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TheGreatBlasto

If Germany had actually launched a few CVs ....

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Were the German plans for adding CVs to the navy strictly a vanity-driven project or was there a credible way for them to actually be used against the Allies?

My brainpan stalls out over the latter.  What possible effect could they have had if any?

Consider that Germany only had few ports on the North Sea so the Royal Navy could have easily blocked their exit and even sunk them if they tried to breakout. Remember what happened when the Bismarck broke out. The Home Fleet cracked opened a Can-o-WhupassTM

The Tirpitz had to be hidden in Norwegian fjords for most of the war.

If the CVs had stayed in one of the ports the RAF could have turned them into scrap metal.

Moreover, if they had broken out into the Atlantic would they have been solo warriors like the Graf Spee going after merchant ships?  

Or would they have been part of Task Group trying to go mano-a-mano against the Brits and possibly Americans?

Inquiring minds need to know.

:cap_yes:

 

Edited by TheGreatBlasto
Typo fixed: mano-a-mano

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I'm sure others know better, but  I thinkthe reasoning behind giving Graf Zeppelin such a heavy secondary array was so it could hold it's own in surface combat.

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2 minutes ago, warheart1992 said:

I'm sure others know better, but  I thinkthe reasoning behind giving Graf Zeppelin such a heavy secondary array was so it could hold it's own in surface combat.

I don't play CVs so gotta ask: what was their range? 11.3 Klicks like all secondly builds?

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if Germany had launched any CVs in WW2, you can bet your bottom dollar the RN would be on that CVs aft faster than a fly to a turd pile

Edited by tcbaker777
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Well the german carrier probably could live for quite a while.   If we use the template from our old friend: The Axis & Allies board game, you simply make sure to build a disproportionate amount of transport vessels to take all of the hits from the RN instead of the carrier   :Smile_teethhappy:

 

It doesn't stop the russians though... making a german navy in that game means you can't defend against the russians.  

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1 hour ago, warheart1992 said:

I'm sure others know better, but  I thinkthe reasoning behind giving Graf Zeppelin such a heavy secondary array was so it could hold it's own in surface combat.

That shows how badly behind the Kriegsmarine were in Carrier use and development. 

 

The USN, with Lexington for instance, in her carrier conversion from a battlecruiser in 1927, packed 203mm guns.  Apparently that wasn't working out with pre-war exercises, because all succeeding USN Carrier classes never went overboard anymore than 127mm.  Ranger commissioned in 1934, Yorktown-class began to arrive in 1937.  Wasp in 1940, and Essex-class arrival in 1942.  None of them packed any guns larger than 127mm.

 

The Royal Navy had I think, 2 Carriers with something like 140mm, 152mm guns.  But that was something from very old inter-war conversions such as HMS Eagle in 1924.  Subsequent, newer RNCV classes even in the 1930s were, like USN, more moderate in gun armament.

 

The IJN has Akagi, Kaga with 200mm guns.  But both were very old late 1920s era conversions from Battlecruiser (Akagi) and Battleships (Kaga), very similar to what the USN did with Lexington-class.  But once you got to all subsequent IJN CV & CVL designs after these two during the 1930s and beyond, you no longer saw such large guns on Carriers.  Like the USN, the IJN capped it off at 127mm.

 

Another reason you had those old CV conversions with large guns was that the different navies saw that current aircraft weren't really that strong.  That changed as the years went on, most especially so with the mid-late 1930s where aircraft in general just got more powerful.

 

The Germans never got the memo.

 

Edit:  I remembered an old thread, someone had found a cruise book / year book for Carrier Kaga from 1932.   I hope that book got taken cared of, it deserves to be in a museum somewhere.

A cut down version of my post in that thread when I was looking at how carrier aviation developed.

On 8/18/2019 at 12:06 AM, HazeGrayUnderway said:

*snip*

Also interesting seeing just how far naval aviation had come from 1932 to 1941 when Pearl Harbor went down.

Hell, Kaga gets the A6M2 Zero, B5N2 torpedo bombers, and D3A1 dive bombers only in late November 1941, just weeks before the Pearl Harbor strike.

 

Naval Aviation goes from this in 1932:

IMG_20190818_104027035_HDR.jpg

To this (Kaga flight deck in 1937):

Kaga_air_operations_full_deck_1937.jpg

To this, Carrier Shokaku sending out her 1st strike for Pearl Harbor in December 1941:

File:Shokaku Pearl Harbor 1st Wave.jpg

 

The war years would only hasten the pace of improvement for Naval Aviation, just making it absolutely clear that Battleships were obsolete.

 

 

Edited by HazeGrayUnderway
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Before the war, Germany had a plan to make a fleet able to compete with other large nation fleets, IE Japan, GB, US. To do that they would need carriers to round out their fleet.

 

Of course when the war started, much of the material meant to go to the fleet was instead used to make tanks and airplanes for land warfare. Then the surface fleet plan turned into an under water fleet plan as the idea of starving GB out of the war with UBoats was cheaper and more likely to happen than destroying their surface fleet.

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43 minutes ago, TheGreatBlasto said:

Were the German plans for adding CVs to the navy strictly a vanity-driven project or was there a credible way for them to actually be used against the Allies?

My brainpan stalls out over the latter.  What possible effect could they have had if any?

Consider that Germany only had few ports on the North Sea so the Royal Navy could have easily blocked their exit and even sunk them if they tried to breakout. Remember what happened when the Bismarck broke out. The Home Fleet cracked opened a Can-o-WhupassTM

The Tirpitz had to be hidden in Norwegian fjords for most of the war.

If the CVs had stayed in one of the ports the RAF could have turned them into scrap metal.

Moreover, if they had broken out into the Atlantic would they have been solo warriors like the Graf Spee going after merchant ships?  

Or would they have been part of Task Group trying to go mana-a-mani against the Brits and possibly Americans?

Inquiring minds need to know.

:cap_yes:

 

The KM wartime strategy was never viable with Hitler's war aspirations. The KM air fleet wasn't supposed to be ready till well into 1945+ and the BB projects beyond even that time frame, and that was all predicated on the Wehrmacht not reallocating the majority of steel production to the Heer in support of new mechanized and armored formations.  Can you imagine what WW2 would look like if Germany tried to cross into Poland in 1945, i.e. almost 7 additional years to fundamental and application research of nuclear energy?  

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6 minutes ago, JimmyTheRealPirate said:

Before the war, Germany had a plan to make a fleet able to compete with other large nation fleets, IE Japan, GB, US. To do that they would need carriers to round out their fleet.

 

Of course when the war started, much of the material meant to go to the fleet was instead used to make tanks and airplanes for land warfare. Then the surface fleet plan turned into an under water fleet plan as the idea of starving GB out of the war with UBoats was cheaper and more likely to happen than destroying their surface fleet.

One of the funniest circumstances for the material to build the fleet for the third reich, was that a a lot of the steel to build the new warships came from the steel recycled by British scrap companies from the WWI German fleet scuttled at Scapa Flow.  Talk about irony.

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1 hour ago, warheart1992 said:

I'm sure others know better, but  I thinkthe reasoning behind giving Graf Zeppelin such a heavy secondary array was so it could hold it's own in surface combat.

Pretty much. Probably some commerce raiding too. 

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59 minutes ago, TheGreatBlasto said:

I don't play CVs so gotta ask: what was their range? 11.3 Klicks like all secondly builds?

The number sticking in my head without loading the game is around or just under 10km. They are incredibly accurate and fast-firing though. 

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38 minutes ago, AnimaL21 said:

Well the german carrier probably could live for quite a while.   If we use the template from our old friend: The Axis & Allies board game, you simply make sure to build a disproportionate amount of transport vessels to take all of the hits from the RN instead of the carrier   :Smile_teethhappy:

 

It doesn't stop the russians though... making a german navy in that game means you can't defend against the russians.  

That's a fact... Russian player keeps buying troops,troops,troops,troops and then there is the inevitable tank purchase which always spells the end for Germany.  Loved that game...  30 years later I still have all of that series in my closet.   I guess my favorite was "Pacific". No telling how many games of that we played from sundown till sun up.    

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The Germans were way behind the Brits, Us and Japanese on CV operation and were attempting to squash 20 years of experience into 1 or 2.  The catapult system, while in some ways prescient of how CVs would operate in the future, was probably going to be more hassle than it was worth, and that’s without battle damage taking its toll.  You could sort of see how having AC to hunt down convoys would be of benefit, but I just can’t seeing the GZ lasting much longer than the Bismarck on its maiden voyage.

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32 minutes ago, HazeGrayUnderway said:

That shows how badly behind the Kriegsmarine were in Carrier use and development. 

 

The USN, with Lexington for instance, in her carrier conversion from a battlecruiser in 1927, packed 203mm guns.  Apparently that wasn't working out with pre-war exercises, because all succeeding USN Carrier classes never went overboard anymore than 127mm.  Ranger commissioned in 1934, Yorktown-class began to arrive in 1937.  Wasp in 1940, and Essex-class arrival in 1942.  None of them packed any guns larger than 127mm.

 

The Royal Navy had I think, 2 Carriers with something like 140mm, 152mm guns.  But that was something from very old inter-war conversions such as HMS Eagle in 1924.  Subsequent, newer RNCV classes even in the 1930s were, like USN, more moderate in gun armament.

 

The IJN has Akagi, Kaga with 200mm guns.  But both were very old late 1920s era conversions from Battlecruiser (Akagi) and Battleships (Kaga), very similar to what the USN did with Lexington-class.  But once you got to all subsequent IJN CV & CVL designs after these two during the 1930s and beyond, you no longer saw such large guns on Carriers.  Like the USN, the IJN capped it off at 127mm.

 

Another reason you had those old CV conversions with large guns was that the different navies saw that current aircraft weren't really that strong.  That changed as the years went on, most especially so with the mid-late 1930s where aircraft in general just got more powerful.

 

The Germans never got the memo.

 

Edit:  I remembered an old thread, someone had found a cruise book / year book for Carrier Kaga from 1932.   I hope that book got taken cared of, it deserves to be in a museum somewhere.

A cut down version of my post here when I was looking at how carrier aviation developed.

 


"The Germans never got the memo" comment pretty much sums it up. It was an innovative design but not a good one. The airgroup was ridiculously tiny for such a large CV and it couldn't even get its full airgroup into the air usefully. The pneumatic catapults were novel and kinda anticipated what modern CVs do but they weren't necessary in that era and the couldn't launch planes at all without them. As I recall, even with them she only was designed with enough compressed air storage to launch maybe half of her airgroup and it took like half an hour to recharge the air. GZ was designed like they heard carriers but they didn't have a good idea of what they needed to do with one. Which is interesting because I believe the Japanese gave them access and technical help so GZ's silliness really has little excuse. Even little Ryujo would've been much better and she was basically the big failure among IJN CV designs. 

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11 minutes ago, iRA6E said:

That's a fact... Russian player keeps buying troops,troops,troops,troops and then there is the inevitable tank purchase which always spells the end for Germany.  Loved that game...  30 years later I still have all of that series in my closet.   I guess my favorite was "Pacific". No telling how many games of that we played from sundown till sun up.    

And then the inevitability that followed years of learning, that theres only 2-3 strats in that entire game, and that the allies almost automatically win if they are played correctly :) 

Still as a dice roll game, the outlier can happen, but it loses its fun when you start to realize the numbers will only let it work one of a couple ways.   

 

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9 minutes ago, Tzarevitch said:


"The Germans never got the memo" comment pretty much sums it up. It was an innovative design but not a good one. The airgroup was ridiculously tiny for such a large CV and it couldn't even get its full airgroup into the air usefully. The pneumatic catapults were novel and kinda anticipated what modern CVs do but they weren't necessary in that era and the couldn't launch planes at all without them. As I recall, even with them she only was designed with enough compressed air storage to launch maybe half of her airgroup and it took like half an hour to recharge the air. GZ was designed like they heard carriers but they didn't have a good idea of what they needed to do with one. Which is interesting because I believe the Japanese gave them access and technical help so GZ's silliness really has little excuse. Even little Ryujo would've been much better and she was basically the big failure among IJN CV designs. 

Not that well versed in Kriegsmarine doctrine, but at least for certain situations GZ could have been valuable. If you consider the combined threat of U-boats, Fw-200s that were pretty long ranged and surface ships, a carrier could be able to perform some rudimentary fleet defence and reconnaissance duties, at least up to a certain range.

 

That said, when you consider the resources RAF and USAF were later able to pool, there was no safe haven for such a ship.

Edited by warheart1992

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1 hour ago, TheGreatBlasto said:

Were the German plans for adding CVs to the navy strictly a vanity-driven project or was there a credible way for them to actually be used against the Allies?

My brainpan stalls out over the latter.  What possible effect could they have had if any?

Consider that Germany only had few ports on the North Sea so the Royal Navy could have easily blocked their exit and even sunk them if they tried to breakout. Remember what happened when the Bismarck broke out. The Home Fleet cracked opened a Can-o-WhupassTM

The Tirpitz had to be hidden in Norwegian fjords for most of the war.

If the CVs had stayed in one of the ports the RAF could have turned them into scrap metal.

Moreover, if they had broken out into the Atlantic would they have been solo warriors like the Graf Spee going after merchant ships?  

Or would they have been part of Task Group trying to go mano-a-mano against the Brits and possibly Americans?

Inquiring minds need to know.

:cap_yes:

 

Personally I think the German forays into CVs were future proofing their navy for a possible success in the war versus the British. Or as Hitler was hoping with the British being neutral or even allied to Germany.   Remember it was laid first in 36 ,  that means it would have started developement and theorizing earlier then that. to Quote from the wiki: 

Quote

 She was the only aircraft carrier launched by Germany and represented part of the Kriegsmarine's attempt to create a well-balanced oceangoing fleet, capable of projecting German naval power far beyond the narrow confines of the Baltic and North Seas

Its better to plan for an eventuality that might not happen rather then having no response what so ever if it does happen.   Just like Americans and Canadians militaries would have war gamed plans for different scenarios invading each other.  

 

A secondary reason would have been learning how to operate an ocean going carrier to work against US fleets in case of war with the US after Britain fell..  

Edited by eviltane

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1 hour ago, tcbaker777 said:

if Germany had launched any CVs in WW2, you can bet your bottom dollar the RN would be on that CVs aft faster than a fly to a turd pile

In the spring of 1940 England was down on their knees Lucky for them the United Stares came to their rescue .......................................................

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52 minutes ago, Tzarevitch said:


"The Germans never got the memo" comment pretty much sums it up. It was an innovative design but not a good one. The airgroup was ridiculously tiny for such a large CV and it couldn't even get its full airgroup into the air usefully. The pneumatic catapults were novel and kinda anticipated what modern CVs do but they weren't necessary in that era and the couldn't launch planes at all without them. As I recall, even with them she only was designed with enough compressed air storage to launch maybe half of her airgroup and it took like half an hour to recharge the air. GZ was designed like they heard carriers but they didn't have a good idea of what they needed to do with one. Which is interesting because I believe the Japanese gave them access and technical help so GZ's silliness really has little excuse. Even little Ryujo would've been much better and she was basically the big failure among IJN CV designs. 

The funny part was I was just reading about how the Italian Navy was trying to prepare Carrier Aquila and sort out aircraft for use on her.  The Germans were trying to provide the Italians "expertise" from Graf Zeppelin.

 

Ryujo?  Always remember her from Kantai Collection and this old Eurobeat video.

 

Edited by HazeGrayUnderway

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With zero operational experience, KM carriers would have been a floating Amateur Hour. Not very effective.

Like the rest of the KM, large high-value units like carriers would either sit in port doing nothing or be quickly hunted down by numerically superior forces.

Germany would have been smarter to stick with U-Boats from the get-go. A 200-300 boat submarine arm in 1939 could have made all the difference. Thankfully, it didn't.

 

Edited by Kaigun_Chusa
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7 minutes ago, Kaigun_Chusa said:

With zero operational experience, KM carriers would have been a floating Amateur Hour. Not very effective.

Like the rest of the KM, large high-value units like carriers would either sit in port doing nothing or be quickly hunted down by numerically superior forces.

Germany would have been smarter to stick with U-Boats from the get-go. A 200-300 boat submarine arm in 1939 could have made all the difference. Thankfully, it didn't.

 

Maybe they were building them to get the operational experience... and 1 carrier does not equate hundreds of more u-boats. Also the ship was planned well before the war when the Germans were still hoping that Britain might stay neutral or even be allied to Germany once the war starts. 

Edited by eviltane
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2 hours ago, TheGreatBlasto said:

Were the German plans for adding CVs to the navy strictly a vanity-driven project or was there a credible way for them to actually be used against the Allies?

My brainpan stalls out over the latter.  What possible effect could they have had if any?

Consider that Germany only had few ports on the North Sea so the Royal Navy could have easily blocked their exit and even sunk them if they tried to breakout. Remember what happened when the Bismarck broke out. The Home Fleet cracked opened a Can-o-WhupassTM

The Tirpitz had to be hidden in Norwegian fjords for most of the war.

If the CVs had stayed in one of the ports the RAF could have turned them into scrap metal.

Moreover, if they had broken out into the Atlantic would they have been solo warriors like the Graf Spee going after merchant ships?  

Or would they have been part of Task Group trying to go mano-a-mano against the Brits and possibly Americans?

Inquiring minds need to know.

:cap_yes:

 

The short - long answer is that the Reichmarine had their own plans and goals.  They had gotten permission by and encouragement from Hitler early 30s to rebuild the Navy.  The German CVs were just an extension of that plan and as you can see they had the Graf like 80% complete at outbreak of war.  Now that is the KEY, Hitler moved up his timetable for war, if I remember correctly he was shooting for 1943, but was emboldened by the weak response by the West over taking back Rhineland, Austria etc.  There was a plan, for an ocean going navy to project power, just like WWI and both Raeder and Donitz were caught a bit unprepared, thinking they had more time.  Germany was way behind also in making the subs that Donitz wanted.   In an alternate world Germany would have started the war later, with probably at least 4 Bismark class BBs, and 3-4 CVs but then they would have run smack into Russia who were in the midst of their second 5 year plan, of which they had 3 more to go (?) and their naval plan was the last one.  That is why the Germans ran into T34s, and KV1s right at the start of the war....Russia was actually ahead in her modernization of her tank arm.  (The failure of Russian army in first year was due in many ways to the Stalin army purges)

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The CV program was a build up and test for a much future date.

Hitler's overreach precipitated a war no one was ready for. And the depression severely limited what was being done. That was the purpose of all the prewar naval treaties, to save money. Britain's naval needs exceeded it's budget. 

Locating the German CV at a base out of ground aircraft range would cause the RN to risk surface units to attack it. That could be done but at some risk. The German Airforce only had one bomber squadron specialized for ship attack. ( KG 100? )They needed more.

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21 minutes ago, eviltane said:

Maybe they were building them to get the operational experience.

The middle of a war is a pizz-poor time to develop expertise from scratch. Completion and workup not estimated till 1940.

22 minutes ago, eviltane said:

1 carrier does not equate hundreds of more u-boats.

No, but a bunch of equally  ineffective battleships and cruisers do.

24 minutes ago, eviltane said:

Also the ship was planned well before the war when the Germans were still hoping that Britain might stay neutral or even be allied to Germany once the war starts. 

Political wishful thinking seldom makes for sound planning of strategic resources.

Even if the Wehraboo wet dream of the fabled "Z Plan" had gone ahead, you'd still be looking at High Seas Fleet version 2.0, with a bunch of very expensive port queens sitting around waiting to surrender.

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