The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia
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National Archives #80-G-12240
|Tonnage||14,700 tons standard displacement
|Dimensions||739' by 80'9" by 20'
255.25m by 24.61m by 6.10m
|Maximum speed||30 knots|
|Aircraft||727' (222 m) flight deck
4x4 1.1" AA guns
16 0.50 machine guns
|Protection||1" (25mm) belt
1.6" (41mm) hangar deck
2" (51mm) conning tower
||2-shaft Parsons geared
6 Yarrow boilers
|Bunkerage||2403 tons fuel oil
150,000 gallons (570,000 liters) aviation gasoline
|Range||8000 nautical miles (14,800 km) at 20 knots|
|Sensors||CXAM1 air search radar|
||1942: 0.50 machine guns replaced by 20 20mm Oerlikon AA
Equipped with a few quadruple 40mm Bofors AA
guns and CXAM-1 radar.
Wasp was completed in 1940. She was an attempt to squeeze another carrier within the treaty limitations, but she also introduced some important innovations. She had an asymmetric hull offsetting the weight of the island, and she had the first deck-edge elevator, though it was barely large enough for operational use. Originally a weight-saving measure, the Navy eventually recognized that such elevators were less vulnerable to hangar explosions and more reliable generally. Other improvements included better machinery dispersal and provisions for adding more belt armor (which would have put her over the treaty limit) in time of war. The latter never took place, however, since the Wasp was so desperately needed in the front lines.
Designed at a time when the Navy had become skeptical of
the viability of torpedo bombing, Wasp had
no torpedo magazines. Her
air group thus initially consisted of a squadron of fighters and three squadrons
of dive bombers rather
usual squadron of fighters, squadron of torpedo bombers, and
squadrons of dive bombers. However, she embarked a squadron of
bombers in August 1942, just weeks before she was sunk.
Wasp passed through the Panama Canal into the Pacific on 10 June 1942, after participating in several operations in the Atlantic, including the resupply of fighter aircraft to Malta in the Mediterranean. Her brief combat career was plagued by trouble with her turbine engines. She was torpedoed and sunk on September 14, 1942 by I-19 while escorting reinforcements to Guadalcanal. Three torpedoes struck and ruptured aviation gasoline lines, the fires quickly raged out of control, and she was scuttled with torpedoes from Lansdowne.
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