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Lexington Class Battlecruiser (CC-1 through CC-6)

Triton

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The Lexington-class battlecruisers were the only class of battlecruiser to ever be ordered by the United States Navy. Six were planned (CC-1 through CC-6) as part of the massive 1916 building program, but their construction was repeatedly postponed in favor of escort ships and anti-submarine vessels. During these delays, the class was redesigned several times.

Original (1916) Battle Cruiser Numbers 1 - 4 design characteristics:

  • Displacement: 34,300 tons
  • Dimensions: 874' (length overall); 90'11" (maximum beam)
  • Powerplant: 180,000 horsepower steam turbines with electric drive, producing a 35 knot maximum speed
  • Armament (Main Battery): Ten 14"/50 guns in two twin (turret #s 1 & 4) and two triple (turret #s 2 & 3) turrets
  • Armament (Secondary Battery): Eighteen 5"/51 guns in single mountings (nine guns on each side of the ship)

Definitive (1919) Lexington class (Battle Cruiser Numbers 1 - 6) design characteristics:

  • Displacement: 43,500 tons
  • Dimensions: 874' (length overall); 105'5" (maximum beam)
  • Powerplant: 180,000 horsepower steam turbines with electric drive, producing a 33.25 knot maximum speed
  • Armament (Main Battery): Eight 16"/50 guns in four twin turrets
  • Armament (Secondary Battery): Sixteen 6"/53 guns in single mountings (eight guns on each side of the ship)

The Lexington class consisted of six ships, under construction at four locations:

  • Lexington (CC-1). Keel laid at Quincy, Massachusetts, January 1921. Became the aircraft carrier CV-2.
  • Constellation (CC-2). Keel laid at Newport News, Virginia, August 1920. Cancelled and scrapped.
  • Saratoga (CC-3). Keel laid at Camden, New Jersey, September 1920. Became the aircraft carrier CV-3.
  • Ranger (CC-4). Keel laid at Newport News, Virginia, June 1921. Cancelled and scrapped.
  • Constitution (CC-5). Keel laid at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 1920. Cancelled and scrapped.
  • United States (CC-6). Keel laid at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 1920. Cancelled and scrapped.

While four of the ships were eventually cancelled and scrapped on their building ways in 1922 to comply with mandates outlined by the Washington Naval Treaty, two (Lexington and Saratoga) were converted into the United States' first fleet carriers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lexington_class_battlecruiser
http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/usnshtp/bb/cc1.htm
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ship/cc-1.htm
 

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royabulgaf

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The Lexington-class battlecruisers were the only class of battlecruiser to ever be ordered by the United States Navy.

Then how did the US Navy obtain the Alaska class battlecruisers? ???
 

Triton

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royabulgaf said:
The Lexington-class battlecruisers were the only class of battlecruiser to ever be ordered by the United States Navy.

Then how did the US Navy obtain the Alaska class battlecruisers? ???
This was a claim made by the Naval Historical Center of the United States Navy. They state that the Alaska class were closer to cruisers than to battleships or battlecruisers and that the CB designation is for "Large Cruiser." Does that mean that the CB designation is for Cruiser, Big and the CC designation is for Cruiser, Combat?
http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/usnshtp/cru/cb1cl.htm
 

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Its best not to get too caught up in what is and what isn't a battlecruiser. Its a fairly vague descriptive term what changes meaning with navy and time. So far as I'm aware, I think only the RN used the term in a semi-official way. They just get blurred into the capital ship category.

The Lexingtons themselves are just really really big scout cruisers. They, and the Omahas, are what happens when a navy stops designing cruiser for two decades.
 

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Triton said:
This was a claim made by the Naval Historical Center of the United States Navy. They state that the Alaska class were closer to cruisers than to battleships or battlecruisers and that the CB designation is for "Large Cruiser."
Technically that'd be more accurate anyway. Depending on who you ask, a battlecruiser is indeed a large scout cruiser (as they were originally intended as big-gun scouts) and the Alaskas were well-armored, but fell short of contemporary battleship firepower.

Does that mean that the CB designation is for Cruiser, Big and the CC designation is for Cruiser, Combat?
http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/usnshtp/cru/cb1cl.htm
There's no rhyme or reason regarding ship designations at all. Does "BB" mean a ship designed to fire small plastic pellets using compressed gas? Did they arrive at "DD" and "FF" because they were so nice they had to name them twice? "CV" doesn't mean "Carrier Vessel" as popularly believed but comes from the fact that the USN basically regards carriers to be cruisers (at least at first) and the V is there just because - no, really, the "V" was pretty much chosen at random to designate an aviation-related vessel.

The only designations that have any real logic behind them are "BM" (Battle Monitor, I'm sure it'll come into vogue again when the SecDef thinks we need armored floating cheeseboxes for homeland defense) "CL" (Cruiser, Light), "CG" (Cruiser, Guided-missile), "DL" (Destroyer Leader, now obsolete) and "DLG". You can make an argument for "CA" (Cruiser, Armored, and then their successors, heavy cruisers) but I heard the "A" was pretty much chosen at random, too.
 

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Someone in the British Ministry of Defence has acquired the impression that the hull designations are indeed acronyms, hence the Albion-class are referred to as Landing Platform Docks. I'd love to know what they think 'FFG' stands for.

I find that the best way to make sense of them is that they are a hierarchy. B, C, D, F, L and A being the 'top-level' designators, and subsequent letters indicating subdivisions of the major classes. This explains why aircraft carriers are designated CV: they were originally seen as cruisers, with an aviation mission, A already being taken by armoured/heavy cruisers (alternately, volante, from the French for 'flying').

The repeated designators BB, DD and FF spring, if my memory serves me, from a decision in the 1920s that all hull designators should be two letters, and the then-existing battleships, designated B, and destroyers (D), just had the initial letter doubled up. Frigates seem to have copied this logic when they came along in their present incarnation.
 

Triton

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Beginning in 1948 we started getting three and four letter ship designations for the United States Navy. Unfortunately, meanings in designation abbreviations are no longer consistent in the designation system and the meanings of the designation abbreviations have changed over time.
 

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http://everything2.com/title/Classes+of+Ships+in+the+United+States+Navy
http://nhseacadets.mainstream.net/usn_ship_designations
 

royabulgaf

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Beginning in 1948 we started getting three and four letter ship designations for the United States Navy. Unfortunately, meanings in designation abbreviations are no longer consistent in the designation system and the meanings of the designation abbreviations have changed over time.

I think the designation problem also stems from WWII, when the USN had thousands of ships all with different purposes. Cruisers, such as they are, are no longer semi-capital scouting vessels. Destroyers are the default combat vessel. Cruisers are broadly, lengthened destroyers acting as command vessels, and frigates smaller destroyers for more or less coastal work. Throw in the CVN and assault carriers, and you pretty much have the surface fleet.
 

Triton

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able

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Niagara-Lexingtong with Triple turrets

Niagara.jpg
调整大小 P1050248.JPG
 

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The "Niagara" is a fake design that never existed.
 

Archibald

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CV" doesn't mean "Carrier Vessel" as popularly believed but comes from the fact that the USN basically regards carriers to be cruisers (at least at first) and the V is there just because - no, really, the "V" was pretty much chosen at random to designate an aviation-related vessel.
Doesn't the letter V come from "heaVier" related to "lighter / heavier than air" - that is, balloon &blimps vs aircraft ?
I heard this in relation to the F/A-18 Hornet RFP in the 70's - VFAX.

CV = Cruiser + "heaVier than air"
 
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TomS

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Doesn't the letter V come from "heaVier" related to "lighter / heavier than air"
I thought it came from a French word but I might be wrong.
I have never found an official explanation (nor has anyone else, to judge by how often the question comes up without a definitive answer). But the most commonly proposed explanation for the aircraft type designations (adopted in 1920) is "Lighter-than-air = Zeppelin = Z" and "Heavier-than-air = volplane = V." Volplane is a French word for gliding or soaring, and was used into the 1920s to refer to any lift-supported aircraft. (It has since been limited to gliders.)

Plucking the V from the middle of "heaVier-than-air" would have been odd in 1920. Why not H, given that helicopters were as yet unheard of?

Here is General Order 541, which establishes the various designations (note that aircraft designations were in the same scheme as ship designations at this time):


And here is one source discussing the supposed derivation:


And
 
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Archibald

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How about that...

"vol plané" as "glided flight" - I knew.

But that VERB and the english word derived from it - never heard about it before.

I have never found an official explanation (nor has anyone else, to judge by how often the question comes up without a definitive answer).

But the most commonly proposed explanation for the aircraft type designations (adopted in 1920) is "Lighter-than-air = Zeppelin = Z" and "Heavier-than-air = volplane = V."

Volplane is a French word for gliding or soaring, and was used into the 1920s to refer to any lift-supported aircraft. (It has since been limited to gliders.)

Plucking the V from the middle of "heaVier-than-air" would have been odd in 1920. Why not H, given that helicopters were as yet unheard of?
I fully agree with that statement.

Volplaner, really, has a definite Harry Potter vibe - I don't know the original english word used by Rowlings, but in french it was translated as "transplaner" (the teleportation-like thing Doby does when Hermione is tortured by Bellatrix at the end of Deadly hollows, part 1).
 

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I have never found an official explanation (nor has anyone else, to judge by how often the question comes up without a definitive answer).
I'm fairly sure that the US Naval History and Heritage Command has looked into it and been unable to find a firm answer. The volplane logic makes most sense to me, but I'm not entirely convinced.

Aircraft serial numbers being used similarly to hull numbers - with VF, VB etc having separate sequences - would be an entertaining, if slightly silly, designation system. There's even precedent in the way that rigid airships - but not non-rigids - were handled.
 

TomS

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I have never found an official explanation (nor has anyone else, to judge by how often the question comes up without a definitive answer).
I'm fairly sure that the US Naval History and Heritage Command has looked into it and been unable to find a firm answer. The volplane logic makes most sense to me, but I'm not entirely convinced.

Aircraft serial numbers being used similarly to hull numbers - with VF, VB etc having separate sequences - would be an entertaining, if slightly silly, designation system. There's even precedent in the way that rigid airships - but not non-rigids - were handled.
Yes, there seems to be no surviving correspondence around the issuance of GO541 to explain any of the choices.

For reference, GO541 was issued in preparation for the issuance of the Ship Data Book, a compilation of specs for all the Navy's ships (and aircraft). It makes for interesting reading if you're into that sort of thing...

 

TomS

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There is no such word as "volplane" in French, sorry. You might mean "vol plané", witch are two words, a noun and an adjective. Doubtful this combination is the source for V in CV.
OK, it was an English word that was derived from the French phrase "vol plané". Better?

Now, given that the English word volplane exists, and was apparently used to refer to fixed-wing aircraft*, why is it so unlikely that the US Navy derived its term this way? It's pretty clear that whoever drafted GO541 was no expert in aircraft.

* it also had other uses -- the terminology of aviation was evolving rapidly at the time
 

Archibald

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volplaaaaane... sounds like that old hit from the Gipsy kings... ni pinto di blue...
 

TomS

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There is no such word as "volplane" in French, sorry. You might mean "vol plané", witch are two words, a noun and an adjective. Doubtful this combination is the source for V in CV.
OK, it was an English word that was derived from the French phrase "vol plané". Better?

Now, given that the English word volplane exists, and was apparently used to refer to fixed-wing aircraft*, why is it so unlikely that the US Navy derived its term this way? It's pretty clear that whoever drafted GO541 was no expert in aircraft.

* it also had other uses -- the terminology of aviation was evolving rapidly at the time
"Better"? What a strange reaction to a factual remark.
It was short. I could have said "is that more accurate?"

Point is, English speakers did use the word "volplane," which is derived from the French phrase. And that word may well have been the source for the use of V for heavier-than-air.
 

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Could you please go back to the topic?
 
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