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Terror of the Zepplins
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THE ROAD TO WAR -
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Terror of the Zeppelin’s!
 
Pioneer of the air Count Ferdinand Von Zeppelin was a genius at flight design and by 2nd July 1900 he had produced 4 massive new airships; 450feet long and 40feet wide, aptly nicknamed “Flying Cigars”. By the beginning of 1914 he had produced a huge fleet of thirty airships to which he gave his own name to. These were initially used for pleasure purposes flying passengers across Germany and Switzerland. But the German High Command knowing war was on the horizon planned to use these airships to carry weapons and bombs against their enemies. These were soon to make their presence known in a devastating manner.
Their appearance in the skies above caused a great stir among the onlookers, for they had never seen anything so huge being able to fly, apart from that it seemed to be suspended in mid air.
But their purpose in war was to come suddenly, ready to deliver their own form of destruction, bringing sheer terror and mayhem upon the unsuspecting enemy below,
The German Air Force soon changed their tactics of warfare, while their new fighter aero-planes were engaged in daily combat over the skies of France and Belgium, the Germans decided to turn their attention towards England. The German Air Ministry had decided to bomb London in an unprecedented attack on the capital, using their new form of aerial warfare the…Zeppelin.
Loaded with a deadly cargo of bombs this lone massive Zeppelin left its base in Germany, and headed out across the channel.
This step of blatant aggression by the German Zeppelin in aerial warfare came to reality on the night of 31st May 1915, when to the absolute shock and horror of the people it dropped bombs on London, destroying many houses, causing fires, and killing five civilians.
The war raging fiercely in France and Belgium seemed to the people of Britain so far away, but when this sudden terror raid brought death and destruction to the people of England, especially London they were outraged.
An American pilot on leave in London, expressed his own views by saying “It doesn’t matter if nothing was hit or destroyed, as long as it puts the wind-up the civil population”. His words would echo the true feelings of the nation, as thousands now lived in fear and terror from the skies above.
 

A Zeppelin in flight
Destruction by the Zeppelins
 
It was not a great success but it had frightened the people, enough to implement safety measures by the Government. As these raids continued it brought fear and terror to the people of the capital, the Government wanted results in stopping them.
The east coast of Britain was soon to come under attack, in 1915, both towns, Kings Lynn and Yarmouth were bombed.
By September 1915, another attack came by a group of Zeppelins, this time they had once again penetrated right into the city of London, dropping their load of bombs causing over £500,000 worth of damage.
There was no let up in these attacks, for on the night of 31st January 1916, a group of nine Zeppelins headed for the north of England and bombed the Midlands, killing 59 civilians and causing severe damage to buildings.
One month later, these terrifying airships concentrated their destruction on the seaside town of Hull, bombing it at their leisure causing great destruction to homes and killing many civilians.
These terrible events brought it home to the people of England that they would not escape from the horrors of war. Now it had shocked them into realizing it had now arrived on their own doorstep, creating panic and fear amongst the population.
The R.F.C. became the new front line defense in the protection of London, in their fighter planes they chased the huge Zeppelins firing hundreds of bullets into them, some were shot down but the ammunition seemed to hardly impact the Zeppelins at all and many escaped back to Germany.
It would have been thought that these monster airships could be easily shot down considering the massive size of them, being between 500 and 800 feet long, and filled with up to 2, 000, 000million cubic feet of highly inflammable Hydrogen gas. But they were invulnerable to the many different forms of the poor ammunition used against them, and the height that they flew.
One R.F.C. pilot took 20 minutes of continues firing at one Zeppelin he attacked, eventually damaging the engine and puncturing the gasbags, which caused it to drop lower and lower until it crashed.
The British Air Ministry was determined to rid the skies of this terror, and so ordered explosive experts to design and find a bullet that could destroy these airships.
Progress was quickly made and a new type of exploding bullet was invented and produced, in a hope to bring down the Zeppelins. They were introduced to the R.F.C. to test-out these bullets which exploded on impact. These bullets fired in great number should turn the monster airship into an inferno and bring them down in large numbers, hopefully bringing a halt to the Zeppelin menace. Out of total amount of 84 Zeppelins that attacked Britain, 30 of them were finally shot down, crashing to earth and exploding.
   
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