>I take those would end up in pieces after a few shots.
>Did it affect what they can produce?
Yes, the industrial knowledge of the building nation was important in regards to what they could produce, Take for example the Japanese and the 40mm Bofors. They had
the designs early on, but they found it impossible to produce in quantity with the Japanese industry.
A little known fact is that the Germans actually had the designs for the US' 5in/38cal DP Gun (and related mounts), the best general purpose DP gun of the war, from day one. At the time (1934-early1936) the US and the Germans were virtually allied and were sharing research. However, the German industry was incapable of producing the complex electronics required to make the US' system work, so the US' gun was useless to them.
>The US, Japan and Britain all did a ton of experiments with armed carriers and concluded that anything short of a Lexington was totally fucked in a gunfight, even against a small CL or a few destroyers.
I'd disagree, given the reports I have read from the time (the US, for example, was critical of Fleet Carriers
' direct defensiveness, but the same report suggested that Hybrid Cruisers
were the way to go for Scout CVs, which indicates they didn't think all Armed Carriers were totally fucked in a gunfight - just the unarmored ones), but even if it was correct, my response would be 'Yes, and?'
What does this have to do with the GERMANS' conclusions? The Germans who did not have access to this testing data and had to come up with their own conclusions via the time honored method of scientific-wild-ass-guesswork.
Certainly with the benefit of hindsight one can say that the direction they took the Graf Zeppelin was incorrect for the tactical/strategic circumstances of the time. But if you're arguing from a position of hindsight, then any surface development for the Kriegsmarine was retarded and they should have focused entirely on submarines; furthermore, any armor on USN Battleships not named USS North Carolina, USS South Dakota, or USS Iowa was pointless.
>The Royal Navy would notice immediately if half the Kriegsmarine sortied all at once
By late 1941 the Royal Navy would notice immediately if so much as a single DKM surface ship left harbor, so I'm not sure what your point is.
> so I don't know where you're getting this whole "commerce-raiding task force" concept from.
The ConOps of the Graf Zeppelin envisioned a BBCV Division of 1 CV, 1 BB, 1 Cruiser (CL or CA), 2-3 DDs, and 1-3 SS' acting in fleet support role. Far less a 'task force' and far more a raiding party, because that's an extremely small division as far as ships go (far too few escorts to pass muster in USN/RN OoBs).
Ships are not designed with future sight of what will happen, they are designed with forward projection. Which is nothing more than wishful thinking with a dose of pessimism. How the Graf Zeppelin was intended to operate has absolutely no bearing on how she would have been operated, just like the Bismarck was designed to operate in proper divisions instead of the historical 2-ships-and-a-boat band she died with.
> In either case, Graf Zeppelin would have entered service alongside the folding-wing BV-155, allowing for an air group of probably ~70 planes with deck parking
You're overestimating a fair bit. By the time the Me-155 (the BV-155 was never to be navalized) was a thing (late 1942), the Graf Zeppelin's prospected aircraft compliment had been reverted back to mostly fighters and a handful of dive bombers, and the fighters were not exactly tiny even with folded wings. Between that and the ship's limited
handling systems, I'd reckon the Graf Zeppelin could have managed a maximum of 52-55 aircraft and no more even with deck parking.
Incidentally, however, deck parking was not something the Germans ever even figured out. Contrary to public perception it was neither obvious nor simple. You had to have designed the carrier to allow it in the first place (due to wind effect throwing the aircraft around when the CV is maneuvering, the lines and placement of the tower and any deck-level batteries have to be taken into consideration). They were making scientific wild ass guesses about it after observing US and RN CVs doing it, but - from all indications given the design of the Graf Zeppelin's superstructure when the Russians sunk her - they got the math wrong.