WW2 Kriegsmarine Aircraft Carrier Graf Zeppelin
p r e s e n t
BattleFleet Naval Strategy Games
with Battleships Dynamics Game Engine
|Battlefleet: Pacific War is WW2 naval turn-based strategy game, extension to the classic Battleship game, where ships/planes, subs can move!|
|F e a t u r e s :|
|45 Ship/Plane/Sub/Artillery types
18 Death Match Missions
Various game objectives
Combat maps up to 96x96
Unit names and officer ranks are historic
S L S
|( Size: 4.8 MB )||for Windows 98/XP/NT/Me/2000 Pentium 233 MHz, 32 MB RAM||Current version: 1.24|
German aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin
Graf Zeppelin was an aircraft carrier of the Kriegsmarine, named in honor of Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin. Her construction was ordered on 16 November 1935, and her keel was laid down 28 December 1936 by Deutsche Werke of Kiel. She was launched on 8 December 1938, but was never commissioned.
In 1935, Adolf Hitler announced that Germany would construct aircraft carriers to strengthen the Kriegsmarine. The keels of two were laid down the next year. Two years later, Grand Admiral Erich Raeder presented an ambitious shipbuilding program called the Z Plan, in which four carriers were to be built by 1945. In 1939, he revised the plan, reducing the number to be built to two.
The German Navy has always maintained a policy of not assigning a name to a ship until she is launched. The first German carrier, laid down as "Carrier A," was named Graf Zeppelin when launched in 1938. The second carrier bore only the title "Carrier B," since she was never launched. Various names, including Peter Strasser and Deutschland, were rumored, but no official decision was ever made.
A review of the F?hrer's conferences on matters dealing with the German Navy, the minutes of which were captured after the fall of the Third Reich, reveals Hitler's vacillating interest in the carriers. Marshall Hermann G?ring, Commander in Chief of the Luftwaffe, was resentful of any incursion on his authority as head of the country's air power and he frustrated Raeder at every opportunity. Within his own service, Raeder found opposition in Admiral Karl Doenitz, a submarine man.
By May 1941, the strain on manpower and raw materials was being felt in Germany. Raeder was still optimistic, however, and informed Hitler that Graf Zeppelin, then about 85 per cent complete, would be completed in about a year and that another year would be required for sea trials and flight training.
Though Hitler continued to assure Raeder that the carriers would be built, the Admiral's war with G?ring had no truce and became increasingly bitter. G?ring showed his contempt for the naval air arm by informing Hitler and Raeder that the aircraft ordered for Graf Zeppelin could not be available until the end of 1944. G?ring's delaying tactics worked.
Construction on the carriers had been fitful from the start. "Carrier B" was abandoned in 1940 and broken up. Manpower and material shortages plagued the Graf Zeppelin.
Prodded by Raeder, Hitler ordered G?ring to produce aircraft for the carrier and under this pressure, the air marshall offered redesigned versions of the Junkers Ju 87B and the Messerschmitt Bf 109E-3 which were at that time being phased out of the Luftwaffe first-line squadrons. Raeder was unhappy, but he had to accept them or none at all. This forced another delay in the construction of the carrier: the flight deck installations had to be changed.
By 1943, Hitler had become disenchanted with his Navy. Raeder was relieved at his own request and Doenitz, the submarine admiral, took the top naval post. Work on Graf Zeppelin stopped completely.
As the end of World War II neared, Graf Zeppelin was scuttled in shallow water at Szczecin (known to the Germans as Stettin) on 25 April, 1945. After Germany's surrender, though, her history and fate is unclear. According to the terms of the Allied Tripartite Commission, a "Category C" ship (damaged or scuttled) should have been destroyed or sunk in deep water by 15 August 1946. However, reports were received in 1947 that she had been raised by the Soviet Union and towed to Leningrad. She probably left Seeswinoujcie (the port of Szczecin, known to the Germans as Swinem?nde) on 14 August 1947.
It is very unlikely that the hulk made it to Leningrad; the arrival of such a large and unusual vessel would have been noticed by Western intelligence forces. This assumption implies that the hulk was lost at sea between Swinem?nde and Leningrad.
One account concludes that she struck a mine north of R?gen on 15 August 1947, but R?gen, west of Swinem?nde, is not on the sailing route to Leningrad. Further north, in the Gulf of Finland, a heavily-mined area difficult for Western observers to monitor, is more likely.
Another account specifies that the Soviets designated Graf Zeppelin "PO-101" (Floating Base Number 101), towed a short way from Swinem?nde, and anchored as a training target for dive-bombers and torpedo vessels. The tests began on 16 August 1947. Allegedly, the Soviets installed aerial bombs on the flight deck, in hangars and even inside the funnels (to simulate a load of combat munitions), and then dropped bombs from aircraft, fired shells, and shot torpedoes into her. This assault would both comply with the Tripartite mandate (albeit late) and provide the Soviets with experience in sinking an aircraft carrier.
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