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Zeppelin LZ74 (L32)



7th September 1915 Zeppelin raids on London  Two Army Zeppelins successfully bombed London on the night of the 7th of September. SL 2 dropped bombs on the Isle of Dogs, Deptford, Greenwich and Woolwich, and LZ 74 was forced to drop weight on its approach and scattered 39 bombs over Cheshunt, before heading on to London and dropped devices on Bermondsey, Rotherhithe and New Cross,one lone incendiary bomb dropped onto a shop on Fenchurch Street in London. Eighteen people were killed and 28 injured, property damage totalled £9,616. Fog and mist prevented any aircraft taking off, but anti-aircraft guns fired at LZ 74 with no effect. Although these raids had no significant military impact, the psychological effect was considerable.

The Zeppelins attacked between ten and eleven o’clock, when the streets were full of people. An American writer wrote “Traffic is at a standstill. A million quiet cries make a subdued roar. Seven million people of the biggest city in the world stand gazing into the sky from the darkened streets. Among the autumn stars floats a long, gaunt Zeppelin. It is dull yellow—the colour of the harvest moon. The long fingers of searchlights, reaching up from the roofs of the city, are touching all sides of the death messenger with their white tips. Great booming sounds shake the city. They are Zeppelin bombs—falling, killing, burning. Lesser noises—of shooting—are nearer at hand, the noise of aerial guns sending shrapnel into the sky. If the men up there think they are terrifying London, they are wrong. They are only making England white-hot mad.”

The writer D.H. Lawrence described the raid in a letter to Lady Ottoline Morrell, "Then we saw the Zeppelin above us, just ahead, amid a gleaming of clouds: high up, like a bright golden finger, quite small (...) Then there was flashes near the ground — and the shaking noise. It was like Milton — then there was war in heaven. (...) I cannot get over it, that the moon is not Queen of the sky by night, and the stars the lesser lights. It seems the Zeppelin is in the zenith of the night, golden like a moon, having taken control of the sky; and the bursting shells are the lesser lights." Eighteen people were killed in the raid, and 28 were wounded. Property damage totalled £9,616. The SL-2 suffered engine failure on the return trip home and had to crash land in Germany. Shortly after this raid Admiral Sir Percy Scott was placed in charge of the air defenses around London.

4th August 1916 R Class Super Zeppelin  Zeppelin LZ74 (L32)

  • Production Ref: LZ74
  • Class type : R
  • Tactical ref: L32
  • Usage: Military
  • First Flight: 4th August 1916

History.

Made three attacks on England dropping a total of 6,860 kilograms (15,120 lb)of bombs. Commanded by Kapitan-Leutnant Werner Petersen, with L31, L33 and L34 part of a Zeppelin raid on the night of 23 September 1916. Intercepted and destroyed by 39 Home Defence Squadron British fighter pilot 2nd Lt Frederick Sowrey in a BE2c on 24 September 1916 near Great Burstead, Essex, all the crew dying. The crew's bodies were buried at Great Burstead, then in 1966 exhumed and reburied at Cannock Chase.

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

The German Navy remained aggressive and a 12-Zeppelin raid was launched on 23–24 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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Zeppelin LZ74 (L32)

during the Great War 1914-1918.

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