Fireworks over london
100 years ago, 5 September 1916, Lieutenant William Leaf Robinson received the highest British military award - the Victoria Cross, because two days earlier the Schutte-Lanz bomber airship SL-11 was shot down over the suburbs of London. It was the first German airship destroyed over Great Britain.
On the night of September 2 to 3, the Germans launched the largest air raid over the English Channel since the beginning of the war, in which four army and 12 naval airships. They dropped a total of 17,6 tons of bombs, but the effect of the bombing was rather insignificant. On the ground, four people were killed, 12 were injured, and the British estimated the material damage at 20 thousand pounds. The airship shot down by Robinson was more expensive, not to mention the fact that his entire crew was killed - 16 aeronauts led by Hauptmann Wilhelm Schramm.
To destroy the air giant 174 meters long, 20 meters high and weighing more than 20 tons, the lieutenant had only a few incendiary bullets, recently entered service with the British aviation. The airship burned in the air, and its wreckage fell near the village of Kuffli, where they were found the next morning. Despite this loss, the Germans did not stop using the airships for bombing. On the night of September 22-23, another Zeppelin raid on London took place, from which two airships had not returned. One was shot down by anti-aircraft guns, the second by a fighter.
On the night of November 27-28, eight airships bombed industrial sites in Central England. And again two of them were shot down by interceptors. The following year, the Germans began production of new-type airships with an increased working ceiling, hoping that a high flight altitude would protect them from enemy fighters and anti-aircraft artillery. But these hopes were not justified, the losses remained high.
As a result, a very costly and resource-intensive program of building an "inflatable fleet" completely failed. Huge “hydrogen bombs” when used over enemy territory turned out to be more dangerous for their own crews than for the enemy. It is strange that it took the Germans two whole years to understand this.
Airship "Schutte-Lanz". In order to disguise, these night bombers were painted black and black from the bottom and sides.
Lieutenant Anderson in the cockpit of the RAF BE2C fighter, on which he fought in September 1916.
The British on the site of the death of SL-11. On the left - a portrait of the pilot who managed to destroy him.
One of the motors "Schutte-Lanza". The airships of this company, in contrast to the "zeppelin", had a wooden rather than an aluminum frame. Therefore, after the fires from them there was almost no debris.
The funeral of the crew of the downed airship.