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As Nazi Germany was rebuilding its military capabilities, the German Navy was interested in the potential of the aircraft carrier as a fleet weapon. Design and construction of the Graf Zeppelin was undertaken in the late 1930s. While the Graf Zeppelin was launched in 1938, it was never completed as construction priorities were shifted to submarines. While interest in the carrier concept resumed later in the war, the Graf Zeppelin was never completed and was ultimately sank after World War II.
While development of the aircraft carrier was underway, a series of parallel efforts were also started to create the first air wing for this new German carrier. Several aircraft were 'navalized' including the Messerschmitt Bf 109E. Designers were going to mate the DB 601N onto a modified E airframe that incorporated additional airframe and landing gear strength for flight deck operations, a talk hook for arrested landings, catapult hooks for getting back off the deck, and longer wings to lower stall speed/increase lift.
The first production variant of this carrier fighter was designated the Bf 109T-1 and seven were completed before the Graf Zeppelin was cancelled. The remaining 63 airframes of that initial 70 Bf 109Ts were built without carrier equipment and designated Bf 109T-2. These aircraft were comparable to the Bf 109E-4/N, though their long wings allowed for operations from shorter airfields than their land-based cousins. These Bf 109T-2s were assigned to Norway for operations out of their shorter airfields.