Fw 190 as plane for Graf Zeppelin

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Latze
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Fw 190 as plane for Graf Zeppelin

Post by Latze » 28 May 2018 20:42

Sirs,

I am not very knowledgeable about WW2 naval aviation so maybe someone can point in me in the right direction: was there any discussion/selection process for the best plane to be used on the "Graf Zeppelin" carrier? And is that in a book or article somewhere?
I know that the Ju 87 was 'selected' and the Bv 155 proposed but why was not the Fw 190 A5/U14 or U15 considered?

best regards
Matt

Larry D.
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Re: Fw 190 as plane for Graf Zeppelin

Post by Larry D. » 29 May 2018 18:08

It was the Bf 109T - The "T" was for Träger (carrier).

You can find several books on this subject, such as Sea Eagles by Francis Marshall (Air Research Publications). He begins with the planning and then covers the development and aftermath.

L.

Latze
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Re: Fw 190 as plane for Graf Zeppelin

Post by Latze » 29 May 2018 19:58

Thank you for the reference.

Still it seems so uncharacteristic for the Germans to just stick with the same plane model for such a stretch of time...

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Takao
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Re: Fw 190 as plane for Graf Zeppelin

Post by Takao » 29 May 2018 22:13

Latze wrote:Still it seems so uncharacteristic for the Germans to just stick with the same plane model for such a stretch of time...
The Japanese stuck with the A6M Zero for such a stretch of time. The British stuck with the Spitfire for such a stretch of time. While the US Navy had moved from the F4F to the F6F, the F4F remained in production, as the FM-2, until May, 1945.(as it was ideal for operating from the smaller CVEs).

As to why was the Fw 190 not really considered for the Graf Zeppelin...Well, The GZ was designed, and her aircraft developed before the Fw 190 first flew. Not to mention, construction on the GZ was first halted in April, 1940, while the pre-production Fw 190A-0 series was not ordered until November, 1940. While, construction of the GZ was restarted in Mid-1942, it was permanently halted very early in 1943...The A-5 had only been in production for a few months, and was only entering service.

So, with the on-again-off-again construction, there does not seem to have been any coherent thought given to upgrading the aircraft intended to operate on the GZ.

Latze
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Re: Fw 190 as plane for Graf Zeppelin

Post by Latze » 29 May 2018 22:59

Takao wrote:
Latze wrote:Still it seems so uncharacteristic for the Germans to just stick with the same plane model for such a stretch of time...
The Japanese stuck with the A6M Zero for such a stretch of time. The British stuck with the Spitfire for such a stretch of time. While the US Navy had moved from the F4F to the F6F, the F4F remained in production, as the FM-2, until May, 1945.(as it was ideal for operating from the smaller CVEs).
Just to be clear: I do not think that keeping a good plane in service for several years is per se the wrong thing to do. Just that German military institutions of the time had a tendency to tinker, needlessly optimize and shift priorities - especially with regards to military hardware.
Takao wrote:As to why was the FW-190 not really considered for the Graf Zeppelin...Well, The GZ was designed, and her aircraft developed before the FW-190 first flew. Not to mention, construction on the GZ was first halted in April, 1940, while the pre-production FW-190A-0 series was not ordered until November, 1940. While, construction of the GZ was restarted in Mid-1942, it was permanently halted very early in 1943...The A-5 had only been in production for a few months, and was only entering service.

So, with the on-again-off-again construction, there does not seem to have been any coherent thought given to upgrading the aircraft intended to operate on the GZ.
Good points regarding the Me 109 T, but the Fw 190 could replace the Ju 87 as well, no?

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Takao
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Re: Fw 190 as plane for Graf Zeppelin

Post by Takao » 30 May 2018 01:24

Latze wrote: Just to be clear: I do not think that keeping a good plane in service for several years is per se the wrong thing to do. Just that German military institutions of the time had a tendency to tinker, needlessly optimize and shift priorities - especially with regards to military hardware.
I understand what you are saying. However, the shifting fates of war, caused Germany to shift her priorities. IIRC, the Fw 190's engine output fell off drastically at higher altitudes above 21,000 feet, this was less of a problem for the Me 109. This did not really change until the advent of the Fw 190D-9, but by then, the German average German pilot skills were fading.
Latze wrote: Good points regarding the Me 109 T, but the Fw 190 could replace the Ju 87 as well, no?
To an extent it could. But, to my eyes, anyway, the deciding factor would be reliability. The 109 and 87 were both reliable aircraft that I would not mind flying over the open ocean for hours at a time. However, to the best of my knowledge, the Fw 190 suffered from a propensity for engine fires, and this really was not cured until late in the 190A-4 production series...This would be roughly about the same time that the final stop work order on the GZ was handed down. So, again, it becomes a matter of timing.

Then again, how well could the standard FW-190 take to the controlled crashes that are carrier landings...The other aircraft had already been tested and reasonably proven, but I do not believe the 190 was subjected to said test - not that I have heard of anyway. The airframe and gear would need to be beefed up, and this might add some months to getting the Fw 190 aboard.

But, I would really have to say that it was a matter of reliability, and the Fw 190 just was not there yet...and when it was, the GZ completion had already been stopped.

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Re: Fw 190 as plane for Graf Zeppelin

Post by Latze » 30 May 2018 21:06

Takao,

obviously you know much more about selection criteria for carrier aircraft than I do! Thank for your input. Much appreciated.

Matt

antfreire
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Re: Fw 190 as plane for Graf Zeppelin

Post by antfreire » 01 Jun 2018 01:46

But would not the Me 109 landing gear be improved if it were to be used in the GZ?

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Takao
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Re: Fw 190 as plane for Graf Zeppelin

Post by Takao » 01 Jun 2018 02:29

antfreire wrote:But would not the Me 109 landing gear be improved if it were to be used in the GZ?
They landing gear was in the Tonis.

However, this discussion focuses on why the Germans did not use the Fw 190A-5 as a carrier fighter.

critical mass
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Re: Fw 190 as plane for Graf Zeppelin

Post by critical mass » 01 Jun 2018 12:22

The Fw 190 had -for a carrier- an untolerably high landing speed and long take off run. Same reason nobody wanted to have a P51 or P47 on a carrier.

The Bf 109T performance was on par with the Hellcat, and unlike the Fw 190, it had bening low speed / stall speed behaviour.

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Re: Fw 190 as plane for Graf Zeppelin

Post by Dili » 01 Jun 2018 13:13

What about the information of higher than usual causalities in Me 109 take off and landing due to low span of landing gear and maybe some weakness there too. Just a rumor?

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Re: Fw 190 as plane for Graf Zeppelin

Post by LineDoggie » 01 Jun 2018 16:32

critical mass wrote:The Fw-190 had -for a carrier- an untolerably high landing speed and long take off run. Same reason nobody wanted to have a P51 or P47 on a carrier.

The Bf-109T performance was on par with the Hellcat, and unlike the Fw 190, it had bening low speed / stall speed behaviour.
Concern over the USAAF's inability to escort B-29s all the way to mainland Japan resulted in the highly classified "Seahorse" project (NAA-133), an effort to "navalize" the P-51.

On 15 November 1944, naval aviator (and later test pilot) Lieutenant Bob Elder, in a P-51D-5-NA 44-14017, started flight tests from the deck of the carrier Shangri-La. This Mustang had been fitted with an arrestor hook, which was attached to a reinforced bulkhead behind the tail wheel opening; the hook was housed in a streamlined position under the rudder fairing and could be released from the cockpit.

The tests showed that the Mustang could be flown off the carrier deck without the aid of a catapult, using a flap setting of 20° down and 5° of up elevator. Landings were found to be easy, and, by allowing the tail wheel to contact the deck before the main gear, the aircraft could be stopped in a minimum distance.

The project was canceled after U.S. Marines secured the Japanese island of Iwo Jima and its airfields, making it possible for standard P-51D models to accompany B-29s all the way to the Japanese home islands and back
"There are two kinds of people who are staying on this beach: those who are dead and those who are going to die. Now let’s get the hell out of here".
Col. George Taylor, 16th Infantry Regiment, Omaha Beach

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Re: Fw 190 as plane for Graf Zeppelin

Post by Ironmachine » 02 Jun 2018 08:10


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Takao
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Re: Fw 190 as plane for Graf Zeppelin

Post by Takao » 02 Jun 2018 12:35

Dili wrote:What about the information of higher than usual causalities in Me 109 take off and landing due to low span of landing gear and maybe some weakness there too. Just a rumor?
The GZ aircraft were launched using an overly complicated system of catapults and trolleys. The aircraft were brought up from the hangar already mounted on their catapult trolley. Also, only the first two elevators could be used this way, as there were no rails to the last elevator. So, we don't have to worry about take off. Landing might be a slightly different proposition, but given the arrested landing, the 109T will only travel a fairly short distance, so I don't think that this will effect performance too much. Besides the Spitfire and Wildcat also had narrow track landing gear, and the performed well enough aboard carriers.

critical mass
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Re: Fw 190 as plane for Graf Zeppelin

Post by critical mass » 02 Jun 2018 20:41

Dili wrote:What about the information of higher than usual causalities in Me 109 take off and landing due to low span of landing gear and maybe some weakness there too. Just a rumor?
Cannot be confirmed statistically. In Norway, from a fighter group operating both, Bf 109 and Fw 190, the Bf 109 had a lower landing and take off accident rate through 1944 and 1943 (large sample). I haven´t checked other theatres, however.

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