When Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin's rigid airship LZ 1 flew over Lake Constance in 1900, it was the most advanced and impressive flying machine in the world: a colossal, lighter-than-air craft capable of controlled flight. In World War I, Zeppelins were first used in a reconnaissance role, but on January 19, 1915 Kaiser Wilhelm II authorized their use in bombing strategic targets in England.
From then on, Zeppelin became synonymous with terror to the British, and indeed the airship's effectiveness was more psychological than material. Still, their raids compelled the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service to embark on a program of modernizing their aerial defenses, accelerating a process that would ultimately make the airplane, rather than the airship, the paramount flying machine of the war. Using specially commissioned artwork, contemporary photographs, and first-hand accounts, this book tells the fascinating story of Britain's first Blitz, from the airships who terrorized the public to the men who sought to defend the skies.
This impressive little book looks at the use of Zeppelins by Germany to bomb England into submission during the Great War and the lone fighters sent up to challenge them. I'll admit that when I purchased this book I hoped that it would also include the role of antiaircraft artillery and searchlights (as small as those roles were at the time). Nevertheless, this book is an impressive study of the fight between the primitive airships and the heavier-than-air craft sent up to intercept them. While on the face of it zeppelins suffered from a distinct disadvantage due to the use of hydrogen to generate lift the biplane sent after them were difficult enough to operate in daylight and dangerous in the dark. The planes also had to find the weapon that could bring down the giants without taking the attackers with it.
A good visual reference for dealing with the topic or a good starting point for learning about the Zeppelin War... in any case a great read!
Very short, but a good summary of these today less known events in WW1. I found the map with the locations of the Zeppelin and Home Defence aerodromes at the Western Front of special interest as something like this was missing so far.