Author Topic: Post War West German Aircraft Carrier  (Read 3416 times)

Offline GTX_Admin

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Post War West German Aircraft Carrier
« on: December 20, 2015, 03:27:45 AM »
Folks,

Here's a question for you:  If I wanted to give West Germany an aircraft carrier capability in the mid '60s onwards, which way do you reckon we should go?  Please note that I am thinking that this would be a light-medium carrier, perhaps even a STOVL type or even a LHA/LHD.  I would imagine the key roles would be:

  • Provide a movable airfield that is thus less prone to Soviet/WarPac first strike knockout
  • Provide a basis for/support to amphibious landings in Baltic Sea...and elsewhere if need be
  • Post Cold war, provide a useful expeditionary force capability
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Offline TurboCoupeTurbo

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Re: Post War West German Aircraft Carrier
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2015, 04:21:09 AM »
Maybe the Graf Zeppelin was completed late in the war, but never sortied due to Allied domination of the Baltic.  Then surrenders to the US/UK as the Soviets closed in on Berlin.

Then the ship is upgraded and used by US/UK for a few years before being returned to West Germany as a light carrier flying early jets?  She maybe too small for a angled deck mod though, but she could get a steel deck and operate Harriers and ASW helos?  Maybe similar to the Spanish Dedalo in only the aft part of the flight deck is steel for landings?

Or the Germans could copy Spain or France and receive an Independence post war.

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Re: Post War West German Aircraft Carrier
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2015, 05:13:56 AM »
I was trying to avoid the Graf Zeppelin altogether.  My idea is that the Bundesmarine decides to get at least one (maybe two at most) smallish carrier for the above mentioned roles.  This could be a donated US/UK design or it could be something new.  It could either be a dedicated carrier/amphibious ship or maybe something small and akin to the latter Spruance class or Sea Control Ship:






Maybe something such as a Iwo Jima-class would be workable too:



I would say that something in a similar class to the Invincible class but about 15 - 20yrs earlier.
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Offline Alvis 3.1

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Re: Post War West German Aircraft Carrier
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2015, 05:56:29 AM »
I would nominate the Majestic Class carrier as a fitting ship. They served (as did the sister classes) as useful carriers for Holland, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, Canada, India and the UK for decades.


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Re: Post War West German Aircraft Carrier
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2015, 06:34:05 AM »
I would nominate the Majestic Class carrier as a fitting ship. They served (as did the sister classes) as useful carriers for Holland, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, Canada, India and the UK for decades.


That is a possibility.  Maybe HMS/HMCS Magnificent which was returned to the UK in '57 and scrapped in '65.  Instead of scrapping, maybe she is sold to West Germany and refitted.

Alternatively, though in keeping in with a similar thought pattern, maybe the larger HMS Centaur which was decommissioned in '65 and scrapped in '73 is sold to West Germany.  Maybe it gets a refit similar to what HMS Hermes later underwent:

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Offline Volkodav

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Re: Post War West German Aircraft Carrier
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2015, 04:10:12 PM »
http://fleetairarmarchive.net/Ships/LEVIATHAN.html

The last of the Colossus and Majestic Class Light Fleet Carriers was left incomplete until stripped for parts to repair a sister, then being scraped in 1968, up until this point she could have been bought and completed to almost any standard.  UK proposals included re-engining them and turning it (and other available CVL hulls) into hybrid missile helicopter cruisers, but no reason why it couldn't be completed as a modernised CVS or LPH.

Apart from the Colossus and Majestics, UK options included Centaurs, Indomitable, Implacables to be modernised as Victorious and Hermes were, as well as Hermes and Victorious themselves.  There were also four Centaurs cancelled at the end of WWII that you could whiff to a greater level of completion hence still have them on the stocks available for competition in the 50/60s.  There were also the Escort Cruisers proposed for the RN in the 60s.  Starting as Sea Slug armed vessels of similar configuration to Jeanne de'Arc (originally intended to have Masurca SAMs), or Vittorio Veneto with a medium range missile system forward and a hanger surmounting a hanger aft, before evolving into a series of through-deck designs with aft mounted Sea Slug, Tartar or Sea Dart in various locations, some even including medium calibre guns.

US carriers were either to large or too small (perhaps more limited by their cruiser origins) for what is being discussed but maybe other US concepts could be examined, i.e. a conventional version of the Strike Cruiser etc.  I would be curious to see some of the Iwo Jima carrier concepts (including Standard) as I have only ever seen the sketch and tabulated data in Stewart Wilsons "Wings Across the Sea".  Same goes for the carrier version or "Modified" Tarawa with its 50 helicopters and Harriers.

Offline upnorth

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Re: Post War West German Aircraft Carrier
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2015, 05:46:49 PM »
Considering the limitations placed on German military development in the immediate post WWII years, I can't see them getting a carrier until the late 1950s or early 1960s at the earliest.

A key event to consider was the signing of the Elysee Treaty between France and West Germany in 1963. It Very much defined foreign relations between the two countries including military integration. Charles de Gaulle fostered a great deal of Franco-German cooperation through the 1960s.

Even before that treaty, Franco-German cooperation in the post WWII era was strong in both industrial and military cooperation.

In light of that, I would say that West Germany having a hand in the development of the Clemenceau Class carrier through the 1950s and then taking one into service in the late 50s or early 60s would not be unreasonable.

On that timeline, the Germans could also get a hand in the development of the Alize ASW aircraft and operate them instead of the Fairey Gannets that they had in real life.

In the real world, Germany took their Gannets in 1958. The Alize entered service in early 1959 while the Gannet had been in service since 1953. In the scenario I'm drawing out, Germany would have got the fresher of the two carrier borne ASW aircraft.

Of course, it also opens the door to the German navy taking a more French slant in aircraft procurement and possibly getting on board for the F-8 Crusader at the same time France did.
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Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Post War West German Aircraft Carrier
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2015, 02:00:49 AM »
Considering the limitations placed on German military development in the immediate post WWII years, I can't see them getting a carrier until the late 1950s or early 1960s at the earliest.

As I said above, the timeframe I am thinking here is the mid '60s as the start date.

In light of that, I would say that West Germany having a hand in the development of the Clemenceau Class carrier through the 1950s and then taking one into service in the late 50s or early 60s would not be unreasonable.

The Clemenceau Class is a definite possibility here and one that I had also considered.  The German Carrier could follow on from the Foch and thus be commissioned around '65.

Of course, it also opens the door to the German navy taking a more French slant in aircraft procurement and possibly getting on board for the F-8 Crusader at the same time France did.

Maybe...or perhaps the French could take on a German slant as well.  Maybe Luftwaffe Mirage IIIs instead of F-104s?  French Leopard !s instead of AMX-30s?
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Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Post War West German Aircraft Carrier
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2015, 02:07:08 AM »
http://fleetairarmarchive.net/Ships/LEVIATHAN.html

The last of the Colossus and Majestic Class Light Fleet Carriers was left incomplete until stripped for parts to repair a sister, then being scraped in 1968, up until this point she could have been bought and completed to almost any standard.  UK proposals included re-engining them and turning it (and other available CVL hulls) into hybrid missile helicopter cruisers, but no reason why it couldn't be completed as a modernised CVS or LPH.


Another definite possibility.

I would be curious to see some of the Iwo Jima carrier concepts (including Standard) as I have only ever seen the sketch and tabulated data in Stewart Wilsons "Wings Across the Sea".  Same goes for the carrier version or "Modified" Tarawa with its 50 helicopters and Harriers.


I too would love to see such proposals.
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Re: Post War West German Aircraft Carrier
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2015, 02:27:06 AM »
The Jeanne d'Arc (R97) class might be another option that was halfway there.  Maybe give some VTOL aircraft on the rear instead of just helicopters...

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Offline Volkodav

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Re: Post War West German Aircraft Carrier
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2015, 03:21:53 PM »
Third time lucky (my step daughters modem kept cutting out).  Looking at the above photo of JdA that she could be used as the basis of a through deck cruiser.  Reconfigure her with a full length flight deck (with or without ski jump), a starboard island and repositioned or deleted gun armament and Bobs your uncle.

Offline upnorth

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Re: Post War West German Aircraft Carrier
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2015, 09:50:42 PM »

Maybe...or perhaps the French could take on a German slant as well.  Maybe Luftwaffe Mirage IIIs instead of F-104s?  French Leopard !s instead of AMX-30s?

I like those ideas.

You could also do a bit of mix and match between weapons and platforms that way.

Imagine a Super Etendard in Marineflieger markings and toting a pair of Kormoran missiles rather than a single Exocet.
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Offline jcf

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Re: Post War West German Aircraft Carrier
« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2015, 02:05:10 AM »
OK two questions:
1) what would they need it for? They weren't involved in 'peace-keeping' etc. out side of their own borders in period.
2) how would the Soviets have reacted to a German aircraft carrier operating in the Baltic, which is the only place it
could be based. Unless you're thinking it would be based in France or the UK to avoid those problems.

BTW a straight through deck and offset island on the JdA woud probably have run into the stability issues
of the similar layout US through-deck cruiser design on the '70s. Simply to much weight offset to one side.
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Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Post War West German Aircraft Carrier
« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2015, 03:14:43 AM »
1) what would they need it for? They weren't involved in 'peace-keeping' etc. out side of their own borders in period.

As detailed in first post:

  • Provide a movable airfield that is thus less prone to Soviet/WarPac first strike knockout - I'm thinking that this being the height of the Nuclear focus for potential WW3, this would be seen as yet another way of avoiding the first strike knockout effect.  Just as there was a lot of emphasis on VTOL types around this time as a way to get away from the fixed airfields, what if someone in Germany said "Why don't we just make the whole airfield a movable target to make it harder..."
  • Provide a basis for/support to amphibious landings in Baltic Sea...and elsewhere if need be - this would be more in terms of a combined NATO assets whereby the plan would be to provide resources to allow for Baltic focussed amphibious capability.  Not saying it was the best strategy (as it didn't really occur in the real world) but still...

The expeditionary force capability/peace keeping function would only come into play Post Cold war.

2) how would the Soviets have reacted to a German aircraft carrier operating in the Baltic, which is the only place it
could be based. Unless you're thinking it would be based in France or the UK to avoid those problems.

Not saying they would have liked it but I am sure there are ways it could have happened.  Maybe, this could even be done as a response to/trigger for the Soviets own Moskva class or something else?
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Offline Volkodav

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Re: Post War West German Aircraft Carrier
« Reply #14 on: December 22, 2015, 04:55:48 PM »
BTW a straight through deck and offset island on the JdA woud probably have run into the stability issues
of the similar layout US through-deck cruiser design on the '70s. Simply to much weight offset to one side.

Worked ok on Ouragan and Orage https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ouragan-class_landing_platform_dock and without the class rooms the superstructure could have been a lot smaller.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2015, 04:57:19 PM by Volkodav »

Offline Alvis 3.1

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Re: Post War West German Aircraft Carrier
« Reply #15 on: December 23, 2015, 12:33:27 AM »
Another possible use they'd have for a carrier would be ASW work.


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Re: Post War West German Aircraft Carrier
« Reply #16 on: December 23, 2015, 02:09:06 AM »
Another possible use they'd have for a carrier would be ASW work.


True...with fighters to defend the ASW group
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