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Remembered Today:

Suspected airship loss November 15, 1915


landewersa

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Hello all,

According to local newspapers, and a news item in "Flight" from November 20, 1914

(see http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/vie...0-%201144.html), a damaged airship passed the

Dutch frontier near Maastricht on November 15, 1914 and crashed in Germany. "The airship was badly damaged in

the rear and sailing in an almost vertical position [....]. By desperate efforts [the crew] succeeded in

reaching the German frontier, where the Zeppelin collapsed and became a wreck". In local newspapers, engine

trouble was reported. It was stated that the crew managed to get control on the airship after an engine restarted.

The strange thing is that according to "the books" no airship loss is known on November 15, 1914. At that time, heavy

fighting occured at Ypres, quite a distance from Maastricht. During the battle around Liege earlier in 1914, a few

violations of Dutch airspace by Zeppelins were recorded.

My first thoughts were that a captive balloon was seen, but the reports about the engine rules this out. However,

it must be noted that these reports were given on basis of eye-whitnesses, who very well could have misinterprent the

situation.

Does anyone has suggestions about what happened here?

thanks in advance,

Arno Landewers

www.landewers.net

www.luchtvaartkennis.net

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I've looked at lists of Schutte-Lanz and Parseval airships as well as Zeppelins, but can find no loss on this date.

I would be sceptical about how much information about German activity Flight magazine could have got hold of at the time. It was nothing like the professional and respected organization that it is now. IF there is any truth in the story, maybe the airship was recovered and so not listed as a loss.

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Often overlooked but Germany did have a small number of non rigid 'blimps' used for training and marine patrol. Could it have been one of these?

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Gents,

thanks for replies:

- the newsitems as published in Flight on this subject was simply because of messages in local newspapers, telling eye-witness stories. So I am

convinced that a airship like craft was flying over Maastricht on November 15, 1914.

- the German's indeed used a few airships which we may now call a "blimp": the Parseval dirigibles. As for the Zeppelins, no records for loss can be found for November 15, 1914. To my knowledge no other "blimps" were used by the German's.

I am still thinking that a captibe balloon was seen, however the reports about a restarting engine is then of course still a mystery. As far as I know motorized captive balloons we only used after the war. I do not know whether losses of captive balloons were recorded somewhere. Can anybody advise on this?

regards

Arno Landewers

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Gents,

thanks for replies:

- the newsitems as published in Flight on this subject was simply because of messages in local newspapers, telling eye-witness stories. So I am

convinced that a airship like craft was flying over Maastricht on November 15, 1914.

- the German's indeed used a few airships which we may now call a "blimp": the Parseval dirigibles. As for the Zeppelins, no records for loss can be found for November 15, 1914. To my knowledge no other "blimps" were used by the German's.

I am still thinking that a captibe balloon was seen, however the reports about a restarting engine is then of course still a mystery. As far as I know motorized captive balloons we only used after the war. I do not know whether losses of captive balloons were recorded somewhere. Can anybody advise on this?

regards

Arno Landewers

Parsevals were not blimps being semi rigid. Non rigid air ships were used albeit in small numbers - I'll post details when I get home. Motorised captive balloons were introduced but by the Allies much later in the War (to make it easy to shift sites) and in very small numbers.

For this to have been an escaped captive balloon it would presumably have to have drifted northwards from the front in Belgium and then turned east when over the Netherlands. I don't think this is likely for an unmotorised balloon.

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Just to add a little. Germany had 3 Suchard non rigid air ships in 1914 (impressed from civilian service) and possibly also a Ruthernberg. They also had a number of semi rigid airships (ie with a keel) in addition to the Parsevals for example 5 Gross Basanach specially ordered for military service and which proved successful in coastal patrol roles. It may be worth looking at the possibility that it was a coastal airship, on patrol in the North Sea, loosing engine power and blown across the Netherlands.

BTW I discover that Germany also introduced the powered tethered balloon in 1918

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And further - looking at accounts of British work with non rigid and semi rigid airships - if not under power they tended to adopt a tail down/nose up attitude as there was no airflow over the control vanes (which performed much like a submarines hydrovanes). It was also difficult to achieve a reasonable landing if not under power. I assume that the same would apply to German non rigid and semi rigid coastal airships. This would be consistent with the accounts quoted.

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Hello!

I thought a moment at the British Coastal airship C-26 ,which drifted over The Netherlands (unmanned) and stranded at Eemnes there on a roof, but that was 11th November 1916!

What goes on the SUCHARD (I) airship (Jospeh Bruckner) , it was constructed at Berlin (Parseval type) with boat gondola , 1912, the boat-gondola was later replaced by a "yacht" which is stil preserved, I believe into the Berlin Museum of SCience (?).

But there has been only one SUCHARD airship! The launch from the Canary Isles with in mind to cross the South Atlantic Ocean (1914), which couldn't take place due to lack of sufficient hydrogen gas...(?) It was replaced than by a normal balloon the SUCHARD II..It was indeed sponsored by the Swiss chocolat firm SUCHARD !

I have pictures from it at Berlin and later at Kiel for more, where the German Kaiser visited it. (At Kiel it got that "yacht" gondola?)

I have a book from the Swiss Aero-Club for more in which also some story about that SUCHARD history is retold.(Published +/- just before WWII)

Pictures from it are to find into many books also!

Sofar I know never used during WWI!

Otcober 1918 , a Parseval observation balloon was equiped with a motorgondola, but to late for WWI, it saw never actif service.

Later into the 1920's the Swiss ordered at the balloon Fabrik from Augsburg motorized observation balloons , (3 known as Type "M" (? I haven't the books at hand now!)

Into France thet "reinvented" (Sic!) these later by the firm Zodiac , these were at the beginning captif balloon gasbags (Moto Balloon Zodiac 1 or MBZ 1) to develop these further about late 1930's into MBZ 2 and MBZ 3 types.(I haves seen years ago even photos from by the Germans destroyed ones!)

The Germans used still at least one of these "war-butins" French MBZ-3's as observation airship along the Blalk-Sea coast for border controll observation duties.

1950's or 1960 one was still in use known as the "La Frenelle" (or "Fernelle" ?) and was visiting for more Belgium, is in store into the reserve of the French Air Museum of Le Bourget/Paris.

WWI the Germans used in fact only Zeppelins, Schütte-Lanz rigids and (one ?) Gross (Semi ridgid) and Parsevals. (Non-Rigid) no others!

mvr

Jempie.

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Hello,

I had a look in my copy of Jane's Pocket Book of Airships by Ventry and Kolesnik:

A candidate might be the Gross-Basenach Ersatz M4, which "was employed by the German Navy until 1915". It was a semi-rigid; I have no idea whether this kind of airship has the same behaviour as a blimp (nose-up) while having no power.

I have no idea whether Navy airships were based in Belgium. It must be noted that Maastricht is very close to the Belgian border, in the South-East part of the Netherlands. An airship getting in trouble at the Belgian coast (or at the Yzer, where heavy fighting occured around the time of the incident) could get very well over Maastricht with wind from the West.

Ventry does also state that there was only one Suchard airship, designed for a trans atlantic flight as described here.

I planned to make a list with airships operational at that time and were based to select candidates. I also want to look at French and British airships and blimps. As soon as finished, I will post it here.

regards

Arno

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Hello,

I had a look in my copy of Jane's Pocket Book of Airships by Ventry and Kolesnik:

A candidate might be the Gross-Basenach Ersatz M4, which "was employed by the German Navy until 1915". It was a semi-rigid; I have no idea whether this kind of airship has the same behaviour as a blimp (nose-up) while having no power.

I have no idea whether Navy airships were based in Belgium. It must be noted that Maastricht is very close to the Belgian border, in the South-East part of the Netherlands. An airship getting in trouble at the Belgian coast (or at the Yzer, where heavy fighting occured around the time of the incident) could get very well over Maastricht with wind from the West.

Ventry does also state that there was only one Suchard airship, designed for a trans atlantic flight as described here.

I planned to make a list with airships operational at that time and were based to select candidates. I also want to look at French and British airships and blimps. As soon as finished, I will post it here.

regards

Arno

I suggested the Gross Basenach in post 6 of this thread!. Some were used on the Baltic coast where one attacked a British submarine. Note airships would not at this time be employed over the battlefields - especially the non and semi rigid types.(Looking at the illustration one can see why) As well as the trans Atlantic Suchard two more very similar were built also for exploration and record breaking - in 1914 all passed into military control. All these small airships were primarily used for coastal patrol away from enemy interference so it is unlikely they would be based in South Belgium at the Yser where they would be in danger from ground fire and Allied fighters. Much more likely to have been based in Germany on the Friesian coast venturing southwards down the North Sea towards the Channel approaches and could well have been monitoring the waters off the Netherlands. Any British or French airship blown over the Netherlands would have been unlikely to have struggled to remain airborne until reaching Germany!

post-9885-1248024841.jpg

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I am sorry, but I would rather like to see sources instead of an exclamation mark.....

Don't understand your comment please elucidate

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QUOTE *

"Don't understand your comment please elucidate"

no offence, but I would like to see some references of where your statements come from:

- Suchard airship(s). Ventry and the Swiss Aeroclub Book only mention one airship; you mention 3 examples

- you mention 5 Gross Basenach being current in 1914; Ventry only 1.

where does this information come from?

and still: Parsevals are blimps (in german: Prall-Luftschiff); the PL26 from 1915 had a keel and was the first Parseval semi-rigid (from: Ventry).

A list with German and French airships present in November 1914 (from Ventry and Das Grosse Luftschiffbuch from Peter Meyer (Rutter Verlag, 1976) (UK to follow):

non-rigids:

Parseval

PL-6 used by Navy; broken up in 1915

PL-8 used by army as P2

PL-11 used by army as P3

PL-16 army P4

PL-19 (originally designated for UK army), taken over by German army in 1914, destroyed at sea after bombing raid in 1915

Gross Basenach

M4 employed by navy on coastal patrols until 1915

rigids:

Schutte-Lanz

SL2 Army, employed on East and West fronts; wrecked during storm 10.01.1916

Zeppelin

LZ11 (former DELAG Viktoria Luise); used as school-ship, wrecked 08.10.1915 while docking

LZ13 (former DELAG Hansa); base Dusseldorf, later Johannisthal, later school ship navy, deleted summer 1915 (Ventry) or in 1916 (Meyer)

LZ17 (former DELAG Sachsen) army, participated in Antwerp bombin 02.09.1914; deleted 06.09.1916

LZ24 (Navy L3); first flight 11.05.1914, stranded Tondern 17.02.1915

LZ26 (army Z7); based Juterborg, employed on East and West fronts, deleted 08.08.1917

LZ27 (navy L4); first flight 18.08.1914; lost in forced landing Denmark 17.02.1916

LZ28 (navy L5); first flight 24.09.1914, base Nordholz since 05.11.1914; dismanteled 16.08.1915 after being damaged by gunfire in Russia

LZ29 (army Z10); first flight 13.10.1914; base Friedrichshafen, Dusseldorf and Brussels; wrecked after forced landing 21.03.1915 in France

LZ30 (army Z11) in November 1914 based East front

LZ31 (navy L6); first flight 03.11.1914, based Posen, burned in shed 16.09.1916

Further French airships (taken from Ventry)

Zodiac XI; first flight 1911, scout, deleted 1914

Zodiac/Spiess; first flight 1913; based Epinol, deleted 1914

Zodiac/Commandant Coutelle; first flight 1913, base Epinol, destroyed while on raid, crew safe

Astra Ville de Paris; based Verdun

Astra Colonel Renard; based Verdun

Astra Conte; first flight 1912; shot down twice but repaired

Chalais-Meudon Fleures I, first flight 1914; bomed in shed 1918

additions are welcome!

regards

Arno Landewers

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Sources as requested.

Early Airships collection Jean-Pierre Lauwers, Part of the Rosebud archives

D'Orcys Airship Manuals An International Register of Airships 1917

Schmitt, G. und Schwipps, W., Pioniere der frühen Luftfahrt,Gondrom Verlag, Blindlach 1995

Aeroplanes and Dirigibles of War Frederick A. Talbot 1915

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