Aircraft Carrier "Manfred von Richthofen", July 1943

Started by nönöbär, August 18, 2019, 06:37:53 AM

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Aircraft Carrier "Manfred von Richthofen", July 1943

The ship:

Before the outbreak of WW2, Germany started with its fleet-building program, the so called "Z-Plan". With this, the Germany navy should have been massively increased by the end of the 1940s. However, the start of WW2 changed everything, only a few ships had been started to build and those constructions were stopped a short time later.
The war made the plan obsolete, however new ideas were needed to increase the German surface fleet - and this was called "Plan X".

One component of "Plan X" was the construction of aircraft carriers. While the Graf Zeppelin and its sister ship Peter Strasser" were still under construction, the need for additional ships was seen. As a German delegation went to Japan before the war to study Japanese aircraft carrier on the example of the Akagi - a reconstructed battlecruiser - the plan was developed to build an aircraft carrier based on an existing battleship design.
At that point, Germany had the Scharnhorst class, Bismarck class and H-class in an early stage of construction. It was decided to use the Bismarck class as the base of a carrier and scraping the H-class ships that have just begin to build before the war.

In a quite similar way as the Japanese battleship/-cruiser - carrier conversions, the still unnamed carrier would use the hull of the battleship with hangar and flight deck added as the superstructure and not integrated part of the hull. To do so, a group of five Japanese naval engineers were invited to Germany to assist in the initial planning and construction phase.

The ship was laid down at Hamburgs Blohm&Voss shipyard in September 1939 and construction proceeded quite fast and it was launched only two years later in October 1941.
Despite the increasing air thread, the ship was completed by July 1943 and immediately moved into the Baltic Sea for training and trials.

Equipped with Me109T, Ju87 and Fi167 aircraft, the ship was also used to test the He280T, the carrier version of the He280 jet fighter. Although this aircraft was not chosen as the primary jet fighter fro the Luftwaffe, its slower landing speed made it better for carrier operations than its Messerschmitt counterpart.

Training was drastically reduced and the ship was send to Norway in August 1943 to join the Tirpitz in the Kafjord. During the continuous training operations there, recon planes of the Richthofen were able to detect the approaching British submarines during "Operation Source" which caused the attack of the British midget submarines to fail.

In the following months, the Richthofen assisted the German battleships in Norway during its operations, like "Operation Sizilien" against Spitzbergen and various smaller Operation against allied convoys to Russia which did not result in much success.
However, during "Operation Ostfront" against the convoy JW 55B, planes launched form the Richthofen could score multiple hits on the British battleship Duke of York when it attempted to attack the German ships closing to the convoy. This operation, consisting of Tirpitz, Scharnhorst and 5 destroyers, could successfully engage the convoy, sinking the cruiser HMS Sheffield and damaging the HMS Norfolk. 8 of the transport ships could be sunk directly, while 7 others there lost due to U-boat attacks.
When the German ships in Norway were more and more targeted by RAF bombers, the planes of the Richthofen could assist in providing CAP. Especially, the newly introduced He280 jet fighters were very successful against British bombers.
Because of fuel shortages got worse in early 1944, the German ships were almost impossible to operate. Almost immobilized by this, the ships were no real thread to allied shipping and British attacks were reduced - although they still took place.

Richthofen, like Tirpitz and Scharnhorst - survived the end of the war in Norway and were taken over by allied forces. The Richthofen was assigned to Britain which was interested to see the implementation of jet fighters on aircraft carriers. Located at Scapa Flow until 1949, a few operational tests were made in the North Sea, after this the ship was scrapped in Faslane.

The model ships the "Manfred von Richthofen" in august 1943 just after being commissioned.

The air wing - Me 109T, He 280T, Ju87 and Fi 167:

Walk around the hangar:

The model:

This is a mix of parts form various model kits and 3D prints. The hull is taken form an Aoshima 1/700 scale Bismarck, parts of this kit were also used for the island structure. The flight deck is from an Revell USS Intrepid kit (don't know the scale), parts of this kit were also used on the island.
The AA guns are from two Tirpitz/Bismarck Revell 1/700 kits, the Me109, Ju87 and Fi 167 are Trumpeter models. The hangar is designed with Tinkercad and 3D printed on an Anycubic Mega FDM printer, same is for some smaller parts used on the island and flight deck.
The He280 are also 3D printed, this time with an Anycubic Photon Resin printer, i don't remember where the 3D model came form, I had it in my collection.
The model was airbrushed with Revell Aqua Colour, and the crew are PE parts from Eduard. Sadnly, the final finish layer produced sone kind of "dust" or "little worms" all over the ship.

Daily updates from my engineer: https://twitter.com/Scratchbr1

German Naval History               : www.german-navy.de
Bärenreisen                             : www.barenurlaub.de


I like it.

The Theme for the US Nats this year was "Where were you when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?"  There were several nice builds simulating this including several Japanese aircraft in German markings, a diorama of He-111s and Stukas bombing Battleship Row and a carrier (the Adolf Hitler) launching aircraft though there were a few too many on the deck for there to be any chance of recovery.

Hopefully will have the pics uploaded sometime this week.
Phil Peterson

Vote for the Whiffies


That's magnificent, both in build, looks and backstory.  :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
Kit's Rule 1 ) Any aircraft can be improved by fitting longer wings, and/or a longer fuselage
Kit's Rule 2) The backstory can always be changed to suit the model

...and I'm not a closeted 'Take That' fan, I'm a REAL fan! :)



The things on the deck look like seagulls... ;)

- Can't be bothered to do the proper research and get it right.

Another ill conceived, lazily thought out, crudely executed and badly painted piece of half arsed what-if modelling muppetry from zenrat industries.

zenrat industries:  We're everywhere...for your convenience..

Old Wombat

Hope I can get my (1/350) ships to look half as good! :thumbsup:
Has a life outside of What-If & wishes it would stop interfering!

"The purpose of all War is Peace" - St. Augustine

veritas ad mortus veritas est


Do not condemn the judgement of another because it differs from your own. You may both be wrong.

Captain Canada

Wow ! What a machine. The airwing looks incredible ! Love all of the colours, and the way they are ranged on the deck.
CANADA KICKS arse !!!!

Long Live the Commonwealth !!!
Vive les Canadiens !
Where's my beer ?