Found: one (1) Nazi aircraft carrier, slightly waterworn

Here’s an item I noted and filed away this summer: back in July, a Polish oil company stumbled across the sunken wreck of the Graf Zeppelin, an aircraft carrier built (but never fully completed) by Germany shortly before the Second World War. (And here’s some additional speculation about its ultimate fate.) Although it never saw combat action and was scuttled in the final stretch of the war, it had the distinction of being the only carrier in Germany’s fleet. As usual, Wikipedia’s got the gritty details.

It’s a pretty monumental artifact of the war, and not surprisingly the Russians have been quick to lay claim to it. It’s also good fodder for those always-entertaining “what-if” questions: what if Germany had focused more heavily on its naval forces, supplementing its famous submarine fleet with a carrier task force or two? (Of course, as any Axis and Allies player knows, that’s just not practical–the money is much better spent building tanks with which to invade Russia, and even if Germany managed to launch a carrier, those pesky British would just immediately fly over and sink it.)

Comments (1) to “Found: one (1) Nazi aircraft carrier, slightly waterworn”

  1. I imagine the only thing a German carrier would have been useful for is to support a naval blockade off the coast of England. Once you destroy the British Battleship and transport in the first round of the war, a good naval blockade might buy you an extra round or two of not having to worry about a British amphibious invasion or even reinforcement of Russian land forces in Finland or Karelia. Of course, the correct British response is simply to build fighters and either fly them over to Russia or blow the German blockade out of the water. So in the end, I agree that te Graf Zeppelin was a mistake.

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