Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Some Zeppelin Facts

Prewar Photo of Graf Zeppelin Receiving the Kaiser's Felicitations

  • 115 Zeppelin-type airships were used by the German military in the First World War.
  • The Army and Navy lost 53 airships and 379 highly trained officers and men, and 24 airships were so damaged they could not be used again. They were used much more for reconnaissance missions than bombing, with over 1200 sorties flown over the North Sea alone.
  • Parachutes were considered excess weight and, therefore, not carried.
  • In April 1917 Zeppelin L-23 intercepted the Norwegian schooner Royal off the Danish coast, determined she was carrying contraband, put a prize crew aboard, and sailed the ship back to Germany.
  • History's largest Zeppelin attack: 16 Navy and Army airship bombers against London on 2 September 1915 [13 arrived over target].
  • Deadliest raid: L-13 against London on 8 September 1915 killed 22 people. Over 500 individuals died in Britain from air attacks.
  • A Victoria Cross was awarded to William Leefe Robinson of the Royal Flying Corps for shooting down Schütte Lanz SL-11 over London on the night of 2/3 September 1916, a feat that paved the way for the eventual defeat of the Zeppelin as a bomber.
  • Incendiary bullets, which would prove the most lethal anti-Zeppelin weapon, were developed in contravention of the Hague Convention. German use of gas in 1915 encouraged overlooking this "technicality".
  • 1915 was the best year for Zeppelin crews. Not a single raider was lost to enemy fire.
  • Father of the German airship, Ferdinand Adolf August Heinrich Graf von Zeppelin,  did not survive the war. He died of pneumonia on 8 March 1917 at the age of 78.

1 comment:

  1. Let's not forget the longest flight when a zeppelin was dispatched to take supplies to German East Africa. It turned back around Egypt only because it received a false message saying that the Germans had already surrendered.