The Ranger-class was a class of five battlecruisers built for the United States Navy in the mid to late 1920s. Originally laid down as the Lexington-class in 1920 and 1921, their construction was temporarily suspended in late 1921 with the advent of the Washington Naval Conference in November 1921; but within weeks, the treaty succumbed to squabbles among the delegates, and construction soon resumed. A change was rather apparent however, as class leader Lexington and sisters Saratoga and Constitution (renamed Concord) were selected for conversion to the Navy's first aircraft carriers. Ranger (formerly BC-4) became BC-1 and class leader that December as construction also resumed on United States (BC-2) and Constellation (BC-3). A further two, Valley Forge (BC-4) and Niagara (BC-5) were ordered in the summer of 1922 to keep up the Navy's battlecruiser complement.

All five faithfully served in the pre-war Navy and all but Ranger and Constellation (with a superstructure more resembling their sister carriers) received refits in the mid-1930s to replace their lattice cage masts with more modern tripods. Ranger and Niagara were caught in the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor and received substantial bomb and torpedo damage. Both repaired and refitted by mid-1944, they served along with United States and Constellation in the Pacific, providing offshore and anti-aircraft support for the Gilberts/Marshalls (1943-44) and Marianas/Palau (1944) campaigns. They all survived with only moderate kamikaze damage and were decommissioned in early 1946. Two (Ranger and United States) were preserved as museums on the East Coast in the early 1950s while the remaining three were scrapped between 1947 and 1952.


  • USS Ranger (BC-1)
  • USS United States (BC-2)
  • USS Constellation (BC-3)
  • USS Valley Forge (BC-4)
  • USS Niagara (BC-5)


See also

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