A Zeppelin is a type of rigid airship named after the German Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin who pioneered rigid airship development at the beginning of the 20th century. Zeppelin's ideas were first formulated in 1874 and developed in detail in 1893. They were patented in Germany in 1895 and in the United States in 1899. After the outstanding success of the Zeppelin design, the word zeppelin came to be commonly used to refer to all rigid airships. Zeppelins were first flown commercially in 1910 by Deutsche Luftschiffahrts-AG (DELAG), the world's first airline in revenue service. By mid-1914, DELAG had carried over 34,000 passengers on over 1,500 flights. During World War I the German military made extensive use of Zeppelins as bombers and scouts, killing over 500 people in bombing raids in Britain.
The World War I defeat of Germany in 1918 temporarily halted the airship business but, under the guidance of Hugo Eckener, the Count's successor, civilian Zeppelins became popular again. In 1919 DELAG established scheduled daily services between Berlin, Munich, and Friedrichshafen. Their heyday was during the 1930s when the airships LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin and LZ 129 Hindenburg operated regular transatlantic flights from Germany to North America and Brazil. The Art Deco spire of the Empire State Building was originally, if impractically, designed to serve as a mooring mast for Zeppelins and other airships to dock at. The Hindenburg disaster in 1937, along with political and economic issues, hastened the demise of the Zeppelins.
- 1 Principal characteristics
- 2 History
- 2.1 Early designs
- 2.2 Before World War I
- 2.3 During World War I
- 2.4 After World War I
- 3 Cultural influences
- 4 Modern era
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 Further reading
- 8 External links
The most important feature of Zeppelin's design was a rigid light-alloy skeleton, made of rings and longitudinal girders. The advantage of this design was that the aircraft could be much larger than non-rigid airships, which relied on a slight overpressure within the single pressure envelope to maintain their shape. The framework of most Zeppelins was made of duralumin.
The form of the first Zeppelins was a long cylinder with tapered ends and complex multi-plane fins. During World War I, following the lead of the rival firm Schütte-Lanz Luftschiffbau, the design was changed to the more familiar streamlined shape with cruciform tail surfaces used by almost all later airships. Within this envelope, several separate "cells" or "gasbags" contained the lighter-than-air gas. For most rigid airships the gasbags were made of many sheets of goldbeater's skin made from the intestines of cows.
They were propelled by several engines, mounted in gondolas, or engine cars, which were attached to the structural skeleton. Some of these could provide reverse thrust for manoeuvring while mooring. A comparatively small compartment for passengers and crew was built into the bottom of the frame, but in later Zeppelins this was not the entire habitable space; they often carried passengers or cargo internally for aerodynamic reasons.
Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin's serious interest in airship development began in 1884, when he took inspiration from a lecture given by Heinrich von Stephan on the subject of "World Postal Services and Air Travel" to outline the basic principle of his later craft in a diary entry dated 25 March 1874. This describes a large rigidly-framed outer envelope containing several separate gasbags. He had previously encountered Union Army balloons in 1863, during the American Civil War, when he visited the United States as a military observer.
Count Zeppelin began to seriously pursue his project after his early retirement from the military in 1890 at the age of 52. Convinced of the potential importance of aviation, he started working on various designs in 1891, and had completed detailed designs by 1893. An official committee reviewed his plans in 1894, and he received a patent, granted on 31 August 1895, with Theodor Kober producing the technical drawings.
Zeppelin's patent described a Lenkbarer Luftfahrzug mit mehreren hintereinanderen angeordneten Tragkörpern [Steerable airship-train with several carrier structures arranged one behind another], - an airship consisting of flexibly articulated rigid sections. The front section, containing the crew and engines, was 117.35 m (385 ft) long with a gas capacity of 9514 cu m (336,000 cu ft): the middle section was 16 m (52 ft 6 in) long with an intended useful load of 599 kg (1320 lb) and the rear section 39.93 m (131 ft) long with an intended load of 1996 kg (4,400 lb)
Count Zeppelin's attempts to secure government funding for his project proved unsuccessful, but a lecture given to the Union of German Engineers gained their support. Zeppelin also sought support from the industrialist Carl Berg, then engaged in construction work on the second airship design of David Schwarz. Berg was under contract not to supply aluminium to any other airship manufacturer, and subsequently made a payment to Schwartz's widow as compensation for breaking this agreement. Schwarz's design differed fundamentally from Zeppelin's, crucially lacking the use of separate gasbags inside a rigid envelope, and in December 1897 Zeppelin stated that the Schwarz design could not be developed.
In 1898 Count Zeppelin founded the Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Luftschiffahrt (Society for the Promotion of Airship Flight), contributing more than half of its 800,000 mark share-capital himself. Responsibility for the detail design was given to Kober, whose place was later taken by Ludwig Dürr, and construction of the first airship began in 1899 in a floating assembly-hall in the Bay of Manzell near Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance. The floating facility aimed to assist in the difficult task of removing the airship from the assembly hall, as it could easily be aligned with the wind. The LZ 1 (LZ for Luftschiff Zeppelin, or "Airship Zeppelin") was 128 metres (420 ft) long with a hydrogen capacity of 11,000 m3 (400,000 cu ft), was driven by two 15 horsepower (11 kW) Daimler engines each driving a pair of propellers mounted either side of the envelope via bevel gears and a driveshaft, and was controlled in pitch by moving a weight between its two nacelles.
The first flight took place on 2 July 1900 over Lake Constance (the Bodensee). Damaged during landing, it was repaired and proved its potential in two subsequent flights made on 17 and 24 October 1900, bettering the 6 m/s velocity attained by the French airship La France. Despite this performance, the shareholders declined to invest more money, and so the company was liquidated, with Count von Zeppelin purchasing the ship and equipment. The Count wished to continue experimenting, but he eventually dismantled the ship in 1901.
Donations, the profits of a special lottery, some public funding, a mortgage of Count von Zeppelin's wife's estate and a 100,000 mark contribution by Count von Zeppelin himself allowed the construction of LZ 2, which made only a single flight on 17 January 1906. After both engines failed it made a forced landing in the Allgäu mountains, where a storm subsequently damaged the anchored ship beyond repair.
Incorporating all the usable parts of LZ 2, its successor LZ 3 became the first truly successful Zeppelin. This renewed the interest of the German military, but a condition of purchase of an airship was a 24-hour endurance trial. This was beyond the capabilities of LZ 3, leading Zeppelin to construct his fourth design, the LZ 4. While attempting to fulfill this requirement, the LZ 4 had to make a landing at Echterdingen near Stuttgart. During the stop, a storm tore the airship away from its anchorage on the afternoon of 5 August 1908. It crashed into a tree, caught fire, and quickly burnt out. No one was seriously injured.
This accident would have finished Zeppelin's experiments, but his flights had generated huge public interest and a sense of national pride regarding his work, and spontaneous donations from the public began pouring in, eventually totalling over six million Marks. This enabled the Count to found the Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH (Airship Construction Zeppelin Ltd.) and the Zeppelin Foundation.
Before World War I
Before World War I, a total of 21 more Zeppelin airships were manufactured. LZ 3 and LZ 5, a sister-ship to LZ 4 which was completed in May 1909, were bought by the German army, respectively designated Z 1 and Z II. Z II was wrecked in a gale in April 1910, while Z I was flown until 1913, when it was decomissioned and replaced by LZ 15, designated ersatz Z I. First flown on 16 January 1913, it was wrecked on 19 March of the same year. In April 1913 its newly built sister ship LZ 15 (Z IV) accidentally intruded into French airspace owing to a navigational error caused by high winds and poor visibility. The commander judged that it was proper to land the airship to demonstrate that the incursion was accidental, and brought the ship down on the military parade ground at Lunéville. The airship remained on the ground until the following day, permitting a detailed examination by French airship experts.
In 1909 Count Zeppelin founded the world's first airline, the Deutsche Luftschiffahrts-Aktiengesellschaft (German Airship Travel Corporation), generally known as DELAG to promote his airships, initially using LZ 6, which he had hoped to sell to the German Army. The airships were not used to provide a scheduled service between cities, but operated pleasure cruises, carrying twenty passengers. The airships were given names in addition to their production numbers. L 6 first flew on 25 August 1909 and was accidentally destroyed in Baden-Oos on 14 September1910 by a fire in its hangar.
LZ 7 Deutschland made its maiden voyage on 19 June 1910. On 28 June it set off on a voyage to publicise Zeppelins. Among those aboard were 19 journalists, two of whom were reporters from well-known British newspapers. It crashed due to high winds and the failure of one engine at Mount Limberg near Bad Iburg in Lower Saxony, its hull getting stuck in trees. The crew let down a ladder to allow all the passengers to leave the ship. One crew member broke his leg on leaving the craft. It was replaced by LZ 8 Deutschland II which also had a short career, first flying on 30 March 1911 and damaged beyond repair when caught by a strong cross-wind when being walked out of its shed on 16 May. LZ 10 Schwaben was first flown on 26 June 1911 carried 1,553 passengers in 218 flights before catching fire after a gust tore it from its mooring near Düsseldorf. Other DELAG ships were LZ 11 Viktoria Luise (1912), LZ 13 Hansa (1912) and LZ 17 and LZ 17Sachsen (1913).
The Navy ordered its first Zeppelin on 24 April 1912. This was an enlarged version of the airships operated by DELAG and was give the naval designation Z 1. and entered Navy service in October 1912. On 18 January 1913 Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, Secretary of State of the German Imperial Naval Office, obtained the agreement of Kaiser Wilhelm II to a five-year program of expansion of German naval airship strength, involving the building of two airship bases and constructing a fleet of ten airships. The first airship of the program. L 2, was ordered on 30 January. L 1 was lost on 9 September near Heligoland when caught in a storm while taking part in an exercise with the German fleet. 14 crew members were drowned, the first fatalities in a Zeppelin accident. Less than six weeks later, on 17 October, LZ 18 (L 2) caught fire during its acceptance trials, killing the entire crew. These accidents deprived the Navy of most of its experienced personnel: the head of the Admiralty Air Department was killed in the L 1 and his successor died in the L 2. The Navy was left with three partially trained crews. The next Navy zeppelin, the M class L 3 did not enter service until May 1914: in the meantime, Sachsen was hired from DELAG as a training ship.
By the outbreak of war in August 1914, Zeppelin were constructing the first M class airships, which were 158 m (518 ft) long, with a volume of 22,500 cubic metres (794,500 cu ft) and a useful load of 9,100 kilograms (20,100 lb). They were powered by three Maybach C-X engines producing a total of 470 kilowatts (630 hp) each, and could reach speeds of up to 84 kilometres per hour (52 mph).
During World War I 
The German airships were operated by the Army and Navy as two entirely separate organisations. When World War I broke out, the Army took over the three remaining DELAG ships. By this time, it had already decommissioned three older Zeppelins, including Z I Over the course of World War I, the Navy Zeppelins were mainly used in reconnaissance missions . Bombing missions, especially those targeting London, captured the German public's imagination, but had little significant material success, although the Zeppelin raids, together with the later bombing raids carried out by aeroplanes, did cause the diversion of men and equipment from the Western Front and fear of the raids had some effect on industrial production.
The main use of the airship was in reconnaissance over the North Sea and the Baltic, and the majority of airships manufactured were used by the Navy. Patrolling had priority over any other airship activity. During the war almost 1,000 missions were flown over the North Sea alone, compared to about 50 strategic bombing raids. The German Navy had some 15 Zeppelins in commission by the end of 1915 and was able to have two or more patrolling continuously at any one time. However their operations were limited by weather conditions. On 16 February L 3 and L 4 were lost owing to a combination of engine failure and high winds, L 3 crashing on the Danish island of Fanø without loss of life and L 4 coming down at Blaavands Huk; eleven crew escaped from the forward gondola, after which the lightened airship with four crew members remaining in the aft engine car was blown out to sea and lost. In 1915 patrols were only carried out on 124 days, and in other years the total was considerably less. They prevented British ships from approaching Germany, spotted when and where the British were laying mines and later aided in the destruction of those mines. Zeppelins would sometimes land on the sea next to a minesweeper, bring aboard an officer and show him the mines' locations.
In 1917 the British Navy began to take effective countermeasures against airship patrols over the North Sea. In April the first Curtiss H.12 "Large America" long-range flying boats were delivered to RNAS Felixstowe, and in July 1917 the aircraft carrier HMS Furious entered service, and launching platforms for aeroplanes were fitted to the forward turrets of some light cruisers. On May 14 L 22 was shot down near Terschelling Bank by an H.12 flown by Lt. Galpin and Sub-Lt. Leckie which had been alerted following interception of its radio traffic. Two further unsuccessful interceptions were made by Galpin and Leckie on May 24 and June 5, and on 14 June L 43 was brought down by an H.12 flown by Sub Lts. Hobbs and Dickie. On the same day Galpin and Leckie intercepted and attacked L 46. The Germans had believed that the previous unsuccessful attacks had been made by an aircraft operating from one of the British Navy's seaplane carriers: now realising that there was a new threat, Strasser ordered airships patrolling in the Terschilling area to maintain an altitude of at least 4,000 m (13,000 ft), considerably reducing their effectiveness. On 21 August L 23, patrolling off the Danish coast, was spotted by the British 3rd Light Cruiser squadron which was in the area. HMS Yarmouth launched its Sopwith Pup, and Sub-Lt. B. A. Smart succeeded in shooting the Zeppelin down in flames. The cause of the airship's loss was not discovered by the Germans, who believed the Zeppelin had been brought down by antiaircraft fire from surface ships.
Bombing campaign against Britain
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At the beginning of the conflict the German command had high hopes for the airships, which were considerably more capable than contemporary light fixed-wing machines: they were almost as fast, could carry multiple machine guns , and had enormously greater bomb-load range and endurance. Contrary to expectation, it was not easy to ignite the hydrogen using standard bullets and shrapnel. Only with the invention of incendiary ammunition later in the war could the Allies start to exploit the Zeppelin's great vulnerability to fire. The British had been concerned over the threat posed by Zeppelins since 1909, and attacked the Zeppelin bases early in the war. LZ 25 was destroyed in its hangar at Düsseldorf on 8 October 1914 by bombs dropped by Flt Lt Reginald Marix, RNAS, and the sheds at Cologne as well as the Zeppelin works in Friedrichhafen were also attacked. These raids were followed by the Cuxhaven Raid on Christmas Day 1914, one of the first operations carried out by ship-launced aeroplanes.
Airship raids on Great Britain were approved by the Kaiser on 7 January 1915, although he excluded London as a target and further demanded that no attacks be made on historic buildings . The raids were intended to target only military sites on the east coast and around the Thames estuary, but after blackouts became widespread, many bombs fell at random on East Anglia.
The first raid on England took place on the night of 19–20 January 1915. Two Zeppelins, L 3 and L 4, targeted Humberside but were diverted by strong winds, eventually dropping their bombs on Great Yarmouth, Sheringham, King's Lynn and the surrounding villages, killing four and injuring 16. Material damage was estimated at £7,740.
The Kaiser authorised the bombing of the London docks on February 12, 1915, but no raids on London took place until May. Two Navy raids failed due to bad weather on 14 and 15 April, and it was decided to delay further attempts until the more capable P-class Zeppelins were in service. The Army received the first of these, LZ 38, and on 29–30 April Erich Linnarz commanded it on a raid over Ipswich and another on 9–10 May, attacking Southend. LZ 38 also attacked Dover and Ramsgate on 16–17 May, before returning to bomb Southend on 26–27 May. These four raids killed six people and injured six, causing property damage estimated at £16,898. Twice Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) aircraft tried to intercept LZ 38 but on both occasions it was either able to outclimb the aircraft or was already at too great an altitude for the aircraft to intercept.
On 31 May Linnarz commanded LZ 38 on the first London raid. In total some 120 bombs were dropped on a line stretching from Stoke Newington south to Stepney and then north toward Leytonstone. Seven people were killed and 35 injured. 41 fires were started, burning out seven buildings and the total damage was assessed at £18,596. Aware of the problems that the Germans were experiencing in navigation, this raid caused the government to issue a D notice prohibiting the press from reporting anything about raid that was not mentioned in official statements. Only one of the 15 defensive sorties managed to make visual contact with the enemy, and one of the pilots, Flt Lieut D. M. Barnes, was killed on attempting to land.
The first naval attempt on London took place on 4 June: strong winds caused the commander of L 9 to misjudge his position, and the bombs were dropped on Gravesend. L 9 was also diverted by the weather on 6–7 June, attacking Hull instead of London and causing considerable damage. On the same night an Army raid of three Zeppelins also failed because of the weather, and as the airship returned to Evere they ran into a counter-raid by RNAS aircraft flying from Furnes, Belgium. LZ 38 was destroyed on the ground and LZ 37 was intercepted in the air by R. A. J. Warneford, who dropped six bombs on the airship, setting it on fire. It crashed into the convent school of Sint-Amandsberg, killing two nuns. All but one of the Zeppelin's crew also died. Warneford was awarded the Victoria Cross for his achievement. As a consequence of the RNAS raid both the Army and Navy withdrew from their bases in Belgium: their vulnerability was now clear.
After an ineffective attack by L 10 on Tyneside on 15–16 June the short summer nights discouraged further raids for some months, and the remaining Army Zeppelins were re-assigned to the Eastern and Balkan fronts. The Navy resumed raids on Britain in August. Three largely ineffective raids were mounted in August, during which the antiaircraft guns had their first success, causing L 12 to come down into the sea off Zeebrugge on 10 August, and on 17–18 August L 10 became the first Navy airship to reach London. Mistaking the reservoirs of the Lea Valley for the Thames, it dropped its bombs on Walthamstow and Leytonstone. L 10 was destroyed a little over two weeks later: it was struck by lightning and caught fire off Cuxhaven, and the entire crew was killed. Two Army Zeppelins bombed London on 7–8 September, SL 2 dropped bombs on the Isle of Dogs, Deptford, Greenwich and Woolwich. LZ 74 scattered 39 bombs over Cheshunt before heading on to London and dropping bombs on Bermondsey, Rotherhithe and New Cross.
Then we saw the Zeppelin above us, just ahead, amid a gleaming of clouds:
high up, like a bright golden finger, quite small (...) Then there was flashes near the ground — and the shaking noise. It was like Milton — then there was war in heaven. (...) I cannot get over it, that the moon is not Queen of the sky by night, and the stars the lesser lights. It seems the Zeppelin is in the zenith of the night, golden like a moon, having taken control of the sky; and the bursting shells are the lesser lights.
The Navy attempted to follow up the Army's success the following night. Three Zeppelins were directed against London and one against the benzol plant at Skinningrove. L 11 turned back early with engine trouble; L 14 suffered the same problem while over Norfolk: it dropped its bombs on East Dereham and returned home. L 13, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Heinrich Mathy reached London and began bombing around 22.40. The bomb-load included a 300 kilograms (660 lb) bomb, the largest yet carried. This exploded on Bartholomew Close near Smithfield Market, destroying several houses and killing two men. Further bombs fell on the textile warehouses north of St Paul's Cathedral, causing a fire which despite the attendance of 22 fire engines caused over half a million pounds of damage: Mathy then turned east, dropping his remaining bombs on Liverpool Street station. The Zeppelin was repeatedly caught by searchlights and all 26 anti-aircraft guns in London were active, but every shell exploded too low and the falling shrapnel caused both damage and alarm on the ground. Three aircraft were in the air. None even saw the Zeppelin; one crashed on landing, killing the pilot. The raid killed 22 people and injured 87: The monetary damage was over one sixth of the total damage inflicted by bombing raid during the war.
After three more raids were scattered by the weather a five-Zeppelin raid was launched by the Navy on 13 October, the "Theatreland Raid." Arriving over the Norfolk coast around 18.30, the Zeppelins encountered new ground defences installed since the September raid under the guidance of Sir Percy Scott. These new gun sites proved ineffective, although the airship commanders commented on the improved defences of the city. L 15, which began bombing over Charing Cross, the first bombs striking the Lyceum Theatre and the corner of Exeter and Wellington Streets, killing 17 and injuring 20. L 13 dropped some bombs around Guildford and later others near Woolwich. L 14 dropped bombs on Otterpool Army Camp near Folkestone, killing 14 soldiers and injuring 12, and later bombed Tonbridge and East Croydon. Both the other Zeppelins, L 16 and L 11, were even further off course: L 16 dropped up to 50 bombs on Hertford and L 11 scattered a few bombs over Norfolk. In total, 71 people were killed and 128 injured. This was the last raid of 1915, as bad weather coincided with the new moon in both November and December 1915 and continued into January 1916.
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The raids continued in 1916. In December 1915 additional P-class Zeppelins and the first of the new Q-class airships were delivered. The Q-class was an enlargement of the P-class, lengthened to 178 m (585 ft), adding two gasbags, and improving both ceiling and bomb-load.
British ground defences were divided between the Royal Navy and the British Army at first, before the Army took full control in February 1916, and a variety of sub 4-inch (less than 102 mm) calibre guns were converted to anti-aircraft use. Searchlights were introduced, initially manned by police. By mid-1916, there were 271 anti-aircraft guns and 258 searchlights across England. Aerial defences against Zeppelins were divided between the RNAS and the Royal Flying Corps (RFC), with the Navy engaging enemy airships approaching the coast while the RFC took responsibility once the enemy had crossed the coastline. Initially the War Office believed that the Zeppelins used a layer of inert gas to protect themselves from incendiary bullets, and favoured the use of bombs or devices like the Ranken dart. However, by mid-1916 the an effective mixture of explosive, tracer and incendiary rounds had been developed. The number of aircraft varied: in February there were only eight squadrons and less than half the expected number of aircraft, and by June the number of squadrons had been cut to six and only one squadron was at full strength.
The first raid of 1916 was carried out by the German Navy. Nine Zeppelins were sent to Liverpool on the night of 31 January – 1 February. A combination of poor weather and mechanical problems scattered the aircraft across the Midlands and several towns were bombed. A total of 61 people were reported killed and 101 injured by the raid. Despite ground fog, 22 aircraft took off to find the Zeppelins but none succeeded, and two pilots were killed when attempting to land. One airship, the L 19, crashed in the North Sea because of engine failure and damage from Dutch ground–fire; all 16 crew were lost.
Further raids were delayed by an extended period of poor weather and also by the withdrawal of the majority of Naval Zeppelins in an attempt to resolve the recurrent engine failures. Three Zeppelins set off to bomb Rosyth on 5–6 March but were forced by high winds to divert to Hull, killing 18, injuring 52 and causing £25,005 damage.
On 28–29 July the first raid to include one of the new R-class Zeppelins, L 31, took place. These were 196.49 m (644 ft 8 in) long, with a capacity of 55,206 cu m (1,949,600 cu ft), powered by six engines and capable of operating at 13,000 ft (4,000 m), and could carry up to four tons of bombs. The 10-Zeppelin raid achieved very little; four turned back early and the rest wandered over a fog-shrouded landscape before giving up. Adverse weather dispersed two raids on 30–31 July and 2–3 August. On 8–9 August, nine airships attacked Hull. The sixth successful London raid was on 24–25 August, when 13 Navy Zeppelins were launched and Heinrich Mathy's L 31 reached London; flying above low clouds, 36 bombs were dropped in 10 minutes on south east London. Nine people were killed, 40 injured and £130,203 of damage was caused.
The biggest raid to date was launched on 2–3 September, when 12 German Navy and four Army airships set out to bomb London. A combination of rain and snowstorms scattered the airships while they were still over the North Sea: none of the naval airships reached London, only the army's LZ 98 and the newly commissioned Schütte-Lanz SL 11 reaching their objective. SL 11 dropped a few bombs over London Colney and South Mimms before it was picked up by a searchlight over Hornsey at about 01.50 and subjected to an intense but ineffective barrage. It was lost in cloud over Wood Green but rediscovered by the searchlights at Waltham Abbey as it bombed Ponders End. At around 02.15 one of the three aircraft in the sky that night came into range, a BE2c flown by Lt. William Leefe Robinson. Robinson fired three drums of ammunition from his Lewis gun, one on each of three passes. The third drum started a fire and the airship was quickly enveloped in flames. It fell to the ground near Cuffley, witnessed by the crews of several of the other Zeppelins. There were no survivors. For bringing down the first rigid airship downed on British soil and the first 'night fighter' victory Leefe Robinson received the Victoria Cross. The pieces of SL 11 were gathered up and sold by the Red Cross to raise money for wounded soldiers.
The loss of SL 11 ended the German Army's interest in raids on Britain. The German Navy remained aggressive, and a 12-Zeppelin raid was launched on 23–24 September. Eight older airships bombed targets in the Midlands and Northeast, while four R-class Zeppelins (L 30, L 31, L 32, and L 33) attacked London. L 30 did not even cross the coast, dropping its bombs at sea. L 31 approached London from the south, dropped a few bombs on Kenley and Mitcham and was picked up by searchlights. Forty-one bombs were then dropped in rapid succession over Streatham, killing seven and wounding 27. More bombs were dropped on Brixton before it crossed the Thames and dropped 10 bombs on Leyton, killing another eight people and injuring 30. Also coming in from the south was L 32, delayed by engine problems, it dropped a few bombs on Sevenoaks and Swanley before crossing Purfleet at about 01.00. It then came under anti-aircraft fire as it dropped bombs on Aveley and South Ockendon. Shortly afterwards it was found by a BE2c piloted by 2nd Lieutenant Frederick Sowrey and set alight, coming down at Snail's Hall Farm, Great Burstead. The entire crew was killed. L 33 dropped a few incendiaries over Upminster before losing its way and making several turns, heading over London and dropping bombs on Bromley-by-Bow at around midnight. As the bombs began to explode, the Zeppelin was hit by an anti-aircraft shell despite being at an altitude of 13,000 feet (4,000 m). As it headed towards Chelmsford it began to lose height and came down at around 01.15 in a field close to Little Wigborough. The airship was set alight and the crew headed south before being arrested at Peldon by the police. Inspection of the wreckage provided the British with much information about the construction of Zeppelins, which was used in the design of the British R33-class airships. One 250 hp (190 kW) engine recovered from the wreck was subsequently fitted to the Vickers-built R.9.
The next raid came on 1 October 1916. Eleven Zeppelins were launched at targets in the Midlands and at London. Only L 31 commanded by the experienced Heinrich Mathy, on his 15th raid, reached London. As the airship neared Cheshunt at about 23.20 the airship was picked up by six searchlight and attacked Three aircraft from No. 39 Squadron, 2nd lieutenant Wulstan Tempest fired three bursts which set fire to the airship, which came down near Potters Bar. All 19 crew died, Mathy jumping from the burning airship. His body was found near the wreckage, embedded some four inches in the ground. Tempest, possibly suffering from anoxia, crashed without injury on landing.
For the next raid, on 27–28 November, the Zeppelins avoided London for targets in the Midlands. Again the defending aircraft were successful: L 34 was shot down over the mouth of the Tees and L 21 was attacked by two aircraft and crashed into the sea off Lowestoft.
There were no further raids in 1916 although the Navy lost three more craft, all on 28 December: SL 12 was destroyed at Ahlhorn by strong winds after sustaining damage in a poor landing, and at Tondern L 24 crashed into the shed while landing: the resulting fire destroyed both L 24 and the adjacent L 17.
There were 23 airship raids in 1916 in which 125 tons of bombs were dropped, killing 293 people and injuring 691.
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To counter the increasingly effective defences new Zeppelins were introduced with an increased operating altitude of 16,500 feet (5,000 m) and a maximum ceiling of 21,000 feet (6,400 m). The first of these S-class Zeppelins, LZ 91 (L 42) entered service in February 1917. They were basically a modification of the M-class, sacrificing weight for improved altitude. The surviving M-class Zeppelins were adapted by reducing the number of engines from six to five. The improved safety was counteracted by the extra strain on the airship crews who became more prone to altitude sickness and exposure to extreme cold and high altitude winds.
The first raid of 1917 did not occur until 16–17 March and the five high flying Zeppelins encountered very strong winds and none reached their targets. This experience was repeated on 23–24 May. Two days later 21 Gotha bombers attempted a daylight raid on London. They were halted by heavy cloud but the effort led the Kaiser to announce that airship raids on London were past; under pressure he later relented to allow Zeppelin attacks to continue under "favourable circumstances".
On 16–17 June, another raid was attempted. Six Zeppelins were to take part, but two were kept in their shed by high winds and another two were forced to return by engine failure. L 42 bombed Ramsgate, hitting a munitions store. The month-old L 48, the first U class Zeppelin, commanded by Korvettenkapitän Franz Eichler, but with Korvettenkapitän Viktor Schutze also on board, suffered from both engine problems and compass malfunction. It was forced to drop to 13,000 feet (4,000 m) where it was caught by four aircraft and destroyed, crashing near Theberton, Suffolk.
After an ineffective raid on the Midlands and other targets in the north of England on 21–22 August and 24–25 September, the last major Zeppelin raid of the war was launched on 19–20 October, with 13 airships heading for Sheffield, Manchester and Liverpool. Two Zeppelins were kept in their shed by a crosswind and the remainder quickly found themselves badly affected by an unexpected strong headwind at altitude. L 45 was trying to reach Sheffield, but instead it dropped bombs on Northampton and London. most fell in the north-west suburbs but three 300 kg (660 ) bombs fell in Piccadilly, Camberwell and Hither Green, causing most of the casualties that night. L 45 then reduced altitude to try to escape the winds but was forced back into the higher air currents by a BE2e. The airship then had mechanical failure in three engines and was pushed by the wind out over France, eventually coming down near Sisteron; it was set ablaze and the crew surrendered. L 44 was brought down by ground fire over France, L 49 and L 50 were also lost to engine failure and the weather over France. L 55 was badly damaged on landing and later scrapped.
There were no more raids in 1917, although the airships were not abandoned but refitted with new, more powerful engines.
On 5 January 1918, a fire at Ahlhorn destroyed four of the specialised double sheds along with four Zeppelins and one Schütte-Lanz. In July 1918, the Tondern Raid conducted by the RNAS, destroyed two Zeppelins in their sheds.
On 10 March 1918 L59 attacked Naples after a 37 hours 10 min flight from Jamboli, 6350 kg of bombs dropped.
There were only four raids in 1918, all against targets in the Midlands and northern England. The final raid on 5 August 1918 involved four airships and resulted in the loss of L.70 and the death of its entire crew under the command of Fregattenkapitän Peter Strasser, head of the Imperial German Naval Airship Service and the Führer der Luftschiffe. Crossing the North Sea during daylight, the airship was intercepted by a Royal Air Force DH.4 biplane piloted by Major Egbert Cadbury, and shot down in flames.
Other Army use
In 1917, the German High Command made an attempt to deliver much needed supplies using a dirigible to Lettow-Vorbeck's forces in German East African. L 59 travelled over 6,400 km (4,000 mi) in 95 hours, but in the end failed to deliver the supplies. The airship had been purpose-built and was intended to be broken up and used on arrival. A second attempt was not made, and the airship was converted into a bomber.
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Zeppelin technology improved considerably as a result of the increasing demands of warfare.
The pre-war M-class designs were quickly enlarged, first to the 530 feet (160 m) long duralumin P-class, which increased gas capacity from 880,000 cubic feet (25,000 m3) to 1,130,000 cubic feet (32,000 m3), introduced a fully enclosed gondola, and extra engines. these modifications added 2,000 feet (610 m) to the maximum ceiling, over 10 mph to the top speed, and greatly increased crew comfort and hence endurance. Twenty-two P-class airships were ordered: the first, LZ 38, was delivered to the Army on 3 April 1915.
By 1916 the Luftschiffbau Zeppelin had established new assembly facilities and were producing airships of around 200 m (660 ft) in length or more, and with volumes of 56,000–69,000 m3. These could carry loads of three to four tons of bombs and reach speeds of up to 100 to 130 kilometres per hour (62 to 81 mph), using six Maybach engines of 260 hp (190 kW) each.
In 1917, following losses to air defences over Britain, new designs were produced which were capable of flying at much higher altitudes (up to 7,600 metres (24,900 ft))
A considerable contribution to these technological advances originated from Zeppelin's only serious competitor, the Mannheim-based Schütte-Lanz company. While their dirigibles never became comparably successful, Professor Schütte's more scientific approach to airship design led to important innovations copied, over time, by the Zeppelin company. These included the streamlined hull shape, the simple yet functional cruciform fins (replacing the more complicated box-like arrangements of older Zeppelins), individual direct-drive engine cars, anti-aircraft machine-gun positions, and gas ventilation shafts which transferred vented hydrogen to the top of the airship.
At the beginning of the war Captain Ernst A. Lehmann and Baron Gemmingen, Count Zeppelin's nephew, developed an observation car for use by dirigibles. This was equipped with a wicker chair, chart table, electric lamp and compass, with telephone line and lightning conductor part of the suspension cable. The car's observer would relay navigation and bomb dropping orders to the Zeppelin flying within or above the clouds, so remaining invisible from the ground. Although used by Army airships, they were not used by the Navy, since Strasser considered that their weight meant an unacceptable reduction in bomb load.
End of the war
The German defeat in the war also marked the end of German military dirigibles, as the victorious Allies demanded a complete disarmament of German air forces and delivery of the remaining airships as reparations. Specifically, the Treaty of Versailles contained the following articles dealing explicitly with dirigibles:
- Article 198
- The armed forces of Germany must not include any military or naval air forces. [...] No dirigible shall be kept.
- Article 202
- On the coming into force of the present Treaty, all military and naval aeronautical material [...] must be delivered to the Governments of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers. [...] In particular, this material will include all items under the following heads which are or have been in use or were designed for warlike purposes:
- Dirigibles able to take to the air, being manufactured, repaired or assembled.
- Plant for the manufacture of hydrogen.
- Dirigible sheds and shelters of every kind for aircraft.
- Pending their delivery, dirigibles will, at the expense of Germany, be maintained inflated with hydrogen; the plant for the manufacture of hydrogen, as well as the sheds for dirigibles may at the discretion of the said Powers, be left to Germany until the time when the dirigibles are handed over. [...]
On 23 June 1919, a week before the treaty was signed, many war Zeppelin crews destroyed their airships in their halls in order to avoid delivery. In doing so, they followed the example of the German fleet which had been scuttled two days before in Scapa Flow. The remaining dirigibles were transferred to France, Italy, Britain, and Belgium in 1920.
A total of 84 Zeppelins were built during the war. Over 60 were lost, roughly evenly divided between accident and enemy action. 51 raids had been made on England alone,[N 1]in which 5,806 bombs were dropped, killing 557 people and injuring 1,358 while causing damage estimated at £1.5 million. It has been argued the raids were effective far beyond material damage in diverting and hampering wartime production: one estimate is that the due to the 1915–16 raids "one sixth of the total normal output of munitions was entirely lost."
After World War I
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Count von Zeppelin had died in 1917, before the end of the war. Dr. Hugo Eckener, a man who had long envisioned dirigibles as vessels of peace rather than of war, took command of the Zeppelin business. With the Treaty of Versailles having eliminated their competitor Schütte-Lanz, the Zeppelin company and DELAG hoped to quickly resume civilian flights. Despite considerable difficulties, they completed two small airshps; LZ 120 Bodensee, which first flew in August 1919 and in the following months transported some 4,000 passengers; and a sister-ship LZ 121 Nordstern, which was intended for use on a regular route to Stockholm.
However, in 1921 the Allied Powers demanded that these should be handed over as war reparations, in compensation for the dirigibles destroyed by their crews in 1919. Further Zeppelin projects could not be realized, partly because of Allied interdiction. This temporarily halted German Zeppelin aviation.
Eckener and his co-workers refused to give up and kept looking for investors and a way to circumvent Allied restrictions. Their opportunity came in 1924. The United States had started to experiment with rigid airships, constructing one of their own, the ZR-1 USS Shenandoah (see below), and ordering another from the UK when the British R38 (based on the Zeppelin L 70) was cancelled. However, this broke apart and exploded during a test flight above the Humber on 23 August 1921, killing 44 crewmen.
Under these circumstances, Eckener managed to obtain an order for the next American dirigible. Germany had to pay for this airship itself, as the cost was set against the war reparation accounts, but for the Zeppelin company this was unimportant. So Dürr designed LZ 126, and using all the expertise accumulated over the years, the company finally achieved its best Zeppelin so far. It made its first flight on 27 August 1924.
On 12 October at 07.30 local time the Zeppelin took off for the US under the command of Hugo Eckener. The ship completed its 8,050 kilometres (5,000 mi) voyage without any difficulties in 80 hours 45 minutes. American crowds enthusiastically celebrated the arrival, and President Calvin Coolidge invited Eckener and his crew to the White House, calling the new Zeppelin an "angel of peace".
Under its new designation ZR-3 USS Los Angeles the airship became the most successful American airship. It operated reliably for eight years until it was retired in 1932 for economic reasons. It was dismantled in August 1940.
With the delivery of LZ 126, the Zeppelin company had reasserted its lead in rigid airship construction, but it was not yet quite back in business. Acquiring the necessary funds for the next project proved a problem in the difficult economic situation of post-World-War-I Germany, and it took Eckener two years of lobbying and publicity work to secure the realization of LZ 127.
Another two years passed before 18 September 1928, when the new dirigible, christened Graf Zeppelin in honour of the Count, flew for the first time. With a total length of 236.6 metres (776 ft) and a volume of 105,000 m3, it was the largest dirigible to have been built at the time.
Eckener's initial purpose was to use Graf Zeppelin for experimental and demonstration purposes to prepare the way for regular airship traveling, carrying passengers and mail to cover the costs. In October 1928 its first long-range voyage brought it to Lakehurst, the voyage taking 112 hours and setting a new endurance record for airships. Eckener and his crew, which included his son Hans, were once more welcomed enthusiastically, with confetti parades in New York and another invitation to the White House. Graf Zeppelin toured Germany and visited Italy, Palestine, and Spain. A second trip to the United States was aborted in France due to engine failure in May 1929.
In August 1929 Graf Zeppelin departed for another daring enterprise: a circumnavigation of the globe. The growing popularity of the "giant of the air" made it easy for Eckener to find sponsors. One of these was the American press tycoon William Randolph Hearst, who requested that the tour officially start in Lakehurst. As with the October 1928 flight to New York, Hearst had placed a reporter, Grace Marguerite Hay Drummond-Hay, on board: she therefore became the first woman to circumnavigate the globe by air. From there, Graf Zeppelin flew to Friedrichshafen, then Tokyo, Los Angeles, and back to Lakehurst, in 21 days 5 hours and 31 minutes. Including the initial and final trips between Friedrichshafen and Lakehurst and back, the dirigible had traveled 49,618 kilometres (30,831 mi).
In the following year, Graf Zeppelin undertook trips around Europe, and following a successful tour to Recife, Brazil in May 1930, it was decided to open the first regular transatlantic airship line. This line operated between Frankfurt and Recife, and was later extended to Rio de Janeiro, with a stop in Recife. Despite the beginning of the Great Depression and growing competition from fixed-wing aircraft, LZ 127 transported an increasing volume of passengers and mail across the ocean every year until 1936. The ship made another spectacular voyage in July 1931 when it made a seven- day research trip to the Arctic.[N 2] This had already been a dream of Count von Zeppelin twenty years earlier, which could not be realized at the time due to the outbreak of war.
Eckener intended to supplement the successful airship by another similar Zeppelin, projected as LZ 128. However the loss of the British passenger airship R101 on 5 October 1930 led the Zeppelin company to reconsider the safety of hydrogen-filled vessels, and the design was abandoned in favour of a new project. LZ 129 would advance Zeppelin technology considerably, and was intended to be filled with inert helium.
Hindenburg, end of an era
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Following 1933, the establishment of the Third Reich in Germany began to overshadow the Zeppelin business. The Nazis knew very well that dirigibles would be useless in combat and thus chose to focus on heavier-than-air technology.
On the other hand, they were eager to exploit the popularity of the airships for propaganda. As Eckener refused to cooperate, Hermann Göring, the German Air minister, formed a new airline in 1935, the Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei (DZR), which took over operation of airship flights. Zeppelins would now display the Nazi swastika on their fins and occasionally tour Germany to play march music and propaganda speeches for the people from the air.
On 4 March 1936, LZ 129 Hindenburg (named after former President of Germany Paul von Hindenburg by Eckener) made its first flight. The Hindenburg was the largest airship ever built. However, in the new political situation, Eckener had not obtained the helium to inflate it due to a military embargo; only the United States possessed the rare gas in usable quantities. So, in what ultimately proved a fatal decision, the Hindenburg was filled with flammable hydrogen. Apart from the propaganda missions, LZ 129 began to serve the transatlantic lines together with Graf Zeppelin.
On 6 May 1937, while landing in Lakehurst after a transatlantic flight, in front of thousands of spectators, the tail of the ship caught fire, and within seconds, the Hindenburg burst into flames, killing 35 of the 97 people on board and one member of the ground crew. The cause of the fire has not been definitively determined. Perhaps a combination of leaking hydrogen from a torn gas bag, and the vibrations caused by a swift rotation for a quicker landing started static electricity in the duralumin alloy skeleton. A flammable outer coating spread the fire from its starting point in the tail to engulf the entire airship in 34 seconds.
Despite the acknowledged danger, there remained a list of 400 people who still wanted to fly as Zeppelin passengers and had paid for the trip. Their money was refunded in 1940.
Graf Zeppelin completed more flights, though not for overseas commercial flights to the U.S., and was retired one month after the Hindenburg wreck and turned into a museum. Dr. Eckener kept trying to obtain helium gas for Hindenburg's sister ship, Graf Zeppelin II, but due to political bias against the airship's commercial use by the Nazi leadership, coupled with the inability to obtain helium gas in sufficient quantities due to an embargo by the United States, his efforts were in vain. The intended new flagship Zeppelin was completed in 1938 and, inflated with hydrogen, made some test flights (the first on 14 September), but never carried passengers. Another project, LZ 131, designed to be even larger than Hindenburg and Graf Zeppelin II, never progressed beyond the production of some single skeleton rings.
The career of Graf Zeppelin II was not over. It was assigned to the Luftwaffe and made about 30 test flights prior to the beginning of World War II. Most of those test flights were carried out near the Polish border, first in the Sudeten mountains region of Silesia, then in the Baltic Sea region. During one such flight LZ 130 crossed the Polish border near the Hel Peninsula, where it was intercepted by a Polish Lublin R-XIII aircraft from Puck naval airbase and forced to leave Polish airspace. During this time, LZ 130 was used as an electronic scouting airframe and was equipped with various telemetric equipment. From May to August 1939, it performed flights near the coastline of Great Britain in an attempt to determine whether the 100-metre towers erected from Portsmouth to Scapa Flow were used for aircraft radio localization. Photography, radio wave interception, magnetic and radio frequency analysis were unable to detect operational British Chain Home radar due to searching in the wrong frequency range. The frequencies searched were too high, an assumption based on the Germans' own radar systems. The mistaken conclusion was the British towers were not connected with radar operations, but formed a network of naval radio communications and rescue.
After the German invasion of Poland started the Second World War on 1 September, the Luftwaffe ordered LZ 127 and LZ 130 moved to a large Zeppelin hangar in Frankfurt, where the skeleton of LZ 131 was also located. In March 1940 Göring ordered the scrapping of the remaining airships. In May a fire broke out in the Zeppelin facility, which destroyed most of the remaining parts. The rest of the parts and materials were soon scrapped, with almost no trace of the German "giants of the air" remaining by the end of the year.
Zeppelins have been an inspiration to music, cinematography and literature. In 1934, the calypsonian Attila the Hun recorded "Graf Zeppelin", commemorating the airship's visit to Trinidad. In the American science fiction series, Fringe, Zeppelins are a notable historical idiosyncrasy that helps differentiate the series' two parallel universes, also used in Doctor Who in the episodes The Rise of the Cybermen and The Age of Steel when the TARDIS crashes in an alternate reality where Britain is a 'people's republic' and Pete Tyler, Rose Tyler's father, is alive and is a wealthy inventor. They are also seen in the alternate reality 1939 plot line in the film Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, and have an iconic association with the Steampunk subcultural movement in broader terms. In 1989, Japanese animator Miyazaki released "Kiki's Delivery Service" featuring a young witch learning to fly and live on her own. The ending featured a Zeppelin in peril after being hit by a gust while low over a village.
In 1968, English rock band Led Zeppelin chose their name after Keith Moon, drummer of The Who, told guitarist Jimmy Page that his idea to create a band would "go down like a lead zeppelin." Page's manager Peter Grant suggested changing the spelling of "Lead" to "Led" to avoid mispronunciation. For the group's self-titled debut album, Page suggested the group use a picture of the Hindenburg crashing in New Jersey in 1937, much to Frau Eva Von Zeppelin’s disgust. Von Zeppelin tried to sue the group for using the name Zeppelin, but the case was eventually dismissed.
Since the 1990s Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik, a daughter enterprise of the Zeppelin conglomerate that built the original German Zeppelins, has been developing Zeppelin "New Technology" (NT) airships. These vessels are semi-rigids based partly on internal pressure, partly on a frame.
In May 2011, Goodyear announced that they will be replacing their fleet of blimps with Zeppelin NTs. This will be resurrecting their partnership that ended over 70 years ago. They will also be building the airships in America.
- Airship hangar
- Buoyancy compensator (aviation)
- Lane hydrogen producer
- List of airships of the United States Navy
- List of Schütte-Lanz airships
- List of Zeppelins
- Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen
- The figures given total 54. While A. Whitehouse in The Zeppelin Fighters (1966) gives figures of 5,907 bombs dropped, 528 people killed, 1,156 wounded in 208(!) raids.
- Koestler was the only journalist on board. He describes the preparations and the voyage itself in detail in his autobiography.
- Eckener 1938, pp. 155–157.
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- Airships GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved: 20 July 2007.
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- Robinson 1973 p.13
- de Syon
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- Dooley 2004, p. A.191.
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- Dooley 2004, pp. A.194–196.
- "Die Ausführung des Zeppelin'schen Luftschiffes" (in German). Die Welt (Vienna), Issue 22, 3 June 1898, p. 6. Retrieved: 11 March 2012.
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- "The German Airship Incident" (News). The Times (London). Saturday, 5 April 1913. (40178), col B, p. 8.
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- "German Airship Disaster" (News). The Times (London). Wednesday, 17 May 1911. (39587), col E, p. 10.
- Robinson 1973, p. 331
- Robinson 1971, p 21.
- Robinson 1971, p. 25
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- Boyne 2002, p. 256.
- Lehmann Chapter VI
- Robinson 1971, pp. 83-4
- Robinson 1971, p 350
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- Thetford, Owen. British Naval Aircraft since 1912. London: Putnam, 4th ed, 1978. ISBN 0-370-30021-1 p. 286
- Robinson 1971, pp. 55-6
- Cole and Cheesman, 1984, p. 24
- Robinson 1971, p. 67
- Cole and Cheesman 1984, pp. 51–55.
- Cole and Cheesman, 1984, pp. 56-8
- Cole and Cheesman 1984, p.60
- Robinson 1971, p. 77
- Cole and Cheesman. pp. 64-7
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- Boulton, 2000, p. 106.
- Cross 1991, p. 35.
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- "Damage in the Raid." The Times, 5 February 1916, p. 7.
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- University of Constance. Gefahren und Strapazen der Luftschiffeinsätze, upper platforms with machine-gun positions
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- "U.S. Zeppelin on Trial" (News in Brief). The Times (London). Friday, 29 August 1924. (43743), col A, p. 9.
- "U.S. Zeppelin on Trial" (News). The Times (London). Thursday, 16 October 1924. (43784), col E, p. 14.
- "Largest Zeppelin" (News). The Times (London). Wednesday, 19 September 1928. (45002), col F, p. 14.
- "The Zeppelin Flight" (News). The Times (London). Tuesday, 16 October 1928. (45025), col A, p. 16.
- Swinfield 2012, p.237
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- Koestler, Arthur. Arrow in the Blue 1952, pp. 275–300.
- Cohen, Norm. "Review: Foreign Music". Journal of American Folklore, (American Folklore Society, Volume 103, Issue 409, July–September 1990): 348–352. doi:10.2307/541516. JSTOR 541516. "Raymond Quevedo (Atilla the Hun) and Hubert Raphael Charles (The Lion) to travel to New York to make recordings. From that session comes Atilla's "Graf Zeppelin,""
- "By Calypso Our Stories Are Told". Trinidad & Tobago Entertainment Company. 27 October 2010. Retrieved 9 January 2014. "In Graf Zeppelin Atilla sang, “One Sunday Morning ... because the Graff Zeppelin which had come to pay a visit to Trinidad.”"
- Hanson, Andrew. "Pinkner and Wyman: the Evil Geniuses behind Fringe." Los Angeles Times, 20 May 2010. Retrieved: 17 June 2011.
- "AIRSHIP VENTURES HAS CEASED FLIGHT OPERATIONS" Airship Ventures, Sunday, January 13, 2013. Retrieved: 28 April 2013.
- "The Zeppelin returns to L.A. skies, after 80 years." LA Times, 24 November 2009. Retrieved: 21 January 2010.
- "Goodyear and Zeppelin: Together again after 70 Years." airships.net, 3 May 2011. Retrieved: 26 February 2012.
- Page, Lewis. "Goodyear blimps to be replaced by German Zeppelins: Revival of 1930s flying Cloudbase partnership." The Register, 4 May 2011. Retrieved: 26 February 2012.
- Boulton, James T., ed. The Selected Letters of D. H. Lawrence. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University, 2000. ISBN 978-0-52177-799-5.
- Boyne, Walter J. et al. Air Warfare: An International Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-Clio, 2002. ISBN 1-57607-345-9.
- Castle, Ian. London 1914–17: The Zeppelin Menace. Oxford, UK: Osprey, 2008. ISBN 978-1-84603-245-5.
- Cole, Christopher and Cheesman, E. F. The Air Defence of Great Britain 1914–1918. London: Putnam, 1984. ISBN 0-370-30538-8.
- Cross, Wilbur. Zeppelins of World War I. London: Paragon House, 1991. ISBN I-56619-390-7.
- de Syon, Guillaume. Zeppelin!: Germany and the Airship, 1900–1939. Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-8018-6734-7
- Dooley, Sean C. "The Development of Material-Adapted Structural Form." Part II: Appendices, THÈSE NO 2986. École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, 2004.
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- Lehmann, Ernst A. and Howard Mingos. Zeppelin3. The Zeppelins. Chapter III: Reasons for the London Raids
- Lehmann, Ernst A. and Howard Mingos. The Zeppelins. The Development of the Airship, with the Story of the Zepplins [sic] Air Raids in the World War. Chapter VI The North Sea Patrol – The Zeppelins at Jutland (online chapter)
- Liddell Hart, B. H. A History of the World War 1914–1918. London: Faber & Faber, 1934.
- Robinson, Douglas H. Giants in the Sky: History of the Rigid Airship. Henley-on-Thames, UK: Foulis, 1973. ISBN 978-0-85429-145-8.
- Robinson, Douglas H. The Zeppelin in Combat. Henley-on-Thames, UK: Foulis, 1971 (3rd ed.). ISBN 0 85429 130 X.
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Danish Post & Tele Museum Zeppelin articles
- Iwersen, Malene (1 August 2006). "Fascination goes on". Post & Tele Museum, Denmark. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
- Iwersen, Malene (1 January 2006). "The Airship is Coming!". Post & Tele Museum, Denmark. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
- Gøricke, Jan Hybertz (1 January 2006). "An Airborne Telegraph Station". Post & Tele Museum, Denmark. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
- Iwersen, Malene (1 September 2005). "There is Something in the Air". Post & Tele Museum, Denmark. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
- Steadman, Mark (1 May 2006). "The Goldbeater, the Cow and the Airship". Post & Tele Museum. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
- "Zeppelin Exhibition – An online exhibition about Zeppelins." Post & Tele Museum, Denmark.
- U.S. Patent 0,621,195, "Navigable balloon". 14 March 1899. Ferdinand Graf Zeppelin.
- US 1217657 , "Method of destroying aircraft", Filed 11 April 1916. Joseph A. Steinmetz
- US 1449721 , "Light weight girder". Filed 28 June 1920. Karl Arnstein.
- US 1474517 , "Airship". Filed 19 August 1922; Issued 20 November 1923. Julius Erhardt
- US 1724009 , "Rigid airship with separate gas cells". Filed 27 November 1922; Issued August 1929. Hugo Eckener
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Zeppelin.|
- Airships.net: The Hindenburg and other Zeppelins
- How did London civilians respond to the German airship raids of 1915?
- Zeppelin NT in the World and Technical Data
- Airships.net – Illustrated history of passenger Zeppelins
- eZEP.de – The webportal for Zeppelin mail and airship memorabilia
- Zeppelin Post Journal – Quarterly publication for Zeppelin mail and airship memorabilia
- Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik GmbH – The original company, now developing the Zeppelin NT
- Dark Autumn: The 1916 German Zeppelin Offensive