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Bill M.

Zeppelin Crew Sizes

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Bill M.

Gents,

I am looking for data concerning the size of Zeppelin crews by model/type. I have found everything from 12 - 19 for example for the L48 (LZ95). If anyone has some hard data it would be much appreciated and if by any chance you also have the crew position names/title, for example helmsman, navigator..., that would be even better. Any and all help is welcome even if you can just point me in the right direction.

Cheers

Bill

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Tom Morgan

Bill - here are the names and ranks of the crew of Zeppelin L31, taken from their gravestone (though in German):

Heinrich Mathy Kapitanleutnant

Eugen Boundange Maschinistenmaat

Arthur Budwitz Bootsmannsmaat

Karl Dornbusch Obermatrose

Nikolaus Hemmerling Maschinistenmaat

Karl Hiort Obermaschinistenmaat

Ernst Kaiser Segelmachersmaat

Ernst Klee Funkentelegrafieobergast

Siegfried Korber Steuermann

Gustav Kunischt Signalmaat

Karl Mensing Maschinistenmaat

Friedrich Peters Obersteuermannsmaat

Heinrich Phillipp Obermatrose

Friedrich Rohr Maschinistenmaat

Hubert Stender Maschinistenmaat

Joseph Wegener Maschinist

Jochen Werner Leutnant zur See

Heinrich Witthoft Bootsmannsmaat

Viktor Woellert Obermaschinistenmaat

Hope this is of interest.

Tom

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Bill M.
Bill - here are the names and ranks of the crew of Zeppelin L31, taken from their gravestone (though in German):

Heinrich Mathy Kapitanleutnant

Eugen Boundange Maschinistenmaat

Arthur Budwitz Bootsmannsmaat

Karl Dornbusch Obermatrose

Nikolaus Hemmerling Maschinistenmaat

Karl Hiort Obermaschinistenmaat

Ernst Kaiser Segelmachersmaat

Ernst Klee Funkentelegrafieobergast

Siegfried Korber Steuermann

Gustav Kunischt Signalmaat

Karl Mensing Maschinistenmaat

Friedrich Peters Obersteuermannsmaat

Heinrich Phillipp Obermatrose

Friedrich Rohr Maschinistenmaat

Hubert Stender Maschinistenmaat

Joseph Wegener Maschinist

Jochen Werner Leutnant zur See

Heinrich Witthoft Bootsmannsmaat

Viktor Woellert Obermaschinistenmaat

Hope this is of interest.

Tom

Yes, a great help!

Thanks Tom!

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phil@basildon

At different times the Zeppelin crew numbers were changed according to the circumstances. As the British defences improved against the Zeppelins they were forced to fly at higher altitudes, to acheive this it was neccessary to reduce weight. They eventually had to do away with defensive armament and hence the gunners. As the Zeppelins got bigger so did the crews manning them. The largest Zeppelin crews numbered about 22/23 men, others were fifteen or sometimes less.

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Bill M.
At different times the Zeppelin crew numbers were changed according to the circumstances. As the British defences improved against the Zeppelins they were forced to fly at higher altitudes, to acheive this it was neccessary to reduce weight. They eventually had to do away with defensive armament and hence the gunners. As the Zeppelins got bigger so did the crews manning them. The largest Zeppelin crews numbered about 22/23 men, others were fifteen or sometimes less.

Thanks Phil, you gents are great.

Cheers

Bill

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phil@basildon

Bill, I have a copy of "The Zeppelin Fighters" by Arch Whitehouse I will go through and find a bit more detailed information for you.

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GraemeClarke

Hi,

Below at Cannock Chase (further to the L31 above)

SL11

Wilhelm SCHRAMM Hauptmann

Jakob BAUMANN Obermaschinist

Hans GEITEL Leutnant

Rudolf GOLTZ Vizefeldwebel

Karl HASSENMULLER Feldwebel-Leutnant

Bernhard JEZIORSKI Gefreiter

Fritz JOURDAN Untermaschinist

Karl KACHELE Untermaschinist

Fritz KOPISCHKE Obersteuermann

Friedrich MODINGER Obermaschinist

Reinhold PORATH Obermaschinist

Rudolf SENDZICK Obersteuermann

Heinrich SCHLICHTING Unteroffizier

Anton TRISTRAM Unteroffizier

Wilhelm VOHDIN Oberleutnant

Hans WINKLER Untermaschinist

L32

Werner PETERSON Oberleutnant Zur See

Adolf BLEY Obersignalmaat

Albin BOCKSCH Obermaschinistmaat

Karl BORTSCHELLER Funkentelegrafieobermaat

Wilhelm BROCKHAUS Oberheizer

Karl BRODRUCK Leutnant Zur See

Paul DORFMULLER Maschinistenmaat

Richard FANKHANEL Obermaschinistenmaat

Georg HAGEDORN Obermaschinistenmaat

Friedrich HEIDER Oberbootsmannsmaat

Robert KLISCH Funkentelegrafieobergast

Herman MAEGDLFRAU Obermaschinistenmaat

Bernhard MOHR Obersegelmachersgast

August MULLER Matrose

Friedrich PASCHE Bootsmannsmaat

Karl PAUST Obermaschinistenmaat

Ewald PICARD Obersignalmaat

Walter PRUSS Maschinistenmaat

Paul SCHIERING Obermatrose

Bernhard SCHREIBMULLER Steuermann

Karl VOLKER Obermaschinistenmaat

Alfred ZOPEL Oberbootsmannsmaat

L48

Franz EICHLER Kapitanleutnant

Heinrich AHRENS Obermaschinistenmaat

Wilhelm BETZ Maat

Walter DIPPMANN Obersignalmaat

Wilhelm GLUCKEL Obermaschinistenmaat

Paul HANNEMANN Bootsmannsmaat

Heinrich HERBST Signalmaat

Franz KONIG Bootsmannsmaat

Wilhelm MEYER Funkentelegrafiemaat

Karl MILICH Obermaschinistenmaat

Michael NEUNZIG Obermaschinistenmaat

Karl PLOGER Obermatrose

Paul SUCHLICH Obermatrose

Viktor SCHUTZE Korvettenkapitan

Hermann V. STOCKUM Obermaschinistenmaat

Paul WESTPHAL Stevermann

Crew ranks

Btsmt - Bootsmannsmaat - sailor

Fk Gef - Funkgefreiter - "Funk-" is always related to radio and communication

Fk Ob Gef - Funkobergefreiter

Fk Ob Mt - Funkobermaat

Fw Mt - Feuerwerksmaat - ammo and explosives

Fwk Mt - the same

Masch Hpt Gef - Maschinenhauptgefreiter - Engines, Technicians

Masch Mt- Maschinenmaat

Masch Ob Mt - Maschinenobermaat

Masch Ob Gef - Maschinenobergefreiter

Matr Ob Gef - Matrosenobergefreiter - sailor

Mech - Mechaniker

Mech Hpt Gef - Mechanikerhauptgefreiter

Mech Ob Gef - Mechanikerobergefreiter

Mtr Hpt Gef - Matrosenhauptgefreiter

Mtr Ob Gef - Matrosenobergefreiter

Ob Btsmt - OberbootsmaatOb Masch - Obermaschinist - engines

Ob Mech Mt - Obermechanikermaat

Ob Strm - Obersteuermann - navigations personnel

San Mt - Sanitätsmaat - medic

San Ob Gef - Sanitätsobergefreiter

Schrb Mt - Schreibmaat - administration

Sign Gef - Signalgefreiter - signal personnel

Sign Ob Mt - Signalobermaat

Stbs Ob FK Mst - Stabsoberfunkmeister

Stbs Fwk - Stabsfeuerwerker - ammo,explosives

Stbd Masch - Stabsmaschinist

Strm Mt - Steuermannsmaat

Ver Fel?w (overtyped see attachement) - Verwaltungsfeldwebel - administration

Vern Mt - ? typo?

Verw Of Gef - Verwaltungsobergefreiter

Waffenw - Waffenwart - weapons, arms

Zim Ob Gef - Zimmerer Obergefreiter - tailor

Zim Ob Mt - Zimmermanns Obermaat

(Soldat) private

(Gefreiter) corporal

(Obergefreiter) lance-corporal (British rank)

(Stabsgefreiter) staff corporal

(Unteroffizier) sergeant

(Feldwebel) master-sergeant

(Wachtmeister) senior artillery NCO

(Leutnant) lieutenant

(Oberleutnant) first lieutenant

(Kanonier) artilleryman (private)

(Sanitäter) medical private

(Funker) communications/signal private

(Pionier) engineer (private)

Regards,

Graeme

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Bill M.

I don't know what to say other than you gents are just terrific! This forum is so full of information and folks willing to share that it just stagers me. Once again thank you all for all your help.

Cheers

Bill

Hi,

Below at Cannock Chase (further to the L31 above)

SL11

Wilhelm SCHRAMM Hauptmann

Jakob BAUMANN Obermaschinist

Hans GEITEL Leutnant

Rudolf GOLTZ Vizefeldwebel

Karl HASSENMULLER Feldwebel-Leutnant

Bernhard JEZIORSKI Gefreiter

Fritz JOURDAN Untermaschinist

Karl KACHELE Untermaschinist

Fritz KOPISCHKE Obersteuermann

Friedrich MODINGER Obermaschinist

Reinhold PORATH Obermaschinist

Rudolf SENDZICK Obersteuermann

Heinrich SCHLICHTING Unteroffizier

Anton TRISTRAM Unteroffizier

Wilhelm VOHDIN Oberleutnant

Hans WINKLER Untermaschinist

L32

Werner PETERSON Oberleutnant Zur See

Adolf BLEY Obersignalmaat

Albin BOCKSCH Obermaschinistmaat

Karl BORTSCHELLER Funkentelegrafieobermaat

Wilhelm BROCKHAUS Oberheizer

Karl BRODRUCK Leutnant Zur See

Paul DORFMULLER Maschinistenmaat

Richard FANKHANEL Obermaschinistenmaat

Georg HAGEDORN Obermaschinistenmaat

Friedrich HEIDER Oberbootsmannsmaat

Robert KLISCH Funkentelegrafieobergast

Herman MAEGDLFRAU Obermaschinistenmaat

Bernhard MOHR Obersegelmachersgast

August MULLER Matrose

Friedrich PASCHE Bootsmannsmaat

Karl PAUST Obermaschinistenmaat

Ewald PICARD Obersignalmaat

Walter PRUSS Maschinistenmaat

Paul SCHIERING Obermatrose

Bernhard SCHREIBMULLER Steuermann

Karl VOLKER Obermaschinistenmaat

Alfred ZOPEL Oberbootsmannsmaat

L48

Franz EICHLER Kapitanleutnant

Heinrich AHRENS Obermaschinistenmaat

Wilhelm BETZ Maat

Walter DIPPMANN Obersignalmaat

Wilhelm GLUCKEL Obermaschinistenmaat

Paul HANNEMANN Bootsmannsmaat

Heinrich HERBST Signalmaat

Franz KONIG Bootsmannsmaat

Wilhelm MEYER Funkentelegrafiemaat

Karl MILICH Obermaschinistenmaat

Michael NEUNZIG Obermaschinistenmaat

Karl PLOGER Obermatrose

Paul SUCHLICH Obermatrose

Viktor SCHUTZE Korvettenkapitan

Hermann V. STOCKUM Obermaschinistenmaat

Paul WESTPHAL Stevermann

Crew ranks

Btsmt - Bootsmannsmaat - sailor

Fk Gef - Funkgefreiter - "Funk-" is always related to radio and communication

Fk Ob Gef - Funkobergefreiter

Fk Ob Mt - Funkobermaat

Fw Mt - Feuerwerksmaat - ammo and explosives

Fwk Mt - the same

Masch Hpt Gef - Maschinenhauptgefreiter - Engines, Technicians

Masch Mt- Maschinenmaat

Masch Ob Mt - Maschinenobermaat

Masch Ob Gef - Maschinenobergefreiter

Matr Ob Gef - Matrosenobergefreiter - sailor

Mech - Mechaniker

Mech Hpt Gef - Mechanikerhauptgefreiter

Mech Ob Gef - Mechanikerobergefreiter

Mtr Hpt Gef - Matrosenhauptgefreiter

Mtr Ob Gef - Matrosenobergefreiter

Ob Btsmt - OberbootsmaatOb Masch - Obermaschinist - engines

Ob Mech Mt - Obermechanikermaat

Ob Strm - Obersteuermann - navigations personnel

San Mt - Sanitätsmaat - medic

San Ob Gef - Sanitätsobergefreiter

Schrb Mt - Schreibmaat - administration

Sign Gef - Signalgefreiter - signal personnel

Sign Ob Mt - Signalobermaat

Stbs Ob FK Mst - Stabsoberfunkmeister

Stbs Fwk - Stabsfeuerwerker - ammo,explosives

Stbd Masch - Stabsmaschinist

Strm Mt - Steuermannsmaat

Ver Fel?w (overtyped see attachement) - Verwaltungsfeldwebel - administration

Vern Mt - ? typo?

Verw Of Gef - Verwaltungsobergefreiter

Waffenw - Waffenwart - weapons, arms

Zim Ob Gef - Zimmerer Obergefreiter - tailor

Zim Ob Mt - Zimmermanns Obermaat

(Soldat) private

(Gefreiter) corporal

(Obergefreiter) lance-corporal (British rank)

(Stabsgefreiter) staff corporal

(Unteroffizier) sergeant

(Feldwebel) master-sergeant

(Wachtmeister) senior artillery NCO

(Leutnant) lieutenant

(Oberleutnant) first lieutenant

(Kanonier) artilleryman (private)

(Sanitäter) medical private

(Funker) communications/signal private

(Pionier) engineer (private)

Regards,

Graeme

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Jesse

I have a photo of the LZ97 crew, showing 20 men.

Jesse

Gents,

I am looking for data concerning the size of Zeppelin crews by model/type. I have found everything from 12 - 19 for example for the L48 (LZ95). If anyone has some hard data it would be much appreciated and if by any chance you also have the crew position names/title, for example helmsman, navigator..., that would be even better. Any and all help is welcome even if you can just point me in the right direction.

Cheers

Bill

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phil@basildon

I have found this in a book I have had for years!

LZ18 capacity (Mc) 27,000 crew 18

LZ21oooo"ooooooo20,870 o"o i17

SL3oooo "ooooooo 32,410o "oo17

LZ38ooo "ooooooo 35,800oo"oo15

You will note that the larger (and later) airships carried fewer crew. This was because of the ever increasing need to fly at higher altitudes to avoid the defences over England.

Eighteen appears to be the maximum number of crew carried during the Great War, the only examples of a larger crew are the postwar British (R33/34) and American (ZR-1) developements which each carried a crew of twenty.

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SiegeGunner

Tom Morgan will no doubt correct me if I'm mistaken, but I think that all the communal graves at Cannock Chase represent airships lost with all hands, so the variation in crew size is interesting. A glance through the 22-man crew list for L32 doesn't reveal any obvious passengers or technical personnel with out-of-the-ordinary specialisations. There are, however, significant variations in the number and ranks of officers aboard the four airships.

As height and therefore weight became more critical, I wonder whether the size of the individual crew members became an issue? As they weren't required to engage in hand-to-hand combat, would smaller, lighter men perhaps have been favoured as a way of maximising the number of pairs of hands that could be carried?

Graeme's listing of crew ranks and functions is very helpful, but does contain one error – a Zimmerer/Zimmermann is not a tailor (which is 'Schneider') but a carpenter.

Mick

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phil@basildon
carried?

Graeme's listing of crew ranks and functions is very helpful, but does contain one error – a Zimmerer/Zimmermann is not a tailor (which is 'Schneider') but a carpenter.

Mick

The Zeppelins carried a sailmaker to repair small tears and holes in the gasbags, could this be what was meant? The crew figures I gave may well be the operating crew and may exclude the likes of gunners. The later airships had two engines in one gondola instead of each engine in its own gondola thereby saving one mechanic. The mechanics originally were expected to man the guns when under attack but this proved impractical under certain conditions hence the extra gunners.

At altitude the men had to wear heavy clothing because of the extreme cold, down to -30C in some cases and airship crews often suffered frostbite.

As the war progressed to gain the extra height required even the defensive armament was eliminated to save weight and even though the size of airships increased the number of strengthening ribs was reduced. There is no evidence to suggest that smaller men were recruited to man Zeppelins probably because it was not deemed neccessary at first, later on they could not let all that experience go to waste.

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SiegeGunner

There is a Segelmachersmaat in the crew list for L31 and an Obersegelmachersgast on the list for L32. These are both sailmakers.

There's no doubt whatever that a Zimmerer/Zimmermann is a carpenter, but although the trade appears in Graeme's list, there are actually none of them among the four crews buried at Cannock Chase.

Phil's explanation re small crewmen makes perfect sense, but as the Germans didn't have bantam regiments (I don't think), there must have been numbers of little blokes spoiling to get into the fight somewhere (U-boats, perhaps).

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phil@basildon

A carpenter would be logical on a Schute-Lanz airship which had a wooden frame.

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Jempie

Hi!

The LZ 37 shot down over Gontrode 7-5-1915 had a crew of 9 !

There was one survival! (Mühler ?)

The 2 Oberleutnants (Oblt. Kurt Ackermann & Otto von der Haeghen) are still buried at Gent-West under a civil memorial grave erected 1916 if I have it correct and further Lt. Müller which was originally buried at Gent-West was transported , probably on special request of his family to Bonn to be reburied there again.

The other 5 were later (1956-57 ?) brought over to Vladslo German Friedhof to be reburied there !

Gustav Ruske, Hermann Kirchner,Otto Scwarz, Karl Mahr and Karl Claus.

But notice only 9 crew on board 1915!

Its even so I believe her normal crew before it was based in Belgium was in fact 8 people!

mvr

Jempie.

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SiegeGunner

I don't know whether any of the airships whose crews are buried at Cannock Chase were built by Schütte-Lanz, but the crew lists certainly don't include any members directly described as carpenters.

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Bill M.

Thanks gents, the information is building.

Cheers

Bill M.

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Aspern
Hi!

The LZ 37 shot down over Gontrode 7-5-1915 had a crew of 9 !

There was one survival! (Mühler ?)

The 2 Oberleutnants (Oblt. Kurt Ackermann & Otto von der Haeghen) are still buried at Gent-West under a civil memorial grave erected 1916 if I have it correct and further Lt. Müller which was originally buried at Gent-West was transported , probably on special request of his family to Bonn to be reburied there again.

The other 5 were later (1956-57 ?) brought over to Vladslo German Friedhof to be reburied there !

Gustav Ruske, Hermann Kirchner,Otto Scwarz, Karl Mahr and Karl Claus.

But notice only 9 crew on board 1915!

Its even so I believe her normal crew before it was based in Belgium was in fact 8 people!

mvr

Jempie.

LZ.37's crew number is interesting. The Zeppelin was an 'm-class'. From statements made by survivors of Zeppelin L.7 - another 'm-class' - which was shot down over the North Sea in May 1916, the standard crew allocated to a Navy 'm-class' was 22, of which 18 would fly - the remaining four allowed for absences due to sickness, etc. So, I wonder why the Army's LZ.37 flew with only nine.

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phil@basildon
Hi!

The LZ 37 shot down over Gontrode 7-5-1915 had a crew of 9 !

There was one survival! (Mühler ?)

But notice only 9 crew on board 1915!

Its even so I believe her normal crew before it was based in Belgium was in fact 8 people!

mvr

Jempie.

The LZ37 was on a special mission to give a number of airship designers, specialists and technicians from the Zeppelin factory some firsthand knowledge of the various problems experienced by the crews on active service.

There was in fact 28 persons on board the LZ37 on the night it was downed. The LZ37 came down near Ghent on German held territory so any civilians on board would have been returned to Germany for burial as may have been some of the crew.

LZ37 was the first ever Zeppelin to be downed, it was not shot down but destroyed by incendary bombs dropped on to it at 7,000 feet causing the hydrogen to explode.

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RobL

Interesting relic from the downing of LZ37

a7-20.jpg

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Southside Bucky
...The LZ 37 shot down over Gontrode 7-5-1915 had a crew of 9 !

There was one survival! (Mühler ?)

Alfred Muhler's survival was nothing short of miraculous:

He was trapped in the forward Gondola when it broke free from the burning LZ37. It fell from around 6000ft and crashed through the roof of a convent. He was hurled out of the Gondola and landed on a bed!

Regards.

Bucky

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phil@basildon

The unluckiest person was the one killed by the falling Zeppelin.

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Southside Bucky
The LZ37 was on a special mission to give a number of airship designers, specialists and technicians from the Zeppelin factory some firsthand knowledge of the various problems experienced by the crews on active service.

There was in fact 28 persons on board the LZ37 on the night it was downed...

That's interesting, Phil.

Would you mind if I ask where that info comes from?

Reason I ask is; the books 'The Air Defence of Britain' by C. Cole & E.F. Cheesman, and 'Zeppelin' by R.L. Rimell, both state a crew of ten. That is, nine killed and one survivor.

Cheers.

Bucky

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phil@basildon
That's interesting, Phil.

Would you mind if I ask where that info comes from?

Reason I ask is; The books 'The Air Defence of Britain' by C. Cole & E.F. Cheesman, and 'Zeppelin' by R.L. Rimell, both state a crew of ten. That is, nine killed and one survivor.

Cheers.

Bucky

This is from "The Zeppelin Fighters" by Arch Whitehouse

I might add that 9 seems to be a very small crew for a Zeppelin, barely enough to operate the vessel.

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Southside Bucky

Ah, right...With topmost respect to Mr Whitehouse, and your good self, I think the two references I quoted are the more reliable sources of information.

Thanks for the quick reply. :)

Bucky

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