Allied Warships

Aircraft carriers

US Navy


The Yorktown class aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV 6) of the US Navy.

The primary mission of the aircraft carrier is to deploy and recover aircraft – effectively operating as a seagoing airbase. Each carrier at the time would have over thousand sailors and upwards of 30 aircraft. The US Navy fielded an incredible 36 carriers during WWII, the Royal Navy 24 and the French Navy had one obsolete carrier. The US navy used most of their carrier against the very powerful Japanese Navy in the Pacific that was arguably the most capable carrier force at the beginning of the war.

Typically the aircraft carrier formed a part of fast carrier force, being able to strike long and hard at the enemy, even in the most unlikely areas. They were heavily defended by destroyers, light cruisers and often powerful fast battleships – not to mention their own aircraft defenses against enemy carriers.

The Allies lost 9 aircraft carriers during the war, 3 of the 4 Royal Navy losses were to German U-boats.

Aircraft carriers, both during the British attack on Taranto in Nov 1940 and of course Pearl Harbor in Dec 1941, proved to be the future of naval warfare, along with submarines. In modern times the aircraft carrier is the ultimate show of naval power.

All Aircraft carrier classes (in service with the US Navy).

ClassCommissioned
 Lexington (2)1927 - 1927
 Ranger (1)1934 - 1934
 Yorktown (3)1937 - 1941
 Wasp (1)1940 - 1940
 Essex (26)1942 - 1950
 Midway (3)1945 - 1947


Please note that we list the classes by navies that initiated/owned the class. Often vessels of certain classes were then built for other nations (or lent), those ships are not visible here but only through the navies pages or by looking into each class.

War losses: Aircraft carriers


 DateVesselClass

1939

Royal Navy17 Sep 1939HMS Courageous (50)Courageous 

1940

Royal Navy8 Jun 1940HMS Glorious (77)Courageous 

1941

Royal Navy13 Nov 1941HMS Ark Royal (91)Ark Royal 

1942

Royal Navy9 Apr 1942HMS Hermes (D 95)Hermes 
US Navy8 May 1942USS Lexington (CV 2)Lexington 
US Navy7 Jun 1942USS Yorktown (i) (CV 5)Yorktown 
Royal Navy11 Aug 1942HMS Eagle (94)Eagle 
US Navy15 Sep 1942USS Wasp (CV 7)Wasp 
US Navy27 Oct 1942USS Hornet (i) (CV 8)Yorktown 

9 Aircraft carriers lost. See all Allied Warship losses.

See all Aircraft carriers

See all Allied Warship types


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