WI: Germany license produces Japanese aircraft carriers

Ok, so this idea is an outgrowth of OTL; in 1935, Germany actually did license technology from the Akagi to use in building the Graf Zeppelin, as well as naval aviation technology designed to convert numerous planes including the Bf-109, Ju-87, and Fi-167 for carrier operations. Basically, what if the Reich has an outbreak of common sense and realizes they actually have no idea what they're doing and agrees to just license produce one or two carriers in Germany to build expertise, as well as a training and support agreement? I'm thinking the Soryu class, though perhaps an earlier one like the Akagi if the Japanese aren't willing to part with their most modern one. This honestly probably would have cost less than what they did IOTL; the Graf Zeppelin was designed as a 34,000 ton warship and they completed 70% of it, while the Soryu was 19,000 tons, and just using an existing design probably would have saved a lot on R&D. They also designed and produced the Fi-167 and had the carrier versions of the Bf-109 and Ju-87 (designated the Bf-109T and the Ju-87C respectively) in production before the Graf Zeppelin was canceled and they stopped, so the aircraft are basically there.

There is no chance that this wins Germany the war, but is there a way they could go in this direction?
 
Better yet they have the Japanese build the ships and train the crews, then all they cost the German economy is the cash to pay for them, not the physical resources and German shipyards can build something they actually know how to make.

(The German liner Scharnhorst was trapped in Japan at the start of the war and later converted to a carrier for the IJN. Perhaps the Germans could opt to have her converted for them earlier shipping crew out through Russia (before Barbarossa) and recruiting from trapped German merchant ships). She'd be a hell of a raider.
 
Better yet they have the Japanese build the ships and train the crews, then all they cost the German economy is the cash to pay for them, not the physical resources and German shipyards can build something they actually know how to make.

(The German liner Scharnhorst was trapped in Japan at the start of the war and later converted to a carrier for the IJN. Perhaps the Germans could opt to have her converted for them earlier shipping crew out through Russia (before Barbarossa) and recruiting from trapped German merchant ships). She'd be a hell of a raider.
The question is more or less personnel based.
These merchant marine sailors are not naval personnel.
Will they be suitable for the task or not?
Especially since this is a carrier, not just a regular raider.
 
To what end? Germany still needs to build the institutional experience to develop carriers if they wanted to have their own, which means having to do it from scratch to completion, rather than simply buying blueprints and trying to translate that into a working ship. But to the larger point, why? IOTL the carriers ended up never completed and ended up as floating storage sheds anyway, so it wasn't like there is any sort of real need for them, more like the KM just had a wishlist of a big, useless battle fleet that was proven a waste of resources in WW1 and would again in WW2. Had the Bismarck budget been spent on actual useful items like aircraft or Uboats then it would make sense, but for Germany's needs aircraft carriers and battleships weren't really useful.
 
To what end? Germany still needs to build the institutional experience to develop carriers if they wanted to have their own, which means having to do it from scratch to completion, rather than simply buying blueprints and trying to translate that into a working ship. But to the larger point, why? IOTL the carriers ended up never completed and ended up as floating storage sheds anyway, so it wasn't like there is any sort of real need for them, more like the KM just had a wishlist of a big, useless battle fleet that was proven a waste of resources in WW1 and would again in WW2. Had the Bismarck budget been spent on actual useful items like aircraft or Uboats then it would make sense, but for Germany's needs aircraft carriers and battleships weren't really useful.
Or purchasing more merchant raiders.
Have them cruising around terrorizing the Allied merchant marine.
 
in 1935, Germany actually did license technology from the Akagi to use in building the Graf Zeppelin, as well as naval aviation technology designed to convert numerous planes including the Bf-109, Ju-87, and Fi-167 for carrier operations. Basically, what if the Reich has an outbreak of common sense and realizes they actually have no idea what they're doing and agrees to just license produce one or two carriers in Germany to build expertise, as well as a training and support agreement? I'm thinking the Soryu class, though perhaps an earlier one like the Akagi if the Japanese aren't willing to part with their most modern one. This honestly probably would have cost less than what they did IOTL
In 35 linking KM with IJN would set off lots of diplomatic fun as it's basically saying you support the war in Manchuria against LON but earlier than OTL.... It also ties you with IJN against the RN/USN in war plans.....

Akagi is also far to large for LNT/2LNT CV and you can't pretend it isn't as the IJN has declared it way over post WNT....
 
Or purchasing more merchant raiders.
Have them cruising around terrorizing the Allied merchant marine.
There were serious diminishing returns with those. When it was a surprise it worked exceptionally well, but each one after the first faced a tougher environment and consequently fewer successes.
 
The Graf Zeppelin gets a lot of grief, but frankly that ship was a damned fine investment. She was never even completed, let alone operational yet she was preying on the minds of Allied naval leaders and tying down assets as late as late 1942 and early 1943. The below statement is from a letter from the First Sea Lord to the PM on 15 November 1942:

The Atlantic Ocean
6. With the GRAF ZEPPELIN possibly in service by early 1943, two large Fleet Carriers must be retained in the United Kingdom or at Gibraltar to allow for docking and repairs.


From a fleet in being standpoint, that is a pretty good return on the investment, just saying...
 
Better yet they have the Japanese build the ships and train the crews, then all they cost the German economy is the cash to pay for them, not the physical resources and German shipyards can build something they actually know how to make.

(The German liner Scharnhorst was trapped in Japan at the start of the war and later converted to a carrier for the IJN. Perhaps the Germans could opt to have her converted for them earlier shipping crew out through Russia (before Barbarossa) and recruiting from trapped German merchant ships). She'd be a hell of a raider.
I'm not sure if Japan had the yard space to do that and to complete their other naval construction is the only thing.

To what end? Germany still needs to build the institutional experience to develop carriers if they wanted to have their own, which means having to do it from scratch to completion, rather than simply buying blueprints and trying to translate that into a working ship. But to the larger point, why? IOTL the carriers ended up never completed and ended up as floating storage sheds anyway, so it wasn't like there is any sort of real need for them, more like the KM just had a wishlist of a big, useless battle fleet that was proven a waste of resources in WW1 and would again in WW2. Had the Bismarck budget been spent on actual useful items like aircraft or Uboats then it would make sense, but for Germany's needs aircraft carriers and battleships weren't really useful.
Yeah, I fully agree that every Kriegsmarine ship above the size of a light cruiser should not have been constructed, with the resources instead going to build u-boats and commerce raiders. This is basically me asking what would have happened if they had used the resources they appropriated for the Graf Zeppelin to create an actual functioning ship, since they had decided to build carriers anyway.

In 35 linking KM with IJN would set off lots of diplomatic fun as it's basically saying you support the war in Manchuria against LON but earlier than OTL.... It also ties you with IJN against the RN/USN in war plans.....

Akagi is also far to large for LNT/2LNT CV and you can't pretend it isn't as the IJN has declared it way over post WNT....
It's just an arms licensing deal, I don't think it would have completely blown up their relations with Chiang.

I don't think it actually is, the Anglo-German Treaty of 1935 allowed the Germans 51,000 tons of aircraft carrier, which was why they could legally build the Graf Zeppelin and the follow ons. Seeing as how that ship was even larger than the Akagi and they still tried to build it anyway, the treaties shouldn't be an issue.

The Graf Zeppelin gets a lot of grief, but frankly that ship was a damned fine investment. She was never even completed, let alone operational yet she was preying on the minds of Allied naval leaders and tying down assets as late as late 1942 and early 1943. The below statement is from a letter from the First Sea Lord to the PM on 15 November 1942:

The Atlantic Ocean
6. With the GRAF ZEPPELIN possibly in service by early 1943, two large Fleet Carriers must be retained in the United Kingdom or at Gibraltar to allow for docking and repairs.


From a fleet in being standpoint, that is a pretty good return on the investment, just saying...
It wasn't the best use of their resources, though. If they had used the steel and money to instead build a couple dozen more u-boats minimum by the start of the war, they could have put Britain in a REALLY bad position during the First and Second Happy Times.
 
It's just an arms licensing deal, I don't think it would have completely blown up their relations with Chiang.
I was more thinking what it would do to relations in Europe as it's not going to be accepted as just a "an arms licensing deal" for it to work means crew as well especially pilots so it will be considered a de facto G-J alliance with all that entails v GB/Fr/USA...?
I don't think it actually is, the Anglo-German Treaty of 1935 allowed the Germans 51,000 tons of aircraft carrier, which was why they could legally build the Graf Zeppelin and the follow ons. Seeing as how that ship was even larger than the Akagi and they still tried to build it anyway, the treaties shouldn't be an issue.
They have to pretend its under 27k and you can't do that with an Akagi as she was legally exempt and declared as such?
 
The Germans wouldn't build Akagis under licence. They would build Ryujos. This is because she was the only aircraft carrier that Japan had built from the keel up by 1935 and therefore is the only ship that they can build instead of Graff Zeppelin and Aircraft Carrier B. Soryu wasn't completed until 1937, Hirru wasn't completed until 1939 and the Shokaku class weren't ordered until 1939.

These are the official displacements of the five aircraft carriers that Japan built to fill its Washington Naval Treaty quota of 81,000 tons. The source is Jane's Fighting Ships 1938.

Japanese Aircraft Carriers built under Washington Naval Treaty.png

I know that their displacements were considerably larger, but these are the figures that the Japanese were publishing.
 
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AGNA Tonnage Quotas.png

The British Empire's tonnages are the tonnages that were allowed under the Washington and First London Treaties. They were abolished at the end of 1936 and had been a dead letter since the Second London Naval Treaty was singed in March 1936. This allowed the Admiralty to contemplate an aircraft carrier force of 14 ships (10 armoured carriers of 23,000 tons, Ark Royal, Courageous, Glorious and Furious) by the middle of the 1940s with an aggregate displacement of 319,450 tons. That would allow Germany to have 111,808 tons of aircraft carriers under the terms of the Anglo-German Naval Agreement.

Graff Zeppelin and Aircraft Carrier B had a designed standard displacement of 27,000 tons, but the declared standard displacement was 19,250 tons according to Jane's Fighting Ships 1939. Therefore they could have built two out of the 47,250 tons that they were allowed in June 1935 and 6 out of the 111,808 that they were allowed to have by 1945 (6 x 19,250 = 115,500). This is 3,700 tons more than the quota, but Paragraph 2, Sub-paragraph G of the Agreement said.
(g) Since it is highly improbable that the calculation of the 35% ratio should give for each category of vessels tonnage figures exactly divisible by the maximum individual tonnage permitted for ships in that category, it may be necessary that adjustments should be made in order that Germany shall not be debarred from utilising her tonnage to the full. It has consequently been agreed that the German Government and His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom will settle by common accord what adjustments are necessary for this purpose and it is understood that this procedure shall not result in any substantial or permanent departure from the ratio 35:100 in respect of total strengths.
 
These are the vital statistics of Ryujo after she was rebuilt compared to Graff Zeppelin and the Hipper class. The standard displacement is in long tons and the hull dimensions are in metres. The source (Conway's 1922-46) doesn't say what Graff Zeppelin's overall length was.

Ryujo v Graff Zeppelin and Hipper class.png

If they negotiated the licence for the Ryujo class in by the middle of 1935 they could have ordered 2 aircraft carriers of this type in November 1936. ALT Graff Zeppelin could have been laid won in December 1936 instead of the real Graff Zeppelin and ALT Aircraft Carrier B in September 1936 instead of the real Aircraft Carrier B.

The Ryujo class have a realistic chance of being completed in 1939 because they require less steel than the OTL ships and their less powerful machinery aught to be easier to make.

Re-Aircraft Carrier B. I'm going by Whitley in German Aircraft Capital Ships of World War Two who expressly says that she was laid down before Graff Zeppelin and that the date was 30th September 1936. Everyone else says that she was laid down in the slip vacated by Prinz Eugen which was launched on 22nd August 1938. Even if the latter is true there should a 180 metre long slipway available to lay the ALT-Aircraft Carrier B down on in 1936.

Meanwhile, the Luftwaffe sends 100 pilots to Japan to train on the IJN's carriers and the Kriegsmarine sends some officers and senior NCOs to serve on the Japanese carriers to get operating experience pending the completion of the 2 German carriers.
 
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Meanwhile, the Luftwaffe sends 100 pilots to Japan to train on the IJN's carriers and the Kriegsmarine sends some officers and senior NCOs to serve on the Japanese carriers to get operating experience pending the completion of the 2 German carriers.
They could bring back reports of the A6M.

As like to point out, that gives them fighter coverage over Scotland, from Kiel Canal.
 
They could bring back reports of the A6M.

As like to point out, that gives them fighter coverage over Scotland, from Kiel Canal.
Possibly, but I doubt that any would be supplied to the Germans before 1941 because it didn't fly until April 1939 and the first delivery to the IJN was in July 1940.

If the Germans do succeed in completing 2 licence built Ruyjo class aircraft carriers in 1939 their air groups are going to consist of 12 Mitsubishi A5M Claudes purchased from Japan, 24 Fiesler 167 torpedo bombers or 12 Claudes, 12 Fieslers and 12 Aichi D3A Val dive bombers.
 
They could bring back reports of the A6M.

As like to point out, that gives them fighter coverage over Scotland, from Kiel Canal.
What’s that performance like once armor plating, self sealing tanks, and a robust radio have been added? Because I don’t really see the luftwaffe accepting the type into service without any of those things.
 
What’s that performance like once armor plating, self sealing tanks, and a robust radio have been added? Because I don’t really see the luftwaffe accepting the type into service without any of those things.
That's the A6M5. Still over 1000 miles range.
And check what the Me-109D in 1939 had for self sealing tanks, just an alloy tanks coated with thin coat of semi vulcanized rubber. That would be fine for pinhole leaks, not rifle caliber rounds. That took multiple layers that were thicker and heavier.
The German bombers of the time had that improved self sealing tanks, but not the fighters.
Only the Soviets were doing the CO2 purging before the War.

German Radio and gunsights, as I pointed out in the past, would have been a welcome addition to any mk Zero.
 
What’s that performance like once armor plating, self sealing tanks, and a robust radio have been added? Because I don’t really see the luftwaffe accepting the type into service without any of those things.
I remember reading that this was done in China after the war and the results were no more than average.
 
Ok, so this idea is an outgrowth of OTL; in 1935, Germany actually did license technology from the Akagi to use in building the Graf Zeppelin, as well as naval aviation technology designed to convert numerous planes including the Bf-109, Ju-87, and Fi-167 for carrier operations. Basically, what if the Reich has an outbreak of common sense and realizes they actually have no idea what they're doing and agrees to just license produce one or two carriers in Germany to build expertise, as well as a training and support agreement? I'm thinking the Soryu class, though perhaps an earlier one like the Akagi if the Japanese aren't willing to part with their most modern one. This honestly probably would have cost less than what they did IOTL; the Graf Zeppelin was designed as a 34,000 ton warship and they completed 70% of it, while the Soryu was 19,000 tons, and just using an existing design probably would have saved a lot on R&D. They also designed and produced the Fi-167 and had the carrier versions of the Bf-109 and Ju-87 (designated the Bf-109T and the Ju-87C respectively) in production before the Graf Zeppelin was canceled and they stopped, so the aircraft are basically there.

There is no chance that this wins Germany the war, but is there a way they could go in this direction?
Nope.

The Soryu, as originally built, was top-heavy, had idiotic lift arrangements and was a fire and explosion waiting to happen. Even German naval architects would take one look at her and conclude that they they could do better than that piece of junk. Even the Graf Zeppelin looks good next to Soryu.

The difference between a BF109T and Wildcat is so great that I pity the German pilot who tries to fly a BF109T AGAINST a Wildcat. It would be like a Wildcat against a Zero.

The Fi 167 makes a Douglas Devastator look good.

The Ju-87C was no Dauntless either.
 
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