Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

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Paul L
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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Post by Paul L » Sat Sep 10, 2011 11:39 pm

Tiornu wrote:How many decades of practice did the Germans have in fighter interception from a carrier platform? And in launching and recovering anti-ship strikes from a carrier?

Pretty lame argument don't you think. One might as well ask….

How many decades of practice did the Germans have in tank attacks or defense? It looks like barely 1/2 decade and yet their much, much later start , is heralded by many as the reason for their ability to implement advanced innovative tactics. One could make the same argument for jets or guided missiles or ballistic missiles?
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boredatwork
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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Post by boredatwork » Sun Sep 11, 2011 3:49 am

Paul L wrote:
Tiornu wrote:How many decades of practice did the Germans have in fighter interception from a carrier platform? And in launching and recovering anti-ship strikes from a carrier?

Pretty lame argument don't you think. One might as well ask….

How many decades of practice did the Germans have in tank attacks or defense? It looks like barely 1/2 decade and yet their much, much later start , is heralded by many as the reason for their ability to implement advanced innovative tactics. One could make the same argument for jets or guided missiles or ballistic missiles?

Tactics depend on hardware and hardware depends on tactics. There is a world of difference developing tactics around a 20 ton mass produced weapon system capable of being incrementally upgraded during production or replaced with new models in response the lessons of nearly 20 years (not 5 - 1916-1939, bar a few years in the early 20s) of tactical study (either with the genuine item starting in Russia Russia in the 20s or using reasonable proxy (Gudarians canvas covered trucks)) compared with the complexity of a 24,000 ton floating city in which, without ever having a previous carrier to draw upon for experience, sufficient space/personel/weight allowance had to be forseen as modifcations would involve extended shipyard time above and beyond the already extended production time (as opposed to a simple TOE change), who depended upon her own completion, in the the absence of any practical means of experimentation, for the training and development of tactics, the lessons of which could not then be easily incorporated into her and at least her immediate sister, and whose primary reason d'etre - her aircraft - were the responsibility of an entirely different service at best indifferent to naval requirements and at worst frequently outright hostile.

[/runonsentence]

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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Post by Paul L » Sun Sep 11, 2011 6:19 am

In 1934 Germany had no tanks at all. How do you build a doctrine out of nothing with nothing. The argument about no doctrine for carriers is equally absurd. They would develope a doctrine the way the always did.They would make it up as they went along.The first order to build an German aircraft Carrier happened in 1928 , under the second rearmament plan. That is as much time as it took to develope the tank doctrine from nothing.
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boredatwork
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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Post by boredatwork » Mon Sep 12, 2011 12:40 am

Paul L wrote:In 1934 Germany had no tanks at all. How do you build a doctrine out of nothing with nothing. The argument about no doctrine for carriers is equally absurd. They would develope a doctrine the way the always did.They would make it up as they went along.The first order to build an German aircraft Carrier happened in 1928 , under the second rearmament plan. That is as much time as it took to develope the tank doctrine from nothing.
Sorry but that's incorrect - Germany had 2 models of tanks in 1918 plus captured allied tanks. They also secretly built 2 models in the late 20s/early 30s - the Grosstraktor and Leichtertraktor medium and light tanks respectively which they tested in Russia. I otherwords they had already had first hand experience upon which to build of designing and operating tanks. They had NONE with carriers.

What is your source for the "order to build a german aircraft carrier happened in 1928?" As far as I know that was date the foundation was laid for the German naval air-arm - which at that time focussed on the eventual acquisition of sea planes and flying boats from surface ships - not fixed wheeled aircraft carriers. IIRC serious thought wasn't given to developing a carrier until Raeder initiated design studies in 1934.

Moreover it only takes ~2 years to design, test and produce a new tank model and much less to upgrade an existing model based on lessons learnt during testing. What are the equivalent times to design, build, and modify a ship in response to lessons learnt?

You can put a dummy on a cross country vehicle and have a reasonably good substitute to begin working on tactics in the absence of tanks - as did the Germans long before they had produced sufficient tanks to equip a battalion, much less a division. Nothing of a similar sort could be done to simulate operating fixed wind aircraft from a carrier in the absence of both fixed wing aircraft and any sort of deck upon which to take off and land.

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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Post by Keith Enge » Mon Sep 12, 2011 5:57 am

boredatwork wrote about the problems that Germany would have developing an aircraft carrier:
whose primary reason d'etre - her aircraft - were the responsibility of an entirely different service at best indifferent to naval requirements and at worst frequently outright hostile
.

Unfortunately, the same thing could be said about the RAF and FAA.

By the way, it is entirely possible to build doctrine about weapons not yet invented or, at least, not possessed by that service. The US Naval War College frequently wargamed speculative ships and weapons. They built doctrine to employ them and then tested the viability of the weapons and doctrine in subsequent wargames. Among the concepts rejected as a result of those wargames were flight-deck cruisers, ships that were hybrids of cruisers and aircraft carriers. Another was the torpedo battleship, a heavily armored low freeboard ship armed solely with lots of submerged torpedo tubes. Results from wargames were also the reason that the US Navy actually laid down all big gun dreadnoughts before the British Dreadnought (the British ship, of course, was completed first, however). Wargaming is a wide continuous spectrum of options. If you don't have actual weapons to test in field exercises, just move back along the spectrum until you can make the test. The further back you move, the more abstract the test becomes but it can still be viable and is much better than nothing.

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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Post by boredatwork » Mon Sep 12, 2011 3:09 pm

Keith Enge wrote:boredatwork wrote about the problems that Germany would have developing an aircraft carrier:
whose primary reason d'etre - her aircraft - were the responsibility of an entirely different service at best indifferent to naval requirements and at worst frequently outright hostile
.

Unfortunately, the same thing could be said about the RAF and FAA.
Which undoubtably had a negative impact on the development of the later as compared to the Japanese and US Navies which owned their own air forces and whose pilots could rise to command ranks to exert a greater influence in development of future weapons and doctrine. Thats not to say that technically the British weren't innovative - even postwar with the angled deck, steam catapult, and mirror landing system they continued to lead in that regard - but it was the Americans followed by the Japanese who were far in advance of actually operating aircraft from carriers - hence the reason the British adopted American practices as the war progressed.
By the way, it is entirely possible to build doctrine about weapons not yet invented or, at least, not possessed by that service. The US Naval War College frequently wargamed speculative ships and weapons.
I don't say that it is impossible to develope a doctrine relating to a weapon not possessed by the service - I'm saying that such doctrine is MUCH more likely to be flawed than a doctrine developed as a result of actual service or at least reasonable simulation.

I also say that some doctrine are much easier to test and develope than others. The size and composition of a panzer unit for example. It could be made bigger or smaller simply by changing the TOE. The ideal size of a carrier and her airwing on the otherhand is somewhat fixed by the size of the carrier which can't really be changed.

To counter your examples of wargames providing the right answers you could look at the example of Ranger (and her Japanese equivalent Ryujo) Wargaming seemed to suggest the value of 5 small carriers carrying approximately 400 aircraft over 2 large carriers carrying half as many. The benefits of size for efficient carrier operations were only really understood after the Lexington & Saratoga were completed. It was also suggested that having a catapult in the hanger and high reverse speed + a second set of arrestor gear on the bow would allow for more flexible operations - neither of which proved true in practice.

PS - South Carolina's design was approved immediately after Dreadnought was laid down and thus was produced independantly of knowledge of the later ship but she wasn't actually laid down until Dec 18, 1906 - the month Dreadnought was actually completed.

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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Post by paul.mercer » Mon Sep 12, 2011 8:32 pm

(quote)Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin head out together escorted by Hipper. The British have King George V, PoW, Repulse and Renown. They also have several carriers.
Gentlemen,
If the RN fielded two battleships, two battlecruisers and several carriers against the above it would be a very one sided affair, even Tirpitz could not hold out against that lot. As for Graf Zeppelin, she would be facing the mass attack from the British carriers, some torpedoes are sure to get through.

Keith Enge
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Re: doctrine and wargaming

Post by Keith Enge » Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:15 pm

boredatwork - You are correct, I was confusing the authorization date with the starting (laid down) date. The South Dakota class was designed and authorized in March 1905, seven months before Dreadnought was laid down. They were, however, only laid down in December 1906, the same month that Dreadnought was completed.

I agree that wargaming is fallible. "Rules merchants" can pervert the intention of the rule creators by exploiting aspects of the rules in ways not intended by the creators. Conversely, the rule creators may write the rules in ways that force outcomes in line with their own prejudices. That said, sometimes the most interesting insights learned from a wargame result from the players doing things not envisioned by the game designers.

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.

As a point of interest, sometimes a position on the wargaming spectrum is blurred. Field and naval exercises are at the realistic end of the spectrum. The US Navy ran annual Fleet Problems in the 1920s and 1930s; these exercises often employed hundreds of ships. However, even then, many of the exercises included "notional" ships, ships that stood in for ships of a type either not yet available or maybe not even designed yet. Sometimes these notional ships were even more nebulous, wholly fictitious ships without even stand-ins. Similarly, a plane or two could represent others. This allowed a cruiser to pretend to be a carrier with her floatplane pretending to be a complete carrier strike force. This is another example of scaling failing; it was a lot harder for the defenders to detect a single plane rather than a hundred plane strike force.

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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Post by Paul L » Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:53 am

boredatwork wrote:
Paul L wrote:In 1934 Germany had no tanks at all. How do you build a doctrine out of nothing with nothing. The argument about no doctrine for carriers is equally absurd. They would develope a doctrine the way the always did.They would make it up as they went along.The first order to build an German aircraft Carrier happened in 1928 , under the second rearmament plan. That is as much time as it took to develope the tank doctrine from nothing.
Sorry but that's incorrect - Germany had 2 models of tanks in 1918 plus captured allied tanks. They also secretly built 2 models in the late 20s/early 30s - the Grosstraktor and Leichtertraktor medium and light tanks respectively which they tested in Russia. I otherwords they had already had first hand experience upon which to build of designing and operating tanks. They had NONE with carriers.

What is your source for the "order to build a german aircraft carrier happened in 1928?" As far as I know that was date the foundation was laid for the German naval air-arm - which at that time focussed on the eventual acquisition of sea planes and flying boats from surface ships - not fixed wheeled aircraft carriers. IIRC serious thought wasn't given to developing a carrier until Raeder initiated design studies in 1934.
.
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.

Source on German Carrier plans is several of Diest books like "The Wehrmacht and German Rearmament" and the middle section of VOl 1 of "Germany and the Second World War" that he is credited with writing. The plans for the second rearmament phase were first drawn up in 1928 and hottly debated in parliment through 1932 before it was adopted.
When the nazi got in power they pretty much left this alone except they added to various programmes until Hitler stepped in and put his foot down. He told Grand Admiral Raeder that all he wanted from the Reichmarine was it to become a 'coastal defense fleet', which pretty much put an end to most naval programmes. To get around Hitler , Raeder argued that a modest fleet could be used to help defeat the French and would not threaten Hitlers fantasy about courting the UK ....Hitler agreed. From that point on only a limited number of anti French design warships were ordered.
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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Post by lwd » Tue Sep 13, 2011 1:07 pm

Paul L wrote: ... 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.....
No one has said they weren't capable of estabishing a doctrine. The problem is that said initial doctrine is very likely to be suboptimal at best and very likely to be seriously flawed. A doctrine for jets for instance is really just a doctrine for faster planes not much of a stretch from what the LW and other air forces had done in the past. Their ballistic missile "doctrine" seemed to be fire at major enemy cities or occasional high value targets. Certainly lack of doctrine shouldn't be what stopped them from persuing carriers. Lack of a viable role for them on the other hand was a very good reason.

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Re: doctrine and wargaming

Post by boredatwork » Tue Sep 13, 2011 1:56 pm

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.

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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Post by delcyros » Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:04 pm

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.
Given that the Seafire didn´t enjoyed all the improvements in the STOL performance envelope forwarded to the Bf-109T:

[+] increased wing area to lower the wingload
[+] strengthened gear and reinforced fuselage arrestor gear points to allow for more structural reserves
[+] enlarged areas of slats and flaps to improve the lift coefficient when deployed
[+] air brakes to allow for more power-on controll in the approach

and given the fact that the Bf-109T would be operating fromt the deck of GRAF ZEPPELIN instead of a british carrier and having the differences in deck area in mind, I doubt that the proposition that the Bf-109T "would (likely...) have suffered from a similar appealing accident rate" is well supported by technical facts.

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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Post by Paul L » Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:45 pm

Then this whole discussion just evolves around peoples opinions , which are culturaly centric.

Westeners will just see it as impossible , but admit when pushed its possible ...but they would not be any good , what ever that means :?

German centrics will just grin and say "bring it on". :wink:


The Germans were fast learners.
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RF
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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Post by RF » Wed Sep 14, 2011 8:51 am

This last post I find rather bizarre.

Aren't Germans ''westerners?''

''Cultuarally centric'' - what does this mean?

Germans are indeed fast thinkers, but no more than anyone else. It really does depend on whether they are allowed to think, an important critera when living under a totalitarian dictatorship.
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Paul L
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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Post by Paul L » Wed Sep 14, 2011 8:07 pm

RF wrote:This last post I find rather bizarre.

Aren't Germans ''westerners?''

''Cultuarally centric'' - what does this mean?

Germans are indeed fast thinkers, but no more than anyone else. It really does depend on whether they are allowed to think, an important critera when living under a totalitarian dictatorship.

Not from the POV of WW-II, from that POV they had different out look. Their military training and thinking was along different lines than in the west, therefore the POV is different. Besides every one is biased that is unavoidable. Those who are biased towards the allied side will come down on that side of the debate, while those who are biased the other way will come down on the German side of the debate.

It really doesn't matter the point is that the only thing that would have prevented the Germans from fielding an carrier was production issues and the politics Goerings control over LW vs Hitlers willingness to risk naval clashes.
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