I will agree that it was the single worst feature of the carrier. But I think it was precedented, albeit not on a carrier. I'm led to understand it was quite similar to the trolleys the Japanese used to move seaplanes around the decks of cruisers and battleships. They worked fairly well for seaplanes, and might even have been the direct inspiration. Japan was quite jealous of her secrets (Shinshu Maru, oxygen torpedoes, and indeed carrier doctrine), so Kongo might have been about as close to a carrier as anything Japan would let a German board. Further, Germany's only maritime aviation experience would have been with the catapult ships mentioned above, so it only makes sense they were the pattern. Furious was pretty darn weird girl when she was first converted too. And quite hard on aircrews indeed. And I believe that Aquila was proposed with a quite similar catapult system. After all, where else were they going to turn? On the Yahoo NavalWargames group there was a quite long thread about GZ that also concluded she was an extravagant waste of money. Inside this thread it was suggested the Italians actually bought German arresting gear before realizing it didn't work quite as advertised and throwing it out to develop something or other in house. Per Wikipedia: "Two German-supplied Demag compressed air-driven catapults" . . . "were installed parallel to each other at the forward end of the flight deck. These were originally intended for Germany's own 'Carrier B', Graf Zeppelin's incomplete--and eventually scrapped--sister ship." That said, they were a darn bad idea for a carrier. And one inexperienced navy repeating the mistakes of another inexperienced navy doesn't make them less so.