One of the two new "super"
Zeppelins handed over to the British at the end of the first
At the end of WW1 the
Allied powers quickly decided to dismantle whatever was
left of the German war machine. They required the Germans
to surrender all remaining instruments of war, among which
were 21 Zeppelins.
The Allies worked out
a plan to divide these amongst themselves. After a careful
survey, seven were declared obsolete and dismantled, seven
destroyed by the German Crews, the rest divided up between
the British, French Italian and Japanese Governments. Following
the post war agreements on reparations, it was agreed that
these would be handed over to the Allies and restrictions
were put on the German Government on the construction of
ft - Dynamic Ceiling
ft - Dynamic Ceiling
The L71 was
from a new class of "super" Zeppelin with the intention
of having the ability to bomb New York. The Germans had already
proved that a lengthened Zeppelin could fly over 5,000 miles,
as with the famed L59 and the flight over Africa.
History : Work
Flights : 2
Scouting : 0
Raids : 0
Navy Flights : 6
Total flights : 8
plus delivery to the UK
the original works flight of the L71 on 29th July 1918, the
ship was finally commissioned on 10th August 1918 and the
ship was designated to Kapitain Martin Dietrich and Executive
officer Lt S. Eisenbeck. . She carried out Navy flights then
it was decided that she would be lengthened and she was put
in the shed at Friedrichshafen from 3rd October to 28th October.
When she emerged and flown up to Alhorn, the war was in it's
final days. This brand new ship stayed in the shed with the
L 64 awaiting to hear her fate.
With the end of the war, the German crews were ordered back
to their bases on 9th November 1918. The ground crews were
segregated from their officers, and the ground crews then
ordered to deflate their ships and leave them suspended from
the roofs of the airship sheds, as was the normal procedures
for large rigid airships. When the lifting gas was valved
off the weight of the ships was taken by large slings in the
forms of loops which suspended the craft from the roof, and
thus preventing the ships control and engine gondola's being
crushed under the weight of the framework above. At Alhorn
air station, however no action was taken by the crews and
the L-64 and L-71 remained intact.
control gondola of the L 71
It was not until the 30th June 1920 that the L 71 was handed
over to the British and she was flown in to Pulham Airship
Station by her German crews. She was expertly landed and
impressed not only the Station officers but also the local
people who had witnessed her arrival.
The ship stayed in the
shed but later it was decided that the ship donate two of
her engine cars to the newly constructed R 36. This was
a strange twist of fate in that it was the R36 which aided
the destruction of the L 71.
R36 was returning to Pulham after a local flight. Upon approaching
the airfield, the R36 was snagged on her forward mooring
cables and when Captain Scott overran the mooring tower.
The strain was too much for the bow of the ship and the
forward two gas bags deflated. As the ship was unmanageable
with the loss of lift in the forward section, it was decided
that the R36 must be put in to the shed. However the shed
at Pulham was already full with the L64 and L71. It was
suggested that the R36 be moved off to Howden but this was
too dangerous a flight. She was lowered to the ground, and
Captain Scott took the decision to sacrifice the two German
ships. With the benefit of hindsight, both of the German
ships were now some 3 years old and technology was moving
on fast. Radical decisions to scrap ships had happened throughout
the whole of the British Airship Programme due to costs
and so it cannot be seen as quite so wasteful to get rid
of these ships, which were now deemed obsolete considering
the move to create more "commercial" ships.
The German ships once
delivered, were never flow by British crews.
Shown here is the control
car, and the engine cars being stripped out at Pulham