Graf Zeppelin vs HMS Ark Royal and Victorious

Historical what if discussions, hypothetical operations, battleship vs. battleship engagements, design your own warship, etc.
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miro777
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Re: Graf Zeppelin vs HMS Ark Royal and Victorious

Post by miro777 » Sun Sep 14, 2008 9:09 pm

Well, as this is hypothetical i was assuming the war started only in 1943 and the Plan Z was completed, therefore the Kriegsmarine would have had 3 carriers...
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Re: Graf Zeppelin vs HMS Ark Royal and Victorious

Post by lwd » Sun Sep 14, 2008 9:26 pm

Not for long....
If the Germans have 3 then how many do the British have? How about the US? If it's 43 then either the war in the Pacific didn't and won't occur or the Japanese have faced the combined US and British navies both of which have learned many lessons and ramped up their CV and plane production.

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Re: Graf Zeppelin vs HMS Ark Royal and Victorious

Post by miro777 » Sun Sep 14, 2008 11:07 pm

well...im not talkin puttin up the fleets of the US and Britain against the fleet of Germany, am I?

its one carrier against another one...
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Re: Graf Zeppelin vs HMS Ark Royal and Victorious

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Sun Sep 14, 2008 11:20 pm

The CV problem is a much more complex issue than anything else in the hypothetical forum. As I stated earlier is not just to build a CV and put it on the sea, but to have a proper air group, developing a doctrine ans adopting the task for the CV.
England had it´s approach.
Japan had it´s own.
The US had it too and took it to unforseen extremes.

Maybe Germany wanted a CV just to help her surface units in operations such as the invasion of Norway. Or as part of a plan to cross the Channel and invade England. The issue here is that, if Germany developed naval air power modern enough to defeat those of early WWII England then, maybe, there is door in which we could get a combat between Atlantic CVs. But, to be honest, the CVs must be part of a whole program that must last at least 10-15 years prior to the begining of WWII. For historical reasons we know that Germany didn´t had the time necessary so it would be a misfortune. And, by the way, maybe a misfortune for the whole "Plan Z" because, as we already know, a fleet without CVs, is condemned to be annhiliated.

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Re: Graf Zeppelin vs HMS Ark Royal and Victorious

Post by Tiornu » Sun Sep 14, 2008 11:25 pm

I mean, the fact that they had 20 years more of training, doesnt mean that it's neccessaryly better.
What do you think they learned in those twenty years? Take-offs and landings are only Step 1 in carier operations.

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Re: Graf Zeppelin vs HMS Ark Royal and Victorious

Post by miro777 » Sun Sep 14, 2008 11:37 pm

Ya, obviously thats not the only thing they learned...
i was simply trying to make an scenario where seabased messerschmidts would fight British carrierbased airplanes...which in my opinion wouldnt have been a happy ending for the RN... :think:
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Re: Graf Zeppelin vs HMS Ark Royal and Victorious

Post by lwd » Mon Sep 15, 2008 12:52 am

Depends a lot on when. By 43 I'm not at all sure you are correct. Certainly by 44 the German planes and pilots are likely to be over matched. But the Graf Zepplin would have had huge problems if she were operating as designed. The title of this thread puts her vs two British CVs not a happy mix. If you compare RN doctrine vs KM doctrine there are some things such as radar usage that would give the RN a considerable advantage. If the RN and USN are as close together as they were historically the RN will also have the advantage of sharing lessons learned (as will the USN).

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Re: Graf Zeppelin vs HMS Ark Royal and Victorious

Post by dunmunro » Mon Sep 15, 2008 5:01 am

miro777 wrote:Ya, obviously thats not the only thing they learned
i was simply trying to make an scenario where seabased messerschmidts would fight British carrierbased airplanes...which in my opinion wouldnt have been a happy ending for the RN... :think:
Sea Hurricanes did fight Me-109's and generally fared quite well. A Navalized Me109 and a Sea Hurricane would have differed little in performance. The Fulmar was slower than a Me109T but more maneuverable.

Of course the main FAA strike aircraft, the Swordfish and Albacore were equipped with ASV radar and could find and strike enemy ships in complete darkness...so there is some probability that the Me109T would never have a chance to operate against FAA aircraft. IIRC, the first FAA strike from Victorious, against Bismarck was at midnight local time.

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Re: Graf Zeppelin vs HMS Ark Royal and Victorious

Post by Karl Heidenreich » Mon Sep 15, 2008 4:46 pm

The British are clever and dangerous foes, don`t mess with them. No Me 109 could be a guarantee of success in front of a supermarine Spitfire with a good pilot.
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Re: Graf Zeppelin vs HMS Ark Royal and Victorious

Post by jazsa80 » Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:57 am

How much doctrine is really needed? I mean if a german spotter plane eyes the British carrier, reports its location, then isnt it just a matter of the German planes being loaded and launched? Planes fly off, bomb said ship and return. Just because they didnt have any experience doesnt mean the German's wouldnt know what to do.

I cant see the German commander, on aquiring the location of the British, ordering the carrier to pericsope depth and deploying the drift nets. The doctrine cant be that hard can it?

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Re: Graf Zeppelin vs HMS Ark Royal and Victorious

Post by lwd » Tue Sep 16, 2008 2:40 pm

There's a lot more to it than that. For instance if the planes just fly off and attack they will amost assuredly not be very effective. They need to form up into a decent size strike. Then there is how do they attack. Not to mention can they even find the target. I haven't read but have heard very good things about the First Team series that get into US CV warfare in detail. I have read and hartily recommend Shattered Sword for the Japanese side of things. Looking at even those two they certainly didn't "have it right" completely by the start of the war. I seam to recall hearing that the RN added some very helpful ideas as far as fighter direction to US procedures. Given the experiance of the above 3 navies Germany would have a lot of lessons learned to go before getting close to them. Consider for example based on previous descriptions the Graf Zepplin would have required extensive modification before she was really useable. Even then she would only have been capable of putting a pretty marginal strike group in the air.

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Re: Graf Zeppelin vs HMS Ark Royal and Victorious

Post by tommy303 » Tue Sep 16, 2008 8:01 pm

IIRC, the first FAA strike from Victorious, against Bismarck was at midnight local time.
If I remember correctly, that far north it is still twilight at midnight in mid to late May, with the sun not completely setting.

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Re: Graf Zeppelin vs HMS Ark Royal and Victorious

Post by Tiornu » Tue Sep 16, 2008 9:16 pm

How much doctrine is really needed? I mean if a german spotter plane eyes the British carrier, reports its location, then isnt it just a matter of the German planes being loaded and launched?
The Germans have no scout planes flying search patterns unless they first have a search doctrine. Every plane flying searches is unavailable for attack missions. Since GZ is unable to launch all her planes at once, these concerns become especially significant.

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Re: Graf Zeppelin vs HMS Ark Royal and Victorious

Post by dunmunro » Wed Sep 17, 2008 5:20 am

tommy303 wrote:
IIRC, the first FAA strike from Victorious, against Bismarck was at midnight local time.
If I remember correctly, that far north it is still twilight at midnight in mid to late May, with the sun not completely setting.
Not according to this:

http://www.largeformatphotography.info/suncalc/

Location: Unknown
Latitude: 57:09 N
Longitude: 36:45 W
Time Zone: 2
Magnetic Declination: 0:00 E
Azimuths Relative to True North

Day Date.............. Dawn Rise Transit Set.. Dusk Day Length Azimuth Max Alt Rise Set
Sat 24 May 1941 (DST) 3:55 4:52 13:24 21:56 22:55 17:04 47 313 54
Sun 25 May 1941 (DST) 3:52 4:51 13:24 21:58 22:57 17:08 47 313 54
Mon 26 May 1941 (DST) 3:50 4:49 13:24 22:00 22:59 17:11 46 314 54
Tue 27 May 1941 (DST) 3:48 4:48 13:24 22:02 23:01 17:14 46 314 54
Wed 28 May 1941 (DST) 3:46 4:46 13:24 22:03 23:04 17:17 46 314 54
Thu 29 May 1941 (DST) 3:44 4:45 13:24 22:05 23:06 17:20 45 315 55

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Re: Graf Zeppelin vs HMS Ark Royal and Victorious

Post by dunmunro » Wed Oct 29, 2008 8:16 pm

A quick followup. Friedman's US Aircraft Carriers has an interesting discussion of armoured flight decks. The discussion goes back and forth, and the argument against the AFD, on the grounds that it reduces aircraft capacity is well discussed, however I will quote two two sentences which Friedman attributes to BuShips:
"As for British experience, BuShips argued that the flight deck of Illustrious was penetrated by a large (1000lb or heavier) AP bomb.
"The fact that the existence of an armoured flight deck forces the use of such heavy bombs is an important argument in favour of such a deck"..."
US Aircraft Carriers, p215.

and again:
"BuShips saw the flight deck as a means to forcing an enemy to use heavy bombs to attack the hanger, that is, to reduce the number of bombs carried and so reduce his number of hits..." p217.
It follows from this logic that forcing the enemy to attack with heavier bombs will also reduce his radius of operations.

Ultimately the USN decided to adopt an armoured flight deck on the Midway class CVs.

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