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<span class="b-description-img_type b-description-img_type__<mark_unset_error>-premium"></span>

[[Ship:|]] — N/A promo premium Tier  N/A.

The largest class of attack aircraft carriers. The ship featured a strong air group, powerful AA armament and good torpedo protection. The successful design of aircraft elevators ensured fast takeoff and landing for the aircraft. The unarmored flight deck, also characteristic of her predecessors, made her and her sister ships vulnerable to air strikes.

Four of the class are preserved as military museum ships: USS Yorktown in Charleston, South Carolina; USS Lexington in Corpus Christi, Texas; USS Intrepid in New York, New York; and USS Hornet in Alameda, California.


Compatible Upgrades

 Slot 1  Air Groups Modification 1 Main Armaments Modification 1 Auxiliary Armaments Modification 1 Magazine Modification 1 Aiming Systems Modification 0 Spotting Aircraft Modification 1 Damage Control Party Modification 1
 Slot 2  Damage Control System Modification 1 Engine Boost Modification 1 Defensive AA Fire Modification 1 Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 Surveillance Radar Modification 1 Aircraft Engines Modification 1 Engine Room Protection
 Slot 3  Main Battery Modification 2 Secondary Battery Modification 1 AA Guns Modification 1 Artillery Plotting Room Modification 1 Aiming Systems Modification 1 Smoke Generator Modification 1 Torpedo Bombers Modification 1 Attack Aircraft Modification 1 Torpedo Tubes Modification 1 Aerial Torpedoes Modification 1
 Slot 4  Damage Control System Modification 2 Propulsion Modification 1 Steering Gears Modification 1 Attack Aircraft Modification 2 Torpedo Bombers Modification 2 Bombers Modification 2 Skip Bombers Modification 1
 Slot 5  Flight Control Modification 1 Torpedo Lookout System Concealment System Modification 1 Steering Gears Modification 2 Enhanced Engineering Systems Reinforced Emergency Response Upgraded Damage Control Equipment Improved Main Battery Loading Mechanisms Aerosol Smoke Curtain System Master Fire Control Director Torpedo Fire Control System Improved Hull Concealment Improved Main Artillery Ship Consumables Modification 1||Squadron Consumables Modification 1||Heavier Torpedo Warheads||Additional Smoke Generators
 Slot 6  Main Battery Modification 3 Torpedo Tubes Modification 2 Gun Fire Control System Modification 2 Flight Control Modification 2 Air Groups Modification 2 Artillery Plotting Room Modification 2 Main Battery Fire Control Station Improved Ammunition Hoists Main Battery Director System Improved Bridge Enhanced Propulsion Plant Enhanced Countermeasures Extended Main Battery Effective Range Torpedo Quick Reload System Main Gun Automatic Loader Modified External Hardpoints Fuel Injection System Auxiliary Armaments Modification 2 Improved Camouflage Patterns Automated Main Battery Loading Mechanism Forced Takeoff and Landing Equipment

Player Opinion


  • First American carrier to come with a fighter squadron in strike configuration.
  • Significantly better detection radius than Lexington.
  • Can equip Air Groups Modification 3 in Upgrade Slot 3, making her already tough squadrons of bombers even more resilient to anti-aircraft fire and enemy fighters.
  • Good cruising speed; can keep up with friendly ships.
  • Strong fighters.
  • Dive bombers are equipped with 1000 lb. bombs and inflict tremendous damage if they hit.


  • Long- and mid-range anti-aircraft firepower is a downgrade from Lexington; Essex is more vulnerable to enemy aircraft than her immediate predecessor.
  • Fewer hit points than Japanese counterpart Taiho, further underscoring her vulnerability if spotted.
  • Bad rudder shift time and turning circle radius.
  • Secondaries are unreliable since she will be shot at way before the secondaries can even fire.
  • Dive bombers have somewhat questionable accuracy due to randomness of bomb drops (even when dropped manually).


For captains who plan on remaining as Stock Build:

  1. Upgrade to Vought F4U-4 (fighter).
  2. Upgrade to Hull (B) to increase anti-aircraft protection.
  3. Upgrade to Douglas BTD-1 (torpedo bomber).
  4. Upgrade to Douglas BTD-1 (dive bomber).

For captains who plan on going with an Air Superiority Build:

  1. Upgrade to Mk9 mod. 3.
  2. Upgrade to Vought F4U-4 (fighter).
  3. Upgrade to Hull (B) to increase anti-aircraft protection.
  4. Upgrade to Douglas BTD-1 (dive bomber).
  5. Upgrade to Douglas BTD-1 (torpedo bomber).

For captains who plan on going with a Strike Build:

  1. Upgrade to Mk9 mod. 2.
  2. Upgrade to Douglas BTD-1 (dive bomber).
  3. Upgrade to Hull (B) to increase anti-aircraft protection.
  4. Upgrade to Douglas BTD-1 (torpedo bomber).
  5. Upgrade to Vought F4U-4.

Optimal Configuration


All Essex captains should equip Air Groups Modification 1 in Upgrade Slot 1, Damage Control System Modification 1 in Upgrade Slot 4, and Concealment System Modification 1 in Upgrade Slot 6. Upgrade Slot 5 is captain's choice between Damage Control System Modification 2 and Steering Gears Modification 2.

Upgrade Slot 2 and Upgrade Slot 3 depend on which build captains intend to play their Essex as. Strike Build captains will want Flight Control Modification 1 and Air Groups Modification 3, respectively. Air Superiority Build captains will want Air Groups Modification 2 for certain; the choice between Flight Control Modification 2 and Air Groups Modification 3 is captain's choice, as valid cases can be made for either. Stock Build captains should equip Air Groups Modification 2 and Air Groups Modification 3.

Commander Skills

For Tier 1 skills, Strike Build captains should seriously consider Expert Rear Gunner; all other builds should stick to Basics of Survivability and/or Basic Firing Training. At Tier 2, Strike Build or Stock Build players will want to consider Torpedo Armament Expertise; those looking for a more general tack should take Fire Prevention. At Tier 3, Torpedo Acceleration isn't a bad choice for Strike Build captains, whereas High Alert is a good choice for anyone. All builds should take Aircraft Servicing Expert at Tier 4 and Air Supremacy at Tier 5.

The Dogfighting Expert skill is not generally recommended; however, it may be useful for captains pursuing an Air Superiority Build who have not yet researched upgraded fighters.


Type 1, 2, or 5 camouflage can be equipped for credits; Types 1 or 5 are recommended at a minimum to reduce detectibility range.

Players who wish to spend doubloons can equip Essex with Type 19 camouflage that lowers her detection radius, reduces the accuracy of incoming shells, reduces her repair costs, and increases the amount of experience she earns.


Historical Info

Historical Gallery

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