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USS Lexington CV-2
This kit will consist of 519 parts on 25sprues,
plus upper and lower hulls, Waterline plate
and display stand. You can build it as either a waterline or full hull kit. Markings for 1942
MS11 camouflage. Completed kit measures nearly 15" long.
A101A 1/700 36.95
Click the picture to enlarge!
Essential Skills Scale Modeling
displacement: 41,000 tons
length: 888 feet
beam: 105½ feet
draft: 32 feet
speed: 34¼ knots
complement: 2,122 crew
armament: 8 eight-inch and 12 five-inch guns
From: Dictionary of American Fighting
Ships, published by the
Naval Historical Center
Full-screen images are linked from the images in the text below.
After fitting out and shakedown,
Lexington joined the battle fleet at San Pedro, Calif., 7 April 1928. Based
there, she operated on the west coast with Aircraft Squadrons, Battle Fleet, in
flight training, tactical exercises, and battle problems . Each year she
participated in fleet maneuvers in the Hawaiians, in the Caribbean, off the
Panama Canal Zone, and in the eastern Pacific. In the fall of 1941 she sailed
with the battle force to the Hawaiians for tactical exercises.
On 7 December 1941 Lexington was at sea with
Task Force 12 (TF 12) carrying marine aircraft from Pearl Harbor to reinforce
Midway when word of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was received. She
immediately launched searchplanes to hunt for the Japanese fleet , and at
mid-morning headed south to rendezvous with USS Indianapolis (CA 35) and
USS Enterprise (CV 6) task forces to conduct a search southwest of Oahu
until returning Pearl Harbor 18 December.
Lexington sailed next day to raid Japanese
forces on Jaluit to relieve pressure on Wake; these orders were canceled 20
December, and she was directed to cover the
USS Saratoga force
in reinforcing Wake. When the island fell 23 December, the two carrier forces
were recalled to Pearl Harbor, arriving 27 December.
Lexington patrolled to block enemy raids In the
Oahu-Johnston-Palmyra triangle until 11 January 1942, when she sailed from Pearl
Harbor as flagship for Vice Adm. Wilson Brown commanding TF 11. On 16 February,
the force headed for an attack on Rabaul, New Britain, scheduled for 21
February. While approaching the day previous, Lexington was attacked by
two waves of enemy aircraft, nine planes to a wave. The carrier's own combat air
patrol and antiaircraft fire splashed 17 of the attackers. During a single
sortie Lt. E. H (Butch) O'Hare won the Medal of Honor by downing five planes.
Her offensive patrols in the Coral Sea continued until
6 March, when she rendezvoused with USS Yorktown's TF 17 for a thoroughly
successful surprise attack flown over the Owen Stanley mountains of New Guinea
to inflict heavy damage on shipping and installations at Salamaua and Lae 10
March. She now returned to Pearl Harbor, arriving 26 March 1942. Lexington's
task force sortied from Pearl Harbor 15 April, rejoining TF 17 on 1 May. As
Japanese fleet concentrations threatening the Coral Sea were observed,
USS Yorktown (CV 5)
moved into the sea to search for the enemy's force covering a projected troop
movement. The Japanese must now be blocked in their southward expansion, or sea
communication with Australia and New Zealand would be cut, and the dominions
threatened with invasion.
On 7 May 1942 search planes reported contact with an
enemy carrier task force, and Lexington's air group flew an eminently
successful mission against it, sinking light carrier Shoho. Later that
day, 12 bombers and 15 torpedo planes from still-unlocated heavy carriers
Shokaku and Zuikaku were intercepted by fighter groups from
Lexington and Yorktown, who splashed nine enemy aircraft.
On the morning of the 8th, a Lexington plane
located the Shokaku group. A strike was immediately launched from the
American carriers, and the Japanese ship was heavily damaged.
The enemy penetrated to the American carriers at
1100, and 20 minutes later Lexington was struck by a torpedo to port.
Seconds later, a second torpedo hit to port directly abreast the bridge. At the
same time, she took three bomb hits from enemy dive bombers, producing a seven
degree list to port and several raging fires. By 1300 her skilled damage control
parties had brought the fires under control and returned the ship to even keel.
Making 25 knots, she was ready to recover her air group. Then suddenly
Lexington was shaken by a tremendous explosion, caused by the ignition of
gasoline vapors below, and again fire raged out of control.
At 1558 Capt. Frederick C. Sherman, fearing for the
safety of men working below, secured salvage operations, and ordered all hands
to the flight deck. At 1707, he ordered, "abandon ship!", and the orderly
disembarkation began, men going over the side into the warm water, almost
immediately to be picked up by nearby cruisers and destroyers. Admiral Fitch and
his staff transferred to cruiser USS Minneapolis (CA 36); Captain Sherman
and his executive officer, Cmdr. M. T. Seligman insured all their men were safe,
then were the last to leave their ship.
Lexington blazed on, flames shooting hundreds of
feet into the air. The destroyer USS Phelps (DD 360) closed to 1500 yards
and fired two torpedoes into her hull. With one last heavy explosion,
Lexington sank at 1956 on 8 May 1942 at 15º 20' S., 155º 30' E. She was part
of the price that was paid to halt the Japanese overseas empire and safeguard
Australia and New Zealand, but perhaps an equally great contribution had been
her pioneer role in developing the naval aviators and the techniques which
played so vital a role in ultimate victory in the Pacific.
Lexington received two battle stars for World
War II service.