WI Graf Zeppelin was completed?

As it says on the tin. In OTL work was suspended in june 1940. What if it wasn't but instead work on the Tirpiz was suspended (and thus the Tirpitz was never completed)? I guess the Graf Zeppelin could have been completed in late 1940 or early 1941. But then? What could she have done? It's probably too late to get her up and running to sortie with the Bismarck. Would Raeder have waited for the Bismarck to sortie until GZ was ready? Or would she have fared the same fate as the Tirpiz: sitting in a Norwegian fjord, getting attraction from the British and eventually being sunk.
Or are there other options?
 
Either she sits in port until 617 Sqn put a Grand Slam through her deck or she sorties and the Royal Navy kill her. As with the rest of Germany's capital ships, the UK just can't afford to let her live.
 

CalBear

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Graf Zeppelin was either a Distinguished Flying Cross (FAA), Distinguished Military Cross (RN) or Navy Cross USN waiting to happen.
 
I know she's going to get sunk. What I'm interested in is what the KM/Reader was going to do with it. I did a search before posting this thread and there are surprisingly few threads that came up, and I only found one detailed post with a scenario:

Let's see. The earliest KM Graf Zeppelin could be finished is late 1940. Then she will sit in port while her Luftwaffe air group works up on land bases for the most part, with perhaps a few live exercises in the sheltered Baltic to practice their carrier landings and use of the catapults. Then the order to accompany KM Bismarck and KM Prinz Eugen on their Atlantic breakout comes.

Everyone is in high spirits as the three ships leave Kiel and head to Norway, where their location is revealed to the British. Because the German surface raiders are accompanied by an aircraft carrier, the British response ensures that an Illustrious-class carrier accompanies HMS Prince of Wales, HMS Hood, and several crusiers hopping to intercept the Germans in the Denmark Straits.

On board Graf Zeppelin, the Luftwaffe aircrews find that operating their jury-rigged Bf-109T's and Ju-87C's from the rolling and pitching carrier deck is far different from their training in the calm Baltic. After three landing accidents destroying a Ju-87 and two Bf-109s, the Kriegsmarine orders the Luftwaffe air group to cease any further flights until any enemy ships are sighted. This timidity disgusts the several Japanese naval advisors on board the carrier, who have little doubt their own flight crews would have little difficulty conducting flight operations in similar conditions. They also know the British (whom the IJN still admires) will be in the air.

As the Japanese advisors suspected, the Royal Navy knows its stuff. A Martlet from HMS Illustrious make an initial contact with the German raiders north of Iceland, and this is followed by an attack by 14 Swordfish torpedo bombers. Graf Zeppelin is the focus of the attack, in which she is struck by one torpedo that starts a fire, crippling the aft elevator.

The Germans are then saved by increasing fog that forces the British to suspend air operations. However, unknown to the British a battle of sorts is brewing on the Graf Zeppelin, between the ships's Kriegsmarine commander and the Luftwaffe general commanding the air unit. Finally Lutjens on Bismarck is forced to intervene. Incensed that the British seem to have little difficulty operating their carrier aircraft, Lutjens orders the Luftwaffe to throw caution to the wind and ensure that a CAP is up at all times and Ju-87 dive bombers are fueled and armed on deck to immediate launching as soon as any British ships are encountered.

The Luftwaffe aircrew gets it's chance to redeem itself when the visibility improves and Prinz Eugen sights HMS Sheffield, which had been trailing the Germans at a discreet distance until both ships made course corrections that inadvertantly brought them into range of each other. The order is given to launch a strike at Shellfield with all 14 Ju-87s on deck. What transpires is a deadly comedy of errors. First, it takes far too long for the catapult system on Graf Zeppelin to launch all the Stukas, and by the time the small flight has reached an appropriate altitude to underake dive bombing attacks, Sheffield is no longer in visual range of Prinz Eugen. However, the Luftwaffe is determined to show up those Navy bastards. Flying to Sheffield's last reported position, they sight a cruiser and attack it. Unfortunately, the cruiser is Prinz Eugen, whose KM coded messages to the Stukas are ignored because the flight crews only have Luftwaffe code books with them. Luckily for the German cruiser, the Stukas fail to damage their target, but they then must manage a sucessful landing back on the Graf Zeppelin. Four of the Fourteen aircraft crash on landing, one plowing into the island bridge.

While Graf Zeppelin is attempting to recover her aircraft she separates from the Bismarck and fog again returns. As the ships separate, Graf Zeppelin steams directly toward the Sheffield, whose commander is astonished to see an aircraft carrier emerge from the fog in point blank range for his 8-inch guns. What develops is a running battle between the two ships, with Sheffield landing numerious hits but also taking severe damage herself from the Graf Zeppelin's strong gun battery (the Kriegsmarine my be incompetent with aircraft, but its gunnery is always excellent). In fact, the carrier's gunnery is so effective that Sheffield is forced to retire from the action

By now the commotion has brought Lutjen's into the fray and also attracted the attention of Illustrious, Hood and Prince of Wales. Illustrious's swordfish begin the action with a sucessful strike at Graf Zeppelin, leaving her listing and taking on water. Unaware that the British capital ships are closing on his position, Lutjen's orders Prinz Eugen to take off survivors and scuttle the carrier. While this operation is underway and Bismarck is slowly idling about, a nearly stationary target herself, Hood and Prince of Wales emerge from the gloom. The rest is of course, history. But to this day the Battle of the Denmark Strait is remembered as the greatest British naval victory since the days of Nelson - three major German naval units sunk with only minor damage to Sheffield

Which is an appealing scenario.

Seriously what were the Germans going to do with one carrier with a fairly small airgroup consisting of planes which weren't even designed as carrier aircraft?
 
The most sensible use for her is probably to sortie with one of the battleships and use her airgroup to keep the Fleet Air Arm off them long enough to get them into the open waters of the Atlantic. Unfortunately for the Germans, I don't think the air group is going to be big enough because the RN and RAF will have no choice about putting everything they have into stopping them.
 
The most sensible use for her is probably to sortie with one of the battleships and use her airgroup to keep the Fleet Air Arm off them long enough to get them into the open waters of the Atlantic. Unfortunately for the Germans, I don't think the air group is going to be big enough because the RN and RAF will have no choice about putting everything they have into stopping them.
I'm not sure that is really sensible. The airgroup is small, so if they keep a CAP up, that's only 6 or 8 planes. What was the range of their radar? When the first enemy planes are spotted they probably are already fairly closeby.

Without a destroyer screen they're also vulnerable for submarine attacks (although they have their speed as an advantage, but when operating planes they're a sitting duck). Would be kinda funny if she was sunk by a british sub.
 
I don't think the air group is going to be big enough because the RN and RAF will have no choice about putting everything they have into stopping them.
I don't think it's a matter of choice. It's a matter of reluctance or hesitancy.
 
Graf Zeppelin was either a Distinguished Flying Cross (FAA), Distinguished Military Cross (RN) or Navy Cross USN waiting to happen.
Distinguished Service Order if it's a Royal Navy pilot that sinks it. Distinguished Flying Cross for the observer if carried and a Distinguished Flying Medal for the gunner.

There was a class system for Commonwealth decorations. Officers got Orders or Crosses while enlisted got medals. The three exceptions were the Victoria Cross, George Cross and Mentions in Dispatches.
 
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I'm not sure that is really sensible.

It's not particularly sensible but it's probably the most sensible thing you can do with her once you've built her. You're not going to win a carrier battle against any of the RN fleet carriers and you're not going to Pearl Harbour the Royal Navy in port so other than hiding her the only other use I can think of is to load as many Bf-109s as you can and go for it while the Captain hums the Ride of the Valkyries.
 
As if Goering will let her have any aircraft.

She will make a very fast inefficient light cruiser. Which makes her better than the other German light cruisers.
 
Seriously what were the Germans going to do with one carrier with a fairly small airgroup consisting of planes which weren't even designed as carrier aircraft?
Run around the Baltic working up an air group with no experience of how to, interrupted by winter ice each year and having the air group borrowed repeatedly for other operations every time she gets near to being ready until she hits a mine........
 
I'm not sure that is really sensible. The airgroup is small, so if they keep a CAP up, that's only 6 or 8 planes. What was the range of their radar? When the first enemy planes are spotted they probably are already fairly closeby.

Without a destroyer screen they're also vulnerable for submarine attacks (although they have their speed as an advantage, but when operating planes they're a sitting duck). Would be kinda funny if she was sunk by a british sub.
I presume the best use of a carrier would be to accompany a break out screen for search planes and then withdraw or park in a Fjord somewhere and look threatening.

German doctrine was non existent so maybe they would do something crazy instead.
 
Either she sits in port until 617 Sqn put a Grand Slam through her deck or she sorties and the Royal Navy kill her. As with the rest of Germany's capital ships, the UK just can't afford to let her live.
Unless 618 sqn get her with their Highballs first. Graf Zeppelin was second on their target list after Tirpitz.

That's if there were any survivors from that raid.
 
A nation's first carrier is pretty much always pretty ineffective. You need to make a ton of mistakes and develop a doctrine before they can be very useful, usually in the form of providing learnings for your 2nd and 3rd generation carriers. The KM is probably better off focusing on getting its own navally focused airforce with an idea towards maybe having carriers in the 50s or 60s but having aircraft trained for strikes against shipping now. Maybe do a little effort on escort carriers or very light carriers if you can get the British to buy off on the idea as mostly a form of disinformation.
 
the Soviets (Stalin ) wanted Carrier B, under the assumption Germany would never agree to sell them Graf Zeppelin, bartering it away might have been a good idea? maybe to the Italians instead?
 
If you had a Graf Zeppelin in Gydnia, with carrier planes, released rumors of it sailing from time to time, it might lock down two British carriers, keeping them out of the mediterranean. Even if it never did anything useful.
 
the Soviets (Stalin ) wanted Carrier B, under the assumption Germany would never agree to sell them Graf Zeppelin, bartering it away might have been a good idea? maybe to the Italians instead?
Have the Japanese tow out the hull in summer 39?

Or give it to the Soviets and keep the heavy cruiser Lutzow which could have been easily completed.
 
If you had a Graf Zeppelin in Gydnia, with carrier planes, released rumors of it sailing from time to time, it might lock down two British carriers, keeping them out of the mediterranean. Even if it never did anything useful.

It was a great place for the Germans to store timber and get practice towing capital ships around.
 
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