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"SPRING STYLES," 1939-1944

Photo # S-511-34-A:  Preliminary design plan for a 44,500 ton aircraft carrier with a lightly armored flight deck and 8-inch guns, 5 June 1941

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Bureau of Ships' "Spring Styles" Book # 3 (1939-1944) -- (Naval Historical Center Lot # S-511) --
Aircraft Carrier Preliminary Design Drawings

Seventeen of the 75 preliminary design drawings in the 1939-1944 "Spring Styles" Book are related to aircraft carriers and ships with characteristics similar to aircraft carriers. These plans relate to several different studies, beginning (during December 1939 - January 1940) with three final attempts to generate a satisfactory "flight deck cruiser" and two schemes for what became the Essex (CV-9) class. Another Essex class drawing is dated, apparently "after the fact", in September 1941.

There were also three plans of relatively "small" aircraft carriers, beginning (in July 1940) with what was essentially an improved version of USS Wasp (CV-7). In an unrelated study, in August and September 1941 two drawings were submitted for a carrier conversion of the numerous Cleveland (CL-55) class light cruisers. These ultimately led to the nine-ship Independence (CVL-22) class, but are rather different from the design finally decided upon.

In the wake of early World War II experiences, other conversions of gun-armed warships were also studied between January and August 1942, among them a large cruiser (CB-1 class), an Iowa (BB-61) class battleship and a heavy cruiser (CA-68 class). Only the last of these led anywhere, becoming (with many changes) the "built for the purpose" Saipan (CVL-48) class, for which a preliminary design (from August 1943) is also included.

Other early wartime experiences, especially those of the British in the Mediterranean, prompted studies of a large aircraft carrier with an armored flight deck. Four "Spring Styles" drawings for such ships are in this album, dated from December 1940 to September 1941. This effort eventually produced the Midway (CVB-41) class, the largest carriers built by the Navy during the World War II years.

Lastly, in March 1942 designs were examined for high-speed (20-knot) oilers. One of these was for a ship similar in many ways to the larger types of wartime escort aircraft carriers (CVE), but faster, larger and with a smaller aircraft hangar.

This page features those 1939-1944 Bureau of Ships "Spring Styles" plans that concern aircraft carriers.

For general information on this album, see:

On the picture data sheets referenced from this page, click on the thumbnail image (small photograph) to prompt a larger view of the same image.

The Aircraft Carrier drawings included in this album are:

-- Three proposed designs for a Flight Deck Cruiser ("CF"), an abortive ship type that would have combined the features of an aircraft carrier and a gun-armed cruiser in a single hull:

-- Three drawings representing studies made during the development of the Essex (CV-9) class:

-- One plan, representing an improved version of the relatively small aircraft carrier Wasp (CV-7):

-- Two drawings of proposed conversions of Cleveland (CL-55) class light cruisers to small aircraft carriers, during consideration of what became the Independence (CVL-22) class design:

-- Three plans of proposed conversions of other warship types to aircraft carriers:

-- One plan, prepared during the developement of the Saipan (CVL-48) class small aircraft carrier design:

-- Four drawings representing studies made during the process leading to the Midway (CVB-41) class design:

-- One plan of a proposed high-speed (20-knot) oiler with aircraft carrier features:

For general information on this album, see:

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Page made 30 March 2005