When commissioned on December 14, 1927, USS Lexington and her sister ship, USS Saratoga, were the world’s largest aircraft carriers. The Lexington-class carriers, as the ships were known, were the results of an effort akin to making lemonade from lemons. Both vessels were begun in 1920–21 as Lexington-class battle cruisers. Lexington, originally designated CC-1 (indicating battle cruiser), would have been a formidable warship armed with eight 16-inch guns in four turrets.
The Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 banned the constructions of such ships but permitted the conversion of such hulls into aircraft carriers. Accordingly, the “Lady Lex,” as she became known to her crew, was finished as a massive 888-foot-long aircraft carrier and retained the originally planned revolutionary turboelectric drive. From the outset, Lexington, initially carrying fabric-covered biplanes, was assigned to the Pacific Fleet. In the years leading up to WWII, both the ship and her aircraft were modernized. This profusely illustrated book, an expanded and updated version of the author’s earlier work, puts the reader on the deck of Lexington through her construction, evolution, and ultimate May 8, 1942, sinking at the Battle of Coral Sea and finishes with the discovery of her wreck on March 4, 2018. Over 200 photos, numerous line drawings, and color renderings illustrate this new entry in the Legends of Warfare series.