Zeppelin Raids

Discussion in 'World War 1' started by liverpool annie, Dec 26, 2008.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    My Grandma remembered seeing the Zeppelins fly over Liverpool ... I always thought it was a "tall story" until I found out about the raids !!!!!!! :rolleyes:

    Count Ferdinand Zeppelin, a German army officer, began developing his ideas on airships in 1897. The first Zeppelin flew on 2nd July 1900. The LZ-3 Zeppelin was accepted into army service in March 1909. By the start of the First World War the German Army had seven military Zeppelins.

    The Zeppelin developed in 1914 could reach a maximum speed of 136 kph and reach a height of 4,250 metres. The Zeppelin had five machine-guns and could carry 2,000 kg (4,400 lbs) of bombs.

    In January 1915, two Zeppelin navel airships 190 metres long, flew over the east coast of England and bombed great Yarmouth and King's Lynn. The first Zeppelin raid on London took place on 31st May 1915. The raid killed 28 people and injured 60 more.

    Many places suffered from Zeppelin raids included Edinburgh, Gravesend, Sunderland, the Midlands and the Home Counties. By the end of May 1916 at least 550 British civilians had been killed by German Zeppelins.

    Zeppelins could deliver successful long-range bombing attacks, but were extremely vulnerable to attack and bad weather. British fighter pilots and anti-aircraft gunners became very good at bringing down Zeppelins. A total of 115 Zeppelins were used by the German military, of which, 77 were either destroyed or so damaged they could not be used again. In June 1917 the German military stopped used Zeppelins for bombing raids over Britain.

    Ferdinand von Zeppelin was born in Baden, Germany in 1838. When he was twenty he joined the German Army and was a member of the expedition that went to North America to search for the source of the Mississippi River. While in Minnesota in 1870 he made his first ascent in a military balloon.

    Zeppelin had reached the rank of brigadier general when he retired from the German Army in 1891. Over the next few years he devoted himself to to the study of aeronautics. In 1894 the German government rejected his proposals for a lighter-than-air flying machine. Although now aged sixty, Zeppelin decided to invest all his own money in a company producing airships.

    By 1898 Zeppelin, with a team of 30 workmen, had assembled his first airship. The main principle of Zeppelin's invention was that hydrogen-filled gas-bags were carried inside a steel skeleton. The airship, which weighed 12 tons and contained 400,000 cubic feet of hydrogen, was driven by propellers connected by two 15-hp Daimler engines. After the Zeppelin LZ made its first flight on 2nd July 1900, the German government decided to help fund the project.

    By the outbreak of the First World War the German Army owned seven of Zeppelin's airships. These Zeppelins could reach a maximum speed of 136 kph and reach a height of 4,250 metres. They had five machine-guns and could carry 2,000 kg (4,400 lbs) of bombs.

    In the war Zeppelins were used for air rids on Britain and France. However, being large and slow, they were an easy target and by the summer of 1917 the German military had decided to employ them for transporting supplies. Ferdinand von Zeppelin died in 1917.

  2. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Wish I could make these pictures smaller .... so we could see them properly !! :confused:

    A Zeppelin Under Attack (1917)

    Two illustrations from a French magazine that depict the artist's understanding of the frantic life on board a zeppelin that is under attack from enemy aircraft.

    http://www.oldmagazinearticles.com/pdf/Zeppelin Attack.pdf
  3. scrimnet

    scrimnet New Member

    Can I commend a book called "First Blitz"....?


    The first air raid over Britain was on Xmas eve 1914!

    Between May 1917 and May 1918 over 800 were killed and 1965 injured due to air rids by the Germans...They also used Gotha bombers (ironic as the Royal Family were Saxe Coburg Gotha until they changed to Windsor!) from the "English Sqn" to bomb...

    There was a plan to flatten London, and it lead directly to the RAF carpet bombing of WW2.
  4. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης



  5. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Death of a Zeppelin - 1916

    The German Zeppelins were the ultimate terror weapon of their day. Silent behemoths, they prowled the night skies seemingly impervious to attack by plane or antiaircraft fire. Just the mention of the name "Zeppelin" was enough to send cold chills up and down the spines of their intended victims.

    The dirigible's name came from one of its German designers - Ferdinand von Zeppelin - who introduced his first giant airship at the turn of the 20th century. With the outbreak of war, they were quickly pressed into service as bombers and reconnaissance aircraft. The first bombing raid on London was made during the night of May 31, 1915 by a single ship. Other raids followed, with as many as 16 Zeppelins attacking in a single night.

    Initially, defenders were powerless as the Zeppelins flew at altitudes too high for defending aircraft or artillery to reach. Mother Nature was the Zeppelin's primary enemy as the unwieldy craft were easily thrown off course by high winds. Additionally, the darkness of their night raids made it difficult for crews to find their targets.

    Although the actual material damage inflicted by the Zeppelins was minimal, their psychological impact on the British population was significant. Precious air and ground units were diverted from the war front to the home front to counter this threat from the sky.

    As the war progressed, technological advances that allowed defending aircraft to reach or exceed the Zeppelin's altitude and the introduction of incendiary bullets, turned the advantage to the defenders. By the end of the war, the Zeppelin had been withdrawn from combat.

  6. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Interesting read !! .....

    How did London Civilians respond to the German airship raids of 1915

    Nine months into the Great War London joined the English counties of Norfolk, Northumberland, Essex, Suffolk and Kent, when she too became a victim of the German airship raids being unleashed on England. Bringing English civilians not only into a war, but a war like never before, the German Government believed that these raids would so terrorise English civilians that they would demand their government make peace on German terms.

  7. Hill 40

    Hill 40 New Member

    ...and "The Baby Killers - German Air raids on Britain in the First World War" by Thomas Fegan.

    For a region-specific account, try also "Zeppelins Over Lancashire" by Peter J.C.Smith.
  8. Dolphin

    Dolphin New Member

    The definitive book on the German raids by both aeroplanes and airships is Cole & Cheesman's The Air Defence of Britain 1914-1918, ISBN 0 370 30538 8, which covers the overall stategy and tactics, the development of technology and details every raid and the aircraft that took part, both as raiders and defenders.


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