Lack of German Aircraft Carrier

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Airman 1st Class
Dec 17, 2006

Hi all
I've pondered this quiet a bit, reading Doenitzes autobiography, I discovered that the German Navies lack of aviation boiled down to Goerings demand that 'anything that flies belongs to me'.
I've seen a model of a German aircraft Carrier that never came to be, the 'Graf Spree' I'm sure it was.
At least one Stuka unit was earmarked and got as far as being called Traeger gruppe (sp).... Carrier group.
But was this really the reason that nothing happened in spite of events that showed air power at sea had become essential, I'm anxious not to end up in the political bin with this...LOL..was it plain lack of ambition, or for practical reasons...or really petty imperial attitudes in high places?

The German Navy had to rebuild post WWI on the sly. A carrier by and of itself is really vulnerable w/o a task force of DE's to run subs and Cruisers/BB's to assist in countering surface forces of opponents... so for them to build a carrier and Naval air arm they had to invest in a surface Navy to compete w/RN and USN starting from zero.

And, in secret. Subs easier to conceal than carriers and in many ways as effective so long as the other side can't cover your operational areas with DE's and airpower.

Even the Japanese had problems with the Treaty of Versailles wrt to surface limits of .6 (? CRS) of RN and USN limits - but they snuck their two 'super BB's through the system - but their carriers were not up to Yorktown/Enterprise/Hornet class CV's

As far as 'vision' is concerned sometimes its better to be lucky than good.

The USAAF believed in daylight bombing and designed and bought a/c to execute that vision - ditto the Navy. But it took great escort fighters to make Strategic Daylight Bombing work (and the luck of marrying a rolls merlin to a great US airfame)


The carrier was built but not completed, spent a large amount of time tied up in a river, and was eventually towed to sea and sunk near the end of the war off Stettin, now Szczecin off Poland on 25 April 1945. She was refloated by the Russians and was used as a floating storage warehouse until being used in tests for effective armament against carriers on 16 August 1947. It has recently been rediscovered and its location is known.

The Germans have never sailed an aircraft carrier since then.

The Graff Zeppelin was launched in 1938 and was one of four planned carriers, but was never more than 80% complete. Goering said that anything that flew was under his jurisdiction, and Hitler never interveined to help his own armed services.

People give a lot of reasons, but the ONLY real reason it was not sunk by the RAF is that work stopped before it became a danger to the Allies. Otherwise, it would have been sunk like the Tirpitz and Bismark. Any German capital ship that became a thorn was found and sunk, and there was nothing the Germans could do about it.

They simply could not compete, ship versus ship, with the Royal Navy and persevere. The result of Jutland in WWI was the only instance in history of a navy sailing meekly into surrender with breeches open, and WWII's navy wasn't any better at confronting their counterparts successfully.

When Hitler realized he wasn't going to be able to field several carriers, and he added the fact that the German carrier aircraft themselves were never really ready (Naval Bf 109T nothwithstanding), he wisely decided to forego the humiliation of having it sink with a boatload of top pilots and naval personnel.

The Germans wasted enough resources in the war to have completed several carriers, but they KNEW the products would not survive long enough to be threats to the Allies. There was also the fight with Goering on who would control the carrier should it ever, in fact, become operational.

Instead, they built large quantities of prototype aircraft that ALSO did nothing to help their war efforts. I speak of rocket planes and jet aircraft, neither of which helped Germany in the slightest in the end. They DID, however, take up vital production resources that COULD have helped by making useful war tools like strategic bombers and fighters with major faults corrected.

Then again, if Hitler hadn't attacked the Soviet Union, he STILL might have won the war, who can say? We KNOW what happened, but the possibilities are interesting if he had made smart decisions. Such was not the case, as we all know. I, for one, am glad he was an incompetent, even if a charming one, mostly surrounded by incompetents.

Sometimes, serendipity helps us. In WWII, it dictated that Hitler was an idiot. I'm sure the Allies had their own share of idiots of all nationalities, but at least we didn't 1) attack people without declaring war as at Pearl Harbor, or 2) try to wipe out an entire people in concentration camps as Jews in Germany, or 3) put our idiots in charge of the war as Hitler and his staff were.

Germany and the Axis Powers made all three mistakes concurrently.

Tough from which to recover before being defeated, and tough to live down after the extent of the barbarism was revealed after the war.
The air unit assigned to the "Graf Zeppelin" was TrGr 186 and was operational at the beginning of the war and later was incorporated into another unit. They used Bf 109C for training onto the Bf 109T, speacialized for the carrier. They usually flew escort for Ju 87C which were also designated Ju 87T and again specially designed for the carrier. In 1940 a Ju 87B-1 was modified into a Ju 87C-1 by equipping it with an arrestor hook, foldable wings and a jettisonable undercarriage.

Opening day of the war, the Ju 87Cs of TrGr 186 along with LG 1 attacked the Polish Naval base at Hela. On May 10, 1940 II(J)./TrGr 186 shot down eight Dutch Fokker DXXIs.

Regarding the Naval service and the Luftwaffe, there was some contention between Goering and Admiral Doenitz. On January 6, 1941 Hitler ordered I./KG 40 and its FW 200 Condors were under the command of the Commander of the Navy. To appease Goering, he ordered Kampfgruppe 806 be removed from Naval command and brought back under the control of Luftflotte 3 for bomber raids on England. Although Doenitz was initially happy with this he was soon disappointed because KG 40 only ever had about 8 Condors servicable at any time.
We all know the USN, FAA and IJN fighters, torpedo bombers, scouts and dive bombers, right? What would the Kriegsmarines own be? How far could they've had developed the Ju-87, it's not a Dauntless or Helldiver. What would have replaced it? And those Fw 190's and Bf 109's? If the Corsair had seen combat action in the Atlantic would they've had a chance? How far could they've deloped those for carrier operations and to take on the Wildcat, Hellcat and Corsair. IF the Atlantic would have seen as much carrier action as the Pacific, what was in the works?
could have been the Peter Strasser but I don't think that got very far in construction

The Graf Zeppelin was almost completed (her wreckage has been found also by the way) and the Peter Strasser was laid down and later broken up.

Below are some pics of the Graf Zeppelin.


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If the Corsair had seen combat action in the Atlantic would they've had a chance? /QUOTE]

The RN FAA flew Corsairs very effectively as fighter-bombers in the Atlantic including raids on the Tirpitz.

I do not know if they tangled in air-to-air with German fighters.
If she had gone to sea she wouldn't of lasted very long (I suspect the Germans realised this - especially after the Bismark). Even with her onboard aircraft she would not of been able to survive very long (even with a task force). In my opinion the Germans made a sensible decision in not sending her to sea.
Among the reasons were its lack of aircraft capacity, doctrine and tactics had to be learned from scratch and the need for it to operate in a task force (more targets being bunched up for mass destruction)
Nice looking girl.....odd shape on the flight deck though.
Nice looking girls tend to have curves like that! :twisted: I wonder where the Broom cupboards....I mean hangers were?
No, seriously, I've been astonished by this thread, I never realised it had got so far as launching a ship that only needed fitting out and a regime to go with it.
Thanks everyone!
The Graf Zeppelin just died really because of in fighting aswell. Theres an article about it the carrier in Aeroplane, April this year I think. She was scuttled by the Russians in 47 after being a target drone.

Also the Germans ended up using the Zeppelin as a storage area, sad really as it was rather beautiful.

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