L9 and L17 crossing the North Sea
to hit the enemy at his home front.
My High Seas Fleet is undergoing expansion for the moment, and in order to add further visual appeal and period flavor to Scheer’s naval force, I decided it was time to find some suitable Zeppelins for the collection.
The High Seas Fleet enjoying some aerial support!
I consulted a few links on TMP to get some inspiration, needing to find a model, which would fit with the 1/2400 scale of my GHQ ships. Deciding that what had previously been posted as suggestions on TMP would be too large, I googled the matter and found something interesting. Shapeways, a Dutch company specialized in 3D laser printing and dealing with models of all kinds; ships, tanks, trains, planes and to my happy surprise Zeppelins in 1/2400.
Shapeways offer a large selection of Zeppelin models.
The quality looked crisp on the Shapeways site reference pictures and the price of about €20 per piece seemed ok, so I decided to go for two of these baby killers, to create more of a flotilla feeling. They arrived carefully packaged and were produced in a clear see-through plastic resin, which painted up nicely after a black undercoating was applied.
S.M.S Von der Tann is joined by a Zeppelin flotilla.
The Shapeways Zeppelin models seem perfect for the 1/2400 GHQ ships.
I’m not sure whether Count von Zeppelin was able to grasp the prospect of his invention, when he in 1895 filed his first patent for what would later be one of the most feared weapons of the Great War. Build on a steal frame and filled with hydrogen, the sheer size and potential risk of explosion of one of these aerial monsters would no doubt be enough to spread terror into any group of unsuspecting civilians in their path.
"Guten Tag" - London, Liverpool, Nottingham and a long list of other cities
became targets as the Zeppelins tried to zap British morale.
Sorting under the Navy the Zeppelins were often used to perform reconnaissance missions over the North Sea, mapping out British mine-laying operations. With a speed of about 85 mph and with a potential capacity for 2 tons of bombs, the Zeppelins also performed a long list of small and large flotilla strikes at UK civilian targets.
Even though bombs were primitively dropped by hand, the result was often devastating
to the civilian populace. Women and children frequently figured on the casualties lists, sparking British press to dub the Zeppelins the "Baby Killers"
Aiming to puncture British morale by striking at the so far untouched homeland, the raids targeted London, Liverpool, Newcastle and a long list of smaller costal towns, which got some collateral bombing as the “Baby Killers” (the British press worked out this name to underline the unsavoriness of bombing civilian targets) passed overhead.
Zeppelin L9 landing at the Tønder base. This was a risky maneuver,
in some cases resulting in crashes, fire or explosions.
I’d have thought these early Zeppelins too vulnerable or technologically primitive for such long reach raids, but a determined breed of adventurous air captains and devoted crews would time and again volunteer to head out over the North Sea, even though sister Zeppelins often exploded on landing, takeoff, due to malfunction or were simply shot down by anti-aircraft fire.
Far from all made it home.
The Zeppelin crews were a special breed of death defying daredevils.
This decidedly German weapon have always fascinated me, and I recently discovered that the Imperial German Navy had one of their main Zeppelin bases only 1 hrs drive from where I grew up, in modern day Tønder, Denmark. Today there is a museum at this site, focusing on the Zeppelins history and the role they played during WW1 – a definite must-see on my travel itinerary when I go down to visit family in Denmark this summer.
Thank you very much for reading!