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Airships from abroad!

Hello all,

The Zeppelin in Combat: A History of the German Naval Airship Division 1912-1918 by Douglas H. Robinson is a masterful work. It is one of those arguably peerless texts of military history that can engross and educate. Robinson's research, which was seemingly painstaking, took place over many years. His sources range from first-hand accounts with the then surviving members of the German Naval Airship Division to British Imperial war records and many things in between.

The Zeppelin in Combat is a must-have, in my opinion, for anyone interested in the history of rigid airships. While I have read several books on the more general history of LTA, and rigid airships in particular, few have ever devoted themselves to a thorough accounting of their subject matter. This may speak more to the quality of books I've read rather than ones available, but the majority I have ever come across use the Great War period of development as a stepping stone or footnote in the overall history. This book alone proves that invaluable experience and technological advances were made that eventually benefited the Zeppelins of the inter-war years. This book also gives a fair amount of attention to Schutte-Lanz, the early innovations of the Rheinhau-Mannheim company, and the eventual downfall of everybody's favorite wooden airship in contrast to the Zeppelin proper.

No greater reason, perhaps, was the opinions of the infamous Korvettenkapitan Peter Strasser, Leader of Airships. Robinson's writing allows, for whatever one may think of the man, Strasser to come alive once more. The sheer force of will and utter belief in the rigid airship as weapon of war that Strasser possessed come across vividly. Even years after his death, when Robinson was interviewing members of the Division, Strasser was spoken of in high regard by those who had served under him.

Accounts of the legendary Kptlt. Heinrich Mathy, who gained as much respect as scorn from the British, are equally resurrecting. Robinson, by all accounts, manages to bring the reader into the time and place these men inhabited. Their strengths and flaws as commanders, aviators, and perhaps as human beings. The eventual toll of war on the Division's men is well documented: From the giddy days of 1915 to the harrowing, high-altitude flights of 1917, to the bitter end and mutinous ground crews of 1918. Robinson does not focus solely on technology, charts, or statistics. His writing is a humanizing history, interspersed generously with all the technical facts and details "helium heads" are bound to look for.

In that regard, The Zeppelin in Combat dutifully provides us with reproductions of flight logs, ballast sheets, British intelligence reports, basic diagrams that could have come off of Ludwig Durr's desk, and the Mother Lode of Great War rigid airship photographs. I found myself getting out my magnifying glass to have a long, long look at many of the pictures present, not for a lack of size, but to try and drink in all the detail and design I had never seen before. While there are many photographs of rigid airships available on the Internet, many times have I wanted for in regards to the infamous combat ships of World War One. This book corrects that want, and drowns one in a sea of monochromatic bliss. From the German Navy's early LZ-10 inspired ships to the super-Zeppelins, this book will surely provide you with images you have rarely (or perhaps never) seen previously. This joyous collection is again grounded, no pun intended, by other images. From the peculiar sight of L 2 leaving a trailing cloud into the sky before the war, strewn and twisted wreckage in England, to massive airships with their backs broken on the sea, we are reminded that these were both wondrous and fragile machines. The men who flew them even more so, and irreplaceable.

Ultimately, there is only one complaint that I can make of The Zeppelin in Combat, and that is the minor instances of typo or editing error. In example: "...,two destroyers 028 α 5 (go miles east...". While not occurring overly often through the text of the book, "go" seems to pop up as a typo enough to notice in such cases. Other than that, The Zeppelin in Combat gets top ranks from me.

While moderately priced at a range of $60-$70 dollars US, Robinson's work is worth every penny of the cost for the serious airship enthusiast or military/aviation historian out there.

That's it for now, folks. Watch out for icing on the envelope and holes in the gas cells!

Until next time, up ship!
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Airship Links

Enjoy your flight!

Excellent page on the Golden Age of airships
California based company operating a Zeppelin NT in America…
Official website of Zeppelin GmbH. Available in German and English…
Website devoted to the history of the Zeppelin airship…
Excellent page on the British Imperial Airship Program…
"Zeppelin's Airships", a fun little historical sight. gives a brief history of the lighter-than-air vessels through the ages.

This site has a most extensive knowledge and forum devoted to not just the "aerial dreadnoughts" of the Great War, but to all manner of WW I aircraft. Great site!

Motion Picture Resources

The LZ 13 Hansa…

The LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin………

The LZ 129 Hindenburg……

The LZ 130 Graf Zeppelin…

The "Night Raiders" (World War I zeppelins)…

ZR-1 Shenandoah and ZR-3 Los Angeles……

ZRS-4 Akron and ZRS-5 Macon…………

R-101 and R-100………


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comicfam Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2019
How was new year?
comicfam Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2018
how was summer?
CCB-18 Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
slimies Featured By Owner May 17, 2018
i have a few items in my gallery may like.. a card signed by a hindenburg survivor and a piece of the hindenburg 
The-Necromancer Featured By Owner May 19, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Very cool.
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