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Zeppelins of World War I: The Dramatic Story of Germany's Lethal Airships by Wilbur Cross



Hardcover with DJ in Very Good (VG) condition. Clean and straight. 

This saga of the most daring aerial campaign of the Great War begins with Peter Strasser, the brilliant naval officer who saw in Count Zeppelin's slow-moving aircraft a vehicle to break England's will to fight. With Strasser's urging and direction the German high command built a fleet of super zeppelins that could fly well beyond the reach of fighter planes and anti-aircraft guns to drop tons of bombs on the cities of Britain's industrial heartland. By 1915 Londoners slept fitfully under a cold blanket of fear, straining to hear the distant drone of the zeppelins' Mayback engines.

In time the British counterattacked with ingenuity and gallantry--developing higher-flying planes and reliable incendiary bullets to engage the zeppelins. By 1918 the use of these airships as a means of destruction had come to a fiery end.

Zeppelins of World War I details the German naval Airship Division's (Luftschiffe) history, the psychological horrors of its bombing attacks on London, and the zeppelin's ultimate failure to remain a wartime vehicle or peacetime transport. With riveting first-person accounts and archival photographs, Wilbur Cross depicts the aerial battles between brave German airmen and British fighter pilots. Action from both sides of the war is presented including the determined efforts of Lieutenant William Leefe Robinson of the Royal Flying Corps, the first pilot to shoot down a zeppelin; the launching and aftermath of the greatest airship raid in history; and the spectacular death of Zeppelin L-48 (including the miraculous survival of a young German officer) that foreshadowed the ultimate demise of the Luftshiffe and Strasser's own violent death.

Despite the zeppelins' inability to save the Kaiser's forces from defeat, they did change the nature of attack and defense in all future wars. Indeed, had the German airships used inert helium instead of flammable hydrogen, the outcome of World War I might have been very different. Wilbur Cross' re-creation of this little-known yet important episode of aviation history offers fascinating reading for military buffs and anyone who enjoys high adventure in unique settings.