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The Graf Zepplin Completed

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  • The Graf Zepplin Completed


    Graf Zeppelin was a German aircraft carrier of the Kriegsmarine, named like the famous airship in honour of Graf (Count) Ferdinand von Zeppelin. It was Germany's only aircraft carrier during World War II. Its construction was ordered on November 16, 1935, and its keel was laid down December 28, 1936 by Deutsche Werke of Kiel. It was launched on December 8, 1938, but was never completed.
    So, what would the effects of a completed Graf Zepplin have meant for the allies? Would a completed CV for Germany offer the Kriegsmarine a means of reducing the effectiveness of the RN, or would a lone CV have done nothing for the war in general?

    Historically, the progress was slow going due to technical problems along with the CV competing for resources with other projects. It was said to be about 85% complete in May of 1941, so what if it had been given priority; might it have been able to sail with the Bismarck?

  • #2
    a lone CV have done nothing for the war in general?
    HP
    "Ask not what your country can do for you"

    Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

    you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

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    • #3
      Check the archive, I think this one has been raised before. Certainly has in other web site discussion boards.

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      • #4
        Repeat is not a bad thing with all the great new members that ACG is getting.
        "Ask not what your country can do for you"

        Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

        you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

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        • #5
          GZ was a complete waste of resources and would more than likely have been sunk before even making it out of the North Sea. The KM did not have the means to organise a proper carrier escort group to sail with her. Had they just clumped a few destroyers and light cruisers together to foem such a group, this TF would have been easier to spot, track and sink.

          Germany was not, and never could have afforded to be, a competitor to the RN in WWII.
          The Purist

          Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by The Purist View Post
            GZ was a complete waste of resources and would more than likely have been sunk before even making it out of the North Sea. The KM did not have the means to organise a proper carrier escort group to sail with her. Had they just clumped a few destroyers and light cruisers together to foem such a group, this TF would have been easier to spot, track and sink.

            Germany was not, and never could have afforded to be, a competitor to the RN in WWII.
            Yup. And the fact that the Luftwaffe and the Kriegsmarine could not agree as to who would have control over the aircraft would have made the situation worse. Imagine one branch controling the ships,and another branch controling the aircraft,a tragic comedy of errrors would be sure to ensue.
            If the art of war were nothing but the art of avoiding risks,glory would become the prey of mediocre minds. Napoleon

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            • #7
              Had it been operational afer 1941 its best use would have been in supplementing the Luftwaffe air group based in Norway against the Murmansk Convoys. Even then it is vulnerable to British attacks.

              Were a ship like this available in 1939 it would have some utilty in the invasion of Norway. Or it could accompany a capitol ship like the Gneisenau on a raid into the Atlantic. Its aircraft would have been usefull for reconissance tho I wont venture into estimating how many more or fewer British ships might have been sunk than by the Gneisenau Scharnhorst pairing. (22 total by most sources).

              Like the Scharnhorst & Gneisenau it would have been harrased by enemy bombers while attempting refit in the French ports. If it were still fit to sortie then it would have limited utility in chasing British reconissance aircraft and ASW aircraft out of the Bay of Biscay. But, in the end it would have been just as vulnerable as any of the German capitol ships that sortied into the Atlantic

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              • #8
                it probaly wouldn't have made much of a differnce. For an interesting read on how the KM could have beat the RN read Third Reich Victorious: Ten Dynamic Scenarios in which Hitler Win The War in the first chapter hitler joins the German Navy in WWI eventualy becoming an officer good read and written like a history book like it actually happened.
                2013 I'm going into West Point if it kills me. 2017 (or 2012 depending on West Point) I'm joining the Airborne if it kills me and it actually might.

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                • #9
                  If she had sortied with the Bismark and Prinz Eugen the PoW would also have been sunk and the Swordfish never would have made their attack and the Bismark would have made it to Brest.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by [email protected] View Post
                    If she had sortied with the Bismark and Prinz Eugen the PoW would also have been sunk and the Swordfish never would have made their attack and the Bismark would have made it to Brest.
                    This presumes that the British would make no changes to the dispositions of the RN when GZ becomes operational,...which is silly. These sorts of things do not happen in a vacuum. If GZ is likely to be deployed the British would likely have two or three carriers of their own waiting for her to sortie with her consorts. The British would then be waiting with a like force in make up just many times larger.

                    An active carrier would also have prompted the redeployment of both Coastal and Bomber Commands to aid in ensuring the GZ, B and PE did not sortie without opposition.
                    The Purist

                    Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by [email protected] View Post
                      If she had sortied with the Bismark and Prinz Eugen the PoW would also have been sunk and the Swordfish never would have made their attack and the Bismark would have made it to Brest.
                      Other than what The Purist has posted there are a few things you appear not to have considered:-

                      1) Operating in the North Atlantic is hazardous even for the most experienced of Carrier-borne pilots. It has to be questionable whether the novices serving on the GZ would have been capable of mounting missions in anything but a still sea.

                      2) If GZ had accompanied PE and Bismarck then Hood and PoW would have had at least one carrier operating with them.

                      3) The Swordfish attack that crippled Bismarck was mounted in truly atrocious conditions. Only the Swordfishes construction allowed the strike to go ahead, in no way could the GZ's fighter complement have been airborne at that time.
                      Signing out.

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                      • #12
                        Had the GZ become operational she would have been well suited to conditions in the Baltic. Assuming she wouldn't be sunk by the Soviet Navy or Air Force her aircraft would have been a useful asset in the siege of Leningrad. As the war entered its final stage she, along with the rest of the remaining Kriegsmarine, would have been invaluable in helping to evacuate terrified Germans fleeing the Red Army. Saying that, the resources pumped into her construction would not have been justified by this sort of service record.
                        Signing out.

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                        • #13
                          yeah, somwhat a waste of resources.

                          however, a completed GZ in 1940 or 41, would also be a useful addition ot a "fleet in beeing" making sure that Britain puts more of it's assets in the home fleet, rather than in the mediterranean.
                          "Freedom cannot exist without discipline, self-discipline, and rights cannot exist without duties. Those who do not observe their duties do not deserve their rights."--Oriana Fallaci

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                          • #14
                            I think it would be at the bottom of the North Sea if it had been completed.

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                            • #15
                              How many submarines and S boats, or long range torpedo bombers could have been built and properly supported with the funds & labor that went into the GZ? the Axis did a lot of damage to Alled fleets with light torpedo armed craft. More would have been usefull.

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