WI Graf Zeppelin was completed?

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.
Hush, you'll awake the shade of Ovaron, with his magic perfect German aircraft carriers.
 
Wasn't she expected to be very slow to cycle aircraft up from hangar to launch? Could she have got a decent number of those 36(ish) into the air if raids were inbound?
To be honest I haven't a clue and if the FAA is attacking they'll try to attack at night so it's likely that there'll be no fighters in the air to oppose them, but if the FAA is forced to attack in daylight it will be Albacores and Swordfish escorted by Fulmars vs Bf109s.

All other things being equal the only aircraft carriers the RN has in the Home Fleet in 1941 are Furious plus Victorious which didn't arrive until the middle of May 1941. Illustrious was put out of action off Malta in January 1941, Formidable was put out of action off Crete in May 1941 and Indomitable didn't commission until October 1941. Ark Royal is at Gibraltar with Force H until November 1941 when all other things being equal she's sunk.

Therefore, unless the RN can bring the armoured carriers into service sooner they've got two ships at Scapa Flow rated at 30 aircraft and 36 aircraft (but could operate more if deck parks were used) plus Ark Royal at Gibraltar rated at 72 aircraft but normally had a smaller number embarked. The alternative is to not send Illustrious and/or Formidable which means no Taranto and/or no Matapan.
 
To be honest I haven't a clue and if the FAA is attacking they'll try to attack at night so it's likely that there'll be no fighters in the air to oppose them, but if the FAA is forced to attack in daylight it will be Albacores and Swordfish escorted by Fulmars vs Bf109s.

All other things being equal the only aircraft carriers the RN has in the Home Fleet in 1941 are Furious plus Victorious which didn't arrive until the middle of May 1941. Illustrious was put out of action off Malta in January 1941, Formidable was put out of action off Crete in May 1941 and Indomitable didn't commission until October 1941. Ark Royal is at Gibraltar with Force H until November 1941 when all other things being equal she's sunk.

Therefore, unless the RN can bring the armoured carriers into service sooner they've got two ships at Scapa Flow rated at 30 aircraft and 36 aircraft (but could operate more if deck parks were used) plus Ark Royal at Gibraltar rated at 72 aircraft but normally had a smaller number embarked. The alternative is to not send Illustrious and/or Formidable which means no Taranto and/or no Matapan.
Doubtful about HMS Glorious (D'orly Hughes was incompetent and a psycho.). Captain Troubridge is another matter, he was competent, so HMS Furious should do alright. Captain Bovell of HMS Victorious? A question mark. I think he would do okay.
 
I'm not talking about the insanity that was Plan Z.

I'm talking about the 1937 plans that were about 2 (if possible 3) taskforces, each with a single battleship (Bismarck class), a single carrier (Graf Zeppelin class), a couple of cruisers, some destroyers and a few supply/support ships.

Such taskforces were quite reasonable, as they were aimed at the French commerce shipping.

There is a very interresting video on youtube by Military History Visualized : Why was the Carrier Graf Zeppelin built & never finished?
Ah, I see. Although why the Germans are building carriers when there are no French ones to counter on the open sea lanes save Béarn is a mystery. If I were Raeder, I'd focus on seaplane development (the Arado Ar 196 was EXCELLENT) and BB building first, study the IJN, and then, when the MN build the Joffres, start my own CV programme. I'd then have two taskforces of two Bismarcks (as @NOMISYRRUC has demonstrated) and a carrier apiece.
 
To be honest I haven't a clue and if the FAA is attacking they'll try to attack at night so it's likely that there'll be no fighters in the air to oppose them, but if the FAA is forced to attack in daylight it will be Albacores and Swordfish escorted by Fulmars vs Bf109s.

All other things being equal the only aircraft carriers the RN has in the Home Fleet in 1941 are Furious plus Victorious which didn't arrive until the middle of May 1941. Illustrious was put out of action off Malta in January 1941, Formidable was put out of action off Crete in May 1941 and Indomitable didn't commission until October 1941. Ark Royal is at Gibraltar with Force H until November 1941 when all other things being equal she's sunk.

Therefore, unless the RN can bring the armoured carriers into service sooner they've got two ships at Scapa Flow rated at 30 aircraft and 36 aircraft (but could operate more if deck parks were used) plus Ark Royal at Gibraltar rated at 72 aircraft but normally had a smaller number embarked. The alternative is to not send Illustrious and/or Formidable which means no Taranto and/or no Matapan.
No Taranto is VERY large butterflies. Then again, this is alternate history, we can never have enough butterflies:

1619457487333.png
 
No Taranto is VERY large butterflies. Then again, this is alternate history, we can never have enough butterflies:
Taranto was in november 1940. That's about the first date the Graf Zeppelin could be commisioned. If anything it would have pressed the British more to do it.
 
The RN NEVER really recovered from the pointless losses of Courageous and Glorious as it left them with out a viable reserve to cover the inevitable losses, emergencies and battle damage.

The RN absolutely could not allow the Germans to slip a carrier into the Atlantic and if GZ showed up outside the Baltic every possible effort would be made to get rid of her, even at the expense of stripping forces from other theatres temporarily to achieve it. The RN would have no choice as with the early war losses there just weren't the carriers to permanently assign carriers to guard against GZ breaking out.
 
It's not particularly sensible but it's probably the most sensible thing you can do with her once you've built her. 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.
That would be 36-42 Bf109s which would be no worse than non-folding Seafires in the point defence role and probably much better than Sea Hurricanes. That's a formidable defence against the quantity and quality of aircraft that the FAA, Coastal Command or for that matter the USN could throw at it in 1941-42.
Wasn't she expected to be very slow to cycle aircraft up from hangar to launch? Could she have got a decent number of those 36(ish) into the air if raids were inbound?
To be honest I haven't a clue and if the FAA is attacking they'll try to attack at night so it's likely that there'll be no fighters in the air to oppose them, but if the FAA is forced to attack in daylight it will be Albacores and Swordfish escorted by Fulmars vs Bf109s.

All other things being equal the only aircraft carriers the RN has in the Home Fleet in 1941 are Furious plus Victorious which didn't arrive until the middle of May 1941. Illustrious was put out of action off Malta in January 1941, Formidable was put out of action off Crete in May 1941 and Indomitable didn't commission until October 1941. Ark Royal is at Gibraltar with Force H until November 1941 when all other things being equal she's sunk.

Therefore, unless the RN can bring the armoured carriers into service sooner they've got two ships at Scapa Flow rated at 30 aircraft and 36 aircraft (but could operate more if deck parks were used) plus Ark Royal at Gibraltar rated at 72 aircraft but normally had a smaller number embarked. The alternative is to not send Illustrious and/or Formidable which means no Taranto and/or no Matapan.
I've been doing some arithmetic and it seems that the number of aircraft that Graff Zeppelin could operate has been underestimated.

According to Whitley in German Capital Ships of World War Two the Graff Zeppelins had two hangars. The upper hangar was 185 x 24 metres and the lower hangar was 172 x 24 metres. The upper hangar had a clearance of 5.70 metres and the lower hangar had a clearance of 5.36 metres.

According to http://www.german-navy.de/kriegsmarine/aviation/carrierbased/index.html a Bf109T was 8.76 metres long and had a span of 11.08 metres. As far as I can ascertain from my internet searches the wings didn't fold, but they could, however, be detached from the fuselage for transport purposes, as in every version of the Bf 109. (Source: https://www.nevingtonwarmuseum.com/me-109-t.html)

That's 38 Bf109T two-abreast in the upper hangar and 36 Bf109T two-abreast in the lower hanger for a total of 74 with a clearance of 60 centimetres between each aircraft.

I think they'd actually embark 72 Bf 109Ts organised into 8 squadrons of 9 or 6 squadrons of 12 plus some aircraft with their wings removed as spares.
 
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I've been doing some arithmetic and it seems that the number of aircraft that Graff Zeppelin could operate has been underestimated.

According to Whitley in German Capital Ships of World War Two the Graff Zeppelins had two hangars. The upper hangar was 185 x 24 metres and the lower hangar was 172 x 24 metres. The upper hangar had a clearance of 5.70 metres and the lower hangar had a clearance of 5.36 metres.

According to http://www.german-navy.de/kriegsmarine/aviation/carrierbased/index.html a Bf109T was 8.76 metres long and had a span of 11.08 meters. As far as I can ascertain from my internet searches the wings didn't fold, but they could, however, be detached from the fuselage for transport purposes, as in every version of the Bf 109. (Source: https://www.nevingtonwarmuseum.com/me-109-t.html)

That's 38 Bf109T two-abreast in the upper hangar and 36 Bf109T two-abreast in the lower hanger for a total of 74 with a clearance of 60 centimetres between each aircraft.

I think they'd actually embark 72 Bf 109Ts organised into 8 squadrons of 9 or 6 squadrons of 12 plus some aircraft with their wings removed as spares.
Movement paths. There was room for 44. The planes have to be moved from the parkage below deck to workspaces and rearm spots in the upper hanger.

A lot more goes into stowage than just so many planes can park in so much space.
 
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I've been doing some arithmetic and it seems that the number of aircraft that Graff Zeppelin could operate has been underestimated.

According to Whitley in German Capital Ships of World War Two the Graff Zeppelins had two hangars. The upper hangar was 185 x 24 metres and the lower hangar was 172 x 24 metres. The upper hangar had a clearance of 5.70 metres and the lower hangar had a clearance of 5.36 metres.

According to http://www.german-navy.de/kriegsmarine/aviation/carrierbased/index.html a Bf109T was 8.76 metres long and had a span of 11.08 meters. As far as I can ascertain from my internet searches the wings didn't fold, but they could, however, be detached from the fuselage for transport purposes, as in every version of the Bf 109. (Source: https://www.nevingtonwarmuseum.com/me-109-t.html)

That's 38 Bf109T two-abreast in the upper hangar and 36 Bf109T two-abreast in the lower hanger for a total of 74 with a clearance of 60 centimetres between each aircraft.

I think they'd actually embark 72 Bf 109Ts organised into 8 squadrons of 9 or 6 squadrons of 12 plus some aircraft with their wings removed as spares.
Using an otl example HMS Argus is said to be able to operate 15-18 planes. I am aware of her carrying 30 as an aircraft ferry. That's the level of loading you are suggesting.

You can't operate fighters two abreast in those hangers. You can store them and ferry them but you can't operate them.
 
I've been doing some arithmetic and it seems that the number of aircraft that Graff Zeppelin could operate has been underestimated.

According to Whitley in German Capital Ships of World War Two the Graff Zeppelins had two hangars. The upper hangar was 185 x 24 metres and the lower hangar was 172 x 24 metres. The upper hangar had a clearance of 5.70 metres and the lower hangar had a clearance of 5.36 metres.

According to http://www.german-navy.de/kriegsmarine/aviation/carrierbased/index.html a Bf109T was 8.76 metres long and had a span of 11.08 metres. As far as I can ascertain from my internet searches the wings didn't fold, but they could, however, be detached from the fuselage for transport purposes, as in every version of the Bf 109. (Source: https://www.nevingtonwarmuseum.com/me-109-t.html)

That's 38 Bf109T two-abreast in the upper hangar and 36 Bf109T two-abreast in the lower hanger for a total of 74 with a clearance of 60 centimetres between each aircraft.

I think they'd actually embark 72 Bf 109Ts organised into 8 squadrons of 9 or 6 squadrons of 12 plus some aircraft with their wings removed as spares.
According to http://www.german-navy.de/kriegsmarine/aviation/carrierbased/index.html a Fi 167 was 11.40 metres long and had a span of 13.50 metres.

The wings did fold, but I've been unable to find a source that includes the folding wingspan, but after looking at photographs of Fi 167s with their wings folded and measuring the line drawings my guess is that it's 5.15 metres which is narrow enough for 4 abreast.

After allowing a 60 centimetre clearance between the aircraft the upper hangar can accommodate 60 Fi 167s in 4 rows of 15 and the lower hangar 56 in 4 frows of 14. That's a grand total of 116 aircraft.

According to http://www.german-navy.de/kriegsmarine/aviation/carrierbased/index.html a Ju 87 was 11.50 metres long and had a span of 13.80 metres.

The wings did fold, but I've been unable to find a source that includes the folding wingspan, but after looking at photographs of Ju 87s with their wings folded and measuring the line drawings my guess is that it's 4.93 metres which is narrow enough for 4 abreast.

After allowing a 60 centimetre clearance between the aircraft the upper hangar can accommodate 60 Ju 87s in 4 rows of 15 and the lower hangar 56 in 4 frows of 14. That's a grand total of 116 aircraft.

I've calculated that the hangars could accommodate 48 Fi 167s or 48 Ju 87s plus 44 Bf 109Ts for a total of 92 aircraft but I think 48 bombers and 24 fighters for a total of 72 in 6 squadrons of 12 would be more realistic.
 
According to http://www.german-navy.de/kriegsmarine/aviation/carrierbased/index.html a Fi 167 was 11.40 metres long and had a span of 13.50 metres.

The wings did fold, but I've been unable to find a source that includes the folding wingspan, but after looking at photographs of Fi 167s with their wings folded and measuring the line drawings my guess is that it's 5.15 metres which is narrow enough for 4 abreast.

After allowing a 60 centimetre clearance between the aircraft the upper hangar can accommodate 60 Fi 167s in 4 rows of 15 and the lower hangar 56 in 4 frows of 14. That's a grand total of 116 aircraft.

According to http://www.german-navy.de/kriegsmarine/aviation/carrierbased/index.html a Ju 87 was 11.50 metres long and had a span of 13.80 metres.

The wings did fold, but I've been unable to find a source that includes the folding wingspan, but after looking at photographs of Ju 87s with their wings folded and measuring the line drawings my guess is that it's 4.93 metres which is narrow enough for 4 abreast.

After allowing a 60 centimetre clearance between the aircraft the upper hangar can accommodate 60 Ju 87s in 4 rows of 15 and the lower hangar 56 in 4 frows of 14. That's a grand total of 116 aircraft.

I've calculated that the hangars could accommodate 48 Fi 167s or 48 Ju 87s plus 44 Bf 109Ts for a total of 92 aircraft but I think 48 bombers and 24 fighters for a total of 72 in 6 squadrons of 12 would be more realistic.
Discussion here.

Summary: Note: what is said about moving aircraft about inside a hanger.
That hangar deck parking plan means gridlock. Almost nothing moves. When something does move, it requires suspending work and moving other aircraft. What's really bad is the interlocking you have with the smaller aircraft. That plan is only potentially useful if you are designing an aircraft ferry.

The general rule of thumb is, when a hangar is half full, it's full. That allows easy movement of the aircraft without disturbing other aircraft that are being worked on. If necessary, I've seen hangar deck plans work up to 2/3 full. But that requires some work planning and some loss of efficiency. Any more than 2/3 and you end up with gridlock.

I agree with that assessment.
 
if they felt like they had to, as a modern navy, build a carrier, my speculation has been to mirror Italy and convert the ocean liner SS Columbus which was made obsolete by newer liners in the 1930's.
From wiki (Properties):
General characteristics
Class and type:Columbus-class ocean liner
Tonnage:
  • 32,354 GRT (1924–1929)
  • 32,565 GRT (1929–1939)[1]
Length:750 ft (230 m)[1]
Beam:83 ft (25 m)[1]
Height:49 ft (15 m)[1]
Decks:8
Propulsion:
  • Triple-expansion reciprocating engines (1924–1929)
  • Steam turbine engines (1929−1939); Twin screw[1]
Speed:
  • Before refit: 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph)
  • After refit: 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)[1]
Boats & landing
craft carried:
24
Capacity:1,750 passengers
She has sufficient takeoff and run length. Her beam is a little tight. Figure the Germans botch the razee and buzz-cut and she turns out top-heavy, but still not a deal-breaker. The speed is the problem. She is slow.
again, my speculation was to mirror the Italian plans which included replacing the machinery, but that might have slowed the completion time to ... well ... never.
 
Using an otl example HMS Argus is said to be able to operate 15-18 planes. I am aware of her carrying 30 as an aircraft ferry. That's the level of loading you are suggesting.

You can't operate fighters two abreast in those hangers. You can store them and ferry them but you can't operate them.
According to Conway's 1906-21 Argus had a beam of 20.7 metres and according to Conway's 1922-46 Graff Zeppelin had a beam of 31.5 metres. According to the same sources Argus had an overall length of 172.5 metres and Graff Zeppelin had a waterline length of 250.0 metres. In feet that's 566 x 68 for Argus and 820ft 2in x 103ft 4in for Graff Zeppelin.

So Graff Zeppelin was a considerably larger ship than Argus including a hull that was 50% beamier.

Neither Conway's or Friedman say what the Hangar dimensions of Argus were but there is a plan of the Hangar Deck on Page 66 of Friedman. Having measured it my calculation is that dimensions of the hangar were 292.99 x 48.57 feet and 89.29 x 14.79 in metres. That doesn't include the forward lift but does include the aft lift (because it is actually about two thirds towards the front of the hangar) which is 60 feet or 18.29 metres long.
 

Driftless

Donor
I can imagine landing a Me-109 on pitching deck would be an..... adventure..... Wouldn't the takeoff be just as perilous on the North and Norwegian Seas?

Though F4F Wildcats weren't real wide-tracked either, I suppose.
 
I can imagine landing a Me-109 on pitching deck would be an..... adventure..... Wouldn't the takeoff be just as perilous on the North and Norwegian Seas?

Though F4F Wildcats weren't real wide-tracked either, I suppose.
The landing accident rate was a lesson learned.


US operations accidents rates aboard US aircraft carriers were "appalling" (10% of operational aircraft per month). The accident rates for narrow track landing gear were about 1.5 times those of the wider track types.


I noted with some considerable surprise the poor climb-out of the Seafire in the takeoff run. Note the Seafire crash and compare it to the Avenger?
 
Comparison of Aircraft Carriers.png


Secondary Sources:

Chesneau: Aircraft Carriers
Friedman: British Carrier Avaition
Whitley: German Capital Ships of World War Two
Whitley: German Cruisers of World War Two
The length of Seydlitz's flight deck is an estimate made by me by measuring the line drawing in Whitley's German Cruisers of World War II
 
Any value is as a "fleet in being". See Tirpitz. It will tie up RN assets and consume vast amounts of RAF resource in fruitless efforts to sink it until someone puts a bomb through the deck.

If it sails the RN /RAF kill it in double quick time.
 
@NOMISYRRUC Interesting in that table is the Graf Zeppelin is among the largest of the carriers, only beaten/rivalled by the Essexs, Shokakus, Ark Royal and Eagle. So the Germans, with no experience in building carriers, thought it was a good idea to start with the biggest possible. That's a bit like a starting architect planning the Empire State Building as his first project.
 
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