John Baxter's "Tragerflotten"

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eisenbahn9
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John Baxter's "Tragerflotten"

Post by eisenbahn9 » 07 Sep 2010 00:56

Has anyone read the book "Tragerflotten" by John Baxter? Just wondering if it's worthwhile as an alternate history book. He posits the Kriegsmarine building a fleet of 32 aircraft carriers, though I am uncertain over what period of years. Can anyone provide a synopsis?

http://www.luft46.com/jbbooks.html

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He posits the Kriegsmarine building a fleet of 32 aircraft c

Post by Dave Bender » 07 Sep 2010 01:05

What color is the sky on his planet?

The USA didn't even operate that many aircraft carriers during WWII (CV plus CVL).

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Terry Duncan
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Re: John Baxter's "Tragerflotten"

Post by Terry Duncan » 07 Sep 2010 02:27

As Dave has said, not at all likely. I would suggest his sky is a mix of very psychadelic coulours all swirling in pretty patterns.

To build a fleet this size would probably take Germany about thirty years, as there are not the docks to cope, so many will wear out long before the fleet is ready. Even in WWI the Germans struggled to have this many capital ships built between 1890 and 1918 to give an idea of the scale of the task, and post 1918 the industry was almost non-existant.

It might be a good read, but it is a long way from what was possible, so a very alternate history.

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Re: John Baxter's "Tragerflotten"

Post by phylo_roadking » 07 Sep 2010 02:38

so many will wear out long before the fleet is ready.
RN carriers between the wars were worn out at the end of every three-year commission! That's why so many were sh@gged and under speed during the war - the war caught several needing major work. It was all that full-speed into the wind business when launching aircraft...a bit inconvenient as this is what carriers were SUPPOSED to do :lol:
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Takao
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Re: John Baxter's "Tragerflotten"

Post by Takao » 07 Sep 2010 04:14

If Germany had a carrier fleet that large than she probably won WW1 and is the main power in Europe. It is unlikely that WW2, as we know it, would even occur. Her only main opponent would be the United States and they most likely would not go to war against Germany without a good provocation. Given this I see more of a "cold war" happening, unless Germany and Japan form an alliance and both attack the US.

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Re: John Baxter's "Tragerflotten"

Post by Markus Becker » 07 Sep 2010 11:55

Germany rearmed as fast as it could but still didn´t have one true fast battleship operational in 1939. This book might be entertaining AH but not realisitc AH. Not least because a continental power like Germany has little need for carriers in the first place.

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Re: John Baxter's "Tragerflotten"

Post by Baltasar » 07 Sep 2010 12:02

Takao, that book seems to be dealing with WWII if I interpret that swastica on the front correctly.

Would be nice to see what the author thinks what the reaction of the Allies to such a dramatical increase in naval power would be. Wouldn't assume they'd just ignore it. Would also be nice to see where Germany was supposed to get all the material and funds for that and what other projects would be cut back.

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Re: John Baxter's "Tragerflotten"

Post by Sid Guttridge » 07 Sep 2010 12:30

Never spend good money on "What-ifs".

If you want fact, buy fact.

If you want fiction, buy fiction.

"What-ifs" turn up second-hand or remaindered soon enough at prices that more closely approach their true value.

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unless Germany and Japan form an alliance

Post by Dave Bender » 08 Sep 2010 00:39

At the risk of asking a dumb question....
Why would Germany form a military alliance with Japan? WWII Germany (and certainly not Hitler) didn't like Japan. Both nations were anti-communist. They had essentially nothing else in common.

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Re: unless Germany and Japan form an alliance

Post by BDV » 08 Sep 2010 07:30

Dave Bender wrote:At the risk of asking a dumb question....
Why would Germany form a military alliance with Japan? WWII Germany (and certainly not Hitler) didn't like Japan. Both nations were anti-communist. They had essentially nothing else in common.
A "hang together lest we hang separately" Konzept (also as per the historical outcome).
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Re: John Baxter's "Tragerflotten"

Post by Andy H » 08 Sep 2010 12:21

Hi

Can any responses please be in realtion to the posters intial enquiry about the books 'worth' regarding AI.

The thread tself isn't a WI and I dont want any posts turning it into a de-facto WI, so please dont post any posts as they will be removed.

Regards

Andy H

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Re: John Baxter's "Tragerflotten"

Post by von Friedt » 16 Jul 2011 12:09

I haven't read Tragerflotten but I did purchase Tragerflotten Data Book by John Baxter.

I've always had an interest in German CV development, and although I disagree with much of the authors presumptions, I found it an interesting and thought-provoking book. I don't think it was his idea that this was what could have happened, but to take an idea and push it to its extreme. In that, he succeeds.

It actually is 33 CVs (not 32, but the author takes into account Bremen (sistership to Europa) which was wrecked in a bombing raid in March 1941 (which I believe is historically factual)). Of the 32 CVs, 14 were built in France (Atlantikflotte), 12 in Germany and six in Leningrad (Norwegenflotte). 14 are classed as fleet carriers (CV), four as battle carriers (CVB), 10 as light carriers (CVL), and four as auxiliary carriers (ACV).

To give you a flavour as to the context of this book, the French carrier Bearn (renamed Moltke) is the first German carrier. It is mainly used as a training carrier.

The second carrier is the infamous Graf Zeppelin, commissioned 30 July 1940. After sea trials, her catapult sleds and lauch rails were removed and replaced with expendable launching bridles and flush decks. As well the 150mm guns were removed, resulting in a weight saving of about 1100 tons. Zeppelin began training her new air group (32 He 100Ts + 6 spares, 24 Ju 87Cs +2 spares) in February 1941. Zeppelin joined Moltke in operations in the Baltic Sea during Operation Barbossa. Zepplein resumed operations in the Baltic Sea in March 1942. Presumbably, sometime in the summer of 42 the Germans conquered Leningrad and started to put the shipyards there to their use. In September 42 Zeppelin moved with her sister ship Peter Strasser to Trondheim to form the basis of the Norwegenflotte.

I know this thread is almost a year old but if anybody would like more info from this book just let me know.

BTW, if anybody knows where I could get a copy of Tragerflotten (at a reasonable price), I would appreciate it.

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Re: John Baxter's "Tragerflotten"

Post by phylo_roadking » 16 Jul 2011 12:56

Of the 32 CVs, 14 were built in France (Atlantikflotte),
8O Where on the Atlantic Coast of France would these ships, when either under construction OR when operational, have been safe from Bomber Command??? Look what as early as late '41 the RAF were prepared to launch at Brest to attack German naval assets - what stops are they not going to pull out to plaster these a-building???
Zeppelin began training her new air group (32 He 100Ts + 6 spares, 24 Ju 87Cs +2 spares) in February 1941. Zeppelin joined Moltke in operations in the Baltic Sea during Operation Barbossa. Zepplein resumed operations in the Baltic Sea in March 1942.
What's the point of carrier ops in the Baltic in support of the land campaign??? The LW created a force in the late 1930s with the specific aim of flying its CAS and corps aircraft from right behind the front line, creating grass strips and supplying them by air if necessary. The Wehrmacht front line was never out of range of Stukas - the Stukas moved along with them!

At this point I would have to echo Terry's "acid trip" comment!
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Lord, please keep Kevin Bacon alive...

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Re: John Baxter's "Tragerflotten"

Post by von Friedt » 17 Jul 2011 00:49

I'm not going to argue in favour or against the authors suppositions. I'm just trying to explain what is in the book. Andy H posted that this isn't a WI (even though it is in the WI forum, but I guess it doesn't meet the criteria of picking a point of departure and then supporting your conclusions with reasoned arguement) so I will restrict myself into reporting what is in the book.

Interestingly enough, the first POD is that France develops a robust carrier wing pre-war and presumably after Mers-el-Kebir becomes a German ally, suppling the Atlantikflotte with ships, personnel and aircrew.

The 14 carriers built in France are as follows:

CV Moltke (Bearn) - reparation to Germany, sails thru the Channel during a storm in the summer of 40 and subsequently becomes the test-bed for German Naval Aviation.

CV Westfalen class, 5 ships, 38,000 tons standard - these are two Richelieu class battleships captured on the ways and three new builds, commissioning 42-44. Construction is moved from Brest and St Nazaire to the Gironde to escape the attention of Allied bombers.

Westfalen (Clememenceau) 42
Mecklenburg (Jean Bart) 42
Rheinland (Gascoigne) 43
Posen 44
Elsass 44

CVB Braunschweig class, 4 ships, 18,000 tons standard - three Joffre class carriers captured on the ways and one new build, commissioning 42-43. Classed by the Germans as "battle carriers".

Braunschweig (Joffre) 42
Lothringen (Painleve) 42
Preussen (Voltaire) 42
Hessen 43

CVL Dusseldorf class, 3 ships, 10,000 tons standard - two Duquesne class cruisers, converted pre-war to carriers, turned over to the Germans as reparations. One new build. Two others of this class, a heavy cruiser keel captured in Leningrad and completed in Danzig, and a new build, also in Danzig, also built. Commissioned in Kriegsmarine service 1940-44.

Dusseldorf (Duquesne) 40
Dortmund (Tourville) 40
Dresden 42
Duisburg 43
Danzig 44

Dusseldorf and Dortmund form the basis of the Atlantikflotte. Their first operations are occupying the Azores in October 40, resupplying the islands afterwards, culminating in the first carrier battle in history in July 41 (First Battle for the Azores). Results were inconclusive but instructive.

ACV Munchen, 11,400 tons standard - French light cruiser De Grasse, commissioned 1943.

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Re: John Baxter's "Tragerflotten"

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 17 Jul 2011 01:10

Freidt....thanks for the information. The remarks about the French naval builds do the book no credit. The rest of it sounds equally silly. Appreciate your service in this.

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