1/10/1916 A Zeppelin attack on London goes badly awry

Germany’s Zeppelin bombing attacks on Britain were meant to disrupt the country’s war industry’s and terrify the civilian population into submission. They have however been remarkably unsuccessful. The damage they have wrought has been minimal and British civilians are showing no great sign of giving in to panic. The Zeppelin bombings have also delivered a propaganda coup to Germany’s enemies, assisting them in portraying the Germans as savages intent on murdering innocent women and children in their homes.

The bombing raids have also become increasingly risky for the Zeppelins’ crews as British air defences improve. Yet the attacks continue. Tonight 11 Zeppelins set off to attack targets in England. Four get lost, leaving just seven to cross the English coast. One of these, the L-31, attempts to advance on London from the north, but it finds itself caught in a succession of searchlights and is then subjected to blasts of anti-aircraft fire.

The Germans give up on their plan to attack London and drop their bombs more or less randomly in Hertfordshire. But if they think this means they will be able to return home safely they are mistaken. A British night-fighter piloted by Lieutenant Wulstan Tempest intercepts the Zeppelin and is able to fire on the airship before it can climb to safety. The hydrogen gas in the Zeppelin’s air bags ignites, causing it to burn up as it falls to the earth, destroying an oak tree outside the village of Potters Bar. The inferno is visible in London, whose inhabitants rejoice to see the doom of one of the airships that have been tormenting them.

The crew of the Zeppelin are all killed by the crash.

image source:

The Zeppelin Oak

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