The German Aircraft Carrier Graf Zeppelin


Jeff Head

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I suspect that the word Flugdeckkreuzer inspired the name through deck cruiser. Does anyone know?
In German, Flugdeckkreuzer literally means "Flight Deck Cruiser." A cruiser with a flight deck.

A more proper translation into English would be, "aircraft carrying cruiser."

As to it being the root for the "through deck cruisers," I can't say.

The Japanese used similar considerations for their aerial battleship conversions they did to the Ise battleships after the Battle of Midway.




I found a good description of the conversionof the Ise:

Ise refit said:
To partially compensate for the loss of carrier strength at the Battle of Midway, the Japanese Navy Aircraft Department began plans to convert the Ise-class battleships to full-sized aircraft carriers each carrying 54 planes. This concept was abandoned due to lack of time and resources and a hybrid battleship/carrier concept was adopted.

Ise was dry-docked, and her aft No. 5 and No. 6 main turrets were removed and replaced by a hangar surmounted by a 70 m (230 ft) long flight deck and a "T"-shaped aircraft elevator. This was long enough to permit the launch of aircraft, but not their recovery. Plans called for the new hangar to carry nine planes inside, with 11 on deck and two on each catapult; however, it was later realized that a single faulty aircraft engine could ruin the whole concept. To prevent jams, the deck was fitted with two rails, 12 turntables, trolleys and tie-downs. Two 25 m (82 ft) Model 11 catapults were installed on tall supports on the port and starboard sides forward of the flight deck. A collapsible derrick crane was fitted port abaft. The new deck was covered with 200 mm (7.9 in) of concrete to compensate for the unbalanced condition created after removal of the aft armament. A 1 m (3 ft) thick layer of concrete was also poured around the main and reserve steering rooms and a 150 mm (5.9 in) horizontal armor cover was added.

Additional anti-aircraft weapons were installed to better fight off aerial attack. The eight single 127 mm (5.0 in) DP guns were replaced with eight twin-mounts, and the Type 96 25 mm (0.98 in) AA guns were increased from 20 to 57 (including 19 triple-mounts). Type 21 air-search radar and two Type 22 surface-search radars were also installed. As modified, Ise could carry 22 aircraft.

The operational concept envisioned Ise accompanying the Kido Butai (Carrier Strike Force), and launching its 11 Yokosuka D4Y2 Suisei ("Judy") dive bombers and 11 Aichi E16A Zuiun ("Paul") seaplanes that are capable of diving attacks to add another 44 bombers to the Strike Force. The Suisei had to land either on a conventional carrier or on land bases, whereas the E16A could be hoisted back aboard after landing near the ship by using a crane. Ise's final aircraft allowance called for 14 E16As and eight D4Y2s.
She was never used in this role however becasue by the time she was completed, launched, trialed, and her aircraft training completed, the Japanese simply did not have enough planes to deploy to her, and what planes they did have went to their other carriers, and finally in defense of the home islands.
 
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delft

Brigadier
In German, Flugdeckkreuzer literally means "Flight Deck Cruiser." A cruiser with a flight deck.

A more proper translation into English would be, "aircraft carrying cruiser."

As to it being the root for the "through deck cruisers," I can't say.

The Japanese used similar considerations for their aerial battleship conversions they did to the Ise battleships after the Battle of Midway.




I found a good description of the conversionof the Ise:



She was never used in this role however becasue by the time she was completed, launched, trialed, and her aircraft training completed, the Japanese simply did not have enough planes to deploy to her, and what planes they did have went to their other carriers, and finally in defense of the home islands.
Aircraft carrier development is a fascinating subject. Thank you, Jeff, for the Ise story. I'm pretty sure we are not at the end of the development of new aircraft carrier concepts. Not as bizarre as a 180k catamaran but perhaps a hybrid LPH with a sky ramp for UCAV's.
I'm well able to read and speak German. From here Germany is just a bike ride away. It seems to me that flight deck cruiser wouldn't appeal to RN types - in what way would it differ from aircraft carrier - but that the rhythm of the German word might have inspired the through deck cruiser appellation.
 

shen

Senior Member
Well , standard German tactics was to operate their larger raiders in pairs ( Bismarck&Prinz Eugen , Gneisenau&Scharnhorst ) or even alone ( Admiral Graf Spee ) without destroyer escort . Reason for that was simply because their destroyers didn't have enough range to escort larger ships on longer cruisers especially at higher speeds they were forced to operate . Also there was practically no chance to resupply those ships at sea . So , if GZ wanted to venture into Atlantic , she would most likely go with another battleship or heavy cruiser and nothing much else . In such circumstances her guns could be useful .

If we talk about actions in Norwegian or Barents Sea , that would be another matter as Germans did operate a lot of destroyers there and GZ would definitely had escort of 3-4 destroyers .
What you described very well was the tactic Nazi Germany was forced to adopt because Z-plan didn't have time to finish. But Z-plan to suppose to build a fleet that can challenge the Royal Navy head on in a Mahanian decisive battle. For which the GZ as well as the Flugdeckkreuzer (which was actually laid down) would be ill-suited.
long wiki article about Admiral Raeder.
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!

not sure how accurate it is, but that guy sounds just as crazy as the Fuehrer, just differently.
 
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Equation

Lieutenant General
What you described very well was the tactic Nazi Germany was forced to adopt because Z-plan didn't have time to finish. But Z-plan to suppose to build a fleet that can challenge the Royal Navy head on in a Mahanian decisive battle. For which the GZ as well as the Flugdeckkreuzer (which was actually laid down) would be ill-suited.
long wiki article about Admiral Raeder.
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!

not sure how accurate it is, but that guy sounds just as crazy as the Fuehrer, just differently.
I doubt whatever fleet the Germans build could really challenge the Royal Navy at the time. They just simply don't have the oil or access to it like the UK can. You can build all the planes, tanks, and ships you want, but without sufficient supply of oil for fuel, those machines would be useless.
 

Lezt

Junior Member
I doubt whatever fleet the Germans build could really challenge the Royal Navy at the time. They just simply don't have the oil or access to it like the UK can. You can build all the planes, tanks, and ships you want, but without sufficient supply of oil for fuel, those machines would be useless.
The royal navy of ww2 is a potent but still a shadow of itself at the turn of the century. had german rearmament been complete, she could have seriously challenged the RN. Especially the KGVs are constrained by Washington, while the Bismarks are not.

Then you throw into the equation the newer German FAC crafts... Just imagine E-boats with Fritz-X....
 

Equation

Lieutenant General
The royal navy of ww2 is a potent but still a shadow of itself at the turn of the century. had german rearmament been complete, she could have seriously challenged the RN. Especially the KGVs are constrained by Washington, while the Bismarks are not.

Then you throw into the equation the newer German FAC crafts... Just imagine E-boats with Fritz-X....
Yes as far as weapons comparison in ship to ship, the Germans can challenge the RN if they were completely rearmed. Still the UK has the bigger economy and better access to materials and fuel for rearming and rebuilding their navy. They don't necessarily have to do it all on the UK isle as well, they can manufacture a lot of in in India, South Africa, Canada, some to Australia or even to the US. Meanwhile, the Germans didn't have that luxury as they are still facing harsh economic punishments for WW1.
 

shen

Senior Member
I doubt whatever fleet the Germans build could really challenge the Royal Navy at the time. They just simply don't have the oil or access to it like the UK can. You can build all the planes, tanks, and ships you want, but without sufficient supply of oil for fuel, those machines would be useless.
I agree the Germans didn't the economy to build and fuel a fleet powerful enough to challenge the Royal Navy head on, but Raeder didn't care. He just wanted his dream navy. Unlike the hardcore Nazis who really wanted to kill Slavs to the east, the German navy guys like Raeder really hated the British and Americans. They were hellbent on building a powerful fleet to fight the Anglo. So Z-plan with 10 battleships, 4 aircraft carriers, 15 Panzerschiffe, 5 heavy cruisers, 44 light cruisers, 68 destroyers and 249 U-boats, probably was enough to fight the Royal Navy. But that wasn't enough for Raeder, in 1940 he proposed an expanded Plan Z fleet of 80 battleships, 15-20 carriers, 100 heavy cruisers, 115 light cruisers, 500 U-boats, and 250 destroyers. Crazeeeee!!!!!
 

shen

Senior Member
The royal navy of ww2 is a potent but still a shadow of itself at the turn of the century. had german rearmament been complete, she could have seriously challenged the RN. Especially the KGVs are constrained by Washington, while the Bismarks are not.

Then you throw into the equation the newer German FAC crafts... Just imagine E-boats with Fritz-X....
The treaty constrained KGVs were still better armored than the Bismark. Okay, in hindsight, the new 14" turret was a bad idea. The RN would've been better off with the old 15" double turret like the Vanguard class. The Bismark was a very inefficient design for its weight class.
E-boats with Fritz-X? how is that going to work?
 

thunderchief

Senior Member
I doubt whatever fleet the Germans build could really challenge the Royal Navy at the time. They just simply don't have the oil or access to it like the UK can. You can build all the planes, tanks, and ships you want, but without sufficient supply of oil for fuel, those machines would be useless.
Germany was getting oil from Romania and also synthesizing some , so they were not that oil starved until they lost Ploesti oil fields and Allies bombed oil synthesizing plants late in the war . But there was more to it :

When the war broke out in 1939. , there was an arms race going on , but neither of participants was completely rearmed and prepared ( Germany , Italy , France , UK , Soviet Union ... ) . When Hitler invaded Poland he was secretly hoping that Britain & France would not intervene (although there were contingency measures employed) . But Britain&France did declare war and part of their reasoning was probably that ratio of forces is more in their favor now then in let's say two years .

In the end , it all went as it went , it is difficult to predict what would have happened if war was delayed . Note that at said time there were lot of technological breakthroughs , so even newly built equipment would become obsolete in few years (tanks , airplanes etc ... )
 

Lezt

Junior Member
The treaty constrained KGVs were still better armored than the Bismark. Okay, in hindsight, the new 14" turret was a bad idea. The RN would've been better off with the old 15" double turret like the Vanguard class. The Bismark was a very inefficient design for its weight class.
E-boats with Fritz-X? how is that going to work?
Well armored is a subjective term,

if you look at the sinking of the prince of wales and the repulse, versus the sinking of the Bismark

Bismark sunk with 4 torpedo hits and more than 400 shell hits, POW sank with 4 torpedo hits. Which only suggests that the armor scheme on the bismark is quite durable even if it is thin on paper.

Every country was constraint by the times they were in, the Bismark was supposed to get triple gun turrets, the KGV was supposed to get 3 quad turret. But when you talk about efficient... efficiency is generally the reverse of durability. had a shell stuck and jam/destroy a turret, a 3,3,3 design like the Iowa would lose 33% of it's firepower, a 2,2,2,2 design like the bismark would lose 25%. the Fuso.. with a 2,2,2,2,2,2 will only lose 16.6% of it's firepower.

How an E-boat work with the Frit-X? look at the soviet Komar class. The fritz-X was not as advanced yet, but it technically is a beam riding missile, except the operator controls the missle onto the beam. technically, if the operator can keep the crosshair on target untill the missle hits, that is all that is needed
 

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