Ranger, U.S. Fleet Carrier

Photograph of carrier Ranger

National Archives #80-G-10783

Schematic diagram of fleet carrier Ranger

ONI 222


Tonnage 13,800 tons standard displacement
Dimensions 769'0" by 80'0" by 51'0""
234.39m by 24.38m by 15.54m
Maximum speed 29.25 knots
Complement 1369
Aircraft 709' by 86' (216.10m by 26.21m) flight deck
2 elevators
55 aircraft
Armament 8 5"/25 dual-purpose guns
6x4 1.1"/75 AA guns
12 0.50 machine guns
Protection 48 tons:
2" (51mm) sides and bulkheads/1" (25mm) top steering gear
2-shaft Parsons geared turbines (53,500 shp)
6 Babcock & Wilson boilers
Bunkerage 2350 tons fuel oil
135.840 gallons (514,210 liters) aviation gasoline
Range 10,000 nautical milesl (16,000 km) at 15 knots
Munitions capacity       839 tons
Sensors CXAM1 air search radar

The Ranger was completed in 1934. It was the first purpose-built aircraft carrier in the United States fleet and sacrificed almost all other qualities in favor of carrying the maximum possible number of aircraft on the minimum possible displacement. The result was a badly unbalanced design.

Unlike the previous Lexingtons, the Ranger was constructed with a flight deck that was built as a light superstructure rather than as an integral part of the hull. The original design called for a flush flight deck, which resulted in several unfavorable design tradeoffs, only to have a deck island adopted almost at the last minute. Exhaust was vented through six folding stacks that proved problematic enough to never be repeated in any American carrier design. The Ranger was almost completely lacking in any form of protection, other than locating the magazines as low as possible in the ship and placing minimal armor protection around the steering gear.

The authorized air group on 7 December 1941 was one fighter squadron of 18 fighters and one scout and one bombing squadron of 18 dive bombers each. Together with the air group commander's dive bomber, this totaled 55 aircraft. There was no torpedo magazine or other provisions for torpedo bombers.

The "minimal carrier" philosophy behind Ranger was quickly judged a failure, and the next class of carriers (the Yorktowns) represented a return to a carrier design close to the treaty limits. Ranger was considered so inadequate that she was not committed to the Pacific until July 1944, and then only in a training role for night combat air groups. She never saw combat against the Japanese.

Photo Gallery

Forward quarter view of Ranger

U.S. Navy

Starboard forward quarter view of Ranger

U.S. Navy



Chesneau (1992)

Friedmann (1983)

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