28/11/1916 A new menace: an aeroplane attack on London

German Zeppelin raids on England are continuing, but the airships are showing no great sign of bringing Britain to its knees. British air defences are improving all the time and Zeppelin losses are mounting. The puny damage being inflicted on English targets by the gas giants is insufficient pay back for the costs the Germans are incurring.

Nevertheless, the Germans remain committed to strategic bombing. They begin to consider attacks on Britain with heavier-than-air craft. By now aeroplanes have improved to the extent that it is possible for one to make the round trip from German occupied Belgium to London itself. Today the Germans launch their first aeroplane attack on the British capital.

Flying an LVG C.II bomber, Paul Brandt and Walther Ilges head off today for London. Racing at speeds of up to 130 kilometres an hour, the Germans cross the Channel and then fly across Essex and up the Thames estuary, photographing anything that might conceivably be a future target on the way.

The German mission is to attack the Admiralty offices in Whitehall, but once they reach central London they drop their bombs randomly from a considerable hit, causing some damage, ten injuries, but no fatalities. Then they turn for home.

Unfortunately for them, Brandt and Ilges do not make it back to their base. Their engine starts to fail and they end up crash-landing on the French coast, where they are captured.

image source:

An LVG C.II bomber, of the type flown by Brandt & Ilges (Wikipedia)

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