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Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Written by Alternate Historian

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 'Flugzeugtrager' by Todayinah Ed.
Todayinah Editor Todayinah Ed. says, what if Adolf Hitler had committed more resources to Plan Z If you're interested in viewing samples of my other work why not visit Todayinah site.


December 15

In 1936, on this day President of the Republic Manuel Azaña conceded to the inevitable partition of Spain, a decision forced upon him by the Fall of Madrid.

Flugzeugträger Part 10:
Partition of Spain by Ed & Scott Palter
The deployment of a German Volunteer Division had tipped the scales in favour of the Fascists, but the rapid implosion of the Republic had also triggered a French intervention. Mediation then swiftly followed to avoid the outbreak of a conflict between the Great Powers.

Of the Axis partners involved in the conflict, the partition hugely benefitted Benito Mussolini in particular. Early Italian disengagement enabled withdrawal from a messy conflict that could have easily sapped resources at a time when military build-up needed to accelerate. Instead, much needed resoures could be directed towards the development of a formidable Italian Navy, enabling Il Duce to pursue his dream of dominating the Mediterranean sea lanes of "Mare Nostrum" (Our Sea).
This post shares some commonality with the sister articles in the Flugzeugträger thread.



August 23

In 1941, five months after President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Lend-Lease bill into law (pictured), Operation Schraubenschlüssel was dismantled and US aid to Britain and China finally began in earnest.

Flugzeugträger Part 11:
Operation Schraubenschlüssel
Specifically designed to throw a "monkey wrench" into the program, the Nazi Minister of Armaments and War Production Albert Speer had organized a series of covert operations that disrupted America munition firms. This included the placement of rogue employees, destabilising buy-outs, transportation gaffes and various supply chain misinterventions that had ensured Britain and China only received a trickle of fulfilment for the large orders that they had placed.

A few short years later it emerged that the dismantling efforts had been somewhat overzealous. Some of the individuals placed under arrest with indecent haste had established dubious banking connections with the Nazis that were completely unconnected to Operation Schraubenschlüssel. One of these, the case of Prescott Bush, was taken up by the Californian Lawyer Richard Nixon who sought to restore the reputation of the private merchant bank Brown Brothers Harriman & Co.



October 24

In 1944, on this day the German aircraft carriers Graf Zeppelin and Peter Strasser are sunk in the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

Flugzeugträger Part 12:
Battle of Leyte Gulf
Of the German carrier group that had participated in the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, only the Tirpitz and the Prinz Eugene now remained afloat. It appeared an unfitting reward for the German naval architects who had managed to overcome immense technical difficulties despite their inexperience in building such vessels.

And with Japan unmistakeably headed for defeat, the question for Grand Admiral Erich Raeder was whether to support the defence of the homelands, attempt a breakout attempt or even perhaps consider a scuttling operation reminiscient of the Dreadnoughts in the Scapa Flow in 1919. But unbeknown to Raeder, the German-Japanese Atomic Bomb project was nearing fruition, and both ships would be required to serve as the delivery mechanism in an audacious second strike on Pearl Harbor. It appeared than Plan Z might well change the course of the War after all.
This post shares some commonality with the sister articles in the Flugzeugträger thread.



December 27

In 1922, on this day the Japanese aircraft carrier Hōshō ("phoenix in flight") became the first purpose built aircraft carrier to be commissioned in the world. Her aircraft group participated in the Shanghai Incident in 1932 and in the opening stages of the Sino-Japanese War in late 1937.

Flugzeugträger Part 13:
Commissioning of Hōshō
The small size of the ship and her assigned airgroups (usually around 15 aircraft) limited the effectiveness of her contributions to combat operations. As a result, the carrier was placed in reserve after her return to Japan from China and she became a training carrier in 1939.

During World War II, Hōshō participated in the Battle of Midway in June 1942 in a secondary role. The narrow Japanese victory was assured by the support of the German double aircraft carrier group that had been stranded in the Far East at the outbreak of war.
This article is a post from the Flugzeugträger thread in which Adolf Hitler had committed more resources to Plan Z.



December 30

In 1936, instead of opting to build the Joffre class carriers the Marine nationale (French Navy) decides to save time and money by modernizing the experimental "throughdeck" aviation cruiser Béarn into a purpose-built operational aircraft carrier.

Flugzeugträger Part 14:
French Aircraft Carrier Béearn modernized
She was originally designed in 1914 as a Normandie-class battleship;. But as a result of the refit she's given a new, oil fired powerplant far superior to her original one (obsolete when it was installed), torpedo protection, and her flight deck is redesigned along with the elevators to accommodate modern aircraft. Three years later the ship is relaunched with an enhanced capability of 28-31 knots, and carrying 35-40 aircraft.

At the outbreak of war, France's only aircraft carrier decides to join up with the Free French Navy...
This article is a post from the Flugzeugträger thread in which Adolf Hitler had committed more resources to Plan Z.



December 8

In 1938, on this day the German Kriegsmarine aircraft carrier codename Flugzeugträger A was christened the Graf Zeppelin and launched from the Deutsche Werke in the port of Kiel.

Flugzeugträger Part 1: Launching of the Graf ZeppelinGrand Admiral Erich Raeder congratulated the German naval architects1 for overcoming immense difficulties despite their inexperience in building such vessels. The design challenges included a complement of cruiser-type guns for commerce raiding and defense against British cruisers, American and Japanese carriers, designed along the lines of task-force defense, used supporting cruisers for surface firepower, which allowed flight operations to continue without disruption and kept carriers out of undue risk of damage or sinking from surface action.

But the truth was that Raeder himself had saved Plan Z by providing the caste iron guarantees needed for the Fuehrer (who exercised his supreme authority through the Oberkommando der Marine) to sustain his interest in the programme. Because in May 1941, the Graf Zeppelin, along with the Tirpitz, Bismark and Prinz Eugene successfully mounted a German invasion of Iceland.
This post shares some commonality with the sister articles in the Flugzeugträger thread.



July 1

In 1940, on this day the German Kriegsmarine aircraft carrier codename Flugzeugträger B was christened the Peter Strasser (in honour of the World War I leader of the naval airship) and launched from the Deutsche Werke in the port of Kiel. Deployed in a carrier group alongside the Tirpitz, her main war-time role was to wreck havoc amongst the Arctic convoys.

Flugzeugträger Part 2: Launching of the Peter StrasserThis strategic mission objective was laid down by Grand Admiral Erich Raeder (and after some angry exchanges) finally signed off by the Fuehrer who exercised his supreme authority through the Oberkommando der Marine. Not only did this approval ensure that Plan Z received the necessary level of resourcing, but it also enabled the German naval architects1 to overcoming immense difficulties despite their inexperience in building such vessels. The design challenges included a complement of cruiser-type guns for commerce raiding and defense against British cruisers, American and Japanese carriers, designed along the lines of task-force defense, used supporting cruisers for surface firepower, which allowed flight operations to continue without disruption and kept carriers out of undue risk of damage or sinking from surface action.
This post shares some commonality with the sister articles in the Flugzeugträger thread.



June 16

In 1939, on this day the Nippon Kaigun and Kriegsmarine began a summer-long joint exercise that resulted in the German double aircraft carrier group being stranded in the Far East at the outbreak of war.

Flugzeugträger Part 3: Convergence of Operation Z & Plan ZNeedless to say, the internment was a source of huge frustration to Grand Admiral Erich Raeder. His Plan Z rearmament program had been explicitly authorized by the Anglo-German Naval Agreement, but then the real negotiations had begun in earnest - with the Fuehrer.

But then fate intervened, and the Grand Admiral was finally given a historic opportunity to demonstrate that the German Navy could make a real difference. Because in late 1941, Raeder's patience was finally rewarded by a private visit from Chuichi Nagumo. The Japanese Admiral wanted to discuss the feasibility of German carriers Graf Zeppelin and Peter Strasser supporting his Kido Butai in a pre-emptive attack on an undisclosed allied military base. The success of the joint exercises had demonstrated that such a mission was operationally possible, although matters of command needed to be delicately discussed. And yet a complete coincidence gave Raeder the assurance that needed. Because Nagumo had chosen the codename Operation Z. It was more than the fickle finger of fate, it was destiny. Because the strike from the Axis third wave force destroyed drydocks and fuel storage depots, putting the eventual US victory back by two whole years.
This post shares some commonality with the sister articles in the Flugzeugträger thread.



January 27

In 1939, to challenge the naval power of the United Kingdom the Fuehrer Adolf Hitler ordered the re-equipment and expansion of the Nazi German Navy.

Flugzeugträger Part 4:
Plan Z
Like all of the unfortunate implementors of Hitler's madcap plans, it soon became apparent to its architect Grand Admiral Erich Raeder that "Plan Z" was hopelessly unachievable because there was far too much competition for common internal resource to build a Kriegsmarine of ten battleships, four aircraft carriers, three battlecruisers, three old panzerschiffe, twelve new panzerschiffe, five heavy cruisers, thirty-sx light cruisers M Class, twenty-four light cruisers typ spähkreuzer, sixty-eight destroyers, ninety torpedo boats and two hundred forty-night U-boats by 1945. And the political infighting was further complicated by intra-service rivalry; as usual Goëring was throwing a spanner in the works by insisting that all aviation assets should belong to the Luftwaffe.

To overcome this comand confusion, Raeder played directly to the Fuehrer's military fantasies, floating a number of implausible mission plans including an attack on the US Atlantic Fleet moored at Norfolk, Virginia. The main result of this gambit was a significant reduction in the number of U-boats. And instead of ambitiously building a purpose-built aircraft carriers from the keel up, the Admiral took the more realistic judgement to convert pre-dreadnoughts by building landing capability on the hull. This expedience was necessary in the game of catch-up, being precisely how the Royal Navy had built their first carriers HMS Eagle and HMS Furious. Because Raeder simply did not have the luxury of time, inside of six months war would break-out and he could not follow in the slow considered steps of a programme launched by the Royal Navy over fifteen years before.
This post shares some commonality with the sister articles in the Flugzeugträger thread.



June 22

In 1941, on this day the Red Army launched a full-blown attack on Northern Germany and Romania that confirmed the worst Nazi fears about the true extent of Stalin's military buildup.

Flugzeugträger Part 5:
The Zhukov Plan
For the past two years, the Führer had diverted limited resources to the Nazi German Navy. Significantly, he had also overruled Hermann Goëring by giving the Kriegsmarine operational control of aviation assets aboard the aircraft carriers Peter Strasser and Graf Zeppelin. Both decisions had enabled Grand Admiral Erich Raeder to pull off the invasion of Iceland, a stunning victory that redefined the balance of power in the Western hemisphere.

And yet the hidden price of that pyrrhic victory became immediately apparent as soon as German counter-espionage teams intercepted code "icebreaker". Significantly outnumbered on the ground, the Luftwaffe was unable to turn the tables by striking a decisive blow on the Red Airforce. And within days Hitler's regime was facing a crushing defeat.
This post shares some commonality with the sister articles in the Flugzeugträger thread.



December 14

In 1942, on this day a jittery Winston Churchill wrote the shortest official memorandum in British history to his First Sea Lord Sir Dudley Pound demanding "Where is TIRPITZ?".

Flugzeugträger Part 6:
Where is TIRPITZ?
She was the second of two Bismarck-class battleships built for the German Kriegsmarine. Named after Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, the architect of the earlier Kaiserliche Marine, the ship was laid down at the Kriegsmarinewerft Wilhelmshaven in November 1936 and her hull was launched two and a half years later.

Deployed in a double carrier group alongside the Peter Strasser and the Graf Zeppelin, her main war-time role was to wreck havoc amongst the Arctic convoys. And of course the source of Churchill's concern was the deteriorating situation on the Eastern Front. Because at first the invasion of Northern Germany and Romania known as the Zhukov Plan had made great progress. But now it was clear that Stalin's assault was premature and his build-up insufficient to defeat the Nazis. And due to the operation of the Kriegsmarine, the Allies problem was getting resupply through to the Russians.
This post shares some commonality with the sister articles in the Flugzeugträger thread.



June 27

In 1942, on this day the Kriegsmarine's double aircraft carrier group spearheaded "Operation Herkules", the Italo-German invasion of the island of Malta.

Flugzeugträger Part 7:
Operation Hercules
The mission had been approved at a meeting between Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini on 29-30 April. Through combined air and sea landings, the Axis powers hoped to eliminate Malta as a British air and naval base and secure an uninterrupted flow of supplies across the Mediterranean Sea to their forces fighting in Libya and Egypt.

The Axis plan to invade Malta had its origin in Italian military studies conducted in the mid-1930s during Italy's conquest of Ethiopia. By 1938, the Italian army command had estimated the amount of sea transport it would require to move significant military forces into North Africa and identified the seizure of Malta as a necessary prerequisite. The Regia Marina (Italian Navy) had initially showed little interest in the seabourne plan, but the mission priority had been radically changed by the pre-emptive strike of Operation Zhukov, the Soviet invasion of Northern Germany and Romania. Due to the existence of a fleet in being, resupply through the Arctic had been considered impossible; instead the Western allies were delivering huge quantities of armanents through Persia which was the ultimate target of General Rommel's drive through the North Africa/Middle East theatre.
This post shares some commonality with the sister articles in the Flugzeugträger thread.



November 26

In 1904, on this day the master Nazi Counterfeiter Bernhard Krüger was born in Slovakia's High Tatra mountains.

Flugzeugträger Part 8:
Operation Bernhard
As a Schutzstaffel Sturmbannf"hrer (SS Major) set up a team of counterfeiters to develop the appropriate rag-based paper with the correct watermarks for pounds sterling and later, US dollars. Although the task of breaking the code to generate valid serial numbers was extremely difficult, the printing press of "Operation Bernhard" produced notes that were almost impossible to distinguish from the real currency (in the 1940s, the Bank of England still maintained leather-bound volumes recording all serial numbers).

The original aim was to flood enemy countries with counterfeit currency that would create inflation and wreck their economies. However by the late nineteen thirties, the Nazis were more concerned with the German economy being wrecked by the war-time build-up. And so the much needed hard currencies were used to buy raw materials for Plan Z the re-equipment and expansion of the Nazi German Navy (Kriegsmarine) ordered by Adolf Hitler on January 27, 19371. This was partly achieved by a laundering operation in which gold was sold by Swiss banks, obviating the need for the Wehrmacht to launch Operation Tannenbaum, the high risk invasion of Switzerland. Because at this stage, the Nazis were heavily relying upon the theft of currency reserves, gold and diamonds from occupied countries in order to maintain liquidity. Fortunately, SS Major Bernhard had found a way to raid Switzerland without the huge costs of mountain warfare.
This post shares some commonality with the sister articles in the Flugzeugträger thread.



June 28

In 1937, on this day at the Ansaldo Shipyard in Genoa Il Duce ordered an expansion of the Regia Marina (Royal Italian Navy) to include the building of the Aquila ("Eagle") and Sparviero ("Sparrowhark") double aircraft carrier force mirroring (and perhaps rivaling) the "Plan Z" construction undertaken by the Kriegsmarine.

Flugzeugträger Part 9:
Operation Hats
Benito Mussolini saw the control of the Mediterranean Sea as an essential prerequisite for expanding his "New Roman Empire" into Nice, Corsica, Tunis, and the Balkans. He described the Mediterranean as "Mare Nostrum" (Our Sea) and ensured that Italian naval building accelerated during his tenure.

With the German double aircraft carrier force committed to the Atlantic, it would fall upon the Regia Marina to lead the Battle of the Mediterranean. And eventually the operation of Malta Convoys ("Operation Hats") would pave the wave for the the Italo-German invasion of the island of Malta. And yet the development of a formidable Italian Navy was a luxury resulting from the early Italian disengagement in the Spanish Civil War, a messy conflict that could have easily sapped resources at a time when military build-up needed to accelerate. Instead, the Fall of Madrid (and subsequent implosion of the Republic) was entirely due to the fortuitous deployment of a German Volunteer Division that had tipped the scales in favour of the Fascists.
This post shares some commonality with the sister articles in the Flugzeugträger thread.



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