Essex-class aircraft carriers played an essential role in the victory of the United States over Japan in the Second World War, and Leo Marriott’s photographic history is a fascinating introduction to them. Without these remarkable ships, the island-hopping campaign of American forces across the Pacific towards Japan would not have been possible. They also took part in the Korean and Vietnam wars that followed.
During the Second World War they were at the center of the powerful task groups that could put up hundreds of aircraft to support forces on the ground. They were also prime targets for Japanese air attacks, in particular the kamikaze suicide missions. A total of twenty-four were eventually commissioned including several after the end of the war.
The selection of rare photographs and the expert text cover the evolution of US aircraft carrier design prior to the Second World War and look at the factors which shaped the design and construction of the Essex class. Included are dramatic action shots of the new breed of naval aircraft that was launched from their flight decks, including Hellcat and Corsair fighters that took on the Japanese and the carrier-borne jets that flew over Korea and Vietnam.