The Lexington-class battlecruisers were officially the only class of battlecruiser to ever be ordered by the United States Navy. While these six vessels were requested in 1911 as a reaction to the building by Japan of the , the potential use for them in the U.S. Navy came from a series of studies by the Naval War College which stretched over several years and predated the existence of the first battlecruiser, (a series of proposed battlecruiser designs was in fact submitted to the General Board in 1909 but was not approved for construction). The fact they were not approved by Congress at the time of their initial request was due to political, not military considerations.The Lexingtons were included as part of the Naval Act of 1916. Like the battleships also included in the 1916 Act, their construction was repeatedly postponed in favor of escort ships and anti-submarine vessels. During these delays, the class was redesigned several times; they were originally designed to mount ten
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