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Germany's proposed Battleship-Carrier

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     In 1938, a full 4 years before the Ise would undergo it's famous and quite controversial conversion into a half-baked battleship-carrier hybrid, Hitler himself ordered the Navy to begin looking into the prospect of designing a warship that, unlike what the Ise would become, was both fully battleship and fully carrier. To clarify, that is a ship with battleship caliber weapons and the ability to both launch and recover aircraft via its flight deck, Ise does not fit this description as she was incapable of landing her aircraft directly back onto her flight deck. Ultimately, this design would be finished by mid-1942 (around the same time Ise was undergoing her conversion) and had it not been for a shortage of funds, materials, manpower, and resources available to the Kriegsmarine at this time would have likely been ordered as the navy at this time was desperately trying to obtain a carrier fleet. Ultimately, however, it was far cheaper and more reasonable to convert already existing vessels into carriers (like Wesser, Elbe, Jade, Europa, and De Grasse) and so Germany's battleship-carrier was never ordered...

 

Still, it is an interesting design and one which I think deserves its time in the spotlight.

 

     Before we can begin talking about the ship itself, we should first delve into why Germany felt it needed such a vessel in the first place. Initially, when the idea was first being looked into, the honeymoon idea was to allow for carrier-based aviation to be stationed directly on a fleet battleship with the intention of the battleship still being meant to engage enemy surface warships like a normal battleship with the aviation aspect being almost entirely devoted to the aerial defense of the battleship/fleet itself. This clearly shows that Germany was already in 1938 (before Taranto and Pearl Harbor) concerned about the threat that aerial attack poses to a battleship as they were already trying to think up a way to counter such a threat.

     However, the 'perfect world scenario' design the Germans came up with, which attempted to mate a main battery of 4x3 406mm guns with a flight deck at least 100m long, produced a vessel which displaced 74,000t STANDARD and was over 300m long! A vessel which would have been impossible to build for any nation at the time. What's more, is that it was estimated that the survivability of the ship was some 30% less than that of a normal battleship with the same weapons and armor.

     This was a somewhat unsurprising reality check for the Germans who now shifted the purpose of their battleship-carrier dream to that of a designated commerce-raider instead of the unrealistic behemoth all-powerful mastodon of a ship meant to take enemy surface combatants on directly while also being able to provide its own air cover. Now, the idea was to improve upon their formula for the Deutschland class raiders - the formula being the ability to outgun anything that could catch it and outrun anything that could outgun it - the improvement being the addition of a flight deck and all the offensive and defensive perks that should theoretically come with it. As Hitler put it, it would be the perfect ship for waging an economic war. 

 

The initial design, designated A-II, was based on the existing A-1 carrier designs which was to have been the Graf Zeppelin class' successor. It featured the conning tower directly in the center of the ship, akin to early HMS Furious, at the head of the flight deck. This was not initially seen as an issue as, like the Graf Zeppelin, she would put her complement of aircraft into the air solely with the use of catapults (mounted on either side of the superstructure). However, the Germans feared that having the superstructure in the middle might cause enough of an airflow disturbance over the flight deck to make landing difficult and so for the future evolutions of the design the superstructure would be placed aside the flight deck like a normal carrier. At first, the main battery was to have consisted of a single quadruple 280mm turret on the bow...

Spoiler

A-ii

 

But this was eventually changed to 2x3 280mm which were already in existence, unlike the quadruple turret which would have required extra funds and time to develop. 

Spoiler

A-iia

 

     Further design studies showed a need to strengthen the ship's protection and increase the length of the flight deck. The new design, designated A-III, featured the same main battery as the A-IIa, but gained two extra dual 150mm casemates as well as a torpedo battery (which had been absent on the previous designs) of 6 tubes. The ship also featured a powerful mixed turbine-diesel powerplant producing a designed 260,000 horsepower which would have been enough to power the 56,000t vessel to a top speed of 34 knots and allowed for a range of 20,000 nautical miles at 19 knots. Interesting to note is that despite the superstructure now having been moved to the LEFT side of the flight deck, the catapults were still angled outwards. The rare (for a carrier) placement of the island on the left side of the ship was done entirely with the intention of confusing a potential foe as to the initial direction and heading of the battleship-carrier as just about every other carrier has its island on the right side. I find it amusing that the Germans thought of such a small detail. This was very nearly the final design of Germany's 'Atlantikflugzeugkreuzer' but the aircraft complement of 32 aircraft was deemed too low to be satisfactory. By eliminating the 250mm armor belt entirely the designers were able to free up enough weight to almost double the ship's planned air complement to 60. Despite this loss of the belt armor protection the ship still boasted a 120mm turtleback and main deck with a 45mm torpedo bulkhead and 50mm armored flight deck for protection. The main battery turrets had 140mm thick faces and 250mm barbettes and the casemate 150mm weapons were protected by 100mm. This design, dubbed Atlantikflugzeugkreuzer C, was considered the final design. The use of the index "C" shows just how serious the Germans were about this design as the previous two carriers actually ordered to be built by Germany were Graf Zeppelin and her sister, each designated carrier A and B respectively.

 

Atlantikflugzeugkreuzer C, the final design of Germany's battleship-carrier project

image.thumb.png.647fd8d8ed79316635882f3892674a73.png

image.thumb.png.6bd1de4fa4cfa95fe6fe8c1d15d106dc.png

Note the traditional stack on the port side for the steam turbines and the two vents on the starboard side hull for the diesel engines.

 

A variant of the A-III design designated A-IV was developed alongside the A-III with the only major changes being the return to the quad turret of the A-II and an all-diesel powerplant. Ultimately this design lost out to the 'C'

Spoiler

A-iv

 

 

I hope you enjoyed this look into one of the lesser-known naval projects of WWII! With the appearance of the battleship-carrier Ise in WOWS Blitz, it opens up the possibility of her coming to PC as well and, who knows, maybe someday the Atlantikflugzeugkreuzer C as well! Assuming such a ship can be balanced, I for one think a 918-foot, 56,000-ton, 34-knot premium battleship-carrier with torpedoes sounds exciting! :cap_yes:

 

 

Edited by WirFahrenGegenEngeland
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The German  Idea was more functional but still was a poor CV and a poor BB. The Japanese didn't have the pilots to fly the planes and the Germans didn't have the battle doctrine for them to be effective after the Bismarck.

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1 minute ago, BrushWolf said:

The German  Idea was more functional but still was a poor CV and a poor BB. The Japanese didn't have the pilots to fly the planes and the Germans didn't have the battle doctrine for them to be effective after the Bismarck.

 

The 'C' effectively found itself without a role by 1942. For 1938, the design as a god-tier commerce raider seems sound enough. After all, it's essentially a scaled-up Deutschland with a flight deck. But by 1942, Germany's idea of what an aircraft carrier should be/do had evolved into a 'fight fire with fire' protector of battleships. Germany took the lessons learned from the loss of Bismarck and the harassment of the Scharnhorst twins and Tirpitz by aircraft and interpreted them as needing carriers to defend their heavy surface ships against air attacks. Meanwhile, literally everybody else was using their battleships to escort their carriers, not the other way around. That much aside, if all you need/want is a carrier to put aircraft in the air to protect a battleship, you don't need a tricked-out, heavily armed, expensive monster like the 'C' when a cheap cruiser or liner convert will do the job.

 

In short, the C was a ship designed to meet pre-war realities but by the time the design was finished such realities were already rendered moot by the progress of the war and the evolution of naval warfare that happened as a result.

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18 minutes ago, BrushWolf said:

The German  Idea was more functional but still was a poor CV and a poor BB. The Japanese didn't have the pilots to fly the planes and the Germans didn't have the battle doctrine for them to be effective after the Bismarck.

It has always amazed that the Germans totally missed the boat, so to speak, on replacing their merchant raiders with small, fast escort sized carriers, which would have been much more effective at commerce raiding than anything else they used, either large cruisers, heavy cruisers, or battleships. 

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21 minutes ago, Umikami said:

It has always amazed that the Germans totally missed the boat, so to speak, on replacing their merchant raiders with small, fast escort sized carriers, which would have been much more effective at commerce raiding than anything else they used, either large cruisers, heavy cruisers, or battleships. 

Aside from a few auxilliary cruisers (Kormoran being the most prominent one) Germany didn't have any dedicated merchant raiders. 

The Deutschland class was meant to be replacing the pre-dreadnoughts and to deliver units that would bring the German Navy back into life (and it was very successful at that). Building carriers while the next largest ship would be either a pre-dreadnought or the WW1-design-ish Emden would be escaping any logic.

The Hipper-class and the battleships would be the response of the Germans to French battleships, Strasbourg and the Richelieu class to be precise. And to make this point clear, the Germans did not intend the battleships to become merchant raiders. The belief of some designer intentionally designing the Bismarck-class to rip up a convoy is a myth. Bismarck and Tirpitz were meant to engage Richelieu and Jean Bart. That the battleships would later on end up being used to hunt merchants is the result of the Germans being lacking in surface ships, especially after the occupation of Norway resulted in heavy losses of Naval vessels. They were round pegs being forced into a square hole, and the later addition of torpedo tubes was meant to give them a somewhat better utility in that role.

As for carriers, I recommend for example this video.

 

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WW2 1942 Germany suffered from a fate called SUCCESS.

Submarines were very successful, so - fire Raeder, promote Doenitz, and go all submarines.

Land campaign was very successful, so there was no need for any kind of navy.  Land based air power can cover local shipping.  Go all Tanks and Land Based Aircraft.

Surface navy actions were expensive and very UNSUCCESSFUL..  So scrap the surface ships.

All the wrong conclusions were reached.  But maybe they were the right reasons for the times.  There was no way to ever invade the British Isles, nor project any kind of long-range force projection.

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5 hours ago, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

 

     In 1938, a full 4 years before the Ise would undergo it's famous and quite controversial conversion into a half-baked battleship-carrier hybrid, Hitler himself ordered the Navy to begin looking into the prospect of designing a warship that, unlike what the Ise would become, was both fully battleship and fully carrier. To clarify, that is a ship with battleship caliber weapons and the ability to both launch and recover aircraft via its flight deck, Ise does not fit this description as she was incapable of landing her aircraft directly back onto her flight deck. Ultimately, this design would be finished by mid-1942 (around the same time Ise was undergoing her conversion) and had it not been for a shortage of funds, materials, manpower, and resources available to the Kriegsmarine at this time would have likely been ordered as the navy at this time was desperately trying to obtain a carrier fleet. Ultimately, however, it was far cheaper and more reasonable to convert already existing vessels into carriers (like Wesser, Elbe, Jade, Europa, and De Grasse) and so Germany's battleship-carrier was never ordered...

 

Still, it is an interesting design and one which I think deserves its time in the spotlight.

 

     Before we can begin talking about the ship itself, we should first delve into why Germany felt it needed such a vessel in the first place. Initially, when the idea was first being looked into, the honeymoon idea was to allow for carrier-based aviation to be stationed directly on a fleet battleship with the intention of the battleship still being meant to engage enemy surface warships like a normal battleship with the aviation aspect being almost entirely devoted to the aerial defense of the battleship/fleet itself. This clearly shows that Germany was already in 1938 (before Taranto and Pearl Harbor) concerned about the threat that aerial attack poses to a battleship as they were already trying to think up a way to counter such a threat.

     However, the 'perfect world scenario' design the Germans came up with, which attempted to mate a main battery of 4x3 406mm guns with a flight deck at least 100m long, produced a vessel which displaced 74,000t STANDARD and was over 300m long! A vessel which would have been impossible to build for any nation at the time. What's more, is that it was estimated that the survivability of the ship was some 30% less than that of a normal battleship with the same weapons and armor.

     This was a somewhat unsurprising reality check for the Germans who now shifted the purpose of their battleship-carrier dream to that of a designated commerce-raider instead of the unrealistic behemoth all-powerful mastodon of a ship meant to take enemy surface combatants on directly while also being able to provide its own air cover. Now, the idea was to improve upon their formula for the Deutschland class raiders - the formula being the ability to outgun anything that could catch it and outrun anything that could outgun it - the improvement being the addition of a flight deck and all the offensive and defensive perks that should theoretically come with it. As Hitler put it, it would be the perfect ship for waging an economic war. 

 

The initial design, designated A-II, was based on the existing A-1 carrier designs which was to have been the Graf Zeppelin class' successor. It featured the conning tower directly in the center of the ship, akin to early HMS Furious, at the head of the flight deck. This was not initially seen as an issue as, like the Graf Zeppelin, she would put her complement of aircraft into the air solely with the use of catapults (mounted on either side of the superstructure). However, the Germans feared that having the superstructure in the middle might cause enough of an airflow disturbance over the flight deck to make landing difficult and so for the future evolutions of the design the superstructure would be placed aside the flight deck like a normal carrier. At first, the main battery was to have consisted of a single quadruple 280mm turret on the bow...

  Hide contents

A-ii

 

But this was eventually changed to 2x3 280mm which were already in existence, unlike the quadruple turret which would have required extra funds and time to develop. 

  Hide contents

A-iia

 

     Further design studies showed a need to strengthen the ship's protection and increase the length of the flight deck. The new design, designated A-III, featured the same main battery as the A-IIa, but gained two extra dual 150mm casemates as well as a torpedo battery (which had been absent on the previous designs) of 6 tubes. The ship also featured a powerful mixed turbine-diesel powerplant producing a designed 260,000 horsepower which would have been enough to power the 56,000t vessel to a top speed of 34 knots and allowed for a range of 20,000 nautical miles at 19 knots. Interesting to note is that despite the superstructure now having been moved to the LEFT side of the flight deck, the catapults were still angled outwards. The rare (for a carrier) placement of the island on the left side of the ship was done entirely with the intention of confusing a potential foe as to the initial direction and heading of the battleship-carrier as just about every other carrier has its island on the right side. I find it amusing that the Germans thought of such a small detail. This was very nearly the final design of Germany's 'Atlantikflugzeugkreuzer' but the aircraft complement of 32 aircraft was deemed too low to be satisfactory. By eliminating the 250mm armor belt entirely the designers were able to free up enough weight to almost double the ship's planned air complement to 60. Despite this loss of the belt armor protection the ship still boasted a 120mm turtleback and main deck with a 45mm torpedo bulkhead and 50mm armored flight deck for protection. The main battery turrets had 140mm thick faces and 250mm barbettes and the casemate 150mm weapons were protected by 100mm. This design, dubbed Atlantikflugzeugkreuzer C, was considered the final design. The use of the index "C" shows just how serious the Germans were about this design as the previous two carriers actually ordered to be built by Germany were Graf Zeppelin and her sister, each designated carrier A and B respectively.

 

Atlantikflugzeugkreuzer C, the final design of Germany's battleship-carrier project

image.thumb.png.647fd8d8ed79316635882f3892674a73.png

image.thumb.png.6bd1de4fa4cfa95fe6fe8c1d15d106dc.png

Note the traditional stack on the port side for the steam turbines and the two vents on the starboard side hull for the diesel engines.

 

A variant of the A-III design designated A-IV was developed alongside the A-III with the only major changes being the return to the quad turret of the A-II and an all-diesel powerplant. Ultimately this design lost out to the 'C'

  Hide contents

A-iv

 

 

I hope you enjoyed this look into one of the lesser-known naval projects of WWII! With the appearance of the battleship-carrier Ise in WOWS Blitz, it opens up the possibility of her coming to PC as well and, who knows, maybe someday the Atlantikflugzeugkreuzer C as well! Assuming such a ship can be balanced, I for one think a 918-foot, 56,000-ton, 34-knot premium battleship-carrier with torpedoes sounds exciting! :cap_yes:

 

 

That has to be one of the coolest designs I have ever seen :fish_happy:

For the "bad BB and bad CV" issue the solution is quite simple: This is not real life so give both of them higher than normal stats (maybe 20k cits, 8k torps and 11k AP dive bombers but with very low pen so only against cruisers, kind of like Enti). Before you all scream: "TOO OP GTFO WEHARBOO!!" consider that it's 5 guns at best, probably even only 2 or 3 and the reserve would be probably very small so it would be kind of of the Saipan concept but to the limit.

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9 hours ago, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

 

The 'C' effectively found itself without a role by 1942. For 1938, the design as a god-tier commerce raider seems sound enough. After all, it's essentially a scaled-up Deutschland with a flight deck. But by 1942, Germany's idea of what an aircraft carrier should be/do had evolved into a 'fight fire with fire' protector of battleships. Germany took the lessons learned from the loss of Bismarck and the harassment of the Scharnhorst twins and Tirpitz by aircraft and interpreted them as needing carriers to defend their heavy surface ships against air attacks. Meanwhile, literally everybody else was using their battleships to escort their carriers, not the other way around. That much aside, if all you need/want is a carrier to put aircraft in the air to protect a battleship, you don't need a tricked-out, heavily armed, expensive monster like the 'C' when a cheap cruiser or liner convert will do the job.

 

In short, the C was a ship designed to meet pre-war realities but by the time the design was finished such realities were already rendered moot by the progress of the war and the evolution of naval warfare that happened as a result.

 

5 hours ago, AVR_Project said:

WW2 1942 Germany suffered from a fate called SUCCESS.

Submarines were very successful, so - fire Raeder, promote Doenitz, and go all submarines.

Land campaign was very successful, so there was no need for any kind of navy.  Land based air power can cover local shipping.  Go all Tanks and Land Based Aircraft.

Surface navy actions were expensive and very UNSUCCESSFUL..  So scrap the surface ships.

All the wrong conclusions were reached.  But maybe they were the right reasons for the times.  There was no way to ever invade the British Isles, nor project any kind of long-range force projection.

Hitler demanded the impossible from the navy of destroying the enemy while taking no damage in return. By 1942 Hitler's fear of losing a ship in operations had tied the German navy's hands behind its back. North Cape was the last time the kriegsmarine sent the surface ships out in any force and that battle was decided by the much better Allied radar.

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4 hours ago, AVR_Project said:

WW2 1942 Germany suffered from a fate called SUCCESS.

Submarines were very successful, so - fire Raeder, promote Doenitz, and go all submarines.

Land campaign was very successful, so there was no need for any kind of navy.  Land based air power can cover local shipping.  Go all Tanks and Land Based Aircraft.

Surface navy actions were expensive and very UNSUCCESSFUL..  So scrap the surface ships.

All the wrong conclusions were reached.  But maybe they were the right reasons for the times.  There was no way to ever invade the British Isles, nor project any kind of long-range force projection.

 

Depends on which surface actions you are talking about. In the early years of the war, the heavy surface units were very successful in the commerce war, all things considered. Just 7 Kriegsmarine large warships (Deutschland/Lutzow, Admiral Scheer, Graf Spee, Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, Admiral Hipper, and Karlsruhe) themselves totaling some 117,136 tons managed to sink or capture 63 merchant ships totaling some 338,068 tons. Had these 7 German warships only sank/captured 120,000 tons of shipping they would have broken even and justified their existence, instead, they managed to sink three times their own displacement - justifying themselves 3 times over. 

 

That's to say nothing of the 134 merchant ships totaling 838,430 tons sunk or captured by the Kriegsmarines's 10 auxiliary raiders. Or the unlisted number of merchant ships sunk or captured by german destroyers, torpedo-boats, and the like.Unless you don't count those as surface navy actions.

 

In terms of raw tonnage sank/captured, sure, the surface units weren't AS successful as the U-boats but that certainly doesn't mean they were unsuccessful as a whole.

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10 hours ago, Umikami said:

It has always amazed that the Germans totally missed the boat, so to speak, on replacing their merchant raiders with small, fast escort sized carriers, which would have been much more effective at commerce raiding than anything else they used, either large cruisers, heavy cruisers, or battleships. 

It doesn't amaze me.  They missed the boat on Plan Z too.

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7 minutes ago, BrushWolf said:

 

Hitler demanded the impossible from the navy of destroying the enemy while taking no damage in return. By 1942 Hitler's fear of losing a ship in operations had tied the German navy's hands behind its back. North Cape was the last time the kriegsmarine sent the surface ships out in any force and that battle was decided by the much better Allied radar.

 

An excellent point about Hitler.

 

Concerning your other point, No doubt Scharnhorst was surprised initially by the superior allied radar, but ultimately the battle was decided by a stroke of luck when Scharnhorst suffered a one in a million hit to her number one boiler room just as she was about to make good on her escape.

 

True, if Scharnhorst's search radar had been on-par with the allies at the time she could have avoided the entire engagement in the first place... but even still, Scharnhorst had all but escaped before the lucky hit to the no. 1 boiler room.

 

I digress. Just a nit-pick. ;)

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10 minutes ago, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

 

An excellent point about Hitler.

 

Concerning your other point, No doubt Scharnhorst was surprised initially by the superior allied radar, but ultimately the battle was decided by a stroke of luck when Scharnhorst suffered a one in a million hit to her number one boiler room just as she was about to make good on her escape.

 

True, if Scharnhorst's search radar had been on-par with the allies at the time she could have avoided the entire engagement in the first place... but even still, Scharnhorst had all but escaped before the lucky hit to the no. 1 boiler room.

 

I digress. Just a nit-pick. ;)

There was an earlier lucky hit that blinded the Scharnhorst's aft radar which had allowed the Germans to see the shadowing cruisers and the Duke of York when they got closer. If that aft radar hadn't been destroyed they might have pulled off the escape.

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Man, I'd hate to be the pilot taking off on that thing...

My plane is heavily loaded, and I sink just a bit clearing the flight deck only to slam into the back of a gun turret...  :Smile_sad:

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10 hours ago, Umikami said:

It has always amazed that the Germans totally missed the boat, so to speak, on replacing their merchant raiders with small, fast escort sized carriers, which would have been much more effective at commerce raiding than anything else they used, either large cruisers, heavy cruisers, or battleships. 

 

     Germany did actually realize such a need and in 1942 put out several designs for such a vessel, the smallest of which was the 3,500-ton Kleinerflugzeugtreager (KFT for short) which was designed to control large portions of the sea as a commercial raider, individually or as part of a group. 

     The possibility of torpedo attacks by airborne bombers was considered more effective than any kind of artillery-ship raider. Large KFT groups could serve as advanced airborne reconnaissance posts, expanding the existing aircraft range by about 100 miles. They were also supposed to be used as military transports for landing operations, such as the invasion of Norway. Large military operations could be carried out by a group of 20 to 50 KFT and high-speed cruisers. In addition, a map was attached to the project, which showed the possible lines of action for these aircraft carriers: there would be seven KFT groups, two stations on the line between Greenland and Brittany (France) and two on the line between Newfoundland and Galicia (Spain) in the North Atlantic. They could also be placed on the line between Northeast Brazil and Liberia in the South Atlantic, as well as on the line between South India and the Gulf of Oman to control the Arabian Sea. Draeger's plans did not involve any action against the United States, presumably because they were developed before the declaration of war. 

    The air group would have consisted of just 6 aircraft, either all Ju-87 D4 torpedo bombers or four of the latter and two Bf-109T fighters. The diesel powerplant would have made 9,000 horsepower which was good for a top speed of 19 knots and a range of 14,000 nautical miles at a speed of 9 knots. No armor was provided for the design which placed emphasis on being small, cheap, and quick to produce.  Dimensions of the vessel were 106.1 x 17 x 4 meters.

KFT

 

 

     The other main design was actually a heavily modified version of Germany's 21,000-ton "standard" carrier. By reducing the overall dimensions of the ship, reducing the air group from 33 to 22, reducing the ship's horsepower by 3/4, and reducing the number of 105mm weapons the Germans were able to get the design down to 11,000-tons standard. 

     The air group would have consisted of 10 bombers and 12 fighters. The diesel powerplant would have made 46,000 horsepower good for a top speed of 26 knots and a range of 18,000 nautical miles at 19 knots. Some armor protection was provided. Dimensions of the vessel were 172 x 22 x 7.25 meters.

11000 t

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24 minutes ago, Murotsu said:

Man, I'd hate to be the pilot taking off on that thing...

My plane is heavily loaded, and I sink just a bit clearing the flight deck only to slam into the back of a gun turret...  :Smile_sad:

 

:cap_wander: Ah, perhaps that explains why the catapults are still angled despite the lack of a midsection superstructure. Good catch!

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1 hour ago, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

An excellent point about Hitler.

Concerning your other point, No doubt Scharnhorst was surprised initially by the superior allied radar, but ultimately the battle was decided by a stroke of luck when Scharnhorst suffered a one in a million hit to her number one boiler room just as she was about to make good on her escape.

Artists don't make good naval strategists.  They become too attached to their work which makes especially awful when they play the war game.

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"The functions and requirements of carriers and of surface gun platforms are entirely incompatible ... the conceptions of these designs ... is evidently the result of an unresolved contest between a conscious acceptance of aircraft and a subconscious desire for a 1914 Fleet ... these abortions are the results of a psychological maladjustment." - The British Director of Naval Gunnery, 1942.

Well, that was one British opinion when the same BB-CV hybrid idea came up for their Lion class battleships.

 

The 'C' variant with the 2x3 280mm is quite pretty, and the use of catapults does allow for greater flexibility in the hybrid design, though the airflow problem is a possibility - especially as aircraft like the 109T were probably questionable deck landing types anyway. Be interesting to see if they tried a simple air-tunnel model which might tell you quite a lot. Overall as neither fish nor fowl, but they are an interesting line of naval thought.

In-game unfortunately I think the new carrier mechanics make them even harder to implement than the RTS version of the game. With aircraft being so much of the design, but dual control currently at least disallowed I can't see it working well, a waste to have that sort of secondary battery on a traditional carrier.

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10 minutes ago, mofton said:

 

In-game unfortunately I think the new carrier mechanics make them even harder to implement than the RTS version of the game. With aircraft being so much of the design, but dual control currently at least disallowed I can't see it working well, a waste to have that sort of secondary battery on a traditional carrier.

 

That was one of my thoughts as well - having the 280s be normal, although exceptionally large, secondaries and just have the carrier play as a normal carrier. The torpedoes would be interesting to see if they would be implemented as well. In most cases a carrier in-game is dispatched in a running long-range artillery engagement - in such a case torpedoes on a carrier would be quite useless - but for the occasional occurrence of a carrier hiding behind an island  and forcing a close encounter, it might prove an interesting 'desperation weapon'.

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20 hours ago, SireneRacker said:

They were round pegs being forced into a square hole, and the later addition of torpedo tubes was meant to give them a somewhat better utility in that role.

I can see the Deutschland and Bismark classes of CAs/BBs being designed to offset France's battleship construction, but so much of Germany's fleet was dedicated to commerce raiding, and their naval policies revolving around cutting England off from her overseas imports, that some eye must have been kept on the possibility of their surface fleet being used as raiders in the event of war. God knows the Hippers would have been damn near perfect in the role, though dedicated battleship raiders stretches the imagination somewhat as a waste or valuable resources. But since they planned on cutting England off from the rest of the world, then small CVs which could hit and run away would seem ideal, especially after Germany saw how Japan had been so successful with them in the 30s. Used in conjunction with U-Boat raiders, they could have been quite a threat.

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48 minutes ago, Umikami said:

I can see the Deutschland and Bismark classes of CAs/BBs being designed to offset France's battleship construction

Only Scharnhorst and Bismarck were counters to the French. The Deutschlands were middle fingers to the Treaty of Versailles by formally respecting the terms but totally wrecking the purpose behind them.

52 minutes ago, Umikami said:

but so much of Germany's fleet was dedicated to commerce raiding, and their naval policies revolving around cutting England off from her overseas imports, that some eye must have been kept on the possibility of their surface fleet being used as raiders in the event of war

Since the earlier plans did not call for combat vs the British, there was no need for such thoughts. And when it became clear that Britain would be joining the war against the Germans, the Z-plan appeared and Hitler told the Kriegsmarine that they‘d get until 1946/47 before they would be demanded for "political" purposes.

As Hitler couldn‘t wait and went for Poland anyway, this crucial time span was lost and the Kriegsmarine pushed into war unprepared (and they needed more time, on multiple aspects).

56 minutes ago, Umikami said:

God knows the Hippers would have been damn near perfect in the role, though dedicated battleship raiders stretches the imagination somewhat as a waste or valuable resources

The problem with the Hippers is their short range, and thus the demand for refueling through some German supply ships on the Atlantic. As these are vulnerable targets, it‘s merely a matter of time before this system would be blown.

That‘s why the Kriegsmarine put some emphasis on Diesel propulsion early on, then dropped it after the high pressure steam lobby pushed them into doing so and during the war picked up the idea again after the high pressure steam failed. Diesel propulsion gives a ship a ridiculously long range, but comes at a cost or two.

All this is what would then result in the M-class. Small, cheap, fast and long ranged light cruisers which would at the same time be able to resist destroyer caliber fire.

1 hour ago, Umikami said:

But since they planned on cutting England off from the rest of the world, then small CVs which could hit and run away would seem ideal, especially after Germany saw how Japan had been so successful with them in the 30s. Used in conjunction with U-Boat raiders, they could have been quite a threat.

From a perspective of hindsight perhaps, but back then the Germans didn‘t have that much tonnage to throw onto ships. Gambling onto a naval strategy that until then has not really proven itself would bear a huge risk which could cripple the Kriegsmarine for several years if it failed.

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12 hours ago, Umikami said:

I can see the Deutschland and Bismark classes of CAs/BBs being designed to offset France's battleship construction, but so much of Germany's fleet was dedicated to commerce raiding, and their naval policies revolving around cutting England off from her overseas imports, that some eye must have been kept on the possibility of their surface fleet being used as raiders in the event of war. God knows the Hippers would have been damn near perfect in the role, though dedicated battleship raiders stretches the imagination somewhat as a waste or valuable resources. But since they planned on cutting England off from the rest of the world, then small CVs which could hit and run away would seem ideal, especially after Germany saw how Japan had been so successful with them in the 30s. Used in conjunction with U-Boat raiders, they could have been quite a threat.

 

Pretty much the entirety of the Kriegsmarine was built to take on the French navy in fleet combat, and it shows. SireneRacker is right when he/she says that commerce raiding was never at the forefront of their design. The whole purpose behind plan Z was to switch gears to take on Great Britain once war with great Britain became inevitable.

 

     The Deutschlands are the wild horse here as they were built with no real specific purpose. As one English magazine stated after an evaluation of the Spee by English naval officers when the ship visited Portsmouth - "The Deutschland type was built without a clear goal setting and is an attempt to accommodate the greatest weapons and speed in Versailles norms of displacement." The Americans were especially impressed and concerned over the Deutschlands, painting their presence on the world naval scene as near-apocalyptic. The American Naval Engineering Journal wrote in June, 1933 - " Without exaggeration, we can say that the creation of "Deutschland" and the ships of the same type completely changes the usual strategy and tactics of war at sea, as well as many views on shipbuilding... It is incomprehensible, but our country (USA) is so constrained by the terms of the treaties that it is not able to build ships that could neutralize the actions of an enemy possessing ships of the "Deutschland" type, even if they become an immediate threat. We practically abandoned the right to self-defense, and just at the moment when it is necessary to have the appropriate strength in order to survive as a nation."

 

France responded in kind to the Deutschlands with Dunkerque, the world's first purpose-built fast battleship. Germany responded to Dunkerque by canceling the remaining Deutschland class ships and would design what would ultimately become the Scharnhorst-class to counter Dunkerque.

France did not respond to the Scharnhorsts as they incorrectly believed that they were armed with the same guns as the Deutschlands against which the Dunkerque had been armored to withstand. Instead, it was Italy's announcement that they intended to build battleships of 35,000t displacement that convinced France to build Strasbourg, an up-armored version of the Dunkerque.

Once France learned that these new Italian battleships would be built with 15" guns, they designed their own 15"-armed battleships which would become the Richelieus.

Germany at the time had been designing their own 35,000t battleship armed with 13" guns as a counter to Strasbourg when France announced the construction of the Richelieus. This prompted them to up-gun their battleship design to 15" and increase the displacement to 40,000t to counter the Richelieus. This, of course, became the Bismarck class.

 

That covers the battleships, now on to the cruisers...

 

As with the Deutschlands, Germany's first post-war cruiser, the Emden, had no real target in mind and was simply a modernized WWI Coln-class cruiser intended primarily to be used to train crews and be the face of the German navy around the world during peacetime.  

Germany's next light cruisers, the Konigsberg class, were designed specifically to counter France's Duguay-Trouin. The Konigsberg's not only boasted an extra 6" gun over the Duguay-Trouin, but were also better armored, had a far superior anti-aircraft battery, and shared a nearly equal top speed with Duguay-Trouin... all of that on a hull which was over 1,500t lighter. The Konigsbergs, on paper, effectively humiliated the Duguay-Trouin.

Leipzig was essentially an improved K-class and Nurnberg was, in turn, an improved Leipzig. Because France did not build a light cruiser before the war with more than nine 6" guns the Germans did not feel the need to directly counter either the Emile Bertin or the La Galissonniere types (which were themselves France's response to the 8-gun fast light cruisers of the Italian navy, and not direct responses to anything Germany had built.)

The Hippers were the result of Germany's new right to build heavy Cruisers under the Anglo-German Naval Agreement of 1935 which basically gave Germany permission to built whatever the hell the wanted as long as they stayed within the limitations set forth by the Washington naval treaty which the rest of the world's navies had also agreed to, and as long as the German navy never exceeded 35% of the tonnage of the Royal Navy. However, the Algerie was ultimately the measuring stick the Germans used while designing the Hippers. Once the German designers realized that it was impossible to design a 10,000t heavy cruiser that was all-around superior to the Algerie they decided to secretly break the treaty and the Hippers ended up having a standard displacement of 14,000t although "officially" they still claimed 10,000t. The end result was a ship that was only slightly superior to the Algerie despite being 30% larger... A far cry from the success the German designers previously had with the K-class in delivering a design that was in every meaningful way equal or superior to the ship it was designed to counter, and in a smaller package to boot.

 

Finally, Germany's large destroyers were direct counters to the large destroyers of France and Poland.

 

Truly, the only significant German naval unit built specifically with commerce raiding in mind was the Graf Zeppelin. Although the K-class light cruisers were designed with the primary role of being fleet scouts they were also intended to carry out raiding operation when not part of a fleet.

 

Essentially, besides Graf Zeppelin, the Kriegsmarine was built with the intention of taking on the French navy in a Jutland-style fleet battle. When war with Great Britain became inevitable the Kriegsmarine was not large enough to hope to win such an engagement with the Royal Navy and therefore was forced into a full-time commerce raiding mentality. 

 

 

Edited by WirFahrenGegenEngeland

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I once again need to step in and correct a misunderstanding about the IJN “Hybrid Warships”. CAs and BBs in the IJN that were modified with flight decks typically were float planes used for  reconnaissance or spotting. These float planes were an important part of the IIN as the CVs were used only for 100% dedicated offensive combat aircraft, no recon or spotting aircraft were allowed to “waste space” on CVs. Which makes sense in some ways since the CVs only had certain amount of space, and when your have escort ships with you anyway might as well use their spotter planes for recon work. 

There were some ships that underwent full conversions to become proper CVs such as the 3rd Yamato class hull the Shinano. But as far as ships with flight decks that still had CA or BB main guns mounted, those were the float plane carrying ships. An example of decent sized floatplane deck was Yamato and Musashi where you had several floatplanes and even a small hangar for them, but that certainly did not make them CV/ BB hybrids any more than some of the other “Hybrid ships were.

 

Now adding to the confusion in these matters, I have seen some CV designs that were dreamed up, but never built that would have been true CV/ BB hybrids as they fulled combined proper CV design with BB Armaments. But it likely would have been impractical and highly costly to attempt those warships as CVs require special ventilation for their hangar decks that would allow even small shells to pass right though the hull and deeper within the ships. Hence the reason we have had the BBs and CVs remain as separate ships within fleets and not combined into Hybrid ships.

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On 9/21/2019 at 12:39 AM, SireneRacker said:

Aside from a few auxilliary cruisers (Kormoran being the most prominent one) Germany didn't have any dedicated merchant raiders. 

The Deutschland class was meant to be replacing the pre-dreadnoughts and to deliver units that would bring the German Navy back into life (and it was very successful at that). Building carriers while the next largest ship would be either a pre-dreadnought or the WW1-design-ish Emden would be escaping any logic.

The Hipper-class and the battleships would be the response of the Germans to French battleships, Strasbourg and the Richelieu class to be precise. And to make this point clear, the Germans did not intend the battleships to become merchant raiders. The belief of some designer intentionally designing the Bismarck-class to rip up a convoy is a myth. Bismarck and Tirpitz were meant to engage Richelieu and Jean Bart. That the battleships would later on end up being used to hunt merchants is the result of the Germans being lacking in surface ships, especially after the occupation of Norway resulted in heavy losses of Naval vessels. They were round pegs being forced into a square hole, and the later addition of torpedo tubes was meant to give them a somewhat better utility in that role.

As for carriers, I recommend for example this video.

 

Yeah, CVs weren't the clear cut naval warfare dominating platforms before WWII.  Hindsight today lets us say that the RN, USN, IJN, whatever should have poured more into CV development or whatever, but in the interwar years, CVs were still being fiddled with.  Doctrine, proper use of a Carrier... That was still being developed in the 1930s.

 

Now, Battleships OTOH have been around longer, navies based themselves around these things for a long time.  That is why the IJN went with Yamato-class, which would strengthen the service with a powerful, new Battleship class, than go for more Carriers like what men like Yamamoto wanted.  It was actually a bit of a struggle to get Carriers into the state they were in even by the start of WWII.  Hell, for British Carrier development, you still had the drama between the RN and RAF.  Germany was worse.  Goering had serious hate for the Kriegsmarine that the relationship sabotaged Carrier Graf Zeppelin.  So the idea of a German BB-CV hybrid is kind of funny to me, because it would have never happened.

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26 minutes ago, HazeGrayUnderway said:

Goering had serious hate for the Kriegsmarine that the relationship sabotaged Carrier Graf Zeppelin.  So the idea of a German BB-CV hybrid is kind of funny to me, because it would have never happened.

 

How did Goering sabotage the Graf Zeppelin?

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3 minutes ago, WirFahrenGegenEngeland said:

 

How did Goering sabotage the Graf Zeppelin?

German interservice rivalry regularly sabotaged each other.  Same could be said of Japan.

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