mean draught was 24 feet 1.5 inches (7.4m). The ships had a complement of 169 officers and 1730 men, including flying personnel. They carried eight 8 inch (203 mm)/55 caliber guns, twelve 5-inch (127 mm)/25 caliber anti-aircraft guns, and four 6-pounder (2.24-inch, 57 mm) saluting guns. These two ships were the last two built with a transverse catapult as part of the original design. The catapult had a travel of 155 foot (47 m), and was strong enough to launch the heaviest naval aircraft then in existence within 60 feet (18.3m). As built, these two ships had cranes for launching and retrieving seaplanes and flying boats, a capability removed during the war and replaced by additional anti-aircraft guns. The ships were designed to carry a maximum of 120 aircraft of various types, including fighters, scouts, and bombers. Each ship cost a total of $45,000,000 with aircraft.

Lexington was launched 3 October 1925, sponsored by Mrs. Theodore Douglas Robinson (wife of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy), and commissioned 14 December 1927, Captain Albert W. Marshall in command.

Lexington and Saratoga had turboelectric drive with 16 Yarrow boilers powering four General Electric steam turbines spinning generators that powered the four slower speed main drive motors. Lexington's engines provided electricity to Tacoma, Washington for thirty days during a power shortage in the winter of 1929/1930.

1928-1941

After fitting out and shakedown, Lexington joined the Battle Fleet at San Pedro, California, 7 April 1928. Based there, she operated on the west coast with Aircraft Squadrons, Battle Fleet, in flight training, tactical exercises, and battle problems. Each year she participated in fleet maneuvers in Hawaii, in the Caribbean, off the Panama Canal Zone, and in the eastern Pacific. On trials, Lexington achieved an average speed of 30.7 knots, and maintained a speed of 34.5 knots for one hour

World War II

1941

In the fall of 1941 she sailed with the battle force to the Hawaiians for tactical exercises.

On 7 December 1941 Lexington was at sea with Task Force 12 carrying marine aircraft from Pearl Harbor to reinforce Midway when word of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was received. She immediately launched search planes to hunt for the Japanese fleet, and at midmorning headed south to rendezvous with Indianapolis and Enterprise task forces to conduct a search southwest of Oahu until returning to Pearl Harbor on 13 December.

Lexington sailed next day to raid Japanese forces on Jaluit to relieve pressure on Wake Island; these orders were canceled 20 December, and she was directed to cover the Saratoga force in reinforcing Wake. When the island fell on 23 December, the two carrier forces were recalled to Pearl Harbor, arriving 27 December.

1942

Lexington patrolled to block enemy raids in the OahuJohnstonPalmyra triangle until 11 January 1942, when she sailed from Pearl Harbor as flagship for Vice Admiral Wilson Brown commanding Task Force 11. On 16 February, the force headed for an attack on Rabaul, New Britain, scheduled for 21 February; while approaching the day previous, Lexington was attacked by two waves of enemy aircraft, nine planes to a wave. The carrier's own combat air patrol and antiaircraft fire shot down 17 of the attackers. During a single sortie, Lieutenant Edward O'Hare won the Medal of Honor by downing five planes.

Her offensive patrols in the Coral Sea continued until 6 March, when she rendezvoused with Yorktown's Task Force 17 for a thoroughly successful surprise attack flown over the Owen Stanley Mountains of New Guinea to inflict heavy damage on shipping and installations at Salamaua and Lae on 10 March. She then returned to Pearl Harbor, arriving 26 March.

Lexington's task force sortied from Pearl Harbor on 15 April, rejoining TF 17 on 1 May. As Japanese fleet concentrations threatening the Coral Sea were observed, Lexington and Yorktown moved into the sea to search for the enemy's force covering a projected troop movement; the Japanese had to be blocked in their southward expansion or sea communication with Australia and New Zealand would be cut, and the dominions threatened with invasion. The Battle of the Coral Sea was the result.

Battle of the Coral Sea

On 7 May, search planes reported contact with an enemy carrier task force. Lexington's air group sank the light carrier Shōhō. Later that day, 12 bombers and 15 torpedo planes from still-unlocated heavy carriers Shōkaku and Zuikaku were intercepted by fighter groups from Lexington and Yorktown, which shot down nine enemy aircraft.

On the morning of the 8th, a Lexington plane located the Shōkaku group; a strike was immediately launched from the American carriers, and the Japanese carrier was heavily damaged.

Enlarge picture
Lexington burning during the Battle of the Coral Sea


However, enemy planes penetrated the American defenses at 11:00, and 20 minutes later Lexington was struck by a torpedo to port. Seconds later, a second torpedo hit her portside directly abeam the bridge. At the same time, she took three bomb hits from enemy dive bombers, producing a 7 degree list to port and several raging fires. By 13:00, skilled damage control had brought the fires under control and restored her to an even keel; making 25 knot (46 km/h), she was ready to recover her air group. Then suddenly Lexington was shaken by a tremendous explosion, caused by the ignition of gasoline vapors below, and again fire raged out of control. At 15:58, Captain Frederick Carl Sherman, fearing for the safety of men working below, secured salvage operations, and ordered all hands to the flight deck. At 17:01, he ordered "abandon ship" and the orderly disembarkation began. Men going over the side into the warm water were almost immediately picked up by nearby cruisers and destroyers. Admiral Aubrey Wray Fitch and his staff transferred to the cruiser Minneapolis; Captain Sherman and his executive officer, Commander Morton T. Seligman ensured all their men were safe, then were the last to leave.

Lexington blazed on, flames shooting hundreds of feet into the air. Destroyer Phelps closed to 1,500 yard (0 m) and fired two torpedoes into her hull; with one last heavy explosion, Lexington sank at 19:56, in .

Battle Stars

Lexington received two battle stars for her World War II service.

Trivia

See also

External links

Notes

1. ^ Mentioned in the afterword to Searchlight in Expanded Universe.
The Fore River Shipyard, more formally known as the Fore River Ship and Engine Building Company, was a shipyard in the United States during the late 1800s and early 1900s.

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Battle of the Coral Sea, fought from May 4-May 8, 1942, with most of the action occurring on May 7 and May 8, was a major naval battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II between the Imperial Japanese Navy and the United States and Australia.
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beam of a ship is its width at the widest point, or a point alongside the ship at the mid-point of its length. Generally speaking, the wider a ship (or boat)'s beam, the more initial stability she will have, at expense of reserve stability in the event of a capsize, where more
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The draft (or draught) of a ship's hull is the vertical distance between the waterline and the bottom of the hull (keel), with the thickness of the hull included; in the case of not being included the draft outline would be obtained.
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aircraft carrier is a warship designed to deploy and in most cases recover aircraft, acting as a sea-going airbase. Aircraft carriers thus allow a naval force to project air power great distances without having to depend on local bases for staging aircraft operations.
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United States Navy (USN) is the branch of the United States armed forces responsible for conducting naval operations. The U.S. Navy currently has over 340,000 personnel on active duty and nearly 128,000 in the Navy Reserve.
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Lexington class aircraft carriers were the first operational aircraft carriers in the United States Navy (USS Langley was a strictly developmental ship which only served for a short time as an active fleet unit before being converted to a seaplane tender AV-3).
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USS Saratoga (CV-3) was the second aircraft carrier of the United States Navy. She was commissioned one month earlier than her sister and class leader, USS Lexington which is the third actually commissioned after USS Langley and Saratoga.
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Battlecruisers were large warships of the first half of the 20th century first introduced by the British Royal Navy. They evolved from armoured cruisers and in terms of ship classification they occupy a grey area between cruisers and battleships.
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Battlecruisers were large warships of the first half of the 20th century first introduced by the British Royal Navy. They evolved from armoured cruisers and in terms of ship classification they occupy a grey area between cruisers and battleships.
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January 8 is the 1st day of the year (2nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 0 days remaining.

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The Fore River Shipyard, more formally known as the Fore River Ship and Engine Building Company, was a shipyard in the United States during the late 1800s and early 1900s.

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Quincy, Massachusetts

Seal
Location in Norfolk County in Massachusetts
Coordinates:
Country United States
State Massachusetts
County Norfolk
Settled 1625
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The Washington Naval Conference was a diplomatic conference, called by the administration of President Warren G. Harding and held in Washington, D.C. from 12 November 1921 to 6 February 1922.
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July 1 is the 1st day of the year (2nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 0 days remaining. The end of this day marks the halfway point of a leap year.
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