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Zeppellins were long range lighter than air dirigibles. They contained a large amount of buoyant gas in a hollow cylindrical body, which made up the bulk of their size. The crew, cargo, and engines were suspended below the balloon. Zeppellins were more like ships of the air than airplanes.

Zeppelins were developed in Germany, and Germany's airforce consisted primarily of zeppellins at the beginning of the war. They were quickly made obsolete by the new fighter airplanes that were deployed by the French and British, however their ability to reach great heights and carry large payloads made them useful as stragetic bombers right up to the end of the war.

The Germans used zeppellins as long-range bombers and hit Paris and London on several occasions. Their bomb payload was not sufficient to destroy a city, even when massed formations were used. However the concept of strategic bombing pioneered with the zeppellins was to be perfected in world war 2, in which both sides used fleets of massed bombers for maximum physical damage and psychological effect on the population of the bombed cities.

Here are some pictures of zeppellins:

zeppellin bombing raid

German Zeppellin bombing a city.

This is the first of a set of two postcards sold in Germany during the war. The postcards depicted the exploits of Germanys zeppellin bombers. Here a zeppellin is showing bombing an enemy city.

zeppellins under spoltlights

Spotlights from a beleaguered city illuminate zeppellins on a bombing raid

This is another WW1 era post card issued in Germany. Here the attacking zeppellins are meeting resistance and the defenders are using spotlights to direct antiaircraft fire at the German bombers.

zeppellin political caricature

Can you tell me the way to the war ministry?

In this wartime political cartoon from Punch magazine, a German pilot is lowered from a floating zeppellin and asks an English policeman if he can direct him to the War Ministry building, so he can bomb it. Although meant in jest, in reality zeppellin raids were often ineffective because the lack of radio beacon navigation made it difficult to actually find their targets.

civilian casualties

Civilian Casualties
In this political cartoon, a young girl cries over the death of her mother, killed in a zeppellin air raid on London. Zeppellins were a horrible weapon that harmed mainly civilians; they also presaged the terrors of arial warfare that would come in World War 2.