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Zeppelin LZ62 (L30) in the Great War - The Wartime Memories Project -

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Zeppelin LZ62 (L30)



   Zeppelin LZ62 (L30) was a Class R Military craft which had its first flight on the 28th of May 1916 It was the first of the Type R "Super-Zeppelins" with a volume of 55,200 m3. It carried out 10 raids on England dropping a total of 23,305 kilograms (51,379 lb) of bombs. It also completed 31 reconnaissance missions above the North and Baltic Seas and at the Eastern Front. It was retired on the 17th November 1917 and laid up at Seerappen. In 1920 it was ordered to be transferred to Belgium as part of war reparations, where it was dismantled. Some components, including an engine car, are preserved at the Royal Army and Military History Museum, Brussels.

23rd September 1916 Zeppelin Raids on Britain  23/24 September 1916

The German Navy remained aggressive and a 12-Zeppelin raid was launched on 2324 September 1916. Eight older airships bombed targets in the Midlands and Northeast, while four M-class Zeppelins (L 30, L 31, L 32, and L 33) attacked London. L 30 did not even cross the coast, dropping its bombs at sea. L 31 approached London from the south, dropped a few bombs on Kenley and Mitcham and was picked up by searchlights. Forty-one bombs were then dropped in rapid succession over Streatham, killing seven and wounding 27. More bombs were dropped on Brixton before crossing the river and dropping 10 bombs on Leyton, killing another eight people and injuring 30. L 31 then headed home.

Also coming in from the south was L 32, delayed by engine problems, it dropped a few bombs on Sevenoaks and Swanley before crossing Purfleet at about 0100. The Zeppelin then came under anti-aircraft fire as it dropped bombs on Aveley and South Ockendon. Shortly thereafter, at 0110, a BE2c piloted by 2nd Lieutenant Frederick Sowrey engaged L 32. He fired three drums of incendiaries and succeeded in starting a fire which quickly spread to the entire airship. The Zeppelin came down at Snail's Hall Farm, Great Burstead. The entire crew was killed, with some, including the commander Oberleutnant-zur-See Werner Peterson, choosing to jump rather than burn to death.

L 33 dropped a few incendiaries over Upminster before losing its way and making several turns, heading over London and dropping bombs on Bromley at around midnight. As the bombs began to explode, the Zeppelin was hit by an anti-aircraft shell fired from the guns at either Beckton, Wanstead, or Victoria Park despite being at 13,000 feet (4,000 m). Dropping bombs now to shed weight, a large number fell on homes in Botolph Road and Bow Road. As the airship headed towards Chelmsford it continued to lose height, coming under fire at Kelvedon Hatch and briefly exchanging fire with a BE2c. Despite the efforts of the crew, L 33 was forced to the ground at around 0115 in a field close to New Hall Cottages, Little Wigborough. The airship was set alight and the crew headed south before being arrested at Peldon by the police. Inspection of the wreckage provided the British with much information about the construction of Zeppelins, which was used in the design of the British R33-class airships. One 250 hp (190 kW) engine recovered from the wreck was subsequently substituted for two (of four) 180 hp (130 kW) engines on a Vickers-built machine, the hitherto underpowered R.9.

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Those known to have served with

Zeppelin LZ62 (L30)

during the Great War 1914-1918.

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