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Terry_Reeves

Zeppelin L62

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Terry_Reeves

I am researching Zeppelin L62 which took part in an airship raid on England on the night of April 12th-13th, 1918. I have all the details of the raid and L62s part in it but I need to fill in some details. I would be very much obliged if any forum members could help with the following:

1. As far as I am aware, L62 was a new type of airship which entered service in January 1918. I have tracked the design of most Zeppelins up to the introduction of the so-called "super zeppelins" of 1916 but this particular vessel and its class seems to have been far superior. I am looking for its dimensions, engine capacity and approximate air speed in particular.

2. Its commander was Hauptmann Kuno Manger. I have some details of his Zeppelin career and a photograph of him, but am searching for some brief biographical details. One source refers to to him as an "old eagle" which would suggest that he was an early member of the airship service. Any further personal information would be appreciated.

3. This airship was tracked by FE2bs of 38 Squadron. My research so far shows that these aircraft were manned by a pilot and observer/gunner up until the end of 1917, when they were converted to night fighting. After this, they appear to have been manned by a pilot only. Could anyone confirm this please?

4. L 62 met her fate on May 10th , 1918 just north of Heligoland, when Kuno Manger and his crew were killed. I have conflicting reports that L 62s actual demise is unknown or that she was downed by a RNAS sea plane. If anyone could point me in the direction of reliable documentation about this it would be appreciated.

Terry Reeves

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Tom Morgan

Hello Terry, Old Pal. I hope this is of interest.

From Zeppelin! The German Airship Story by Manfred Griehl and Joachim Dressel

L62

Length 195.6 metres

Diameter 23.9 metres

Gas capacity 56,000 cubic metres

Performance 32 Metres per Second

Service 6,500 metres (I'm not sure what this means)

Range 13,500 Km

Payload 40.0 tonnes

Engines 5 x Mercedes Benz 4a (240 hp)

Built Lowenthal

First flight 19.01.18

Base Nordholz

Total 19 flights (6,463 km) 2 reconnaisance missions and 2 raids. Destroyed by fire over Heligoland (lightning or enemy action) no survivors.

Tom

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Terry_Reeves

Tom

Good to hear from you again and many thanks for the information.

From one Old Pal to another - or perhaps bald eagles

Best wishes

Terry

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Aspern

1. As far as I am aware, L62 was a new type of airship which entered service in January 1918. I have tracked the design of most Zeppelins up to the introduction of the so-called "super zeppelins" of 1916 but this particular vessel and its class seems to have been far superior. I am looking for its dimensions, engine capacity and approximate air speed in particular.

2. Its commander was Hauptmann Kuno Manger. I have some details of his Zeppelin career and a photograph of him, but am searching for some brief biographical details. One source refers to to him as an "old eagle" which would suggest that he was an early member of the airship service. Any further personal information would be appreciated.

Hi Terry

L62 was the third ship of the new V-class preceeded by L60 and L61.

In Imperial measurememts:

Length: 644ft 8ins

Diameter: 78ft 5ins

Capacity: 1,977,360 cu.ft.

Trial speed: 66.8mph

All I have on Manger is:

His first command: L14 - June 10 1916 - Nov 30 1916

Commander: L41 - Jan 30 1917

Commander: L62 - Jan 21 1918 - May 10 1918

Regards

Aspern

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Adrian Roberts
Service 6,500 metres (I'm not sure what this means)

Omitted word - This would be "Service Ceiling" - 6500 m is about 20000 feet which sounds about right.

Hauptmann is an Army rank whereas all airships used on raids on the UK by then were Navy. So unless someone knows that L62 was an exception, Manger was either drafted in due to manpower shortages, or volunteered to stay with airships when the Army ceased operations.

A few Home Defence FE2bs were fitted with fixed forward-firing guns and no observer, to save weight and increase performance; they weren't very successful.

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Terry_Reeves

Aspern and Adrian, many thanks for your information.

Terry Reeves

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Adrian Roberts

The Wikipedia List of Zeppelins gives the following information:

Two reconnaissance missions; two attacks on England dropping 5923 kg bombs; on the raid on 12/13 April 1918 her gunners managed to damage and drive away an attacking airplane, the only known instance of this happening. Crashed north of Helgoland on 10 May 1918: shot down by Felixstowe F2A flying-boat N4291, Capt TC Pattinson and Capt TH Munday.[31]

Yes, I know Wikipedia is hardly a primary source! But this is remarkably precise information, and there must be a source somewhere. Unfortunately the reference link does not appear to work. Any other ideas anyone?

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Aspern

The Wikipedia List of Zeppelins gives the following information:

Yes, I know Wikipedia is hardly a primary source! But this is remarkably precise information, and there must be a source somewhere. Unfortunately the reference link does not appear to work. Any other ideas anyone?

Hi Adrian

In Robinson's 'The Zeppelin in Combat' he relates the incident of this attack by the F2a flying boat, but adds, "Research by the author in the German archives has proved that the airship they attacked was L56." For full quote see Page 338 of the 1994 edition.

Cheers

Aspern

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Adrian Roberts

L56 is listed in the Wiki list as destroyed by its crew post-war. The Osprey "Zeppelins 1900-40" also says this about L56, but gives the fate of L62 as "destroyed in air - lightning?"

So was L56 actually destroyed by the F2A? If so it appears that the other sources that did not discover this information made the assumption that it was destroyed post-war.

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Aspern

L56 is listed in the Wiki list as destroyed by its crew post-war. The Osprey "Zeppelins 1900-40" also says this about L56, but gives the fate of L62 as "destroyed in air - lightning?"

So was L56 actually destroyed by the F2A? If so it appears that the other sources that did not discover this information made the assumption that it was destroyed post-war.

HI Adrian

Robinson says the attack did not destroy L56. He quotes from Munday's report.

"We were now at a height of 11,000 feet and the Zeppelin's height was approximately 12,500 feet. I opened fire again and fired another 130 rounds of explosive and tracer bullets. I noticed the propeller of the Zeppelin's port engine almost stop and the craft suddenly steered hard to port. I concluded that the port engine had been hit by our gunfire as well as other parts of the craft, as the envelope and gondolas seemed a background for all the flashes of the explosive and tracer bullets. There was much more outpouring of ballast and articles and considerable smoke. I concluded that we had finished the Zeppelin and informed Captain Pattison that we had bagged it. But the craft again headed for Holstein in a crabwise fashion emitting much smoke."

Robinson then goes on to reconstrust the incident from the German archives stating that the commander of L56, Kapitanleutnant Walter Zaeschmar, reported no damage, but had released his bombs and three tanks of fuel to enable it to climb away from their attacker.

He adds, "British intelligence, confused by the accidental loss of L62 on the same day, incorrectly attributed her destruction to Pattison and Munday, an error perpetuated in the official air History (War In The Air, Jones, Vol. VI, page 155)"

Regarding the demise of L62 Robinson states:

"...and at 8.50, L62 departed Nordholz to patrol to the north. L62 was seen to rise at once to 3,300 feet, and at 9.25 was heard signalling to the Commander0-in-Chief of the Fleet, "Takeoff, course for Dogger Bank North Lightship." Forty minutes later, at 10.05am, she flew over some German patrol craft about ten miles north-west of Heligoland at an altitude of only a thousand feet, and disappeared into a towering cumulus cloud. Almost immediately there was a heavy explosion, and the shattered remains of L62, blasted in two , fell blazing into the sea. The trawler Bergedorf was directly under the cloud, and the wreckage plunged into the water a bare 100 feet from her, while fragments landed on her deck. Five bodies were recovered, but non survivors were found. Strasser was unable to determine the cause pf L62's destruction. Since she was flying well under the 'pressure height' she had established after taking off from Nordholz, there could be no question of an escape of hydrogen. Strasser believed that an electrical charge in the thundercloud had caused an explosion of either fuel or bombs. General opinion today among surviving naval airship men is that one of the bomb fuses - three-foot tubes inserted in the tail of the weapons after leaving the German coast - had been sabotaged to explode when the bomb was armed."

Phew! Hope that helps!

Cheers

Aspern

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Tom Morgan

Omitted word - This would be "Service Ceiling" - 6500 m is about 20000 feet which sounds about right.

Ah yes, of course. Thanks Adrian!

Tom

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Terry_Reeves

I have a detailed account of L62s demise which attributes Pattison and Munday as the pilots who brought L62 down. However, it is interesting to see Robinson's research, which goes to show how confused things could get. It is still a "don't really know" at the moment for me.

With regard to L62 damaging a British aircraft, that also falls into "can't be really sure" category also. The aircraft was concerned was an FE2b piloted by Charles Noble-Campbell. At around 01.15hrs he was still tracking the L 62 over the Northern environs of Coventry when he was hit in the head, his controls were damaged and his propeller was smashed. He fired his Holts flares and managed to crash- land his aircraft just a few yards short of White and Poppe's filling factory boundary wall. He escaped the wreckage just before the aircraft burst into flames. However , there seems to be no conclusive evidence that it was L62s machine guns that caused the damage. Two AA guns were stationed in the area, and in action around this time, and it possible that he was hit by shell fragments from one of these. It is also possible that he may have been hit from fire from Lt WA Brown's FE2b which was in the same area,. Brown himself crashed landed after an engine failure , hitting a hedge, not too far away from Noble- Campbell's aircraft. The official report said that the latter had been wounded whilst in action with the L62, but there seems to be little hard evidence to support this.

TR

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Dolphin

Just to add a little more for the pedantic: Lt Noble-Campbell was flying FE2b A5707, and Lt Brown was flying FE2b A5578, both from No 38 Home Defence Squadron.

Gareth

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Adrian Roberts

I've made alterations to the Wikipedia list in the past. Are we certain enough of the fate of L56 and L60 to update it accordingly - especially if we can cite Robinson as a reference?

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Aspern

Hi Adrian

The fate of L56 seems clear cut - destroyed by own crew on 23 June 1919 at Wittmundhaven - and correct on the Wikipedia list.

Certainly according to Robinson's research the fate of L62 is uncomfirmed - with two possible causes. The ref. to Robinson would be:

Douglas H. Robinson, The Zeppelin In Combat, 1994, pages 338-339.

Cheers

Aspern

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Aspern

Omitted word - This would be "Service Ceiling" - 6500 m is about 20000 feet which sounds about right.

Hauptmann is an Army rank whereas all airships used on raids on the UK by then were Navy. So unless someone knows that L62 was an exception, Manger was either drafted in due to manpower shortages, or volunteered to stay with airships when the Army ceased operations.

A few Home Defence FE2bs were fitted with fixed forward-firing guns and no observer, to save weight and increase performance; they weren't very successful.

Just going back to this one - I came across a reference today to a Hauptmann Mange (no 'r') who originally flew Parseval airships for the Army and later transferred to Navy airships - a rare occurance. There is a sugestion that he originally flew on the L6 before taking command of L.14.

Aspern

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Terry_Reeves

Charles Henry Noble-Campbell, a sheep farmer, was a New Zealander. He enlisted into the 9th East Coast Wellington Mounted Rifles at Awapuni on 1st September 1914 and was quickly promoted to sergeant. Badly wounded at Gaba Tepe, Gallipoli on 24th May 1915, he was eventually evacuated to England. He was discharged from the army, in London, on 13th September on 13th September 1916 as no loner fit for military service, but persuaded the British authorities to let him be commissioned in the RFC in 1917. He finished the war with the Air Force Cross and was one of the founder members of the New Zealand Air Force.

Lt WA Brown was originally commissioned into the 24 Bn Northumberland Fusiliers (1st Tyneside Irish) He led his platoon into action on 1st July 1917 on the Somme and badly wounded. He was commissioned into the RFC in 1917.

If anyone has further information on these two men I would be grateful.

TR

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centurion

A few Home Defence FE2bs were fitted with fixed forward-firing guns and no observer, to save weight and increase performance; they weren't very successful.

A slight simplification there were a number of permutations of conversion - some more successful than others. These included

Fairing over the front cockpit and giving the pilot a single 'flexible' Lewis on a telescopic mount

Fairing over the front cockpit and giving the pilot one (sometimes two) Lewises fixed externally to fire forward

Fairing over both cockpits with a new upper decking and building a new one between the two and giving the pilot two forward firing Lewis guns mounted internally.

This latter was the most aerodynamically efficient but still only improved performance by a few percent. Removal of the nose wheel added about the same again but was a bit iffy given that landings on poor airfields (or even a convenient farmers field) in poor light could lead to nose overs. The FE2b was well past its sell by date as a fighter by then.

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Guest JGH

Hello - some time ago you posted that you were interested in finding out about Kuno Manger - he was my grandfather and I do have some biographical details about him - but as he was killed before he ever met his daughter (my mother) due to reasons I can explain, we only know some things about him

Thanks

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Terry_Reeves

JGH

Many thanks for your response, I would be very pleased to know more about him. I will send you my email address if that is alright.

TR

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Terry_Reeves

Hello - some time ago you posted that you were interested in finding out about Kuno Manger - he was my grandfather and I do have some biographical details about him - but as he was killed before he ever met his daughter (my mother) due to reasons I can explain, we only know some things about him

Thanks

JGH

I can provide details of the L62s flight over Coventry and would be very interested to hear about your grandfather's story.

TR

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James A Pratt III

Yes Hauptmann manger was a army officer. There is a early issue of Over the Front magazine that has a picture of him. He does tend to stand out in his army uniform with all the Naval officers. I understand the Leader of the Airships Strasser thought so highly of him he gave him command of a naval airship.

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Toren Hudson

I don't know if anyone is still referring to this discussion but I am interested in getting information from anyone who knows more about L 62 under Kuno Manger.  My great uncle, Bruno Gruner (supposedly "the shortest officer in the German navy"), was lost with L 62 and we know nothing about it and very little about him other than a couple rumors.  Like Kuno, he left children behind who never met him.  In particular, Terry Reeves, it sounds like you have more information since your grandfather and my great uncle appear to have served on the same ship.

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Toren Hudson

Oops, got that wrong - JGH was grandchild of Manger.  It still sounds like Terry Reeves has the info.  Anyone's info will do.  Thank you.

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