USS Ranger CV-4 was the first aircraft carrier built for the USN to be designed from the keel up as such. Langley, Lexington and Saratoga, all brought disadvantages of one degree or the other from original designs of collier and battlecruisers. Ranger's design was based almost solely around aircraft handling requirements.
One other factor that had significant impact on Ranger, was the maximum total carrier tonnage limit of the Washington Treaty. Only 69,000 tons were left after Lexington and Saratoga, so the USN tried to design the smallest possible carrier, to allow to construct five, within the tonnage left under the treaty. At 14,000 tons Ranger fit that requirement but lost a lot of capability in the process.
In keeping with the USN carrier of maximum offensive capacity, Ranger could ship 76 aircraft. She carried 36 fighters, 36 dive bombers and four utility aircraft with no torpedo bombers being carried. The Lexington design took 450 tons of displacement per aircraft carried. With Ranger this figure dropped to 180 tons per aircraft. When war came, the shortcomings of the design confined the Ranger to the Atlantic. Although her comparatively low speed of 29 knots has been listed as a factor, she was only 1/2 knot slower than Wasp, which did go to the Pacific. Of greater detriment was her poor sea keeping qualities. Ranger was unable to operate aircraft, even in a moderate swell. She transported aircraft, supported the North African campaign, attacked German shipping in Norwegian waters, but by 1944 went into a training carrier status.
This large model of Ranger is interesting because it is a Department of the Navy Model. As is clear from the photographs, there is far less detail on an official USN model then on the model constructed by individual modelers in the Museum exhibits. Ranger was followed by the famous and successful, Yorktown design. Yorktown, Enterprise and Hornet, probably represent the most famous USN carrier class of WWII. The next installment of the carriers of the National Museum of Naval Aviation, will be the third of the trio, USS Hornet.