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Forthcornuq istes feature:
Volume 8 Issue 9l l{alf thch of lYorld iTu I1

Modem Tssed AsiAirsaft Weapors

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Airships were the first strategic bombers, AbIe to carry
greater botnbloads over far longer distances than early
aeroplanes, they were soon employedby the Germansto
carry the war b Brttain itself. Most belligerent nations used
airships, mainly fot rcconnaissance and obsewation
missions, but today it is the nids of the German Zeppelins
that are best rememhered,
In the days rmmediately preceding World War I, when aeroplane flrght
No. 23 was first of a proposed class of I0 British dirigibles, but arguments
about the design tooksolong to resolve thatby the time shewas completed
had been possible for only 10 years, there exrsted a large body of s he w as obs olete. I n I 9 l 8 N o. 2 3 w as ex perimentally fitte d with two S opw i th
opinion that the future of military flying lay as much with lighter{han-air Camels for defence against hostile aircrafL
craft as elsewhere, There seemed to be firm foundations for this since
the first attempt to construct a gmided balloon (a dirigible) had taken In the UK, France, and later the USA, the tendency to concentrate ::
place ln 1816, the other forms of construction resulted in smaller vessels put to drffere:_:
Followlng this, there had evolved three types of airshrpr the non-rigid, use, The swift development of a reliable aeroplane broadly altered :=
which depended on rnflatron for the shape of its envelope; the semi- whole outlook, although rigrd airships of the German pattern contrnue j
rlgid, which was similar but with a strengthening keel; and the rigid, with to attract their supporters even after the Admiralty had abandoned the:-
a lattice structure of wood or metal surrounding internal gas cells, tn 1919, Elsewhere, the US Nar,ry developed the coastal patrol type ::
In Germany the last proved especially successfui, and the flrst Zeppe- smaller airship, even using them rn World War IL
lln alrship was flown in 1900 The years following had seen certain
L31 flies serenely over the'Helgoland' class dreadnoughtSMs Ostfriesland
factions concentrating on its milrtary development, so that there had TheGerman navy madeextensive use o{Zeppelins for scouting, but
grown up in the public mind the idea of the bombing airship as the communications problems reduced their theoretical effectiveness..L3J and
ultimate weapon against which there was virtually no defence, her crew perished over England at thehands of aB.E.2c in 1916.

Parseval Pt 18
-:- aew non-rigid airship made its flrst
--ght in Germany rn May 1906: re-
.=---,ely small with a volume of only
::-0 mr (81,224 cu ft), this alrship was
:: :echnical interest rn that the shape of
::e envelope was maintained by
:::eans of pressurized ballonets fore
The craft was to the design of former
.rrny offlcer Augntst von Parseval, Iater
a professor at the Berlin Technical
Academy, and improved models con-
:nued to be produced after their con-
struction was transferred from the
Motorluftschiff Studiengesellschaft to
:he Luftfahrzeug Gesellschaft (LFG)
crqanization in June 1913, In this same but rt is interestrng to note that at the Car desigm and suspensron ofthe British ParsevalPL 18 (Naval AirshipNo.4)
/ear an order was placed by the Brtt- time it was in service as a patrol vessel, was m ore ru Ci-n ent ary than that of the licence-built Vickers versions, Nos 5, 6
sh qiovernment for a single example of the German navy had requ:sitioned and 7. They'*'ere substitutes for three ordered from Germany but not
:he improved type, and Parseval PL 18 the non-rigid PL 6 on 9 Augnrst 1914 and delivered due to the outbreak of war in August I 9 I 4.
was delivered for use by the Royal also obtained PL 19 on loan on 19
Navry where it received the service September for sea patrol work ovet
designation Naval Airship No. 4 (NA4) the Baltrc from Kiel, This was a duty to
On 5 Augrust 1914 this vessel, by a which they were well suited, being
strange stroke of irony, was the flrst capable ofcarryinq 590 kg (1,301 lb) of
British aircraft to carry out an active bombs and with a maximum fliqht ttme
'ruar operation when, flying from its ol I I hours.
base at Kingsnorth, the flrst RNAS
airship station, it was sent to patrol the
Thames Estuary. It was used again on
10 Augnrst, this time in company with Specification
NA3, the only British airship of the Parseval PL 18
period td be armed, another imported Type: patrol arrship
design, an Astra-Torres. Powerplant: two I 34, 2-kW ( B0-hp)

The degree to which Parsevai de- Maybach sx-cylinder water-cooled

siqns had advanced in a short time was piston engines
evident from the fact that the NA4 was Performance: maximum speed 72 krn/
a revised type of vessel, which prob- h (45 mph); sewice ceiling 4000 m
ably promoted the order for a further (13,123 ft); ranqe 1000 km (621 miles)
three before the war, to be buiit under Weight: useful lift not known
lrteqce by Vickers at Barrow-ln- Dimensions:diameter 15,50 m (50 ft
Furndss. These were gdven the sewice 10.2 in): length 94.00 m (308 ft 4.8 in);
desiqnatrons NAS, NA6 and NAZ at the volume 10000 m'(353, 147 cu ft)
beginning of their career, which was
entirely confined to use for the instruc- Above: Although enjoying abasic
tion of airshrp crews, similarity, there were some
Meanwhile, the NA4 was still em- differences between the Parseval-
ployed on sterner duties, and the first designed afsh ips. The car ofPL 12 is
months of World War I found it in use seen here;itwas a passeng/er
as a submarine hunter, although its version, but its lines were to be
effect was entirely psychologdcal, pro-
viding cover for the convoys ferrying
troops of the British Expeditionary
-r echoed in those of the threeVickers
models builtunder licence at
Force between Dover and Calats
An order.had been placed with the
LFG organization for a further three Left: The first Royal Navy airship
airships of similar desiqn which would station atKingsnorth was the base of
have been the PL 19, PL 20 and PL 2l the G erm an- de signe d P ar sev aI
but the outbreak of war prevented airship, which was ordered in I 9 I 2.
their delivery. They would probably Seen here on 27 August I 9 I 3, it was
also have been used for training a role not to be tinally struck offcharge
to which the NA4 was finally relegated, untilJuly 1917.

I 802
Ll Schtitte-Lanz SLI I Airships of World War I
'A severe shortage of alumintum in
Germany had forced her to resort to
wood for the construction of her
airships,' When SLll was brought
down by William Leefe Robinson on
the night of 3 September 1916 this
statement was generally acceptqd as
true. since there was no great nletal
skeleton to greet the crowds that ffbck-
ed to Cuftley where the airship fell. In
faci wire-braced wooden structures
had been used by the Schttte-Lanz
company since the design stages of
their imtial SL 1 that had first flown on 17
October 1911,
Conceived from the outset with an
alternative construction to rival the
metal Zeppelins, the SLs wrth their
rigld ply framework were claimed to
be lighter and more flexible than met-
ai-framed airships, and most of those in
German military service were oper-
ated by the army,
The reason for this is not difflcult to
discover, because the nalry, responsi-
ble for most of the rards against the
British Isles, rightly claimed that
wooden vessels were incapable of lift-
ing a sufficiently large bomb load as
their werght would be increased by
moisture absorbed while crossinq the
SLll was accepted by the army in
June 1916, and after tdals was sent to its
operational base at Spich rn Auenrst, At Specification Above: Souvenir pictures ofSll I's
the end of the month its initial oper- Schi.itte-Laru SLI I wreckage and the victor were
ational sortie proved abofiive because Type:bombingairshrp eagerly sought. That Schiltte-Lanz
of the weather, so the attack at the Powerplant: four 179-kW (240-hp) construction usedwood instead of
beginning of September was its flrst Maybach HSLu six-cylinder water- the m ore u su al aluminium of the
and last, such a brief career resulting cooled piston enqines Zeppelins gave rise to the belief in
in the airship having only one com- Performance: maxrmum speed 95 km/ some quarters that there was a
mander, Hauptmann Wilhelm h (59 mph); service ceiling 54OO m s hortage of metal in G ermany. The
Schramm, who had gained experience (17,717 ft); ranse 3700 km (2,299 miles) s truc ture w as wire- br aced.
in charge ofthree earlier ngids, all of Weight:useful lift 21500 kg (47,399 lb)
Zeppelin desigm, On the night of the Dimensions: drameter 20,09 m (65 ft
SLll's destruction, when Schramm 10,9 in); lensth 1J3,98 m (570 ft 9,6 in); Right: It was reportedly possible to
died with all his crew, both incendiary volume 31900 m'(1,126,540 cu ft) read by the lightfrom thedoomed
and explosiye bombs were dropped. Armament: two 7, 92-mm (0, 3 12-in) SL1 1 . Here il is seen weII alight over
but the airdhips chief claim to-fbme Parabellum machine-gmns on free north London as it appeared at 2 . I 5
now lies in the fact that it was the first mountings in singrle gnrn positron above am to a photographer outside the
enemy aircraft of any kind to be forward hull, plus bombs police station at Walthamstow. The
brought down on Brrtrsh soil. in recog- wreckage at Cuffley was finally
nition of which Robinson was awarded douse d by the crew of a hor se- dr aw n
the Vrctoria Cross, fireengine.

German airship SLl1 cutaway drawing key 32 Shockabsorber

33 Handrail
1 Rudder T2 Keel 21 MaybachHSLuengine 34 Controlcar
2 Uppertallfin 13 Gangway,/catwalk 22 ControlteLegraph 35 Wireless aer al
3 Fin structure 14 Main rlng 23 Radiator 36 Charttable/wireless
4 Elevator 15 ntermedlaterlng 24 Retractableoi radlator 37 Nose light
5 Lowertailfin 16 Braclng wires 25 Bombdoors 38 Nav gator's/bomb almer's
6 Tailplane 17 Gasbags 26 Reversing gear wlndow
7 Outercovering 1B Ladder 27 Transmissionshaft 39 Heim
B Prope ler Tg Spacebetweenbags 28 Waterbailasttanks 40 E evatorwheel
9 Englnecarsupports allowing escaplng gas to 29 Bombracks 4'1 Winch cables
1 0 Englne nacel e exit to vents 30 Upperobservatlon station 42 Telegraphs
1 1 Ladder 20 Protectivecageto adder 3T Gasventlng valveoutlets 43 Switchboard


Decrth of c Zeppelin British experiments to perfect a towed aero-
plane-launchrng platform for use at sea had
gone on for several months; they at last evolved
rnto a lighter 17 I m (56 ft) long with a deck 4 m
(l3ft) broad wrdenlng to almost 6 5m (21 ft)
forward, which was towed by a destroyer'
Zeppelins were originally designed for long;ra47e nSval lgconnal'ssance, a nd many Several types of aircraft had been involved in
tprrt tne Uk of th-eir careersicouting for the High le11 Flee-t-. August l9 I 8 found the trials, as had some famous pilots, and the
combination of Stuart Culleywith a Sopwith 2FI
the mighty L53 high above units of the Royal Navy'1 flotilla at Harwich, but far below
Camel was to make htstory on I I August 1918,
a Sopriitn Camelwas launched into the air from a lighter towed by HMS Redoubt. An when the last Zeppelin to be downed in World
historic interception had begun. War I was destroyed,
The airshrp's number was L53 and it was
under the command of ex fire-chief Kapltdn-
leutnant Eduard Proelss when the airship was
identified at 08.30 while shadowlng the Har-
wich Force, This inciuded the 'R' class des-
troyer HMSRedoubt towing the lighter No H5
with, on its deck, a Camel that had taken part tn
the earlier experiments (N6812), its pilot being
again Irieutenant Culley, a former government
munitions inspector.
Exactly 28 minutes after ihe flrst sighttng,
Culley slipped the qurck-release cltp that heid
the aircraft to the lighter's deck and set the
Camei on its hour's climb to 5485 m (18 000 ft)
where Culley discovered that his quarry was
still 305 m ( I 000 ft) higher; it was a difference in
altitude that took another 28 minutes to close,
putting the Camel at its operational ceiltng in
the process,
Bringing up the Camel's nose so sharply that
it was near sialllng, Culley fired both hts gunsi
the port weapon jammed almost at once, but

The great skeletons of Zeppelins brought down

ovei England were studied with awe by civilians
andwith greatinterestby the AirMinistry. This is
the hullof L33, whichcrashed intactandwas
burned by her crew,whowere lucky indeed notto
share the ghastly fate of their comrades in L53.


fire from the other could be seen striktng the
Zeppelin's hull as Culley broke off the actron '-j
when his arrcraft fell away in a stall, At thls
moment somethrng made him look back, just in
time to see flames leaplng atong the monster's
side, A moment later came a gigantic explosion
that set L53 ablaze from stem to stern as it sank
nose first,
So great was the blaze that all fabric had
gone when the gaunt framework finally struck
the water some 4.8 km (3 miles) below, where
it rmmediately vanished leavrng only a patch of
oil and a smoke trarl to indicate that rt had ever
existed, There were no survivors.
Meanwhile, Cu11ey made for the rendezvous
point off the Dutch coast. He had dlfflculty in
finding the naval force and, then running on
reserve fuel, prepared to ditch near a fishtng
vessel. When just about to do so he caught sight
ofthe destroyers, and at once gave vent to hls
pent-up feelings with a display of aerobatics
before alightinq in the water close to the.Re-
doubt's bows, From here both pllot and plane
were plucked from the water, and the small
amount of damage sustained by the latter was
soon repaired before it was placed on public
exhibrtion, N6812 may be seen to this day in the
Imperial War Museum, Lambeth,

L53 left her hangar for her tirst raid against

England on the evening of 24 September I I I 7
under the experienced command oI
Kapitlnleutnant der Reserve Eduard Proelss.
Although famous as a bomber, 19 of her 23 sorties
were the scouting missions forwhich shewas
i,roiz"ppelin Lz4o)

Above : The introduction of L I 0,

together with L I 1, placed the
January l9l5 was the date set for the German navy on an equal footing to
introduction of a new type of German that of the army with regard to its
bomber airship, the Zeppelin Typ P, In ability to mount raids against targets
point of fact the flrst of the new vessels in the British Isles.
was four months late in making its
appearance, the lead ship LIO (buil- Specification
der's designation LZ40) being deli- LI0 (Zeppelin LZ40)
vered in mid-May, The ship was sent Type: strategic bomber airship
on its attack agarnst targets in England Powerplant: four 156, 6-kW (2 I 0-hp)
rn the following month with a raid on Maybach CX sx-cylinder water-
London, it being believed at all levels cooled piston engJines
and on both sides ofthe North Sea that Performance: maximum speed 95 km/
the selection of indivrdual tarqrets was h (59 mph); seruice ceiling 3900 m
possible, In point of fact, the weather (12,795 ft); range 2 150 km ( 1,336 miles)
took a hand, and L10 was able to get Weights: empty 21 100 kg (46,518 1b);
only as far as Gravesend, where its useful lift 26200 kq (57,760 ]b)
bombs chanced to set light to a military Dimensions:diameter 18,70 m (61 ft
hospital with a consequent rqaction 4.2 in); lensrth 163,50 m (536 ft 5 in);
against such'friqhtfulness', volume 31900 m3 (1,126,540 cu f0
Another attackwas mounted 11 days Armament: two 7. 92-mm (0. 3 12-in) L) 1 (in the foreground) was one of 191 5, and again on 17 August. Behind
later when Jarrow and South Shields Maxim machrne-guns on free the Zeppelin fleet participating in the r's lO once used fo fake Slrasser as an
were the tarqets, despite healry flre mountinqs in single gmn position above first pemitted raid London that
on observer, but it was torced back by
from the defence batteries on the forward hull, plus bombs suffered no restrictions on )0 August engine trouble.
coast, Three other occasions found the
new Zeppelin over the British Isles
from a lotal of 28 military excurslons
from Nordholz, The German system of
organization meant that the fliqhts
were usually carried out by the same
crews, so that some became more ex-
perienced than others, but mindful of
the dangrers the men tended to live
only for the day and to endure bomb-
ing trips under thousands of cubic
metres of explosive qas and in numb-
rng cold as best they could,
Stranqely, it was on what should
have been an uneventful flight, a man-
trme reconnaisance on the afternoon of
3 September 1915, exactly a year be-
fore SLI I was destroyed, that the L10's
career ended. While the airship was Above: Peterson's Ll2 passed over
makrng ready to land back at Nordholz Margate, Ramsgate and Deal on 9
near Crxhaven, the order to valve off August 1915 before bombing Dover
gas was grven as a normal preliminary in mistake for the naval base of
to making landfall, Unfortunately a H arwich. All but three of the I 2
thunderstorm happened to be raging bombs droppedlandedin the sea,
and the naval airship was struck by and the Zeppelin was damaged by
Iiqhtning, There was a violent explo- the 7 6-mm (3-in) naval gruns of the
sion before the vessel plunqed into the defences.
shallow waters below, where it bwned ffrelil:lll;;1:lltlll*l;ll
for several hours, AII aboard perished,
Kapitanleutnant Hirsch the comman- Right: On the night of I August I I I 5
der and his crew of lB, Total produc- L9, under thecommand of Odo
tionof the Typ P was 10 units, LI0 t0 t19 Loewe, had to takeevasive action
(builder's designatrons L240, I'24I, over Flamborough Head despite a
L243, L243, Lz46, L248, Lz,50, L253, severed rudder cable, before
LZ52 and 1,254 respectively), managing to bomb Goole.

L53 (Zeppelin L2100)
Apart from the historical factors sur-
roundinq the last operation carried out
62,7 per cent of the total, so that on her
maiden ratd an altitude of 6300 m
night of 24125 September l9l7 when
raids were directed against targets in
Auqmst 1917 and her flery end oi -,
Augnxt of the following year, only -:--:
by L53, ths Zeppelin Tlpe V airship (20,670 ft) was attarned, the Midlands and north east, 17 months were bombing attacks. The remar.:=:
rras also of some technrcal prominen- Alternatively known by the works after his first bombing sortre in L13, his were scoutinq missions over the N:::-
:e. Thrs lay in the fact that her con- designation LZI00, this airshtp made previous command. Sea where the endurance of liqr::::'
siructron embodied an increased its first flight on 18 Augmst l9l7 from However, it would be wronq to give rhan-air craft made them super::: :
spacing of her main frames, which Friedrichshafen where she had been the rmpressron that Zeppelins were any conventional aeroplane ofthe :=1
now 15 m (49 ft 2,5 in) apart com- built, and became the command of one entirely direcied ro bombing missions Small wonder therefore that L53 .-:
pared with the previous norm of l0 m of Peter Strasse/s most senior o{hcers, against land targets. L53 is an illustra- her nine sister craft (t55/tzi01, i,o'e
:32ft 9,7in), Measures such as these Kapitdnleutnant der Reserve Eduard tion of this fact since of the 23 oper- IZr03, L58/LZI05, L60/L2108, L:-
serued to lighten the L53, contributing Proelss. He first brought his new ational sorties made by this vessel be- LZr06, L62/r,2I07, L63iLZ1I0, L31
.: the fact that her useful lift was some chargTe over the British Isles on the tween her commissioning date on 2l LZl09 and L65/LZIII) were rec.r:::

L53 (Zeppelin LZ I00) (continued) Airships of World War I
as a standard scout type. AIl after L56
were fitted with Maybach motors of the
supercharged Mb IVa type.

L53 (ZeppelinLZI00)
Type: strategic bomber and patrol
Powerplant: flve 179-kW (240-hp)
Maybach HSlusue<yllnder water-
cooled piston engines
Performance: maxrmum speed
106 km/h (66 mph); service ceiling
6400 m (20,997 ft); ranqe 468O kn (2908
Weights: empty 24500 ks (54,013 lb); First of the V-type Zeppelins to have
useful lift 40460 ks (89, 199 lb) new supercharged motors and
Dimensions:diameter 23,90 m (78 ft fourth of the class to be built, L58 was
4.9 in); length I96.495 m(644 ftB m); eventually to be destroyed in a
volume 55990 m' (1,977,27 1 cu ft ) mysteriou s e x p losion which
Armament: two 7, 92-mm (0, 3 l2-in) wrecked four hangars and four other T\vovictims ofsabotage, L42 and L63 loyal to the old regime on 23 June
Maxim machrne-guns on free airships atAhlhorn. lie in their shed at Nordholz after the l9 I 9. L42 had been rh use as an
mountings in single position above tim ber sup ports and suspension advanced training vessel, while L63
forward hull, plus bombs gear had beenremoved by those had been Gerhold Ratz' command.
hd L59 (Zeppelin LZl04)

While being built as a Zeppelin Typ V, First introduced by the Zeppelin company in August 19 17, L59 and jts c/ass represented the /a fest desr'grn
the L59 (LZI04) was hurriedly ieng- techniques and established a pattern thatwas to persistfor almost ayear, 10 being envisaged by the parent
thened as the second Zeppelin Typ W. company when the first appeared.
This was to replace the L57 which had
been chosen for a special mission jn
November 1917 and, as the L2102, con-
verted from a Typ V to the first TVp W
before being damaged ln a storm rn
October, L57 was intended to fly to
German East Afnca to aid General von
Lettow-Vorbeck's forces rn the theatre
by flying out a sizeable quantity ofsup-
plies; the vessel was thereafter to be
used as a bomber.
Toqether with the best men of his
crew (the cream of each usually
moved with the commander) Kapitiin-
leutnant Ludwig Bockholt from L57
took charge of L59 without delay, and
such was the urqency of rhe mission
that when a member of the crew was
discovered to have sold a large pad of
the rations and made up the cases with
the equivalent weiQtht, there was no
trme to re-provision and the deficit had
to be made up with emergency self-
heating foods.
Aithough crews for bombinq mis-
srons were sometimes reduced to l5 to byan desert where the heat made the with the vessel and after a lengthy dts- WhenL57, a Zeppelin of theW-type,
aliow an enlarged offensrve load, the vessel difficult to control after Qtas had cussion it was decided to reburld her was severely damaged in a storm in
full complement of 21 was carrred been lost through the automatic valves; for attacks against targets in the Mid- October 1 9 I 7, L59 was placed in the
rvhen the vessel set out in November soon after this one enqine began to dle East and Italy, and for these she charge of the same commandet as a
However, the airship was forced to give trouble, was back at Jamboli (from which the replacement. After being rebuilt
twn back twice, on the second occa- The vessel was beyond the Nile African trrps had begmn) in February following th e Afric an flight, s he
slon as a result of damage caused by when one of the recall signals was 1918. It was flyrng from here on 7 April bombed British naval installations on
dle flre from Turkish railway guards, finally heard and the lonq retum trip 1918 that L59 mystenously blew up not Crete. Amonth later U-boatU-53was
s3 that a 32-hour return journey re- began, The tropically-kitted crewmen far from the heel of Italy the sole witness of her end.
s,:lted in the next attempt beinq de- were by now not only exhausted but
-ayed until suitable weather on 20 suffering from the cold at the height 8200 m (26,903 ft); ranqe 8000 km
licvember. where the flight was takrnQr place, but Specification (4,971mi]es)
in pornt of fact a large portron of von the final leg of the journey was suc- L59 (Zeppelin LZl04) Weights: empty 27625 kq (60,903 1b);
- cessfully completed and rightly hailed Type: strategic bomber and patrol useful lift 52100 kg (1 14,86 I lb)
ettow-Vorbeck's forces had been
::lced to surrender on the same day as a triumph by the German Naval airship Dimensions: diameter 23,95 m (78 ft
:e commander escaping with a small Airship Service which was still re- Powerplant: five I 79-kW (240-hp) 6,9 in); ]ensth226.50 m(743 ft 1,3 in);
I a:ly to contlnue the fight after captur- garded as experimental with the Maybach HSLu six-cylinder water- volume 68500 m3 (2,419,059 cu f0
:-l: Porruguese supplies, but the recall officers and men undergoing 'on the cooled piston engines Armament: provrsion for up to 10 7 92-
:'.':adio failed to be picked up in L59. job'trainlng Performance: maximum speed mm (0, 3 I 2-in) Maxim machine-Euns
---.:ead course was set across the Lt- The problem remained what to do 108 krn/h (67 mph); service ceiling above hul1, plus bombs

Zeppelins over Englcmd:
Sfrasser3 Last l{ission
The career ofPeferSfrasser parallels the story of the German airshipservice.
Promoted Leader of Airships in 19 J,3, he led the first strategic bombing campaignin
history. The defences eveitually mastered the Zeppelin thieat, but as Germanl s
defeat loomed near in August J 9 J 8 Strasserpers onally led another raid. His chosen
vessel:L70, the latest and most powertul Zeppelin built.

At the outbreak of World War I it was confid- shrp saw them when 48 km (30 miles) from the
enLlv believed in offrcial circles that the 'rerror coast of Norfolk, and is also how one of the
weapons' oJ the day. Cerman Zeppelrn Zeppe[ns appeared to Major Edgar Cadbury
arrships, could not fly durjng the hours ofdark- Z5-year'oid heir to a confectionery empire, as
ness, and any that crossed the North Sea in he raced along the sea front at Great Yarmouth.
daylight would be destroyed with 1ittle difficul- He had been called from watchinq hrs wlfe
ty by aeroplanes of the Royal Flyrng Corps. who was singrng at a charity concert at the
The fact that arrshrps had been tlyrng sorties Nava] Air Station, but his mind was fiiled now
after dark for several years made nonsense of with only two thoughts: surprise at the German
the first belief, but theie is a rrng oitruth in the appearance in dayhght and how quickly he
fact that the last Zeppelin to be destroyed by could reach his car and report to the aero-
ihe defences was shot down in daylrght ar the drome where a two-seal de Havrlland DH.4
end ol a glorious August aflernoon ihe finesL sLood ready to do duty as an intercepror
Bank Hohday rn England lor seven years it was Bringing his Ford to a screaming ha1t, Cad-
ciaimed. the doomed airship taking ro his death bury almosL fel] out of the car. and dt.empting ro
the revered Fregattenkapitain Peter Strasser, put on the helmet and jacket he had seized in Pefer,Sfrasser, Leader of Airships, poses fora
Leader of Airships srnce 1913. his rush he sprinted lor the biplane in company Iormal portrait wearing thePourle M6rite alhjs
The formal portraits of this officer, with hls with another running ngure made awkward by throat, an award receiied from Admira! Scheer at
heavy mouslache and goatee beard of almost flyrng krt namely Cap'ain Robert Leckie who Ahlhorn on 4 September I 9 J 7 after commanding
theatncal cut above an archaic unrform wrng was to act as qunner in the rear cockpit. ar'rslups since / 91 3. This photagraph may have
been taken to mark the occasion.
collar, have left to us littie impression of what he Meanwhile, the German arrship lormation
was really like But ri among a leaders chref continued on course, heading firr targets spe-
quairues is a readrness to share Lhe cJangers ol cihed in their orders as being 'on the south or the summer light was fadrng. Even so Cadbury
his men, then it is easy to see why Strasser middle' after a journey that up to then had and Leckre had no drrficrity in picking out the
qurckly gained their respect, and it is certainly lasted for aboul 4Vz hours, The commanders whole formation and havinq done so the pilot
true that he was the driving force behind the were mjndlul thar no bombs were lo be crop- flew in the opposLle direclion Lo qarn extro
airship section of the German navy. ped on London without orders from Peter heighi reducing the H 4 s load by pulLng rhe
Strasser was born on 1 April 1876at Hanover Strasser, who was rn the leading vessel wrth 1ts release to dump rnto the sea the pair of bombs
and at the age of35, aiter a career in the Kais- long hutl almost entirely covered in an incon- ir was carlyrng
er's navy he volunleered lor aviation duly, a qtruous coat of black, unsurtable ior conceal- Approachrng the monster lrom almosL head-
move that in 1913 reheved him from serving as ment in dayhght. Strasser seemingly sub- on, Leckie, after some ranging shots that went
a gunnery specialisr in the Naval Airship Divr scribed to the theory that there was no need to wrde since his Lewis gun had no sights, Dut in a
sion's shrpboard ordnance department, fear being shot down over the sea if one was at Iengthy burs'oIhre al 550-m (600-yard) range
Strangely, it was the accident to the navai an altitudl between 4500 and 5500m (i4765 the burst exhausted a whole drum of Pomero /
airshi[ L'l that gave Peter Suasser his firsL rea] and 18,045 lt) explosive ammunilion and succeeded in b.ow-
chance for when this airshrp, o-herwise known The camouflage finrsh oi the airshLps rn facr ing a large hole in rhe Zeppelin s iabnc starlin,r
by its maker's designation LZl4, crashed into served some purpose when the interceptors a fire that swiftty ran rhe leno-h o1 rhe hull. In
ihe sea off Heligoland in September 1913, caught up with them, lor it was now 22 20 and moment the airship hlted rts nose before turn-
among those who perished was Korvettenka pi-
tain Friedrich Metzing, whose loss left a vacan-
cy frlled by Strasser, The leader's role now
embraced not only the normal duires of his
command, but also participation in design im-
provements on which first-hand knowledge
gained while flying wrlh hrs men enabled hrm
to comment. There is no doubt that even when
the final days ol lhe war casl the shadow of
rnevitable defeat over Germany Slrasser
showed little loss of enthusiasm for the airshrp
rn which he still fervently believed, Thus E
Ausust 1918 found him aboard the very latest
type oi Zeppelin prototype of the X type
heading for the UK
Thrs vessel was L70 (L2112) under the com
mand ol the inexperienced and impulsrve
KaprtdnieutnanL Johann von Lossniizer, and
was then part of the first arrshlp rard to be
mounled lor four rnonths. It was in company
wrth L53 (L2100) L56 (LZIj2l L63 (LZIIO) and
L65 (L2111) flying in a rough 'vic' formation
over the North Sea at 5000 m (16 404 ft) at 18 30
only some 100 km (62 miles) from the Engllsh
coasl anC thrown inlo sharp silhouetle by lhe Zeppelins Ll0 (Wenke); Li I (von Buttlar); Ll2 Sheppey, butMathy had towithdraw. Ll2 was :::
light of the late afternoon (Peterson); andLl3 (Mathy) cross theNorfft Sea on by Dover AAfireand force-Ianded in theChar.:.z
This is how lhe crew oi the Leman Tail Lrqhl- 9 August 19l5.LI1 dropped 12HE bombs on half was Iater recovered.

Airships of World War I

This is thegondolaof LS4,whichwas to take partin Buttlar's L54 escaped by abandoning the raid, only
the famous raid by I3 Zeppelins on I9 October to be destroyed in its hangar atTondern after a
1917, only to be scattered by highwinds.Von strike by Sopwith Camels from HMS Furious.

ing over and plunging into the sea as a mass of were salvoqed over a penod ol a,most -hree
fla-me, a smailer f,re"bail being seen to drop weeks, the pari being beached at Im-
away as a fuel tank became detached to make minoham. In this mass of twisted metal was
AZeppelin caught by searchlights. This may be the its own meteor-llke course into the waves be- disc6vered the bodies of many of the crew,
raider which appeared over the easfern coun ljes
on the night of B September I 9 I 5. If so, it is L I 3
low includtng that of Peter Strasser from whose
which penetratedAs far as London. dropping I 5 The wreckage drd not sink immediately, bur clothing some documents, rnclLiding srgn.l
high-explosive and 55 incendiary bombs before iay on the swell a greal burning pyre for rhe 2 t codes, were salvaqed and rushed to Naval In-
returningvia Norfolk. men who had been its crew and for whom telligence; hke th6 corpse from which they
there could be no escape. It rested thus for the were taken Lhey were undamaged and no:
besl part of an hour and if any of the crew murilateo rn any way.
members of the airshlps that accompanied L70 Ln the davs rhat lollowed about anorher half-
had been ignorant of their leader's rmmediate dozen bodibs were washed ashore on the Lin.
fate, none could have failed to see the holocaust colnshLre coast. and these, includrng the ones
now. Their commanders, horrifled at what had recovered lrom the wreckage and that ol Perer
taken place, abandoned the operation and Strasser were taken out to s'ea; there, as befit-
turned the bows of their Zeppelins towards ted naval men, they were commrtted to the
home, the water ba]last of each pouring out as it deeo al'ho.igh seemrngly^wilh scon cere-
was dumped to carry out the only manoeuwe monv. What remarned of L7O was sub;ec-ed tc
that could strll qrve a margin of safety, the raprd an examination which revealed such interest-
garn ol herghr ing facts as the especia[y light qauge of scme
That the raiders were within reasonable dis- of the metal parts and that silk was substituted
tance o[ each other is shown bv rhe facl that for the usuai cotton covering; with nothing more
Cadbury and Leckie were able ro close on a to be drscovered rhe wreckage was then
second arrshrp L64, despite an engine that was dumped into the North Sea.
giving trouble, and Leckje opened fire, he be- At home in Germany, the authorrties were ai
heved that he scored hits, and even that a fire first unsure ol the fate of Peter Strasser:
had been started, but was wrong. However, the although reahzing rhe slmness of rhe chances
weather began to deteriorate and ihe two re- of escape for the Leader of Auships, several
turned to base to flnd not only that they were newspapers published tenlative obiiuanes
welcomed as heroes, but also that the bombs, Few ol these farled to mention the respect in
believed to have eorle :flIo the sea Lo lighLen which he was held. This was no empty plaii-
the load, were stjll in place, so lhat a very tude, for Strasser's readiness not only to invesii-
diiterent homecoming mLght have resultedl gate technical problems, but generally to ad-
it was 7 August when the remains of L70 vance lhe airship cause, had together wrth hrs
were found by the trawler ,Scomber. They readiness to share the dangers of operaiional
were promptly buoyed where they 1ay rn only sortres endeared him to his men, a fact re-
erght fathoms (14.6 tn/48 ft) of water, and later flected in the manner rn which his demise was
heard by some A Leutnant entered the room
where a group of officers was gathered and
stood silent with a look of dumb despair, 'Stras-
Once caught by searchlights itwas difficult for a
Zeppelin toconceal its massive bulk from the guns ser?' asked one bolder than the others. The
and aircraft seeking to destroy it. Their only real Leutnant made no reply, merely noddtng.
defencewas to shed ballast and climb to altitudes Without a word the company removed their
outof harm'sway. caps and stood lo silent artention
Zeppelins over England

Airships of World War I


luftschiffe TO
Above and right: ZeppelinLT0, also
known by its constructor's
de s ignation LZ I I 2, w as considered
an outstandingvessel and the final
version of the'S uper-Zeppelin'. I t
had been built to a specification
which enabled it to climb to an
altitude where it might be
considered immune from
interception. AIso, being capable of
taking an increased fuel load, it
could approach over the coast of
ScoUand from the circular route
across the Atlantic and at the same
time provide support for U-boats by
remaining in the air for several days.

Lef t : N ewly completed, L7 0 is walked

back into Factory Shed II. Less than a
nonth later she was to crash into the
sea off theNorfolk coast, avictim of
Cadbury and Leckiein their
ntercepting Airco D.H.4, despite
fuing powered by motors adapted
: or high- altitude work.
i,?o'Cz"ppelin Lzttz)
The L70 (company desrgnation L2112)
represented the final type of milrtary
Zeppelin (Zeppelin Typ X), and was
arrcraft fire, an example of the type of
action in whrch lighter borne intercep
tors would have been of use.
X variants, only two others were built,
though only one was commissioned
into the Germany navy. Thrs was the
130 km/h (Bl mph); sewice ceilinqt
7000 m (22,966 ft); ranqe 6000 km (3728
conceived around the importance of Zeppeirns of this type were nol plan- L7l (LZII3) later handed over to the Weights: empty 28260 kg (62,303 lb);
makinq an entry to the Atlantic round ned for patrol work alone, however UK, The L72 (LZll ) was completed useful lift 43500 kq (95,901 Ib)
the north of Scotland and having swift and desprte the fact that by 1918 aero- after the Armistice as the Dxmude Dimensions: diameter 23.95 m (78 ft
climb characteristrcs, the emphasis planes were exhibiting much greater and was delivered to France as part of 6.9 in); lenqth211,5O m(693 ft 10,8 in);
therefore being put on fuel capacity usefulness for attacks on targets in the war reparations, These vessels dif- volume 62200 m3 (2,196,576 cu f0
and a lightened structure. Britrsh isles, the day of the airshtp was fered from the L70 in having sx Mb IVa Armament:up to 10 7.92-mm (0.312-in)
Four airships of this type were plan- not completely over. Thus the L70 was engines and a volume of 68500 m3 Maxim machine-guns on free
ned, of whrch L70 was the prototype committed to a ratd on 5 August, an (2,419,059 cu ft) in a hull lengthened to mountrngs above hu1l, plus bombs
and the only one to be powered by attack that some thought foolhardy 2265m(743ft 1.3in).
seven enqfnes, unique among naval srnce rt was planned to take place be-
Iighter-than air craft, It was work over fore it had grown completely dark. Specification L70 was the ZeppelininwhichPeter
the Dogger Bank that found L70 on its This is the action which cost the hves of L70 (Zeppelin LZI i2) Slrasser was fo die on 5 August 19 I 8.
frrst operatron, a routine patrol durtnei not only the enttre crew including the Type: strategic bomber and patrol In the interests of weight economy
which units of the British fleet were commander Kapitdnleutnant von Loss- airship the unshrouded engine exhausts
reported Despite the heavy cloud nitzer who had been responsible for Powerplant: seven 93, 9-kW (260-hp)
1 tended to compromise the black
course was altered and the tarqets the attack on the naval vessels, but also Maybach Mb IVa srx-cylinder water- dopewhen they spatflame. She is
identified, 10 bombs being dropped Peter Strasser cooled piston engines seen here in J uly at Friedrichshafen,
on the ships desplte concentrated anti Of the planned four units of the TYP Performance: maxrmum speed where shewas built.

. ", 3:; e-* -s -- s; q";

;;"j--"1" ";
.- -;J'"e :+d-

,;6..-,..;___".-". .-... _-_

;*#****',';:,,*lffi* -t;ffi
ffi iirvln No. I (Rt) Mayrly

.:r=q|::* "'

British Naval Airship No. I , the rigid

RJ Mayfly, was seriously overweight
from the start, and attempts to
lighten the structure only succeeded
The UK's first rigid airship was pro- the Coronation Review ofthe fleet by riding out a storm with winds rtstnq to inweakening it. For security reasons
posed in l90B as a means of evaluatinqr Krng Georqte V, However, the extrac- as higrh as Tzkrnlh (45 mph), the findings of the investigators were
the naval airship as a weapon of war tion of HMA No. I (RI) from its floating Even so, the damage now sustained neverpublished.
alonq German lines, and an order was shed called on the resources ofa num- had to be repaired and the airship's
placed with Vickers,The work was to ber of tugs and a haulinq party of 300 return to its shed also provided an destruction. The Mayfly never flew
be undertaken by a joint civilian/naval sailors on the ropes, a difficult task opportunity to lighten the structure. It and was later scrapped.
team, few of whose members had since the airship, now nicknamed was not until late September that the RI
much experrence in the type of work Mayfly, proved much heavier than ex- next appeared, fully loaded with hyd- Specification
involved. pected. This combined with misdirec- rogen after a lO-hour inflation of the HMANo. I
Srnce the vessel was to be flown tion ofthe handling party or (accordtng gas cells and ready for flight, The Type: expenmental naval airshiP
rom water her gondolas were given to some reports) a sudden cross-wind, method of handling was as before, and Powerplant: two t 19.3-kW ( 160-hP)
planing bottoms, although alternative caused the arrship to strike one of the rt was necessary for the airship's nose Wolseley eiqht-cylinder water-cooled
mooring to a mast anticipated German uprights of the shed entrance, some to be turned, Hardly had the strain piston engines
iCeas. C,onstructron was to be of the damage resulting. This was unfortun- been taken on the ropes than a loud Performance: (estrmated) maximum
:.ew alloy duralumin as a compromise ate, since an earlter sojourn in the open crashing was heard from within the speed 64 krn/h (40 mph)
bet!,/een those factions who wanted had seen the airship successfullY centre of the vessel as its back broke. Weight: (estimated) useful lift 20321 kg
-aocd or steel, moored to the short mast provided as Understandably the crew began to (44,800lb)
Enqne tests were beEnrn in mid- the superstructure of a naval vessel leap overboard as ordered, and with Dimensions:diameter 14,63 m (48 ft
February 1911, and 1t was hoped that (the first use of such equipment in his- the weight relieved from the rear gon- 0 in), lensth I 56.06 m (5 I2 ft 0 in):
'-re maiden fllght might coincide with tory) and reports speak of the RI thus dola the stern rose up to complete the volume 18774 m3 (663,000 cu fr)

Airships of World War I
'C' class
l::-;nated the'C' class from its antict-
;=.:j use as a coastal type ('Coastal'
class was an alternative name), this
:-::--rgnd type was of medium size and
:-:-::ructed with a trefoil envelope
.-:-cn, ftequently known as the Astra
--:::s type, The flrst of the pattem
l;- ordered in June 1915 from Kings-
:,,:-: where rt was assembled in the
.- -:-,'rrnq september.
- :e choice of envelope construction
;,,::d problems that were overcome
-r-::- rnterestinq manner. Amonq these .i-s**l"T"frt
;- ire method ol car suspension: the . €da<, ll I F
,-.=:les for this purpose were attached
='::l the tntersection line of the lobes Right : The nos e r ing w as a vestigial
naval marking onC23 before it
--: rom here ran through the bottom
- --:,e covennq to the car. And it is crashed at Folkestone on 21 MaY
1 9 1 7 , only to be rebuilt and re-enter
:,, :worthy that though the gtas cells
-.';::e contained in a non-rigid struc- service as C23A. The type had small
-:=. it was possible to site one of tvro variations of airscoop position and
::=rsive gun positions on top, car details.
?embroke was the first naval air sta-
--,: to have the type, and the first lore and aft, dnvrng uactor and pusher
'-;::G took place from here in June propellers respectively, The men's
,: -3. other bases being Pulham, How- accommodation was very consrder-
r::- Mullion, East Fortune and Long- ably more comfortable than that of the
. i.-- The seas that came under the flfth man, the upper qnrnner who had a
:.-: of the 'Coastal' class airship pat- special climbinq tube through the en-
:-i were those off the Norfolk coast, velope to reach his lofty positton. 'C'
--,ds End, the mouth of the Humber, class airships gave good and reliable
-': Firth of Forth and Aberdeen. service once the problems of cooling
-:Jihouqh the work of these vessels for the rear engine and blowtng in of
':,'.: largtely unspectacular, one was the nose cone had been solved,
-: subject of an interestinet set of ex- When engines of differing Powers
:e:-rnents which were carried out on 6 were fltted in any one ship, the more
Se::ember 1916. These were made powerful was normally that at the rear,
''..:r -he firsi of the type. CL in conjunc- while it is interesting to note that the
-:: mth the ligtht cruiser HMS Canfer- cars were construct-od from a pair of
'-:-_z and were conducted offshore to Awo 510 fuselagres. C1 alone differed
::-< into the question of future de- foom the others in having a 57.9-m (190-
;:-:pments, whereby an airship might ft) envelope with a 3964.4-m3 (140,000-
:e lefuelled from a surface vessel. cu ft) capacity,
l- total ofonly 26 airships of this class
...-:s delivered, although these re- Specification A' C oas tal' clas s air s hip on conv oy origin al m odel, whic h w as s et
::,: lred in servrce for lengthy pertods, 'C'class patrol shows the later locationof the forward immediately behind the
-:-:s they enjoyed a reputation for Tlpe: sea patrol atrship ballonet airscoop in the aft position. front propeller. Only 27 of this class
-::-genty as well as for extended fligtht Powerplant: two I I 1,9-kW (l5O-hp) This differed from that on the were delivered before 19 I 8.
j::es, the endurance of the design Sunbeam sx-cylinder water-cooled
:=-::q as much as 12 hours. piston engines, or one 179-kW (240- h (50 mph); service ceiling 2134 m lensth 59.66 m (195 ft 9 in); volume
lre crew ofthese airships consisted hp) Frat and one 82.0-kW ( I 10-hP) (7,000 ft) 4813,9 m3 (170,000 cu ft)
-- :r,e men, four of them tn the car Berhet waler-cooled pLston engLnes Weight: useful lift L60B kq (3,545 lb) Armament: two 7,7-mm (0.303-in)
'.i-rn aiso conlarned the lwo engines. Performance: maximum speed B0 kr/ Dimensions:width 12,04 m(39 ft6 in); Lewis machine-guns, plus bombs

>K ts'class

The original'SS' class atships flew

with a dorsal fin, while the vental
one ofSS40 was extended in area.
Anticip ated wor k w as ag ent -
dropping, but itwas actuallyusd for
In later models the qas capactty was successful, only tvro berng built. night reconnaissance.
increased first to 1699 m3 (60,000 cu f0 As might be expected these
ano later to L9B2 mr (20 000 cu ft) from airships, which gave to the English lan-
rhe orisinal 580.5 mr (20,500 cu ft). quage the word'Blimp', had the capa-
Other more radical variations wele In- bility to stay aloft for many hours, the
troduced to produce the 'SST' class, normal flrghi duration bejng seven
which had twin engines but of which hours although records exist claiming
only six were constructed, and the up to twice this flgure. The type served
'SSP' class (the last letter indicating througthout the war on the same duties
pusher propulsion) that was even less and certainly had a deterrent effect on
'SS'class (continued)

engirne being partrcularly associated Weight: usetullift 300I kq (6,6 t5 lb)

-with the Maurice Farman nacelles. Dimensions: diameter 9.75 m (32 ft
Production was about 150 'SS' class 0 in); lenqth43,59 m(143 ft0 in);
airships, volume 1982.2 m3 (70,000 cu f0
Armament: one 7. Z-mm (0. 303-1n)
Specification Lewis machine-qnrn, plus bombs
Powerplant: one 55.9-kW (75-hp) An unmarked'SS' class airship is
Renault V-B or Rolls-Royce Hawk six- seenwith twinventral fins and a
cyhnder water-cooled piston engi ne, B.E.2c-type car. A similar envelope
or one 74,6-kW ( 100-hp) Green water- was fitted with one of a pair of
cooled piston enqine complete aircraft of this type, in
Performance: maximum speed 48 km/ experiments to take an aetoplane
h (30 mph) with Renault or Rolls-Royce alott to wait for raiding Zeppelins.
engine, or B0 km/h (50 mph) with But thesewere abandoned when the
Green engdne crewwaskilled.

f isz'class
The final variant ofthe 'SS' class airship
was the 'SSZ' class (Z indicating the
ultimate or zero form), of which no less
than 93 were ordered although only 63
of these went to the Royal NaWl SSZ23
and SSZ24 were sent to the United
States where the latter became A5472,
while SSZ2I and SSZ22 went to France,
The type was introduced late in 19 16
and although the engine was usually
the Rolls-Royce Hawk, two were fitted
with the Renault V-B of stmilar rating,
and all were used for similar work to
that performed by the earlier 'SS' type,
The main visual difference behveen Particularly on SSZ airships the
the two classes was the specially de- a p plic a tion of i dentity m ar king s

sigmed car that took the place of the penods and the record for this goes to varied. 55265 is seen fiere as if
aeroplane iuselages used formerly. the crew of SSZ39, who remained in the appeared at Longside in I 9 I 8,
In fact the 'SSZ' was not originally air during the summer of 19lB for a although some operations were
intended for sea patrol, being de- continuous period of50 hours. This was carried out from Auldbar.
signed to be towed by surface vessels more than double that ofthe accepted
of the Belgian coast patrol and by 'long patrol', whrch was in the region of
monitors, when their role would have 24 hours, although the average was 12,
been no more than adrial platforms ior
eunnery spotting after release and Specification
under their own power. 'SSZ'class
The very ffst airship of this type was Type: sea patrol airship
ur fact built at Capel (Folkestone) and Powerplant: one 55.9-kW (75-hp)
later flown to the Dunkirk area, where Rolls-Royce Hawk sx-cylinder or
it was based at St Pol on 21 September Renault V-B water-cooled piston
1916, three months after it had been engme
contructed, Performance: maxrmum speed 77 km/
Perhaps the chief claim to history h (48 mph); service ceiling 2400 m
enjoyed by the 'SSZ' is the fact that, (7,875 ft); normal endurance 12 hours
despite being of non-rigid construc- Weight: useful lift 3300 kq (7,275 lb)
tion and therefore capable of being Dimensions: diameter 9.75 m (32 ft
ilown only if the weather was suitable, 0 in); lenqth 43,59 m ( 143 ft O in);
they were responsible for spottlng 49 volume 1982,2 m3 (70,000 cu ft) Details of the car of SSZ27, which was suspending the bomb load for anti-
submarines, of which 27 were claimed Armament: one 7. 7-mm (0. 303-in) based at Polegate before moving to submarinework. These and other
as sunk, To do this it was necessary lor IrewG qnrn for the obsewer, plus Mullion, show the snug crew airships were handled behind vast
lhe airships to remain aloft for lengthy bombs accommodation and the methodof screens to prevent wind damage.

SSZ37 flies trom its station at always in evidence. The type was still SSZS with its ground party served increased area. SSZ3 here lacks the
Pem.broke above a minelaying sloop. in production in I 9 I 8, when orders both at Pulham and East Fortune. envelope roundel of many, but has a
The cylindrical tuel tanks slung at the for the final I 5 were cancelled at the .Ltke ffi e'SS' and'SSP' vessels, some naval nose ring and flies theWhite
sides of tie envelopewerenot endof thewar. werc fitted with ventral fins of Ensign behind the scoop.

ffi irnnn No. 23
Airships of World War I

October andNovember l9l8 sawR23 inits best-known role, thatof air-

taunching Sopwith Camefis N6622 and N68 I 4. Although used mostly for
baining, it had carried out North Sea patrols and later participated in the
vidory celebrations of I I I L
His Majesty's Airship No. I R27 (Beardmore) and HMA R29 (Arm-
(IIMA No. 9) was delivered in the clos- strong Whrtvrorth), the last par being
:g months of 1916 it was almost obso- of the lmproved '23X class without an
-ere as a result of the lengthy political extenor keel, No. 26 was the first to
';cissitudes that had bedevilled its receive the 'R' prefix for rignd airships.
;roduction, It sewed a useful purpose, Mindfirl that rn the mid-months of
l^,cwever: it had become the basic pat- l9l8 there was a possibility of aerial
:em on which the four rigid airships for confoontations between airships of the
-:e Admiralty were later to be based, opposing nations, experiments wete
lhe flrst of these '23' class airships, carried out wrth Sopwith Camel air-
HMA No. 23, was subsequently delt- craft suspended beneath the envelope
-,'ered from Vickers Limited, Barrow- of No, 23; the plan in the event of an
r-Furness, to Pulham on 15 Septem- attack was for the two flghters to be
;^Y totT released to defend the mother vessel,
Design work had stafied in June of There was no pronsion at the time for
re previous year, the frrst flight being the aircraft to be reclaimed,
planned for that autumn, but consider- In the springr of 1919 No, 23 was Basedon the earlierNo.9 of 1916, the the N avy at Pulham on I 5 S eptember
abie redesign had to be carried out strengthened for lests at a mooring No. 23 and its successors were I 9 I 7. I t is seen here with a Sopwith
','ihen the original specification re- mast, but before they could be Carried constructed by Vickers at Barrow-in- 2F. 1 C amel underneath and a
sllted in a vessel that was something out she was broken up in September. Furness. The R23 was delivered to partially stripped upper fin.
lJ<e 3493kq (7,700 lb) too heavy, the
g[eater part of this excess being attri- Specification
outable to the choice of engtnes. HMANo.23
The flrst tial flight of No, 23, four Type: naval traimng airship
Cays after delivery, turned out to be Porverplant: four 186. 4-kW (250-hp)
something of an anticlimax, for it was RolJs-Royce Eagle III 12-cyltnder
clear that she too was at least obsoles- water-cooled piston engines
cent, as might be expected from the Performance: maximum speed 84 km/
cnginal design source, and her mod- h (52 mph); sewice ceiling914 m
en counterparts had a lifting capacity (3,000 ft); range 32i9 kn (2,000 miles)
some nine times grreater than that of Weisht: useful lift 6000 ks (13,228 Ib)
which she was capable, It is hardly tncluding four 45-kq ( 1001b) bombs
surprisinq, therefore, that the planned Dimensions: diameter 16. 15 m (53 ft
:otal of ]0 airships of thrs type was final- 0 in): Ienefih I 63.07 m (535 ft 0 in):
ly cut back to sx, while No, 23 was voiume 26674.4 m3 (942.000 cu ft)
relegated to training duties. The other Armament: provision for 7. 7-mm
'rruts of the class were HMA No. 24 (0.303-in) Lewis gun on free mounting
iBeardmore), HMA No. 25 (Armstrong above forward portlon of hull, plus
HMA R26 (Vickers), HMA bombs

l{ithan observation balloon in the class ordered for the Royal Naval Air In 1918,No.23 wasusedfor aseries thatwere echoed in the United States
djstance, R26 passes over the City ot Sewice in J anuary I I I 6, to be built by of experiments whereby a pair of and the Soviet Union. The British
-andon in I 9 1 8 . She was the first of Vic ker s at Barr ow- in-F urness. Sopwith Camel aircraft were air- aircraft involved were drawn foom
!;e additionalvessels of the'23' launched from under the hull, trials No.2I2 Squadron, RAF.
Observation Bcilloons
As the rival armies facedeach otherfrom their trenches,both
sides begran to employ captive balloons for reconnaissance.
Enemy positions could be studied in minute detail, officers
could see the terrain over which they were to attack, and
artillery fire could be zeroed in. Inevitably, the balloons
themselves became targets for attack.

The use of balloons to gather inf ormation is old, f or such devices were employed
during the French Revolution and later by Napoleon on some of his campaigns,
Experiments had been conducted in the USA as early as 1784, but it was not
until 1840, during the Seminole War, that anything rn the nature of an organized
balloon corps was planned, and it is interesting to note that in 1863 a youthful
Count von Zeppelin made his first flight in the USA.
ln the UK, a small balloon lactory was established at the Chatham School of
Military Engineering as a result of trials that had been begun in 1B7B at Woolwich
Arsenal. and one year later the British Army had five balloons on charge,
complete with winch waggons and horse-drawn gas carts, Smallwonder there-
fore that observation balloons were to be seen above the battlefields of South
Africa. Bechuanaland and the Sudan before the end of the century.
At much the same time, experiments in Germany resulted in the Drachenbal- Destroying the heavily-defended balloons called for a high degree of
lon combining the principles of both balloon and kite, a design thatwas used in courage, some pilots specializing in the work. One such was Heinrich
numbers to observe and direct artillery fire in the opening months of World War Gontermann, who accounted for I I before being killed.
L British reaction was to copy the design or use the unsuitable spherical type;
the same type was used by France, which had decided to abandon the use of
military balloons in 1912. The final solution was the work of a French officer, Caquot balloons were soon adopted by France's allies, and over land were
Albert Caquot, who designed a new type, albeit based on the German pattern, capable of being flown to an altitude of 1000 m (3,280 ft) even in
a wind of Force
equipped with three stabilizing f ins that enabled it to be used in winds of speeds 9 (about '1 00 km/h/62 mph) if the work demanded, both day and night. The
up ro 100 krrrh (62 mph). observers were very simply equipped, with binoculars and an ordinary field
There were four standard types of Caquot balloon with varying capacities: the telephone with which to report to the grolnd what they saw, and since, as might
smalle^st was the Type P o' 150-nr (26,486-c^u ft), followed by tne Type P2 o' be expected, captive balloons provid-ed a tempting targer'or enemy a.rcr5+t,
820-m"128,958-cu ft), the Type M2 o' 930-m' \32,842-cl ft) and the Type R o' those aboard also carried parachutes hung over the side of the basket tb provide
000-m' (35,314-cu ft). The first three could each carry aloft two men, while the a means of escape. The parachute was opened by a static line as the wearer
Type R could support three men in its basket. The iirst two types were used by jumped.
the French army and also by the French navy from smallvessels, while the Type The Germans generally carried out their observation work in the early morn-
R was capable of being f lown from capital ships at altitudes up to 1000 m (3,280 ing, the British and French in the afternoon. ln this way the Germans had the
ft), and the smaller M2 to something like half that figure. Five months before the advantage of the morning sun behind them, the afternoon sun fulfilllng the same
end of World War I the French navy had 200 of all types of balloon on charge, function for the Allies, who as time passed thankfully bade farewell to their
although only 24 vessels were equipped to fly them. Drachens, which more than one observer later recalled as'damnably unsteady'.

A balloon is used here to train officers in parachute training. Mastery of this A row of tethered Caquot balloons clearly show their outlines. These were
'a<as essential if the Caquot could not be winched down sufficiently swiftly in more elongated fore and aft than those of the World War II barrage balloons
che event of an attack by aeroplanes. Such a victory was considered equal to used to protect land targets, although these and the present-day parachute
:hat over an aircratt. training balloons are all related.

Airships of World War i
-iat the work made extreme demands on the occupants of the frail sus-
: =-:Ced baskets is easy to overlook. not only were the duties carriedori rnOJr
:':'emes o'f temperatJre and, if tne light was good enough, ro ihl
, : ja'es or tne weather, but there was always the danqer ""pos"O
of attack bv oooosino
:: cons, both sides developed specialists in this *ei"
Despite tne fact rhar severe measures ta<en io iir"i".i-ir.',E
rvpe of attack. tn" a"lol"n
.'. y Co.ppe.ns and ihe German Heinrich Gontermann being Lwo'piir"
::s "rZr-
lndeed, the demands of the balloon observers, joO hid some surpiiSng
'=:..:lts, such as the off icer who was surprised at the co'arseness of his tJrlgulgE
:':3r a stint aloft, which was accompanied by a stammer and comptete Oeaineii
-:: lasted some five minutes after Ianding. ln an attempt to 6ounteract the
:-ects of a swift descent from altltude, Some wings cJeveloped ttreii o*n
:::rnrques such as that employed by No 2 Wing, whicliwas to pduse at 4270 m
'l 000 ft) even if the balloon was being winch-ed down under'attuct; the *ui
n nervrng practice f or passengers u nused to balloon work. such as ihe
. senioi
rers taken alott to become familiar with the terrain over which thev were
:-:rtly expected to advancel
3bservation balloons were flown at first from a variety oJ motor vehicles,
:':rce using either the 32-hp (23 g.-kw) or 6O-hp OelahayeLngmd
:' , ng d S,aconney winch, althougn +rorr 1 9 1 7 rhese\447-kW)
were replaced Oy wincirei
:- :aquot's own manufacture driven by a 70-np 152.z-kw) de D on Bouton that
,'.as capable of bringing its charge down at a speed in the region ot O m (ZO fii
-^. ^^^^^A

'vith the Allied observatio-n line running practically the entire length of the
Above: A Belgian Drachen-type kite
Front, the demand for crews was of course high, and to me6t this ttre balloon isseen in Flanders ii I g I 4.
i sh,army set u,p^a series of depots and schools n En{land ut srCn Gntiesui
T he.s im ilar P arsev al-S ig s leld p a ttern
-,-<nirl, LVdd and Roehampton, wh;le for a t me evenlhe Oval cric<et oround had beeninuse by theGerman army
..,s used. At these, and at the artillery schools attended by some obs6rvers, srnce i 898 desp ite its attendant
-::: ai techniques (such as thar dema;deo by rhe reed to ri"ep on"ti olasr"i handling problems, in order to direct
: - ; target,however much the balloon m,ght ;o l, jerk, leap, sobr or sin[) weie gunfire and to report its effects.
=:'.ed. Other techniques.(such as tnat oI ta<'ng ine teleirhone cable .tp ovei
- : :'apeze before.running it to the grou
^d, so rnai it o d not fou I tne parachute of
Righ t : Wiily C oppens, B elgian
:- loserverescaping from a balloon setalight byattack on the caqubt) had to be b alloon - a tt ac king specralsf, stands
=.'red at the front as caquots repaced t-^e Diacrens in whicn itre tereonbne infrontof hisHanriotHD.l of gdme
-=s were taken direct from the basxer ro tre main cable.
Escadrille. Severe injuries from the
dum-dum effect of an incendiary
A Caquot captive observation balloon is seen above ruins on the ypres salient bullet received while attacking a
c n 2 7 O ctober I 9 I 7. T o train personne l, th e R oy al F lying C orp s h ait
opened balloon in October I gl I cost him a
:1o training schools inJuly 1916, plus a balloon deiot.Ther6were pfans to leg. He had accounted for 26 enemv
icrm two new ba,lJoon sectjons per week. balloons.

w €

ffi ii{s'"1"r,
Another trefoil-section vessel, the
'North Sea' or 'NS' class was the last
non-rigid airship type to be burlt for the
Royal Narry, the ffust bernq ordered in
January 1916 and delivered to the nav-
al ar station
at Pulham ln Februry i917.
The original rdea had been for an
arrship which could carry out convoy
duties and also co-operate with naval
surface vessels, a concept that was
never put into practice, the whole 'NS'
fleet being used for patrol duties,
One reason for thrs decision was the
trouble that was experienced with the
Rolls-Royce engines first fitted, the
problem lying with the overJong shaft-
ing, about 3,05 m (10 ft) in lenqth, Itwas
only when this complicated transmis- An instructionalvessel for the US Navy, NS7 flew at one
ion and the engines had been ex- time with a small upper fin. Early exatnples of the type
changed for drect-drive Flats, that the carried a row oftuel tanks along the envelope, while NSI
t]-pe was able to prove its usefulness; had an enlarged fin and rudder. iVS3 refained such a tin
previously only 18 were delivered, a but the rudderwas discarded.
mere 12 being with operational units.
Although a variety of car conflgura- make up the aerial force with the Bdt-
tions was encountered, all of them ish fleet sent to accept the swrender of
were of similar lines, with the power- the German naval forces on 2I Novem-
plant mounted in a separate nacelle ber 1918, All convoy protection and
joined to the crew quarters by a coastal patrol airships carried about
wooQen catwalk, This forward part of lB1 kg (400 lb) of bombs with which to
the car had been designed with some attack U-boats, but the useful load
consideration to the comfort of its occu- varied with the water ballast carried.
pants. Such additrons as a chart table Earlier models of the 'NS' class were
and bunks were now essential, since powered by a parr of 186.4-kW (250-
the l0 men aboard were expected to hp) Rolls-Royce engines, while latterly
operate as two watches, five being on NSI2 to NSIS received 223,7-kW (300-
duty while the remainder rested, hp) Fiats,
From July I9I7 the small number of
North Sea airships then in use were all
based on the Firth of Forth at East For- Specification
tune, but by the end ofthe war over 100 'NS'class
had seen service. An early example Type: convoy escort airship
(NSl4) had gone to the United States Powerplant: two i86, 4-kW (250-hp)
and become A5580, while NS6 be- Rolls-Royce Eagle III V-12 or 193,g-kw
came a famrliar sight to Londoners as a (260-hp) Fiat A. l2 sx-cylinder water-
result of its frequent appearances over cooled piston engrnes
the capital; and in 1919 NSll estab- Performance: maximum speed 93 km/ IVS(Nortfi Sea) non-r igid N o. 4 desrgn, somefi aving anunfaired
Itshed an endurance record for a non- h (55 mph); service ceilinq about sewed at both East Fortune and connection to the motors. They were
stop crurse of 6437 ]<rn (4,000 miles) in 7010 m (23,000 ft); ranse 4B2B km Longside airship stations. There larger than the'Coastal' type but had
101 hours, (3,000 miles) were detaildifferences in the car a tretoil section in common.
Although its primary duty was to Weight: useful hft 38i0 kg (8,a00 b)
attack U-boats wrth its cargo of bombs, Dimensions: width 17.30 m (56 ft 9 in); 10194 m3 (360,000 cu ft) in) Lewrs machrne-gnms on free
an historic use for NS7 and NS8 was to length 79.86 m (262 ft 0 in); volume Armament:four or f,ve 7.7-mm (0.303- mountirgts, plusbombs


Chalais-Meudon Fleurus
When war broke out in 1914, French
airship equipment was entirely of the
non-rigid pattem, and it was one of
these that made history in becoming
the flrst Allied airship to cafiy out an
arr raid, This, despite its age, was the
Fleurus, which had been built (like al1
French army craft of the lighter+han-
air type) in the workshops at Chalais-
Meudon two years earlier, being re-
garded as a smaller sister shrp to L'Ad- i
jutant Vincenol (C, B. IV), .id,';j , if N.tion.l insignia had not been
Interestingly, the FJeurus (or C.B.V. ;i adopted at the time oI the first flight
as it was officially known), had for the to be m ade by Flewus, bu t when it
period a good aerodynamically was introduced this vessel was one
efficient shape as it had been de- of the earliest inFrance to be thus
srgned as a result of wind tunnel tests marked.
conducted at the Eiffel laboratory. speed of 54km/h (33,7mph), rather
While these results were applied to less than its maxrmum, for the distance 'North Sea' and srmilar types, but by Specification
the contours of the envelope, Cl6ment- of 680 km (423 miles) at an altitude nev- now the C.B,V was flve years old and Chalais-Meudon F Ie ur u s
Bayard was responsible for the design er more than 1000 m (3,281 ft). obsolescent, so that with another Type: army bombing airship
of the motor and the qondola, hence When making its historic raid from airship it was relegated to trarning Powerplant: hvo 59. 7-kW (80-hp)
the initials of the alternative designa- Verdun, the FJeurus was offictally an duties, The base for this work was far Cl6ment-Bayard four-cylinder water-
tion, army auship, there beinq no equiva- from the area where the newer cooled piston engines
During the last year ofpeace, grreat lent naval at arm; but with effect from l airships operated - North Africa's Performance: maxrmum speed 58 km/
use was made of the vessel, whrch par- January 1917 this was rectifred and the Medlterranean coast - beinq instead h (36 mph); service ceiling 1000 m
ticipated in the army manoeuvres of army vessels were handed over to no further afield than Rochefort, lt was (3,281 ft); range 680 km (423 miles)
that summer, It also left its base at Pau establish the new branch of the navy. here the Fieurus ended its days when Weight:useful lift 5200 kg (11,464 lb)
on 23 September at the beq[nning of a Of the srx non-rigids involved, four France's most historic non-rigid of Dimensions:diameter 12,40 m (40 ft
flight to Saint-Cyr, a journey which it were at once deployed for sea patrol in World War I was destroyed in a flre as 8.2 in) lenqth 77.00 m (252 ft 7,5 in):
completed in 16 hours, averaging a much the same manner as the British a result of an air raid in June 1918. volume 6500 m3 (229,546 cu ft)
Airships of World War I
'M' class
}e'M'class airships of semi-rigid de-
igm were extensively used by both
:-e anny and nalry in Italy, and with
-:-em a total of almost 600 wartLme sor-
--:s of various types were flown. A
.rgle example, later desigrnated the
ffi..I, was ordered by the Admiralty for
.e by the Royal Navy in i91B and
-i:-nn from Italy on 28 October of the
year, but it was used only for
=rne compartson with various
-lnsh non-rigid coastal types,
Criginally conceived for attacks on
:rgets in Austria-Hungary, the desigrn r 1--
::ceived special attention with regtard ''. {
'--r' a:l
:: its altitude capability, since the rail
--rctions and docks which wouid be ..1
-=*acked were well defended by anti-
::craft guns, Additlonally, several rn- qG@jr
:::rations were incorporated, such as
--:-e manner in which the keel was laid
: -: to support the tailplane and also to Above: Marked by their prominent
::-=et the bows; wrres from the keel nose reinlorcement,' M' clas s
:::rnected it to canvas girdles, while airships had biplane horizontal
.ands about the circumference of the surfaces ald ejevatols supporting
=:velope rn conjunctron with parabolic outrigged rudders. P hotogr aphs
nires took the weight of the car. show that the navy later marked SR.I
As a precaution against excessive with i8 number aftof the cockade.
-:akage the envelope was divided into
internally, and the entr- imurn speed. Meanwhrle, the SR, I in
=r sections British service was the tarQiet of much
--ce of air to maintain the shape of the
::;'ering was through the nose, vra a critrcism, not so much for its capability
-.-{ve containing shutters operatinq on as for the lugh costs involved in the
:e principle of a venetlan blind. A lrials. The type remained the sole ex-
::ature of the motors was the lonql ampie il the UK, and was not adoPted
::-aftinq to.the variable-pitch reversi- fcr general use; its designation indt-
:-e propellers, something of an caied &e type of design, namely semi-
-:hievement srnce the history of ngnd a-nd it was powered by one 149-
:-otors mounted on outriggers at each kw (200-hp) SPA 6A and two 164-kW
of a gondola (with a consequent (22:-hp) Italia D,2 engtnes, all of them
:emand for complex linkage) had not v..aier-cooled.
:een happy.
'M' class airships operated by the Specification
-:aiian army were of the standard 'Mclass The Royal Navy's semi-rigid No. I navy during the waryears. British
Ty?e:bombhqairship (SR. 1 ) was similar to those of the xperiments with thls were
-::cuting version, but those with the e ve s sel
:-airy were regarded as special rn that Powerplant: two 186,4-kW (250-hp) or same (M) class thatwere used desigmed to compare it with non-
-:ey were equipped for bombing; the i.',o 20B B-kW (280-hp) Itala-Maybach extensively by the ltalian army and rdd'blimps'.
-:ad of 1000 kg (2,205 lb) was a useful fow-rylinder water-cooled piston
:::e which might have to be carried on Weight: useful lift 3800 kg 378 ]b)
(8, Armament: one 7.7-mm (0,303-in)
: sortie of six-hour duration, this being Performance: maximum speed B0 krn/ Dimensions:drameter 17,00 m (55 ft Lewis gmn or equivalent on free
-:e reason why no partrcular attention h (50 mph); service ceihng 2000 m 9.3 in t; length 83 00 m(272 ft 3 7 in): mounting above nose of envelope, plx;
-ras pard to achreving a higher max- (6.562 ft); range 840 km (522 miles) volume 12500 m' (441 434 cu ft) bombs


'Forlanini' class
l,lanufactured by the Societd Leonar-
i: da Vinci ln Milan, the 'Forlanini'
class airships (designed by Enrico
iorlanini and the flrm's engineer LuiEri
Jrescentini) may be regarded as the
:.cst successful of the ltalian semi-
:-Eid vessels, wtnning a number of re-
::rds duringr the years immediately
::eceding World War L
Early versions had carried their
:luctural girder externally, but this
-,';as eventually
placed within the hull
:s a truss from which the central car
-,'ith its crew compartment, motors and
fctairon bags protruded, the leading
:dge berng glazed and an unusual tri-
plane set ofcontrol surfaces beinq car- Special constructional features o{ the
::ed at each side of the F.3, To the rear Forlanini F.3 were the triplane
:i the car the propellers, arranged as control surlaces at each side ofthe
pushers, were carried on outriggers car, andfiverudders ateach sideof
-;ath an.qxtended linkage to the en- the stern containedwithin biplane
;r,nes, the reversrble propellers being horizontal surtaces above and
:apable of varrable pitch. below, together with a prominent
An interesting design feature of the central fin underneath.
envelope was its double surface wrth a
space between the inner and outer There were flve initial 'Forlanini' course of which the average altitude the tail, This did not terminate in the
:abric, which served as a ballonet to airships with progressively improved maintained was 3960 m (12,992 ft) conventional cruciform pattern but
:raintarn the shape of the envelope, In performance, the best showtnq a rate although at one time 5335 m (U,503 ft) had rnstead a robust ventral fin ofthrck
addition a climbing well was included of chmb of 1000 m (3,300 ft) per minute, was attained. section. To each side ofthis and below-
:cgether with a ladder by which to gain One such airshrp setting up an endur- Perhaps the most unusual feature of the centreline a series of high aspect
iccess to a platform on top of the hull. ance record of eight hours, tn the the Forlanini was the construction of ratio rudders was carried (flve to a

tB t9
'Forlanini' class (continued)

side) with biplane horizontal surfaces wide span elevators. This model was Type: sea patrol and bombing airship (17,979 ft); range 650 km (404 mrles)
above and below, 63.0 m (206 ft 8.3 in) in length, wrth a Powerplant: two 74.6-kW (100-hp) Fiat Weight: useful lift 2720 kg (5,997 Ib)
A considerably smalier Forlanini diameter of i2.0 m (39 ft 4,4 in), A si.-cylinder water-cooled piston Dimensions: diameter 20,34 m (66 ft
airship was the 'P' class (Piccolo, or engmes 8,8 in):]ength90.51 m (296 ft 11 4 in);
small) with a fixed vefiical fln and out- Specification Performance: maximum speed B0 kn/ volume 13800 m'(487,343 cu ft)
riqqed rudders at the ends of very Forlanini F.3 h (50 mph); sewice cerling 5480 m


Goodyear/Goodrich'B' class
It was in 1915 that the US Navy took on
charqe its flrst non-rigdd coastal patrol
airship, a type that was based on the
rnformation coming out of Germany
and built by the Connecticut Aircraft
Company as the DN-l. The 'B' class
r,vhich foilowed the farlure of this first
design was more closely based on that
of Britrsh airships used for similar
work, the flrst orders going to
Goodyear in March 1917, However in
all farness it should be sard that the'B'
ciass was in no way concerved as a
replacement for the earlier type,
whrch had in fact not flown when de-
sigm work had begnrn on the Goodyear,
The Goodyear B-20 had an increased cubjc
Although the 'B' class shared some of capacity, and the rope lines of earlier models were
the Britrsh featwes, such as the use of replaced by cable. Three frnswerefitted instead ot
an aeroplane fuselage as its car, there the five of the earlyvariants, although the carwith
were differences such as the absence tines was unchansed'
of an upper fin, though some 'B' class It is interesting to note that the later of Goodyear/Go"o,'"n,",j5i?i::';^TJ:ififi
vessels did have thrs feature. There variants (of which two only were built were delivered between June 1917 GoodrichB-l0
were several other differences be- by Connecticut) were the shortest of for-
and July ofthe following year, the Type:coastaipatrolairship
tween individual airships withrn the all but with a greater-diameter en- mer date markrng something of a re- Powerplart:one74.6-kW(100-hp)
same class, velope, and that the belly-bands which had
cord since the flrst of the 'B' class Curtrss OXX-2 eight-cyltnder water-
Further variations took place after had replaced the finger-patches on made its maiden fliqht at the end of cooledprstoneng'Lne
the first nine examples (B-l to B-9) had the Goodrich were retained, May, only two weeks after the declara- Performance:maximum speed 80 lcn/
been burlt by Goodyear, production The B-10, in common with others of tion of war on Germany by the United h (50 mph); servrce ceilhg 2134 m
then being undertaken by the B,F, its class, proved a sound and reliable States, The total number of vessels of
(7,000 ft); endurance about 16 hours
Goodrich Co, The earlier airships had vesseli the two-man crew were fairly this type delivered was only 16, but Weight:usefulliftabout2268kg
employed the finger-patch method of comfortably accommodated in the in- three were later reconstructed and (5,000 1b)
iasteninq the car lines to the envelope, drvidual cockplts of the suspended given new numbers B-17 to B-19, The Dimensions:diameter 10,06 m (33 ft
measured 9.60 m (31 ft 6 in) rn fuselagre, on which the landing qear final B-20 was sufflciently drfferent, 0 in); ]engrh50.90 m(167 ft0 in);
diameter, and 4E,77m (160ft 0in) in had been replaced by riqidly- with increased gas capacity and an volume2265,3m3(80,000cuft)
length, but the 'B' class from B-I0 to mounted air-fllled flotation bags, OXX-3 motor, to be considered a new Armament: one or hvo 7,62-mm (0,30-
B-14 were lonqter and of greater girth, The B-10 was among the first batch desrgn, in) Lewrs machrne-gmns


Goodyear'C' class
The Goodyear 'C' class airshrp was a
type which must be counted the most
stccessful desrgn ever produced for
the type of work envrsagred: the C-7
became part of technical history and
Lhe type as a whole, although of non-
nqrd pattern, influenced the next gen-
eration of rrgid vessels,
The flrst fllght of a 'C' class airship
took place on 30 September 1918, this
ard the subseguent five airships berngr
produced by the Goodyear Tire &
Rubber Company of Akron, Ohio, Production of the'C' class was
where a training establishment and a divided between Goodrich and
hydrogien plant had already been set Goodyear, the type proving highly
up under contract with the US Nalry on successful for convoy protection and
29 May 1917; the 20 trainees in each coastal patrol and exerting a strong
mtake hgd the advantages of perma- influence on future United States
nent baracks, design. A boat-like car distinguished
The six vessels produced were aJI lfteseries.
numbered C-l to C-8, the omitted de-
signations C-2 and C-6 being used for December 1921, it became the first the parr that were given over to US mention the I I 1,9-kW (150 hp) Wright-
some reason with C-9 and C-I0 for the airship in the world to fly with helium Army control in 1921. On the other Hispano as an alternative but
quartet of airshrps of the type ordered substituted for the normal hydrogten hand the C-5, earmarked for a pro- supportive endence is lacking
from the Goodrich company. lifting gas, The test was so successful jected transatiantrc crossing attempt, Performance: maxmum speed 97 km/
Although the work performed by the that it was decrded that henceforth all was lost in a storm when it was ripped tr (60 mph); service ceiling 2438 m
'C' class units proved it an outstanding US airshrps would use this inert qas as a from rts moorings (8,000 ft); range about 4B2B km (3,000
aLrship desiqn, the type came rnto use fire precautlon despite the small loss of miles)
at a time when World War i was near- lift in comparison with that provided by Weight: usefui lift about 2.404 kg
rnq its end, so it is to the design fea- lighter but inflammable hydrogen, Specification (5,300 rb)
tures of the class that one must look for Other records held by the 'C' class Goodyear C-7 Dimensions:diameter 12,80 m (42 ft
mterest, Most obvious of these was the include its use for the first successful Type: coastal patrol and convoy escort 0 in); Iength 58,5? m (192 ft 0 in),
four-crew streamlined car with an en- release of an aeroplane from a non- airship volume 5125,3 m" (181,000 cu it)
gnne and pusher propeller mounted at rigrd airship, and by becoming the first Powerplant: two i49, l-kW (200-hp) Armament: one 7,62-mm (0,30-in)
each side, The C-7's claim to history airship to make a coast{o-coast US Hall-Scott L-6 eight-cylinder water- Irewis machine-gmn
rests on a single incident when, on l crossing, this being achieved by one of cooled piston enginesl reports also

Armed Forces of the World

SovietAir Forces
Part I
:s one of the two most powerful ie: :-s :^ tne
; rbe, the Soviet Union possesses a' z ":':e oi
-a'rense proportions, armed with a-:-a-: ,',^.se
:=:rnological level is rapidlyincreasing. -:,i:.:-. i
.'.:lld be more correct to credit these ::-43: :^tr
:-cport machines to several air forces =:- S:r ei
--:-i:tan/ aviation has developed along e :a:r : -e-
from that normally found in the Wes:.
-rus, there is a Strategic Rocket Force ia<e'i-
- ,'.'e Voyska Strategicheskovo Naznacner \: .cer-
;: ^_r long-range missiles; an air defencear- ,', :. a
-,-.ed ;nterceptor component, as v,e :s -.^l -
; -:'aft weapons;a 'traditional' air force. ',.' :^ :3--
::- tactical and transport elements; a se- -
:-:r''romous army air force; and a sizab e 'a,z a.
':-:e with such components as nuc ez'-z'-=i
-::,,'y bombers.
S nce 198'l , some of these forces ha\ e 'e- ::e.
.-.s gned in a new plan which more close v 'esern-
: :s what is expected to be the Soviet n'c: zai on
-: ^+iguration, At its apex is a new corn.rarc ::ead-
r-31ers of the Air Armies of the Sov'et -: o.. .e-
-::rsible for co-ordination of strategic arc :aci cal
':-:es. Below this stratum are Theatres r= l"! ;tary
l::rations, designated as the baslc rever c'ccrn-
*:id in war, each with an AirArn'y. Tre.e a'e five
: - +rmies, each equipped with a strateg c ccober,
.- :rr defence and a transport elemen:. D JS be-
:/.:en three and five Air Forces oj the fv1 tary ) s-
:-::. perhaps better described by tne'r'
-:-e of 'Tactlcal Air Armies'.
. r defence has always been a preocc,rpat cn of
-^: Soviet Union (particularly since the devastating
l:'man assault in 1941), and so this iunction is
gned to a separate foTce known as the Troops of
: - Jefence (Voyska Protivovozdushnoy Oborony),
',^ :n is directly responsible to the Minister of De-
-=-:e. Voyska PVO, now with some 500,000 per-
=:^-el, has expanded with the needs of the day,
.-; rg the Zenith Rocket Troops (Zenityye Reket-
- ,'"= Voyska) with their 'l 0,000 surface-to-air missile
l':.'.r t lau nchers ; Radio-Technical Corps (Radiotek- direct their fighters as before. The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 'Flogger' now
- :-:skiye Voyska) to operate the vast and compre- A profound upgrading programme is now under represents the mainstay of the Soviet air forces,
-=-sve detection and communications network way for Aviatsiya PVO to transform its current with over 2,700 of all versions inservjce. The type
is employed as amulti-role tighter, being able to
,,, :- is 5,000 radars; Anti-Space Defence (Protivo- strength of some 1,250 alrcraft (this f igure excluding
fill the air-defence and ground attack roles well,
=- cheskaya Oborona); and Anti-Rocket Defence
: Frontal Aviation's tactical interceptors, of which ab- although v arious versjons are specifically
:-:: voraketnaya Oborona). ln 1980, as part of the out 2,000 are available to defend the USSR). There produ ce d for these roles.
---.:'.rcturing of Soviet forces, it added the army's remain about 500 Sukhoi Su-'1 5 'Flagons' and Yakov-
:l'.' and anti-aircraft gun force, Troops of Air De- lev Yak-28 'Firebars' from earlier generations of
'=-:e of the Ground Forces (Voyska Protivovoz- fighters, of which all will disappear during the next
r --i^ ioy Oborony Sukhopputnykh Vosk), two or three years. Competent for the interception sary's Mach 3 performance, the 'Foxbat' is :^:
S+M production is at the level of about 50,000 of high-level intruders, they (or more accurately, world's fastest armed combat aircraft in squac':-
* -.s ies per year, providing for replacement of the their radar) have been rendered obsolete by the servrce. ln the MiG-25M 'Foxbat-E', the original a^:
-:sl ete SA-1 and augmentation ofthe ageing SA-2 lowJlying threat. very powerf ul) Fox Fire radar has been replaced','. :-
=-: SA-3. Giant SA-5s provide long-range defence Today's requirement is for the look-down/shoot- a modified unit which provides look-down sr::--
-: :o 300 km/1 85 miles) and introduction is prog- down capability provided by modern, pulse-Doppler down performance equivalent to that of the ::- ''
-:ss ng of the SA-1 O and SA-1 2. The former, a Mach radars and associated air-to-air missiles (AAt\4s). ger-B'. Four AAMs are carried, being a m xtur: :i
i ,veapon, is claimed to be effective against the First steps in this direction resulted in the Mikoyan- AA-7s, AA-8s or the 37-km (23-mile) range 4A-6 -
:', se missiles which currently form one pillar of the Gurevich MIG-23 'Flogger' and MiG-25 'Foxbat', radar-guided or infra-red homing forms.
.', est's deterrence, whilst the sA-1 2 will engage a some 700 of which are in Aviatsiya PVO service. While Aviatsiya PVO will retain its 450 'Fiogge's
.:-get at any height from 30 to 30500 m (100-
-,0,000 ft) up to 100 km (62 miles) from its laun-
Air-defence versions of the 'Flogger' augment their and 250 'Foxbats'for the foreseeable future, s:-:
internal 23-mm cannon by a typical AAM fit of four 600 modern fighters are expected in the inve^.:-,
:-31-. R6Os (NATO designation AA-Btand two short--ange, by 1988. The first of these, the MiG-31 'Foxho--:
',{anned interceptors are flown by a further sec- heat-seeking R23s (AA-7s). The AA-7 exists in both entered service in 1983 and has probablv b:=-
- :r of the Voyska PVO, designated Avlation of Air radar-guided and heat-seeking (inf ra-red) forms, and issued to at least three 30-alrcraft regime-:s:,
l:'ence (Aviatsiya PVO). Once autonomous on a has a range of some 32 km (20 miles). now. Evolved from the MiG-25, t has lead ng-e:;:
-=: cnal scale, this now has its aircraft controlled by Earlier versions of the 'Foxbat' lacked the abilrty to root extensions for increased agility, but is exc3::::
-: Theatre of Military Operations HO. Below this engage low-level targets, because the aircraft had to operate in the same mode as the RAF's Pz^2. =
j: - 1;strative level, lhe structure remains ..rn- been hastily designed to combat a threat which Tornado F.Mk 2: striking down at targets f ror :-;-
--:rged, and the several air defence zones within failed to materialize, namely the North American range, high-level cruise flight, perhaps n cc-.,--'
==:r of the 20 Soviet Military Districts contrnue to B-70 Valkyrie. Almost matching its potential adver- tion with an AWACS aircraft.
Soviet Air Forces il
The largestfighter ever to see service, Tupolev's
mighty Tu-28P'Fiddler' has a combat range of
49 8 9 l<m ( 3, I 0 0 miles) and rs us e d principally for
interception over the Arcticwastes of the North.
T his e arly' F iddler-A' carrie s two of the AA- 5' As h'
air-to-air missiles which can be produced in both
radar homing and IR rounds.

ware at its own prodigious rate. Soon. the West's

lead will be almost eliminated as the Voyska PVO
deploys the new SA-10 SAM and the AA-XP-1 and
AA-XP-2 AAMs further to lncrease its capability
against the fast, low intruder. Security of the home-
land remains the f irst objective of any air force, and it
is clear from limited information available in the
West that the Aviatsiya PVO is in the process of
'Foxhound' is a two-seater, whose rear occupant provement over the existing Tupolev Tu-126 taking an immense step forward in that direction.
handles the pu lse-Doppler radar with its multi-target 'Moss', whose overland detection capability is poor.
tracking capability. Up to eight radar-homing AA-9 Annual production of five 'Mainstays' is expected to
AAMs are carried, and the fact that they have (under result in a force of 30 by the end of the current
decade, these having the ability to direct offensive
Current air defence version of the MiG-23 is the
experimental conditions) been launched from MiG-23MF, known to NATO as 'Flogger-G'. This
6100 m i20,015 ft) and destroyed a target 20 km operations as well as co-ordinate defence. differs from other versions by having a shorter
(12.5 miles) distant at 6'1 m (200 ft) is a clear warn- The gap through which Western aircraft could dorsal fin, new sensors and a lighter radar.
ing to NATO interdictors. penetrate to maintain deterrence is closing rapidly 'Flogger-Gs' have made several trips to F inland
Also from the Mikoyan-Gurevich design bureau, as the Soviet Union translates technology into hard- and F r ance on frie nds hip j ou r neys.
the MiG-29'Fulcrum' joined its first operational reg-
iment early in '1 984. Of the combat aircraft now in
Soviet service, the 'Fulcrum' may best be said to
reflect the intense efforts made by the USSR to
equal the West in aviation technology during the
past decade. lt has a new track-while-scan, long-
range radar with pulse-Doppler look-down/shoot-
down system, plus infra-red search and tracking, a
head-up display and digital data-link to HO.
A twin-engine aircraft having a thrust:weight ratio
in the region of 1.1 :1, the 'Fulcrum' is similar in size
and weight to the McDonnell Douglas F/A-1 B Hor-
net, and its agility in combat is reckoned to be close
to that of the benchmark in modern f ighter design,
the General Dynamics F-1 6 Fighting Falcon. Arma-
ment is believed to comprise a 30-mm cannon and
up to six AA-X-10 medium-range, terminally-guided
AAMs, but may be changed for alr-surface weapon-
ry in the aircraft's secondary role. Here lies the
strategy behlnd closer links between three once-
separate tactical and air defence arms, for having
swept an adversary from the skies in an initial
onslaught, the Soviet air forces are designed to
switch emphasis to ground attack to hasten the
enemy army's collapse.
lmminent service-entry is expected of the Sukhoi
Su-27 'Flanker', a larger (though no less manoeuvr-
able) interceptor which is viewed as the Soviet
equivalent of the McDonnell Douglas F-'1 5 Eagle.
Naturally, it also has the latest radar and supporting
avionics, together with eight AA-X-1 0s. lt can detect
targets at up to 240 km ('1 50 miles) and track those
within '185 km (1 15 miles) whilst still searching for
additional contacts.
lmproved co-ordination o{ these new interceptors
against all low-level threats is being provided by the
llyushin ll-76 'Mainstay', first examples of which are
belleved just to have entered service. The 'Main-
stay'is an alrborne earlywarning and control system
(AWACS) similar in concept to the BAe Nimrod
AEW.Mk 3 and Boeing E-3 Sentry, with the latter's
'saucer' rotodome. Able to remain on station for up
to seven hours at a distance of about 1,500 km (930
miles) from base, it represents a conslderable im-

Possessrhg rarra ble-geometry, inflight-refuelling

and Mach 2 capabiliV, the Tupolev Tu-22M is the
Soviet Union's principal strategic bomber. It is also
employed on maritime duties, and several of the
navy's 'Bacffiire-Bs' have posed for pictures over
theBaltic. Escorted by aSwedishDraken, this
'B ackfire' carries an AS - 4' Kitchen' mksile.