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Zeppelin LZ38 in the Great War - The Wartime Memories Project -

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Zeppelin LZ38

3rd April 1915 P Class Zeppelin  Zeppelin LZ38

  • Production Ref: LZ38
  • Class type : P
  • Tactical ref: none
  • Usage: Military
  • First Flight: 3rd April 1915


Achieved first bombing raid on London on 31 May 1915 killing 7 and injuring 35 people (with material damage assessed at £18,596). Carried out five successful raids on Ipswich, Ramsgate, Southend (twice) and London, dropping a total of 8,360 kg (18,430 lb) of bombs. Destroyed by British bombing in its hangar at Evere on 7 June 1915.

29th April 1915 Zeppelin Raid  Zeppelin LZ38 commanded by Erich Linnarz attacked Ipswich

9th May 1915 Zeppelin Raid  Zeppelin LZ38 commanded by Erich Linnarz attacked Southend and Ipswich on the 9th/10th May 1915.

16th May 1915 Zeppelin Raid  Zeppelin LZ.38 commanded by Erich Linnarz attacked Ipswich, Dover and Ramsgate on the 16th/17th May 1915.

26th May 1915 Zeppelin Raid  Zeppelin LZ38 commanded by Erich Linnarz bombed Southend and Ipswich.

The first four raids by LZ38 killed six people and injured six, causing property damage estimated at £16,898. Twice Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) aircraft tried to intercept LZ 38 but on both occasions it was either able to outclimb the aircraft or was already at too great an altitude for the aircraft to intercept. The British fighter BE2 took about 50 minutes to climb to 10,000 ft (3,000 m).

31st May 1915 Zeppelin raid on London  31st May 1915.

On 31 May, Captain Linnarz again commanded LZ38 on the first London raid; LZ 37 was also to be part of the raid but suffered structural damage early on and returned to Namur. Flying from Evere LZ 38 crossed the English coast near Margate at 2142 before turning west once over Southend. London police were warned of an incoming raid around 2300, a few minutes later small incendiaries began to fall. These devices, weighing 11 kg (25 lb), were filled with thermite and the exterior was wrapped in tarred rope.

In total some 120 bombs were dropped on a line stretching from Stoke Newington south to Stepney and then north toward Leytonstone. Seven people were killed and 35 injured; 41 fires were started, burning out seven properties and the total damage was assessed at £18,596.

Aware of the problems that the Germans were experiencing in navigation, this raid caused the government to issue a D notice prohibiting the press from reporting anything about the raid that was not mentioned in official statements, previous press reports had contained detailed information about where bombs had fallen.

Fifteen defensive sorties were flown against the raiders, only one of whom managed to make visual contact with the enemy. No ground-based guns fired and no searchlights found the airship also one pilot was killed when attempting to land.

6th June 1915 Zeppelin Raid  There was a Zeppelin attack on Hull as high winds prevented Kapitšnleutnant Heinrich Mathy in L.9 from reaching his primary target which had been London. L-9's presence was first spotted just after 19:00 by intercepted wireless traffic when it was 100 miles away over the North Sea. Major General Ferrier, commander of the Humber Defences, ordered all lights in the city to be extinguished at 21:30.

At about 23:45, L-9 was spotted above Hedon, to the east of Hull. General Ferrier's staff officer said it was distinct against a clear sky, at an altitude estimated to be 3,000ft (900m). The Zeppelin crossed the coast at Bridlington and followed the railway lines to Hull, dropping flares to light up the dockland area at 2340. The only defences were the hastily pointed guns of HMS Adventure which was under repair at Earle's shipyard at Alexandra Dock. The officer saw three bombs dropped. One bomb landed on the city's ancient High Street, in the centre of the Old Town, making a hole 6ft (2m) deep and fracturing the water and gas mains. The gas main was ignited by the blast but a pipe layer with Hull Corporation stopped the breach with wet clay and extinguished the fire. The inferno caused lead in the church's stained glass windows to melt, but the building survived. A drapery store, only 27ft from the church and The Fleece Inn nearby were consumed by fire. In all 13 high explosive and 50 incendiary bombs destroyed 40 shops and dwellings killing 24 civilians. The death and destruction resulted in anti-German feeling on the ground and provoked attacks against German-owned butchers in the city.

Another raid by three Zeppelins also failed due to the weather and as the craft returned to Evere they were intercepted by RNAS aircraft flying from Furnes, France. LZ.38 was destroyed on the ground.

LZ.37 was intercepted in the air by R. A. J. Warneford in his Morane Parasol. He dropped six 20 pounds (9.1 kg) Hales bombs on the Zeppelin which caught fire and crashed into the convent school of Sint-Amandsberg. Two nuns were killed and only one man of the crew of the Zeppelin survived. Warneford was awarded the Victoria Cross for his achievement.

As a further consequence of the raid both the Army and Navy withdrew from their bases in Belgium as their vulnerability was now clear.

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