USS Ranger (CV-1934)


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The design and construction of the USS Ranger was a long drawn out affair. The experience with the previous four conversions and their operation at sea for 3-5 years gave the US Navy plenty of information to ponder. Due to be laid down in 1929-30, the Ranger was delayed till 1931 due to the Wall Street crash. This did allow another two years of design work to be undertaken.

The problem the US Navy Bureau of Design had was that no one knew what would be the best size of ship for future building. As can be seen from the design below, various designs had different points of view included in the designs. Sixteen 8" in eight twin mountings was a bit of overkill and would have taken up a lot of space and tonnage that could be better used toward aircraft operations.

What was decided on was to see what could be done with the least amount of tonnage to get the most out of a design. This would be the US Navies first aircraft carrier designed and built from the keel up. What became the Ranger was a 15,000 ton design that was very lightly built and virtually unarmoured. This would have made the ship very susceptible to damage from the Japanese in the Pacific. The Ranger was destined to spend its war career in the Atlantic where it would do a lot of training missions while a couple of highlights was the support of the Torch Landings and sweeping off Norway to clear out German shipping. One of the reasons given was that the ship was too slow to act with the carriers in the Pacific, but the Wasp was no faster, but crucially was better armoured.

While not considered a failure it is fairly significant that the next Yorktown class were much more capable and battleworthy vessels, built to the treaty limits. But that is in that other unnatural world. Since I have the London Treaty of 1930 being broken by the Japanese, I will have the next class being a Wasp class of two at a bigger and better quality than Ranger, then on to a much bigger, better, faster, etc Yorktown.

Above: as completed with 5" in the bow.

  • As built: 14,576 long tons (14,810 t) (standard)
  • 17,577 long tons (17,859 t) (full load)
  • 730 ft (222.5 m) (w/l)
  • 769 ft (234.4 m) (o/a)
  • 80 ft (24.4 m) (waterline)
  • 109 ft 5 in (33.4 m) (overall)
Draft 22 ft 4.875 in (6.8 m)
Installed power
Speed 29.3 knots (54.3 km/h; 33.7 mph)
Range 10,000 nmi (19,000 km; 12,000 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)
  • 216 officers and 2,245 enlisted men including embarked air group (as built)
  • 2,148 (1941)
Sensors and
processing systems
CXAM-1 radar
Aircraft carried
  • 86 (maximum)
  • 76 (normal)

Sourced from Wikipaedia.

Below is a late model photo of Ranger. It still has its 5"/25cal AA guns and directors (which were removed when it became a training carrier). I do not know where the photo comes from, but that hull shading looks like bulges have been added.

The WofW drawing of the internals is fairly comprehensive but does have a few problems. On the aft quarter of the ship is a pair of 5" which are noted as quad 40mm.


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