Gearbox GBX9008 US Navy Essex Class Aircraft Carrier - USS Intrepid (CV-11), Battle of Leyte Gulf, October 1944 (1:700 Scale)
"Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead!"
- Admiral Farragut sailing aboard his flagship Hartford while entering Mobile Bay, Alabama, August 23, 1864
The Essex class aircraft carriers of the United States Navy, which constituted the 20th century's largest class of heavy warships, comprised some 24 ships built. These included members of the "long-hull" Ticonderoga variant/subclass, which some consider a separate class in their own right. Thirty-two were originally ordered, with six cancelled before construction, and two were cancelled after construction had begun. The Essex class, along with the three Midway-class carriers, were the backbone of the Navy's combat strength in the years after World War II, until the supercarriers began to come into the fleet in numbers during the 1960s and 1970s.
In drawing up the preliminary design for USS Essex (CV-9), particular attention was directed at the size of both her flight and hangar decks. Aircraft design had come a long way from the comparatively light planes used in carriers during the 1930s. Flight decks now required more takeoff space for the heavier fighters and bombers being developed. Most of the first-line carriers of the pre-war years were equipped with flush deck catapults, but owing to the speed and size of these ships very little catapulting was done—except for experimental purposes.
With the advent of war, airplane weights began to go up as armor and armament got heavier; crew size aboard the planes also increased. By the war’s end in 1945, catapult launchings would become more common under these circumstances with some carrier commanding officers reporting that as much as 40% of launchings were effected by the ships' catapults.
The hangar area design came in for many design conferences between the naval bureaus. Not only were the supporting structures to the flight deck to carry the increased weight of the landing and parked aircraft, but they were to have sufficient strength to support the storing of spare fuselages and parts (50% of each plane type aboard) under the flight deck and still provide adequate working space for the men using the area below.
A startling innovation in the Essex was a port-side deck-edge elevator in addition to two inboard elevators. Earlier, experiments with a ramp arrangement between the hangar and flight decks, up which aircraft were hauled by crane proved too slow. The Navy's Bureau of Ships and the Chief Engineer of A.B.C. Elevator Co., designed the engine for the side elevator. Essentially, it was a standard elevator, 60 by 34 ft (18 by 10 m) in platform surface, which traveled vertically on the port side of the ship. The design was a huge success which greatly improved flight deck operations over carriers prior to the Essex.
Pictured here is a 1:700 scale diecast replica of the US aircraft carrier Intrepid, which now serves as a floating museum in New York harbor. Comes on a special display plinth.
Length: 12 inches
Width: 2 inches
Release Date: May 2006
Historical Account: "The Fighting I" - The fourth USS Intrepid (CV/CVA/CVS-11) is an Essex-class aircraft carrier of the United States Navy. Intrepid participated in the Pacific Theater of Operations of World War II, most notably the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Later she recovered spacecraft of the Mercury and Gemini programs and served in the Vietnam War. Since 1982, Intrepid has been a museum ship in New York City called the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum. Because of her prominent role in battle, she was nicknamed "the Fighting I", while her often ill luck earned her the nickname "the Evil I".