In July 2006 the wreck of a warship was found lying deep in the Baltic Sea. The use of side scan radar and an ROV culminated in a spectacular dive in October 2007 on the recently discovered Graf Zeppelin. Its discovery stirred memories of a vessel that was once the most feared ship in Hitler’s Navy – the Kriegsmarine. A ship that in 1940, Great Britain, the lone adversary to the rapidly expanding Nazi empire was by its own admission not equipped to fight.
Launched in 1938, and measuring over a quarter of a kilometre in length, the aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin was the largest warship ever built in Nazi Germany and was to have operated the most modern carrier aircraft in the western world. Considered a greater threat to British sea power than the massive twin battleships Bismarck and Tirpitz, many in the Royal Navy had concerns that Britain’s powerful but largely aging, surface fleet was ill prepared to cope with the German carrier.
Surviving a strategic attack by the Royal Air Force, Graf Zeppelin would eventually meet her end in an orchestrated attack by Soviet warships and bomber aircraft, her actual sinking the result of multiple bomb and torpedo hits.
The ship lay largely forgotten in post-war Europe, until her accidental discovery by a Polish survey vessel, the MV Santa Barbara. Following her discovery one of the authors of this book, Cdr. Adam Olejnik, in his role as commander of a team from the Polish Navy’s Department of Underwater Work Technology, would be extensively involved in surveying the wreck site – the underwater images reproduced within the pages of this book originating from this mission.
Complimented by more than 150 images and a comprehensive set of ship’s plans, Freedom of the Seasdocuments the ship’s construction and other key events in her life, including her discovery and subsequent survey.
210x 265 mm