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Line drawing of Seydlitz

Displacement 14,200 tons
Armament 2 x 2   8" Main
Light AA
Aircraft 18 Scout-bombers
Speed 33 knots
VTS Rating   1   2   7 1

The 'real' Seydlitz was under construction before the war as one of the five Admiral Hipper-class heavy cruisers. Lying idle in the shipyards, Seydlitz was scheduled for conversion to a light aircraft carrier in 1942 (after the Kriegsmarine realized how badly they had blundered by not building CV's earlier), but the project moved slowly and the CVL Seydlitz was never completed. It may have looked like a mini Graf Zeppelin (Pommern drawing in my series) with a pole mast conning tower, a curved smokestack, and some AA guns on deck on the starboard side, but no medium or heavy turrets.

In "Grand Fleet", however, Reichsmarschall Göring helped get the Kriegsmarine air-minded at an early stage by demanding a cruiser be built capable of carrying an entire staffel (16 + spares) of wheeled aircraft. Seydlitz was completed simultaneously with Admiral Hipper (all-gun) and looked similar in profile except for the flight deck and lack of rear turrets. Her superstructure, however, was offset to the starboard side. Not built to fight other warships, Seydlitz was to be a lone commerce raider or a fleet scout with her four radar-directed heavy guns and Arado 196T scout-bombers that carried a single 250 kg bomb or depth charge apiece. One new feature was the "Knickebein" beam navigation system to guide her aircraft back to her. Another was a new accellerator/catapult that used twin 1,000+ hp airplane engines hooked up to a torque converter connected to a deck shuttle. Like putting your foot on the brake as you step on the gas pedal of an automatic transmission-equipped automobile, the wind-up energy builds and then is transmitted as soon as you release the brake. This technique was put to good use post-war as the Buick "Dynaflow" transmission. Though hailed as a marvel when launched, Seydlitz was an interim carrier design and only a mediocre warship. The plethora of new full-sized aircraft carriers being built in the late '30's by Germany's potential enemies meant that the lone raider's days were numbered.

In the North Atlantic, Seydlitz's scout bombers helped her evade British surface warships and actually sank a prowling British submarine. Although her planes' scouting report led a pack of U-boats to decimate a convoy, British carrier planes from 'Force H' homed in on Seydlitz' own Knickebein beam. The Arado's were fine dive bombers but lousy as interceptors, and the British attack aircraft that poured over and sank Seydlitz had no trouble gettting past them.

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