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.