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#1 PzJgr

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 03:24 PM

Nice story on the Graf Zeppelin. Although, I think they give too much credit to the ship's abilities. Without radar, the British could get in to torpedo her.

Nazi monster that never fired a shot - Liverpool Daily Post.co.uk
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#2 Husky

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 07:04 PM

This carrier had to big guns, so they dont could carry enough planes. The allied carrier had a big escort, so the carrier only needed aa-guns. Even if this carrier could fight a real battle, it wont survive long time.

#3 Devilsadvocate

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 08:30 PM

This carrier had to big guns, so they dont could carry enough planes. The allied carrier had a big escort, so the carrier only needed aa-guns. Even if this carrier could fight a real battle, it wont survive long time.


That's a little too simplistic.

The Graf Zeppelin carried ten 5.9" guns, but only 42 (some sources claim as many as 50) aircraft

The Lexington class carried eight 8"/55, and twelve 5"/25, guns and 90 aircraft on about the same displacement.

It was the design details which made the GZ deficient. One thing that militated against a larger airgroup for the GZ was her flight deck armor of 20 MM. That added a lot of topside weight, without effectively protecting against aerial bombs or shells.

The GZ had a very small capacity for av-gas storage which meant even a small airgroup would necessitate frequent replenishment. Furthermore, the ability of the GZ to launch deckload strikes was suspect because of the cumbersome arrangement of the catapult gear. There were other problems as well, such as the closed hangars and slow elevaters. Overall, the GZ wa a very poor design compared to American and Japanese carriers and it probably would have been considered a falure in service.
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#4 lwd

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 10:26 PM

There have been several threads on this ship in other forums (notably the kbismark forum and the axis history forum). She doesn't come out looking very good. Capablities roughly on a par with a US CVL and probably more fragile as far as mission kills go. Also pretty limited as to the size of strike group she could launch.

Here's one of the threads:
http://www.kbismarck... Zeppelin#p3452

And here's one that lists a number of threads:
http://forum.axishis...0&submit=Search

Edited by lwd, 28 January 2009 - 10:33 PM.


#5 Tiornu

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 11:39 PM

As an aviation platform, GZ was not up to the standards of the Democratic and Conservative carriers in the Allied arsenal.
The design process was a comedy of errors. It wasn't until two years after construction had stopped that someone figured out the weight calculations were flawed, giving the ship a natural 4.5deg list; a bulge was subsequently added to correct this. The original main battery was eight 15cm guns in single casemates; without pausing to giggle at the use of casemates, I'll note that someone suggested switching the singles to twins so that the concentrated mounts would save weight. So they switched to twins but forgot to halve the number of mounts; thus the ship ended up with sixteen guns and weighed more rather than less. (Nobody ever bothered to add berthing for enlarged gun crews or more ammo space. Woops.) The flight deck equipment was what you might expect from a navy with no experience designing flight deck equipment. The Americans reviewed it postwar and found it simultaneously inefficient and hazardous.
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#6 SteveM

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 03:54 PM

Overall, the GZ wa a very poor design compared to American and Japanese carriers and it probably would have been considered a falure in service.


Agreed, but the British wartime analysis was accurate. Regardless of whether the Graf Zeppelin would have been effective in a "Coral Sea" or "Midway" style carrier on carrier battle is irrelevant to the fact that had the Graf Zeppelin accompanied a group of surface raiders into the Atlantic the German aircraft carrier's reconnaissance and coverage capabilities would have allowed for not only greatly increased target acquistion (for German surface raiders or wolf packs for that matter) but also potentially warned of approaching danger from superior Allied maritime assets.

Needless to say a battlegroup consisting of the Graf Zeppelin and let's say the Bismarck and Scharnhorst would have been alot harder to handle then the relative ease with which the British located and dispatched the Bismarck.

Although flawed the Graf Zeppelin represented one of the great failings of the Kriegsmarine; it's inability to develop an effective naval air arm even though its major competitors and peers (the British, U.S., and Japanese) all pursued the development of naval air power.
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#7 Tiornu

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 05:24 PM

GZ could not have been operational in time to sortie with Bismarck. The German failure, which you rightly noted, to diligently pursue carrier aviation meant that GZ would have to act not only as a fleet carrier, but first as a training carrier, like Argus and Langley. That puts the Germans in the position of having to develop a usable carrier operational practice while also finding and correcting all the materiel errors they'd made in her design, not to mention the planes intended for her air group. If we are generous to the KM, we can expect GZ to become operational maybe by the end of 1942, though that seems unjustifiably generous. And she still will not have been tried in the open waters of the Atlantic. GZ is consequently a non-factor until after the time when high-seas raiding had become prohibitively risky for German warships. So what else is there for her to do? Bomb-sponge duty?

#8 SteveM

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 06:17 PM

GZ could not have been operational in time to sortie with Bismarck.


Very true. Since we were playing hypo games I was assuming the Germans actually would have made an honest effort to develop carrier based air power prior to the War (experimenting as did the Allies in the examples you provided) and thus the GZ would have been available as Germany's first operational carrier by the spring of 1941 (when the Bismarck was sunk effectively ending Hitler's will for pursuing surface raiding).

In addition, I agree that regardless the GZ would have been near useless in 1942 or later.

Interestingly, and for those of you looking for more about the failings of the Kriegsmarine in both planning for the Second World War and during the War, a few years back Keith Bird wrote a great book on Raeder and his decision making - I highly recommend it (and reviewed it at The Globe at War).
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#9 Tiornu

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 07:02 PM

Oh, what's the title of the Bird book? It's one I haven't read yet.

#10 Erich

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 07:16 PM

with all stupidity aside concerning the affairs, one should say elevated egos of both the KM and the LW let me recommend you purchase a copy of Dr. Sönke Neitzel's "Der Einsatz der Deutschen Luftwaffe über dem Atlantik und der Nordsee 1939-1945" essential reading.

sorry cannot help you with your German folks

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#11 Plumky

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 07:16 PM

I think that the GZ was nothing more than a fantasie because well if you look at some of the pictures of this machine, most of the vessel was nothing more than esthetics and non efective parts. Hell where those guns really necessary and did Germany have the ships to protect that thing from the allies?
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#12 Erich

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 07:19 PM

little side blurb you guys are aware the KM indeed did have operational flat-tops ?

nothing of the size or scope of the Allies or Japanese
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#13 Tiornu

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 07:23 PM

The Germans did not have any operational CVs.

#14 Erich

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 07:31 PM

.............. they were based in the Atlantic and if you saw fotos of them and read up on their history you would laugh
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#15 SteveM

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 07:44 PM

Oh, what's the title of the Bird book? It's one I haven't read yet.


The book is titled "Erich Raeder: Admiral of the Third Reich". Here is the review link: SteveErichRaederBookReview

It really is a good book (and a quick read). Enjoy. Since you are interested in the topic note The Naval Institute Press puts out pretty good work and I also recommend you check out some of their other stuff.
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#16 Tiornu

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 08:16 PM

Thanks, I just ordered myself a copy.

#17 SteveM

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 08:48 PM

Glad I could help
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#18 Devilsadvocate

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 09:43 PM

Agreed, but the British wartime analysis was accurate. Regardless of whether the Graf Zeppelin would have been effective in a "Coral Sea" or "Midway" style carrier on carrier battle is irrelevant to the fact that had the Graf Zeppelin accompanied a group of surface raiders into the Atlantic the German aircraft carrier's reconnaissance and coverage capabilities would have allowed for not only greatly increased target acquistion (for German surface raiders or wolf packs for that matter) but also potentially warned of approaching danger from superior Allied maritime assets.

Needless to say a battlegroup consisting of the Graf Zeppelin and let's say the Bismarck and Scharnhorst would have been alot harder to handle then the relative ease with which the British located and dispatched the Bismarck.


No, the potential performance of the GZ is not irrelevant. Had Germany gone through a process of developing aircraft carriers like many other nations did, the GZ almost certainly would have emerged quite differently and with a much better design. Furthermore, such a development process would have tipped the RN off to the fact that Germany intended to fight a naval war which included aircraft carriers. Thus, the RN almost certainly would have developed better carrier planes, and possibly better carriers with which to counter the KM's carriers. Thus it is possible, even likely, that Germany and Britain might have fought a Coral Sea or Midway type engagement in the Atlantic. Even if Britain had not put more resources into it's carriers, the US would have kept at least one superior carrier in the Atlantic. The old Ranger, deficient though she was, was far superior to the GZ in striking power and would have made hash out of the GZ.

Building Fleet carriers for commerce raiding, like building battleships to sink freighters, is a gross waste of resources and doesn't make much sense. Fleet carriers only make sense when they are intended to engage other capital ships. Unfortunately for the KM, it never had enough destroyers or cruisers to effectively screen a carrier task force, nor enough replenishment ships to keep one at sea for more than a few days. The GZ would have had a combat life span comparable to that of Bismarck. After that it would be useless, if not sitting on the ocean bottom. The RN's efforts to sink the GZ would of course differ from the Bismarck battle in the details of tactics and maneuvering, but one aircraft carrier could not hope to give the RN any more trouble than did the Bismarck.

Although flawed the Graf Zeppelin represented one of the great failings of the Kriegsmarine; it's inability to develop an effective naval air arm even though its major competitors and peers (the British, U.S., and Japanese) all pursued the development of naval air power.


It was not a failing of the KM, but of Germany's economy. Germany did not have the economic wherewithal to build a navy capable of supporting modern carrier warfare, a modern air force, and a powerful army. Something had to be sacrificed and Germany, not surprisingly, chose to economize on it's navy. Germany was a continental power, and there was no vital mission which could be accomplished by a powerful surface navy; Germany's only real naval need was coastal defense. Building up any other kind of naval force simply invited Britain and the US to out build and overwhelm Germany's potential naval resources.

Building a carrier force of any kind was the dumbest thing Germany could have done in the circumstances.

#19 lwd

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 12:10 AM

.............. they were based in the Atlantic and if you saw fotos of them and read up on their history you would laugh

Your not talking about the channel isles are you?

#20 Erich

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 12:13 AM

lwd no I am not but in the area of Norway and the Baltic, like I said earlier not in size or scope really did not look like anything we used in service
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#21 Devilsadvocate

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 01:57 AM

lwd no I am not but in the area of Norway and the Baltic, like I said earlier not in size or scope really did not look like anything we used in service


I've never heard of WW II operational German aircraft carriers of any kind, except seaplane carriers.

How about some details?

Do you have any pictures, ship's names, or descriptions?

#22 Devilsadvocate

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 05:56 AM

little side blurb you guys are aware the KM indeed did have operational flat-tops ?

nothing of the size or scope of the Allies or Japanese


If by "operational flat-tops" you mean "fleet carriers", "light carriers", "escort carriers", or, in fact, any aircraft carriers of any description, with flight decks, and capable of launching wheeled aircraft, you are in error.

The Luftwaffe operated a small number of seaplane carriers and/or tenders, some of which were equipped with catapults capable of launching seaplanes on trolleys. None of these vessels could be considered "aircraft carriers" since none of them had flight decks. Nor did the Kriegsmarine complete any of the seven vessels either purpose-built as aircraft carriers, or planned for conversion to aircraft carriers.

See;World Aircraft Carriers List: Germany

#23 SteveM

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 03:39 PM

It was not a failing of the KM, but of Germany's economy. Germany did not have the economic wherewithal to build a navy capable of supporting modern carrier warfare, a modern air force, and a powerful army. Something had to be sacrificed and Germany, not surprisingly, chose to economize on it's navy....

Building a carrier force of any kind was the dumbest thing Germany could have done in the circumstances.


Indeed you are correct, Germany's economy was limited and had to make choices - unfortunately for Germany (and thankfully for the rest of us) Germany made particularly poor choices when it came to its Navy. There is no question Germany needed to focus its efforts on its army - yet, interestingly, and in reality Germany made a decision "far dumber" than building even a single carrier battle group.

You see, what Hitler and Raeder chose to do was once again build a grand battle fleet - just as Tirpitz and Kaiser Wilhelm had sought to do prior to the First World War. Amazingly, considering the German Battle Fleet's relative ineffectiveness during the the First World War, the post First World War German Navy never really escaped a battle fleet first mentality.

Raeder in particular was heavily influenced by a Tirpitz/Mahan style approach to naval warfare. Hitler, to his credit, initially opposed putting scarce resources into building a battlefleet. Raeder however sought to put his own interests, and what he saw as the Navy's interest, over Germany's - all the more remarkable in that Raeder was well aware of what Lebensraum meant in terms of constructing a continental empire first before Hitler sought to challenge the U.S. for global hegemony. Thus, Raeder intensely lobbied Hitler and brought Hitler around to his viewpoint, hence the building programs of the 1930's that focused on building big gunned capital ships such as the Graf Spee, Gneisenau, Bismarck and their ilk.

To use your language, this truly was "the dumbest" decision Germany could have made - particularly given the overwhelming power of naval air power - demonstrated as far back as the early 1920's when Billy Mitchell's planes easily sunk the Ostfrieland in a demonstration for the US Navy.

Ironically, Raeder actually considered building one or two carrier battle group's (each built around a single carrier, single capital ship and destroyer screen) as an option but could not break free of his desire to build a battlefleet capable, in essence, of refighting Jutland even though naval airpower had made such an idea entirely obsolete.

Had Raeder sought to experiment with carrier borne airpower in the early 1930's he likely could have had one or two viable carrier battle groups by 1940. In addition, such a decision would have put considerably less stress on Germany's limited economy in that it would have required far less steel, oil, manpower and other resources than building the Tirpitz, Bismarck, Sharnhorst, Gneisenau, four Panzershiffe "pocket battleships", and a cotorie of heavy and light cruisers such as the Prinz Eugen, and whatnot.

That is not to say such a decision would have been the best use of Germany's resources, but given the German Navy was going to get something, and given it is totally unrealistic and ahistoric to expect the German Navy would have just rolled over and became a coastal defense force then building one or two carrier battle groups (as Raeder actually considered in the mid-1930s) would have been a far smarter move than what the German Navy did in reality. Consider that for all the expense that went into building the Bismarck and Tirpitz they accomplished almost nothing in a military sense - surely even one carrier based battle group would have garnered a far better return on a similar size investment. For comparison's sake in regards to the political fight a military branch can put up: could you imagine the US Navy today agreeing to cut back its cut of the military budge even 20-25% in light of the contintal nature of the War in Iraq or War in Afghanistan and thus relinquishing even one or two of its entirely superfluous supercarrier task force's - or holding off on for even a few years in building a brand new fleet of amphibious assault carriers - currently in production for a Navy/Marine Corps that has not used even a marginally sized grouping of such ships in their intended role hardly at all since Inchon.

I don't disagree Germany's resources were limited, however Hitler had always planned on challenging the U.S. and, yes, Germany could have and should have put more into its army given Hitler wanted to create Lebensraum before moving against the U.S. Nevertheless, if Germany was ever going to challenge the U.S., then building a new battle fleet and failing to build even the one carrier based battle group neccessary to test and try out advanced naval warfighting techniques and doctrine was truly a far "dumber" move. Thankfully, it is the move Germany made in reality.
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#24 Devilsadvocate

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 11:25 PM

[quote name='SteveM']Indeed you are correct, Germany's economy was limited and had to make choices - unfortunately for Germany (and thankfully for the rest of us) Germany made particularly poor choices when it came to its Navy. There is no question Germany needed to focus its efforts on its army - yet, interestingly, and in reality Germany made a decision "far dumber" than building even a single carrier battle group.

You see, what Hitler and Raeder chose to do was once again build a grand battle fleet - just as Tirpitz and Kaiser Wilhelm had sought to do prior to the First World War. Amazingly, considering the German Battle Fleet's relative ineffectiveness during the the First World War, the post First World War German Navy never really escaped a battle fleet first mentality. [/quote]

I agree that the Kriegsmarine was not particularly well constituted to pursue either Germany's objective national interests, nor the objectives set for it by Hitler and the Nazi party. And yes, Raeder was not a visionary in the sense that Sims or Yamamoto were, but by the same token, it was not clear in the 1920's or even 1930's, as you claim, that "naval airpower" was "overwhelming" when compared to the power of the battleship. The circumstances under which Billy Mitchell's bombers sank their WW I naval targets did not demonstrate much of anything, except that planes flying very low and dropping very large bombs could sink large, obsolete, stationary, unmanned, undefended capital ships if the attacks were persistent enough. It wasn't until 20 years later that actual warplanes, under actual combat conditions proved that planes could consistently sink capital ships.

Furthermore, when Hitler took over and negotiated the Anglo-German Naval Treaty in 1934, the German Navy had already begun building ships like the Deutschland (laid down in 1929). Until the 1934 treaty, Germany could not build aircraft carriers, could not, in fact, build any ships over 10,000 tons, and then only as replacements for old, worn out vessels. Thus Germany had no opportunity to experiment with aircraft carriers, develop optimum designs or operating doctrine to guide specifications and design criteria. Without that experience, the Kriegsmarine would have been extremely fortunate to build an effective carrier force of any kind. It took the Japanese, and the US navies twenty years of expensive building and experimentation to get things to the stage where carrier task forces could be used effectively to counter fleets made up of other capital ships, and even then, Japan never did figure out how to use carrier task forcs for true power projection over great oceanic distances. Only the US accomplished that ability late in the war, by building large fleets of carrier support ships like destroyers, cruisers, escort carriers, oilers, replenishment, and repair ships.

For Germany to be able to do something like that was completely out of the question, if only because it required more vessels than Germany could ever provide. The lack of experience would also have made it highly unlikely.

[quote name='SteveM']Raeder in particular was heavily influenced by a Tirpitz/Mahan style approach to naval warfare. Hitler, to his credit, initially opposed putting scarce resources into building a battlefleet. Raeder however sought to put his own interests, and what he saw as the Navy's interest, over Germany's - all the more remarkable in that Raeder was well aware of what Lebensraum meant in terms of constructing a continental empire first before Hitler sought to challenge the U.S. for global hegemony. Thus, Raeder intensely lobbied Hitler and brought Hitler around to his viewpoint, hence the building programs of the 1930's that focused on building big gunned capital ships such as the Graf Spee, Gneisenau, Bismarck and their ilk. [/quote]

Was Raeder aware of Hitler's intention to challenge the US for global supremacy? Was even Hitler aware of that necessity before the mid-1930's? Wasn't Hitler's plan to deal with Europe, including the Soviet Union first, and await developments after that?

In any case, of course, Raeder convinced himself that Germany's best interests could only be served by a strong navy. He was a naval profession and virtually wedded to the idea that a powerful navy would be necessary in event of war. Nor could he be expected to advocate a naval air arm when he had virtually no experience with that branch, nor did any of his officers. It's not too surprising that Raeder saw the battleship as still supreme. For what it's worth, so did most of the professional officers in the Royal Navy. In fact, because of the failure of the Royal Navy, or any other European power, to develop truly offensive carriers, most of the naval warfare in the Atlantic, with a few notable exceptions, revolved around the big-gun capital ship during WW II.

[quote name='SteveM']To use your language, this truly was "the dumbest" decision Germany could have made - particularly given the overwhelming power of naval air power - demonstrated as far back as the early 1920's when Billy Mitchell's planes easily sunk the Ostfrieland in a demonstration for the US Navy. [/quote]

As already pointed out, this was not true until the mid-1930's, far too late for the Kriegsmarine to start developing an effective carrier force. And it would have been just as ridiculous for the KM to sink it's resources into aircraft carriers, as it was big-gun ships, because it had no more hope of winning a decisive naval victory with carriers than it did with battleships.

I reiterate; a coastal defense navy was he only naval force that made any sense for Germany.

[quote name='SteveM']Ironically, Raeder actually considered building one or two carrier battle group's (each built around a single carrier, single capital ship and destroyer screen) as an option but could not break free of his desire to build a battlefleet capable, in essence, of refighting Jutland even though naval airpower had made such an idea entirely obsolete. [/quote]

Raeder did more than consider it; Two large carriers were actually laid down in 1936 and 1938, the design dating from 1935 which was he first year in which German was actually allowed to build carriers. They were never completed even though one continued to be worked on, off and on, until 1943. The other was canceled in 1940. Raeder favored completing them until overruled by Hitler.

[quote name='SteveM']Had Raeder sought to experiment with carrier borne airpower in the early 1930's he likely could have had one or two viable carrier battle groups by 1940. In addition, such a decision would have put considerably less stress on Germany's limited economy in that it would have required far less steel, oil, manpower and other resources than building the Tirpitz, Bismarck, Sharnhorst, Gneisenau, four Panzershiffe "pocket battleships", and a cotorie of heavy and light cruisers such as the Prinz Eugen, and whatnot. [/quote]

No, that is not quite accurate. The German Navy thought about building carriers as soon as the situation allowed (the Anglo-German Naval Treaty of 1934), but waiting to build or convert an experimental carrier to test design theory and operating doctrine would have consumed quite a bit of time; two or three years at least. Waiting for data to be gathered from these experiments would have put the design back to1938 or 1939, the eve of the war. Unfortunately for Germany, the GZ was a stab in the dark as far as effective carrier design was concerned, and it missed.

Why would building carriers put less stress on Germany's economy? Large carriers are just as expensive to build as battleships, perhaps more so. And even more expensive to operate when one considers the airgroup and the expenditre of oil for a carrier.[/quote]

[quote name='SteveM']That is not to say such a decision would have been the best use of Germany's resources, but given the German Navy was going to get something, and given it is totally unrealistic and ahistoric to expect the German Navy would have just rolled over and became a coastal defense force then building one or two carrier battle groups (as Raeder actually considered in the mid-1930s) would have been a far smarter move than what the German Navy did in reality.[/quote]

I disagree. Germany's navy was a coastal defense force up until 1934 by virtue of the Versailles Treaty. That changed when the Kriegsmarine began rearming in accordance with the Anglo-German Naval Treaty, but what mission did Hitler assaign to the KM? Was it supposed control the Atlantic Ocean? That was never mentioned as far as I know, and in any case, completely unrealistic. Was it supposed to blockade England? Hitler apparently never contemplated war with Britain before 1939. From what I have read, Raeder was told to prepare for war with Poland and France. In order to successfully accomplish such a mission what naval forces would be necessary? I would think a large destroyer force, backed up by a couple of squadrons of big cruisers, a few battle cruisers, several flotillas of subs, some support ships and a few squadrons of naval reconnaissance aircraft. This was exactly the type of naval force Raeder was building when war came.

Building a couple of carrier task forces might get the job done, but carrier task forces are expensive to build and operate, and, given that neither France nor Poland had effective carriers, totally unnecessary. They don't make sense for commerce raiding; light cruisers are more cost-effective for that. Given that most naval battles would take place around the coasts of Europe, the need for air power can more economically be satisfied by existing land-based air power. In fact, carrier task forces would only appear as threats to Britain and the US. The likely reaction to that kind of hreat would be for the UK to upgrade it's carriers and carrier aircraft and for the US to build more Yorktowns. Since Germany has not a chance in hell of outbuilding either the Uk or US in any kind of naval race, it's better not even to try.

[quote name='SteveM']Consider that for all the expense that went into building the Bismarck and Tirpitz they accomplished almost nothing in a military sense - surely even one carrier based battle group would have garnered a far better return on a similar size investment.[/quote]

Would it?

I don't think that's certain, or even likely. Consider the geography of Europe; where does Germany keep it's putative carrier task forces? Given Britain's ability to bomb French Channel ports, the only logical choice is the Baltic. But that's a poor choice if access to the Atlantic or North Sea is desirable; Britain will know immediately when Germany's carriers are attempting to get out. That means the carrier task forces will have to fight air and sea battles just to go to sea. Then, once at sea they will have to fight air battles against British (and probably American) carriers. With the GZ as an example they are going to be at serious disadvantage against Allied carriers; even the old Ranger presents a serious challenge to the GZ. Commerce raiding is out of the question because the Allies will simply reroute or delay convoy sailings while the German carrier task forces are at sea. So once the German carriers fight their battle, they have to replenish which means the Germans have to get a fleet train out to the Atlantic, risking attack by the RN, or they have to get their carriers back to a Baltic port. That's a lot of effort and resources expended just so you can get the crap kicked out of you in a Coral Sea type fight. Of course, something like what happened to the Japanese carriers at Philippine Sea might occur, too, but that's a risk the German carriers have to take.

[quote name='SteveM']For comparison's sake in regards to the political fight a military branch can put up: could you imagine the US Navy today agreeing to cut back its cut of the military budge even 20-25% in light of the contintal nature of the War in Iraq or War in Afghanistan and thus relinquishing even one or two of its entirely superfluous supercarrier task force's - or holding off on for even a few years in building a brand new fleet of amphibious assault carriers - currently in production for a Navy/Marine Corps that has not used even a marginally sized grouping of such ships in their intended role hardly at all since Inchon.[/quote]

The situation with the US Navy is not at all analogous to that of the German Navy in the late 1930's. The US Navy is not in an inferior position to a potential enemy; it holds a position of supreme power and that is why it continues to build and operate carriers. The carrier groups of the US Navy are far from "superfluous" as you put it, but the cornerstone and guarantor of US foreign policy. The reason the ships have not been needed is precisely because every potential challenger realizes that they guarantee that any challenge will be defeated.

[quote name='SteveM']I don't disagree Germany's resources were limited, however Hitler had always planned on challenging the U.S. and, yes, Germany could have and should have put more into its army given Hitler wanted to create Lebensraum before moving against the U.S. Nevertheless, if Germany was ever going to challenge the U.S., then building a new battle fleet and failing to build even the one carrier based battle group neccessary to test and try out advanced naval warfighting techniques and doctrine was truly a far "dumber" move. Thankfully, it is the move Germany made in reality.[/quote]

Had Hitler always planned on challenging the US? If you say so, but I question it. I'm sure you can cite sources verifying that.

But consider this. The industrial and economic capacity of the US, even in the depths of the Depression, surpassed that of German three- or four-fold. That meant that to have any chance of challenging the US for world hegemony, Germany had to acquire a great deal more economic/industrial strength than it had ever been able to do, historically. Furthermore, it had to do so in a manner which did not cause the US to perceive a threat. That's something almost impossible to do in the real world.

If the US felt that Germany would ultimately challenge the US, it's first priority would be to build up it's navy and air force. Starting from a position of much greater capability, it would be likely to crush Germany long before the Kriegsmarine could ever reach parity in naval air power. The only thing that Germany could have accomplished in WW II by building carrier task forces would be to set the stage in the Atlantic for style of naval battles that the USN, and later the RN, fought so successfully in the Pacific.

Without any experience in carrier warfare, without any experience in designing successful carriers, without any experience in developing successful carrier doctrine, without sufficient industrial, or economic capacity to build large numbers of modern carriers, or man them with highly trained naval pilots, without any experience in operating sophisticated carrier fleet support trains, what chance would Germany have of accomplishing any of it's national goals?

Edited by Devilsadvocate, 30 January 2009 - 11:31 PM.
edited for spelling and grammar

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#25 lwd

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Posted 31 January 2009 - 05:58 PM

...- demonstrated as far back as the early 1920's when Billy Mitchell's planes easily sunk the Ostfrieland in a demonstration for the US Navy....

A minor point. Ostfrieland was not particularly easy to sink nor was it in anything like a combat ready posture. Indeed Mitchell disobeyed orders to do so.




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