German Aircraft Carrier

Discussions on the equipment used by the Axis forces, apart from the things covered in the other sections. Hosted by Juha Tompuri
Nick Stewart
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German Aircraft Carrier

Post by Nick Stewart » 16 Jan 2003 00:29

In various books a carrier has been mentioned but only in minor detail. No photos, sketches or discriptions.

Does anyone have anything they could share on the topic?

Thanks

Nick

coldam
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Post by coldam » 16 Jan 2003 01:21

hi,
there is an active thread on German carriers
on feldgrau.com go to 'kriegsmarine'.

...peter

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harry palmer
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Post by harry palmer » 16 Jan 2003 16:58

The “Graf Zeppelin” had neared completion by the start of the war, and was designed to operate Bf 109s and Stukas. Because of constant Allied bombing raids it was never completed. It eventually sank just after the war while under tow to Russia.

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Post by varjag » 17 Jan 2003 13:19

It certainly sank under tow to Russia. Some sources say it was overloaded with Russian loot on both hangar deck and flying deck beyond any reason - and consequently capsized - a divers treasure trove when she's found.

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Robert Hurst
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Graf Zeppelin

Post by Robert Hurst » 20 Jan 2003 12:33

Hi Nick

Thought you'd be interested in the following info on the above German Carrier.

CONSTRUCTION

The basic design featured a hanger structure and flight deck built on to the hull after contemporary Japanese and US practice, rather than the current British 'all one' concept. The hull was longitudinally constructed and sub-divided into 21 watertight compartments. Because of the high speed demanded, diesels were unsuitable for the main machinery and high-pressure steam turbines were therefore adopted, in a three-shaft installation. There were two hangars, one above the other, of which the upper was 185 m long and the lower 172 m. Neither of these extended to the beam of the ship, being bounded on the outboard side by a longitudinal bulkhead. Both were 16 m in width but the lower hangar had less headroom, with a deckhead height of 5.66 m as opposed to 6 m. Clearance height was about 30 cm less. Outboard of the hangars were workshops and accommodation spaces.

The flight deck was 242 m long and 30 m wide, of steel construction reinforced at nodal points, in particular at the edges of the lift openings where doubling was employed. It was supported by the ship's side and the two longitudinal bulkheads, strengthened by 30 mm transverse girders at 2 m spacing and longitudinal at 400 mm spacings. This deck was the upper strength deck. It was overlaid with wooden planking and equipped with four arrester wires. Two emergency barriers were positioned fore and aft of the centre lift and it was originally envisaged that there would be four more wires forward and aft of the foremost lift; these may have been intended for astern steaming aircraft recovery. The wires were designed with a braking system such as to stop aircraft with a deceleration of 2.2 to 2.6 g in 20-30 m.

The lifts were of interest because, unlike other contemporary carriers (including Britain's Illustrious class), they were armoured. As a result, they were heavy, weighing some 50 tonnes or about 55-60 tonnes with aircraft. They were rated at 0.75 m/sec at 6.5 tonnes. As these lifts were raised, aluminium decks rose to bridge the hangar deck openings between the upper and lower hangars, which were strong enough to allow a Junkers Ju 87C to be wheeled over. Electric power was employed for the lift motors.

At the forward end of the flight deck were two compressed-air catapults, capable of launching a 2 1/2-tonne fighter at 4.25 g and 140 km/hr or a 5-tonne bomber at 3.8 g and 130 km/hr. Each catapult could launch nine aircraft on its own reservoir of air, or at the rate of one every half minute. Following this, 50 minutes were required for recompression. A catapult originally envisaged on the forecastle was deleted.

Internally, there were four main deck levels, which were full beam, denoted from keel upwards, hold, lower platform, upper platform and 'tween deck, of which the latter was the main armoured deck. Above the 'tween deck, the lower and upper hangars effectively split all other decks up to flight-deck level into gallery decks, except at the extremities, where mess decks or workshops closed off the ends of the hangars, These gallery decks were known as decks 'D', 'C', 'B' and 'A' (moving upwards to the flight deck), with 'B' deck running the full length of the ship to form forecastle and quarterdeck for working the ship.

Much of the ship's company and all Luftwaffe personnel were quartered on these decks around the hangar spaces. Officers' accommodation in the form of single and double cabins were on 'A' deck with the officers' mess right forward under the leading edge of the flight deck. The mess could be divided into two parts-one Navy, one Luftwaffe! Also on deck 'A', to port was the sick bay, comprehensively equipped with an x-ray room, operating theatre, isolation room, two wards, dispensary and ancillary facilities. The ship's complement numbered 108 officers (51 air force) and 1,612 other ranks (255 air force).

Below the 'tween deck or armoured deck, the largest spaces were occupied by the main propulsion and magazines. Four boiler rooms and three turbine rooms, together with four generator rooms and an auxiliary boiler room, comprised the machinery unit, which extended from frame stations 66 1/2 to 176 (ie, 44 per cent of the ship's length). On the platform decks forward and aft, the combined magazine and shell rooms for the 15 cm guns served their respective guns via electrical bucket hoist systems, whose supply route was complicated by the need to serve guns on the beam and thus be deflected around the hangar spaces. Also at the fore-ends was a separate magazine for bombs from which a lift conveyed the ordnance to the lower hangar deck. Aft was a large magazine for torpedoes with its associated warhead room below it, a magazine for mines and another for bombs. Lifts again conveyed the mines and torpedoes up to the lower hangar deck, via the torpedo workshop on the 'tween deck. The after magazine spaces for aircraft ordnance could stow 80-90 torpedoes or 220 mines with a normal stowage of 66 torpedoes and 48 mines. No provision appears to have been made for bombing-up on the flight deck except by cross-transfer via the aircraft lifts.

The text, plans,schematics and photos were taken from 'German Capital Ships of World War Two', by M.J.Whitley.

Regards

Bob
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Robert Hurst
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Post by Robert Hurst » 20 Jan 2003 16:42

Hi

PROTECTIVE SCHEME

The ship's main vertical protection consisted of a 100 mm waterline belt 4 m deep, extending from frame 57 to frame 177 (ie, about 48 per cent of the waterline length), covering the machinery spaces and after magazines. Forward, this belt was reduced to 60 mm in way of the forward 15 cm magazines and then continued to the bows as 40 mm, finally 30 mm. Aft, the belt reduced only to 80 mm to the stern as protection for the steering gear. Inboard of the main vertical belt was a secondary 20 mm longitudinal buklhead which served as a torpedo bulkhead. The main horizontal armour on the 'tween deck was 40 mm thick, with the periphery increased in thickness to 60 mm and inclined at 45 degress to join the lower side of the waterline belt. Closing off the armoured carapace so formed were transverse armoured buklheads, 80 mm thick. Above the steering gear, 60 mm horizontal plate was employed. No protection was given to the hangar sides. other than splinter protection, but the flight deck itself was given a degree of protection. This was predominantly 20 mm, but thickened adjacent to the lift shafts, especially the centre one where it was 38 mm. This was undoubtedly for structural strength as well as for protective reasons. Around the funnel uptakes the flight deck was 40 mm, while the vertical uptake protection was 80 mm. Other armouring was spread rather thinly, the casemates having 30 mm, flak directors 14 mm, and bridge control positions 17 mm protection. Total weight of armouring was approximately 5,000 tonnes.

MACHINERY

The steam plant comprised sixteen La Mont high-pressure boilers, four in each of four boiler rooms. Each boiler, operated at a steam pressure of 70 kg/cm (75 kg/cm max) at 450 degrees C, had a rated capacity of 60 tonnes per hour and was equipped with two Saake ring oil burners, both at one end of the furnace, under automatic Askania control. Economisers and air pre-heaters were fitted, with forced circulation for which an efficiency of 85 per cent was claimed. Although the boilers were never to steam at sea aboard the carrier, they were basically similar to those aboard Admiral Hipper-Class heavy cruisers and would have undoubtedly have suffered the same problems in service. Troubles experienced with the circulating pump and overheating of the air pre-heaters were eventually overcome, but excessive corrosion of the super-heaters caused by a carry-over of 1 - 3 per cent continued, despite alterations to the baffling in the steam drum. Corrosion also occurred in the economisers but the generator tubes themselves were relatively trouble-free. The boilers for Flugzeugtrager 'A' (Aircraft Carrier 'A') were built by Deutsche Werke, Kiel; those for 'B' by Germaniawerft.

The geared turbine installation had a designed power of 50,000 hp per shaft on a four-shaft arrangement, in three separate turbine rooms. The forward turbine room housed two turbine sets driving the wing shafts, while the centre and aft turbine rooms contained the inner starboard and port turbine respectively. The turbines differed slightly between the two ships scheduled to be built, although initially, both were to be identical. Those for Carrier 'A' consisted of Brown-Boveri impulse/reaction type cruising and high-pressure stages with straight reaction type intermediate turbines. Astern power was provided by a stern element in the forward end of the IP turbine, separated from the ahead blading by a diaphragm, while the astern element of the LP turbine was a double-flow reaction stage at the centre of the casing. Like all German turbine designs, separate casings were employed for each turbine stage due to the retention of single-reduction double-helical gearing, leading to layouts which were extremely wasteful in terms of weight and space. Efficiencies too were generally low.

Turbine design therefore was very conservative and, if this method layout had been selected to give good safety margins in high seas operations where Germany had no bases or repair facilities, why was the same technique or thinking not applied to boilers as well?

The turbines for 'B' were built by Germania and were somewhat modified, being similar to those of Prinz Eugen except that the astern element in the HP turbine was removed and installed as a separate Curtis wheel on the forward end of the IP pinion. Comb-type disengaging couplings were fitted to each shaft and could be operated at speeds up to 18 knots by synchronising turbine speed with trailing shaft speed.

Four boilers for 'B' had been completed by Germaniawerft at Kiel and underwent trials ashore in May 1940, some time after the ship was cancelled. The electrical generating capacity of the design incorporated four generator rooms using both turbo-and diesel generation. These were distributed as follows:

Generator Room 1

Location: No.1 Turbine Room
Upper Platform Deck. Starboard.
Diesel Sets:
Turbo Sets: 2 x 460 kW

Generator Room 2

Location: No.2 Turbine Room
Upper Paltform Deck. Port.
Diesel Sets: 2 x 350 kW
Turbo Sets: 2 x 460 kW

Generator Room 3

Location: Lower Platform Deck.
Port amidships.
Diesel Sets:
Turbo Sets: 1 x 460 kW
1 x 230 kW

Generator Room 4

Location: Forward of No.4 Boiler Room
Lower Platform Deck
Diesel Sets: 2 x 350 kW
1 x 150 kW

AC power for control room circuits, particularly gunnery fire control, was provided by one 400 kW converter and four 100 kW sets, the 400 kW vertical-type motor alternator being in No.2 Generator Room. Harbour steam supplies were provided by a separate auxiliary boiler room to starboard of No.4 Generator Room.

The main engine control stand and damage control centre was on the upper platform deck between No.4 turbine room and No.1 boiler room. Damage control arrangements were comprehensive, with the hull being divided into 21 watertight compartments. For fire-fighting purposes, besides the sea water lines supplied by the main hull and fire pumps and steam drenching, there were 20 gaseous extinguisher units that could flood compartments with 'Ardexine' gas, to smother fire. This was not without its hazards, for it would also asphyxiate the crew and, moreover, could seep un-noticed through defective glands and seals into adjacent mess decks. This in fact occurred aboard Admiral Hipper, when a number of men were found dead in their hammocks after fire-fighting activities in nearby spaces the previous evening.

An interesting feature of the propulsion plant was the provision of two Voith-Schneider propeller rudders to assist berthing of the ship in harbour. These two units, powered by 450 kW DC electric motors, were installed in the fore-ends on the centre-line and could be withdrawn through watertight doors in the ship's bottom when not in use. They could exert a lateral impulse of 7.7 tonnes and while not intended for use at sea, could, in emergency, be used for steering purposes at speeds not exceeding 12 knots. Furthermore, in event of the main engines being destroyed, a speed of 3 - 4 knots could be obtained by using them to propel the ship.

The bunker capacity as designed was 5,000 tonnes oil fuel, which calculations showed to be sufficient for an endurance of about 9,600 miles at 19.1 knots steaming on two shafts (four boilers) with 10,500 hp. At normal full power of 42,000 hp per shaft and sixteen boilers on line, a speed of 35.25 knots and an endurance of approximately 3,020 miles was anticipated. However, practical results on ships in service with similar powerplants later showed that the designed endurance figures for all classes of German warships were wildly optomistic. This was due to several reasons. First, the calculations included only the minimum number of boilers flashed up to make the desired speed and ignored the need to keep part of the powerplant at short notice for steam under war conditions. Second, for stability reasons, many ships could not consume all fuel stowed. Third, in service many of the high-speed steam-driven auxiliary turbines were extremely avaricious consumers of steam and grossly inefficient (this was particularly true for the Type 39 torpedo boats, for example). Thus it is unlikely that the endurance figures obtained on shore trials and design calculations given below would have been achieved.
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Ike_FI
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Post by Ike_FI » 20 Jan 2003 23:11

varjag wrote:It certainly sank under tow to Russia. Some sources say it was overloaded with Russian loot on both hangar deck and flying deck beyond any reason - and consequently capsized - a divers treasure trove when she's found.
Well I don't know what's the latest revised official version of the story, but there's a bit different info based (allegedly) on lately discovered Soviet sources at
http://www.german-navy.de/marine.htm :
There are several versions about the fate of the Graf Zeppelin after the war. One version says that the ship was sunk after a mine hit on its way to the Soviet Union. Another version is that the ship capsized because of a heavy load of equipment stored in it. One possible fate mentioned is that the ship was completed by the Soviets after the war, but this sounds not very realistic at all.

According to new Russian sources, the Graf Zeppelin was sunk after weapons tests in August 1947:

The carrier was moved to Stettin in April 1943 where it was sunk by its own crew on 25.04.1945. Being captured by Russians, Graf Zeppelin was renamed to IA-101 (Floating Base No. 101) on 03.02.1947. On 16.08.1947 the carrier has been sunk as a target ship off Swinemünde.
Graf Zeppelin sank as she "scored" 24 (!) bombs and torpedo hits, including two 1000 kg air bombs. One of them was mounted into the funnel; as it exploded, the funnel was completely destroyed up to top deck, but superstructures of the island remained intact. Two 500 kg bombs, three 250 kg and five 100 kg bombs plus four 180 mm 92 kg shells were used on the ship. All these charges were mounted upon the flight deck and hangar deck. Six training air bombs dropped from the dive bombers and two 53,3 cm torpedoes from the torpedo boat OE-503 and destroyer Slavniy were fired on the ship. The last torpedo scored the fatal hit that finished the destruction of carrier.

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Aufklarung
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Post by Aufklarung » 20 Jan 2003 23:51

Ike Fi
WOW! :o
That's the first time I've heard that story. Thank you for the link. I wonder what hard evidence supports the first capsize or mine stories. I always thought she was overloaded and capsized by those silly Reds. :lol:

Good information.
regards
A :D

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Christian Ankerstjerne
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Post by Christian Ankerstjerne » 20 Jan 2003 23:57

Only Swedes capsizes their ships :P

I have heard the story about the Russians *trying* to destroy it as well, and I find it most believeable.

I have an article somewhere - but where? :x

Christian

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Post by Aufklarung » 21 Jan 2003 02:50

Only Swedes capsizes their ships
Do you mean Wasa? That was the name of the sailing ship that you mean, correct?

I guess if there were no real proof of the capsizing and/or mining then who knows which account is correct. What kind of article do you mean? We can look forward to many more years of Ex Soviet paperwork and hidden facts coming to light.

Regards
A :D

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awesome

Post by barbarosa » 21 Jan 2003 06:47

i had always wondered what would happen if germany had carriers!!!

http://www.thirdreichforum.com/phpBB2/v ... hp?t=14834

i also think we should get medals for great posts like this one! if you agree check out the poll above.

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Christian Ankerstjerne
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Post by Christian Ankerstjerne » 21 Jan 2003 23:49

Yes, the Wasa ;)

It is an article in an old Danish modelling magazine (well, a couple of years old at least)

Christian

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Post by Aufklarung » 22 Jan 2003 00:52

It is an article in an old Danish modelling magazine
Christian
I hope you can find it. I'd be very interested on hearing more of her real fate. The Baltic is not deep everywhere so perhaps she can be dived on. Swinemunde is in the Oder Estuary tho' so perhaps she's silted over. :?
Thanx
A :D

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Christian Ankerstjerne
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Post by Christian Ankerstjerne » 22 Jan 2003 01:05

Well, I won't get your hopes up. Basically, it said the same as Ikes story...

Christian

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Post by Aufklarung » 22 Jan 2003 02:29

OK, thanx anyway Christian.

Now all I have to do is Side-Scan the Baltic all the way to Bornholm!! :lol:
Regards
A :D

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