The Graf Zeppelin was the lead ship in a class of two carriers ordered by the Kriegsmarine. She was the only aircraft carrier launched by Germany during World War II and represented part of the Kriegsmarine's attempt to create a well-balanced oceangoing fleet, capable of projecting German naval power far beyond the narrow confines of the Baltic and North Seas. Construction was ordered on 16 November 1935 and her keel was laid down on 28 December 1936 by Deutsche Werke at Kiel. Named in honor of Graf (Count) Ferdinand von Zeppelin, the ship was launched on 8 December 1938 but was not completed and was never operational.
KMS Graf Zeppelin in The War That Came EarlyEdit
After the "Big Switch", Julius Lemp contemplated the idea of the Royal Navy backing up the Kriegsmarine in the Baltic against the Soviet Navy with their aircraft carriers. This prompted the U-Boat captain to think about Germany's own carrier, the Graf Zeppelin, which remained incomplete and unlaunched. He wondered if it would ever be completed or whether it would be broken up and cannibalised for its steel.