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1999 Closed threads from 1999 (read only)

 
 
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Old 29 June 1999, 10:12 AM   #1
rammjaeger
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During my last reading of a British book I noticed that the following airships were downed by aircraft:

2 Italian airships (M2 and M4),
2 British airships (C 17 and C27),
14 German airships (LZ 37, LZ 79, SL-11, L 33, L 32, L 31, L 34, L 21, L 22, L 43, L 48, L 49, L 70, L 53).
Sometimes AA and aircraft were involved in the kill.

Who can add info or correct these examples?

And how many aircraft were shot down by the gunners of the airships?

Thanks.

Hannes
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Old 29 June 1999, 01:20 PM   #2
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Hannes, I,m sure we covered something similar quite some time ago now. I have a dim memory of looking it up in Putnams. There is no record of airship gunners shooting anything down.The big surprize last time was that only eight men ever brought down a Zeppelin from an aeroplane, but two of them did it TWICE!! Grounds for a special dispensation I think. Two Zepps and you're an ace.

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Old 30 June 1999, 07:20 AM   #3
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Airship gunners never hit a thing but they may have saved their ships from time to time.

I have read in the WW2 book `Battlefields in the Air' that air gunners on Lancaster bombers often saved their planes simply by calling out a warning to their pilot about an approaching German fighter. They were `armed lookouts' whose main job was not to shoot enemy fighters down, but simply to spot them in time for the Lancaster pilot to make a getaway.

Did Zepp gunners have any way of communicating with the commander of the ship? If so, they probably saved a lot of airships by calling out warnings of approaching fighters.

Even if they didn't have any way to communicate verbally, you can be sure they gave off warnings simply by opening fire on the approaching allied fighter. That would alert the Zepp commander, who would then try to climb away to safety.

My point here is that Zepp gunners probably saved a few airships from being shot down, without ever downing any allied fighters themselves. Very often the `little guy' who failed to win any decorations managed to perform a valuable function without getting any credit for it.
 
Old 30 June 1999, 11:25 AM   #4
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Hannes, I am convinced that, like you, I have seen this story of a Zeppelin survivor. I,m not sure which one though and my search for enlightenment has proved fruitless. all i can offer is the numbers relevant to your core question "how many?" Only 17 Airships were lost on operations over the UK. AA claims 4 (two of those to the French) the weather 5, the remaining 8 brought down in air to air action . Leckie and Cadbury accounted for three, two solo and one shared. What a team!

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Old 30 June 1999, 10:15 PM   #5
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Thanks, Bud and Peter.
I found little decriptions of all the airship kills (Zeppelins and one Schütte-Lanz) in a book with the title "The Guiness Book of Air Warfare" by Robert Jackson. Despite of the title the book deals more serious with the topic "Air War". Additional not only the British pilots shot down Zepps! Here is the list of involved pilots based on this book:
LZ 37 - Warneford,
LZ 79 - Lesseps (France),
SL 11 - Robinson,
L 33 - Brandon (and AA guns),
L 32 -Frederick,
L 31 - Tempest,
L 34 - Pyott,
L 21 - Cadbury,
L 22 - Galpin/Leckie,
L 43 - Hobbs/Dickey,
L 48 - Watkins,
L 49 5 French pilots,
L 70 - Cadbury/Leckie,
L 53 - Cully.
If only 8 Zeppelins were really shot down than we would run into "Zep-overclaiming" (hard to believe).

I guess Bud is right because the gunners on the top side of the Zep were not so keen on using their MG. Pre-war tests showed that firing a MG was very dangerous because of leaking out gas and the gondolas with the MG could not fire in every dircection.
I guess the communication was organised with telephons ore ship-like.
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Old 1 July 1999, 11:56 AM   #6
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Hannes, you need Putnams "Air Defence of Great Britain 1914-1918." If you have that you'll never be stuck for an answer again, at least not from a British perspective.

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Old 2 July 1999, 03:40 AM   #7
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Thanks, Peter.
One book more for my endless long "Reading"-list. Today came The Jasta War Chronology - I guess I know my weekend activity now !
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Old 10 July 1999, 02:41 PM   #8
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In a memo to Lt Stuart Culley on Aug 5 1918
Commander C.R Samson gives detailed instructions for attacking a Zeppelin including "according to our information the gun on top of the envelope is not used" Six days later Culley shot down L53.
 
 

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