Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

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paul.mercer
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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Postby paul.mercer » Fri Jul 01, 2011 8:41 pm

Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin head out together escorted by Hipper. The British have King George V, PoW, Repulse and Renown. They also have several carriers.
Would the British be able to cope? Would Fairey Fulmars outfight Bf109Ts? Would cruisers be able to shadow without being attacked by dive bombers? Would scout planes be able to shadow without immediately being shot down by fighters? How would the British even maintain contact if they couldn't adequately?
Gentlemen,
An interesting question, I think that the RN would also have at least a couple of cruisers and several destroyer escorts in addition to the battleships and carriers, therefore I would say that the German fleet would be outgunned both in firepower and aircraft and would be wiped out.
However, add the twins and another cruiser, Prince Eugen? and you have a very interesting situation, perhaps we should add another British battleship like Duke of York or Anson as all the other RN battleships would be far too slow to keep up in what would probably be a fairly high speed fleet engagement.
So you have on the German side
Tirpitz, Graf Zeppelin, Scharnhorst, Gniesnau, Hipper, Prince Eugen and maybe some destroyer escorts and the RN has,
KGv, Pow, DoY, Repulse, Renown, two carriers, two 8" cruisers and some escort destroyers, it should be some battle!
I would expect two of the battleships to deal with Tirpitz, while the other one and the two battlecruisers to deal with the twins, while the cruisers and destroyers had their own mix.
What do you experts think?

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RF
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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Postby RF » Mon Jul 04, 2011 9:19 am

The problem with single raiders is, by definition, that they are on their own. It's like playing chess with only your queen against all sixteen pieces of your opponent.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Postby delcyros » Mon Jul 04, 2011 10:27 am

That´s the point and that´s the game You have to plan with. Single raiders are on their own but history shows that single raiders are in average more successful than twin ones, stay in action longer and are less likely to get trapped. They are less ressource costly in operation and impose more of an operational and logistical problem the more numerous the hunting forces are.

Your raiders need to be fast and long legged.

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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Postby paul.mercer » Mon Jul 04, 2011 10:30 pm

Gentlemen,P
Perhaps I did not make my senario clear in my last post, I was anticipating a sort of fleet action.

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RF
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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Postby RF » Wed Jul 06, 2011 12:54 pm

With respect, I don't see three ships as a battle fleet, especially as the opposition is much bigger. In that scenario Tirpitz, GZ and Hipper are like a single raider, especially as each vessel is of a different classification and fundamentally different battle tactics. Whether in big guns or aircraft the Germans are heavily outnumbered.

Add in Bismarck, Peter Strasser and long range destroyers to the German force, then you can achieve a greater combination of firepower which could approximate to a fleet.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Postby Saltheart » Wed Jul 06, 2011 1:19 pm

I don't see a carrier, a battleship and a heavy cruiser as a fleet either. I see it as a raiding force with vastly greater capability of self-preservation than a loan battleship raider.
A loan battleship gets picked up by a spotter aircraft or a cruiser and is simply shadowed until the force capable of destroying it finally intercepts. The 3 ship raider force can launch fighters to shoot down a shadowing aircraft or dive bombers to either sink or damage and drive off a shadowing cruiser. So the ability of the Royal Navy to maintain all important contact with the raider force is infinitely more difficult. As for battle if a fighting force does succeed in intercepting the fact the 3 raiders have different capabilities is the whole point. The heavy cruiser's 8 inch guns are the perfect weapons against destroyers coming in for torpedoe attacks, greatly reinforcing the 5.9 inch secondary guns of the battleship. The fighter aircraft are the prime protection against strike aircraft, leaving the anti-aircraft guns as the last line of defence instead of only line of defence.
The battleships guns are there so if at night British battleships or heavy cruisers succeed in getting close the carrier isn't a sitting duck, it's heavily defended.
Finally the carriers strike aircraft give the raiding force a scouting and long range attaking capability a loan battleship can only dream of.
This is why I think the 3 raider force would just be a whole different order of trouble for the British. The problem for the Germans of course is refueling and reammunitioning, if their support ships are sunk then it's all over anyway.

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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Postby lwd » Wed Jul 06, 2011 2:56 pm

There's also the fact that carriers and their airgroups proved rather fragile in practice if they faced significant opposition. Graf Zeppelin's design in many ways meant that she couldn't get the best out of her somewhat anemic air group as well makeing it even more fragile.

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RF
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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Postby RF » Fri Jul 08, 2011 6:32 pm

I would be interested in how effective a pair of shadowing County class cruisers in company with a small convoy escort carrier would be. Or even the cruisers on their own with their AA guns, against a fairly limited air attack.

GZ is only one carrier, not a carrier fleet. Any losses of planes and air crew will degrade its offensive capabilities. At the same time the battleship will find having to defend an increasingly toothless carrier something of an encumberence.

Yes, the three ships are stronger than one on its own. But it is a double edged scenario, as damage to one poses to the Fleet Commander the choice of abandoning/sacrificing one ship to save the rest.

A similar proposition has been posed concerning Lutjens not detatching Prinz Eugen; would Bismarck have survived if the Eugen kept company? The Eugen of course could add its AA firepower and even tow Bismarck, but I think the most likely outcome is the loss of both ships.
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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Postby Djoser » Sat Jul 09, 2011 4:43 am

Saltheart wrote:Would Fairey Fulmars outfight Bf109Ts?


I think the Fulmars would be very sorry to tangle with Me109s!

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RF
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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Postby RF » Sun Jul 10, 2011 7:12 pm

However the ME 109's would be relatively few in number. Whilst providing fighter defence against attacking aircraft their role otherwise is limited as they pose little threat to surface warships, beyond strafing. Even with that AA fire would reduce their number still.

The Germans basic problem? Only one carrier, not enough planes.
''Give me a Ping and one Ping only'' - Sean Connery.

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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Postby dunmunro » Sun Jul 10, 2011 8:28 pm

And the Sea Hurricane is also in service. The Fulmar had a respectable kill/loss record, even against SE fighters.

However, without effective AW radar the KM force will have a hard time using its fighters effectively.

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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Postby Tiornu » Sun Jul 10, 2011 9:01 pm

How many decades of practice did the Germans have in fighter interception from a carrier platform? And in launching and recovering anti-ship strikes from a carrier?

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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Postby delcyros » Sun Jul 10, 2011 10:49 pm

They had none. And this is considered to be the most thorough critique of their (in-)ability to conduct carrier airstrikes.

But I would be more cautious with regard to a simple jump in conclusion. They had experiences in catapult launches and recovery of huge multi-engine transport planes from the mid atlantic in the 20´s, they conducted from 1938 onwards unassisted landing and start trials with a Fieseler Fi-156 from the rebuildt FLUGSICHERUNGSSCHIFF GREIF in different sea conditions and these platforms were much smaller than the landing deck on GRAF ZEPPELIN, something like 50m long and 10m wide as compared to 242m x 30m on GRAF ZEPPELIN. The Fi-156 and Fi-167 had entirely comparable STOL capabilities.
And we know they send in air trainers to japan prewar. Not only to study design questions. There is this nice picture showing aircrews of KAGA in company with Luftwaffe aircrews dating to 1938. I take this as indications that they really were concerned to learn these things, whether or not they would be (in-) able to master them I cannot say...

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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Postby Tiornu » Sun Jul 10, 2011 11:40 pm

There's a good book that covers the general topic of naval cooperation between the Germans and Japanese, Reluctant Allies. The Japanese were kind enough to give the Germans a tour of Akagi...then took the ship in hand for a complete reconstruction. Some further exchanges took place, but the Germans apparently came to think they needed no further input; they turned down Japanese offers. The fact that the Germans had settled on their own operational theories can be seen most clearly in the fact that the Japanese never had an operational catapult aboard their carriers while GZ was designed to perform ALL launches by catapult.

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Re: Tirpitz and Graf Zeppelin 1941

Postby dunmunro » Mon Jul 11, 2011 1:14 am

Tiornu wrote:There's a good book that covers the general topic of naval cooperation between the Germans and Japanese, Reluctant Allies. The Japanese were kind enough to give the Germans a tour of Akagi...then took the ship in hand for a complete reconstruction. Some further exchanges took place, but the Germans apparently came to think they needed no further input; they turned down Japanese offers. The fact that the Germans had settled on their own operational theories can be seen most clearly in the fact that the Japanese never had an operational catapult aboard their carriers while GZ was designed to perform ALL launches by catapult.


I wonder how long it would take to range and launch a strike on GZ?


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