Keith Enge wrote:I dispute your contention that tank doctrine can be scaled up by merely adjusting the TOE. Some tactics can't be scaled up. In small unit actions, a weaker force can try to redress the balance of power against the stronger force by using an ambush as a force multiplier. This doesn't scale up; a few tanks can set an ambush, a tank army can't. NATO forces ran into this problem when setting doctrine against the larger Soviet tank armies during the cold war.
Besides things like ambushes, even maneuvering doesn't scale up. Unless you are Patton at the Battle of the Bulge, you have great difficulty in changing the facing of a tank army. Meanwhile, a platoon merely basically pivots in place.
I didn't mean that specific tactics can be scaled up to match the size of the force - I meant the size of the force can be scaled - within reason - to experiement with different concentration. There's a world of difference between tank battalions attached to infantry divisions and tanks grouped into a panzer division. It's easy enough (compared to doing the equivalent with a carrier) if you have a few hundred tanks (or reasonable proxy) to conduct excercises to see the advantages of both.
Once you've settle on a Panzer Division realistic excercises will suggest the ideal number of tanks, the size of supporting arms, the logistic tail - etc for practical command and control. If I run an excercise with a Panzer Division and discover that I'm running out of fuel frequently and my mechanics are being overwealmed with the amount of maintenance required it's simple enough for example (assuming availability) to just allocate a greater number of fuel trucks and mechanics to the division. You also have more freedom to replace components with newer/bigger/better when it becomes available.
A Carrier on the otherhand if you discover that you've made insufficient allowance for fuel and support crew you can't easily add more - hence you get situations like the Implacable class which added a full extra hanger compared to Illustrious, then lost half of it to workshops and accomodation because the latter were insuffucient for the original planned complement of aircraft. Likewise fuel initially would have been considerably less/aircraft than Illustrious and she was unable to operate the full range of newer aircraft available because her hangers were shorter.
Your missing the point. Its very dangerous to under estimate your opponent. Germans were perfectly capable of establishing doctrine for new weapons never fielded by other nations like Jets guided missiles ballistic missiles etc. Lack of a doctrine didn't stop them from trying and would not have stopped them had they pursuit Carriers.
You're missing the point. I don't doubt that Germany could have eventually
fielded a fantastic carrier force. What I'm am arguing is against the likelyhood that they would "get lucky" to be able to operate Graf Zepplin efficiently right from the start in time for the hypothetical November 1941 scenario being discussed. Of the nations that have developed their own carrier force (Britain, US, Russia, Japan, France) NONE of them managed to so.
Everything from deck handling proceedures, launching & landing proceedures, CAP, searching, training would have to be worked out. How reliable/efficient was GZ's powerplant given how much high speed steaming she would need to have done. How sea worthy would she have been? How quick could her heavy armoured lifts cycle? For a raider especially slow launching and recovery of aircraft could prove fatal if turning into the wind meant turning towards the enemy. Etc, etc. The carrier aircraft were a novelty too - the Ju87c demonstrated sufficient ruggedness that it likely would have made it a suitable carrier aircraft. The Bf109T on the otherhand might have been on par with the Seafire, if lucky, and likely would have suffered from a similar appalling accident rate.
The Germans themselves had doubts hence the belated decision to produce conversions for training and delay further carrier construction until after GZ had been completed and experienced gained.