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Zeppelins


eviltaxman
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Just a little useless info you all. In todays Bristol "Evening Post" there is a section called "on this day..."

Well, today is the anniversary of the first Zeppelin raid on London. My WW1 air history sucks, but I think it was in 1916. :ph34r:

Les.

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Guest Pete Wood

The attack was made on the night of the 31st May 1915, by Major Erich Linnarz in LZ 38 (an army airship).

The LZ 38 dropped 3000 pounds of bombs on NE London and caused £18,596 of damage and killed 7 people. The newspapers were censored from publishing details of this and other air raids.

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  • 8 years later...

Did any Zeppelins ever reach Bristol? Just discovered a snippet about Light Regulations beign imposed on my village just to the south.

Tim

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No Zeppelins reached Bristol in WW1 although the docks would make it a tempting target. Theoretically the city was within radius of range of airship attack, but practically the weather conditions and prevailing winds, as well as the technical limitations under wartime conditions meant the airships never ventured to the West or South West.

The preferred targets were the East and South East Coastal towns, North-East and East Midlands, and of course, London.

I believe the air raid precautions and 'black out' or lighting regulations began in London and spread to the other towns/areas at risk in a rather more piecemeal fashion than in WW2. Where in force they were strictly applied, one man in the North East received 21 days imprisonment for striking matches in the street when Zeppelins were believed to be in the area (he was drunk!). As the airships flew so high and often had no idea where they were it's doubtful they would be able to target the poor chap.

I imagine, but don't know for sure, the Regulations were promulgated under the Defence of the Realm Act although it seems it was sometimes a local initiative. What was the date of the snippet? If it was 1917 it may have been in response to the bomber raids on London.

Ken

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Thanks Ken

Late summer-earmy autumn of 1916 in terms of the snippet. The Parish Magazine refers to the ‘“Greening out’ of the CHurch windows so evening services could be held and the electric street lighting in the village being turned off. Bristol is the only large city of importance hence my question.

Tim

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How many raids were made overall and how is it that the airships weren't shot down more effectively, since they were vulnerable to both AA & aircraft atk.

I read somewhere that at least one was shot down.

Seamus.

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They certainly were shot down effectively from September 1916 onwards, thanks to aircraft being able to get to the high altitudes that Zeppelins operated at, and equipped with incendiary ammunition. Zeppelins shot down over the UK alone were;

L15 (damaged by AA fire and came down in the Thames Estuary)

SL11 (A Schutte Lanze airship, so not a proper Zeppelin)

L21

L31

L32

L33 (The last three were all shot down in the same night)

L34

L48

L70

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To add to this thread, perhaps this postcard from my collection will assist, assume or confound in equal measure!

post-21245-0-22408400-1364567398_thumb.j

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how is it that the airships weren't shot down more effectively, since they were vulnerable to both AA & aircraft atk.

In the early days it wasn't that easy to shoot down a rigid airship. Firstly one had to locate them in the dark before the days of radar, then one had to get close enough and an airship could climb much faster than the first aircraft sent up to intercept them (by simply dropping ballast) and fly higher. Then one had to hit them with the right kind of weapon. The gas bags on an airship were not under pressure so that just putting a bullet in the gas bag didn't have much effect - the gas leaked out very slowly. An incendiary wouldn't do much either as hydrogen does not burn or explode unless it is mixed with air. It was only when a mix of incendiary, explosive and ball rounds were used so that the gas cells were "chewed up" and gas and air mixed so that the incendiaries could set them alight. These were usually fired upwards into the airship from a Lewis gun at a 45 degree angle (so that the trajectory was effectively straight for a significant distance). It took some time for the appropriate mix of tactics and weaponry to evolve.

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Zepp Raider, thanks for the postcard, that's fantastic!

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