Air Raids on South-West Essex in the Great War, Looking for Zeppelins at Leyton

The 1914-18 Great War saw the first real use of air power. Balloons 
had been used for escape and for observation in earlier wars, but 
this was the first time that fleets of aircraft had been used for 
attack and defence. Highly Recommended.

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NAME: Air Raids on South-West Essex in the Great War, Looking for 
Zeppelins at Leyton
FILE: R2391
AUTHOR:  Alan Simpson
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back 
PAGES:  214
PRICE: £19.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: WWI, World War One, First World War, World War I, The Great 
War, war in the air, bombing, terror bombing, German airships, fighters, 
anti-aircraft artillery
ISBN: 1-47383-412-0
IMAGE: B2391.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/gtbfxe6
LINKS: Current Discount Offers http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/sale 
DESCRIPTION: The 1914-18 Great War saw the first real use of air power. 
Balloons had been used for escape and for observation in earlier wars, 
but this was the first time that fleets of aircraft had been used for 
attack and defence. Highly Recommended.

WWI was used by Germany to pioneer terror attacks on civilian populations, 
both by using aircraft and airships in bombing raids, and in shore 
bombardment of civilian targets by warships. In contrast, Britain 
developed strategic bombing against military targets using aircraft from 
ships and from shore bases. This was undertaken by the Royal Naval Air 
Service and the RNAS also rapidly developed capabilities to attack 
submerged submarines, surface warships and German airships.

At the start of WWII, Germany held  a lead in airship development. The 
Zeppelin was the best known family of rigid airships, but Germany and 
Austria also had semi-rigid airships and non-rigid airships. The Zeppelins 
were giants and had already demonstrated long range operation in  a wide 
range of weather conditions. They also had an advantage over heavier-than-
air craft. They could take off in very poor visibility, rise above fog and 
cloud, fly to their target and drop bombs through cloud. To provide some 
level of accuracy, an observer could be lowered through the cloud in a 
small gondola, but with telephone communication to the crew. As a result, 
the aircraft might be both inaudible and invisible above the cloud. On 
completion of the bomb run, the Zeppelin could then head for home and, if 
landing conditions were poor, cruise around until they improved. As the 
airship was making a near vertical decent, and able to halt that decent at 
will, landings in conditions that would be unacceptable to heavier-then-air 
craft were practical.

The Zeppelins therefore enjoyed a number of advantages over aircraft and were 
able to carry a much heavier bomb load than the early frail machines that 
depended on forward motion for lift. In the same way, the Zeppelins could 
initially operate above the ceiling of early biplanes. Where a biplane could 
reach a Zeppelin, the biplane was poorly armed to attack such a large target 
successfully and the airship carried a more effective defensive armament, 
including machine gun posts on top of the envelope. As a result, the first 
Zeppelin kills were achieved by naval aviators using bombs dropped from above 
the target airship.

As the war progressed, airships did not receive much additional development, 
at least in terms of configuration and equipment. However, heavier-than-air 
machines developed rapidly. They were able to climb higher and faster with 
each new model, had better endurance and began to receive more effective 
armament. A fighter was soon armed with two machine guns firing forward and 
fed with an increasingly wide range of ammunition. For fighting airships, the 
incendiary bullet became available and was effective against the highly 
combustible gas used to lift the airship. Anti-aircraft guns and searchlights 
came into common use to protect towns and military installations. To keep the 
air war going in terror bombing, the Germans had to develop large heavier-than-
air machines to replace the airship as it became increasingly vulnerable. 
Before that happened, the Zeppelin, and other German and Austrian airships had 
made a mark on the civilian population of Britain.

The author has looked particularly at terror bombing on the Eastern suburbs of 
London which has received far less covered than it merited. Although the title 
suggests the book only covers the Zeppelin raids on Essex and the eastern parts 
of London, the author has produced a very readable and balanced account of 
German terror bombing over a period of four years, including the increasingly 
more common raids by large biplane bombers, such as the Gothas. The text is 
well-supported by monochrome images through the body of the book and with maps. 
By covering the periods before and after the dropping of bombs on typical raids, 
the author has provided fresh insight and further detail than that provided in 
the past by other authors. In doing so, he has provided an effective review not 
only of the progress and adaption of raids, but also of the increasingly 
effective defences mounted to defeat the German bombing campaign.