Zeppelins over the Balkans.

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Zeppelins over the Balkans.

Post by tigre » 10 May 2022 18:57

Hello to all :D; a little on this topic.............................

Zeppelins over the Balkans. Temesvár-Szentandrás 1915-1917.

The airship port in Temesvár.

Since October 19, 1915, the German 11th Army, also known as the Southeast Army, has been crossing the Danube near Belgrade under the command of Major General von Gallwitz. North of it it is supported by the k.u.k. (kaiserlich und königlich) Army under General Kövess von Kövessháza, which crosses the Danube at Mitrowitza. Together they form Army Group Mackensen, which after Bulgaria's entry into the war on October 11 is reinforced by the Bulgarian 1st Army under Lieutenant General Boyadzhiev.

Since the beginning of the campaign, the German infantry and artillery have been supported by six German air battalions (Fl. Abt. 1, 28, 30, 57, 66, 69). But the strategic reconnaissance and bombing raids are also to be carried out by airships. In preparation for this, the Chief of the German General Staff, General von Falkenhayn, asked as early as July 29, 1915 at k.u.k. Chief of Staff General Conrad von Hötzendorf for approval of the construction of a recovery hall for airships in southern Hungary.

After approval has been given, the k.u.k. Airship Department Captain Mannsbarth, promote the establishment of an airship port in southern Hungary. A site 2 km south-east of the Szentandrás railway station near Temesvár is leased as a place for the airship hangar and the associated buildings. The start of construction for the airship port is September 3, 1915. Next to the hall, of the type of a transportable hall, workshops, depots and a gas station are built as ancillary buildings.

From September 1st, Hauptmann Pachner von Zobor will take over this task, which he will pass on to Hauptmann Hirsch on September 21st. He remains commander of the airship detachment Temesvár until October 27, 1915. The new commander of the airship port, which has meanwhile been given the code name "ADEBAR", is Hauptmann Karl Lumbe Edler von Mallonitz.

Source: Luftwaffen Revue. Nro 1 März 2018.

Cheers.Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Zeppelins over the Balkans.

Post by tigre » 17 May 2022 15:23

Hello to all :D; more............................

Zeppelins over the Balkans. Temesvár-Szentandrás 1915-1917.

The first employ of the LZ 81 in the Balkans.

On November 1, 1915, the new army airship LZ 81 (first flight on October 7, 1915) moved from Dresden to Temesvár. The Commander was Hauptmann Felix Jacobi, who commanded Z VII from Baden Oos on August 22, 1914. After the destruction of Z VII, LZ 81 was already his third command (his second command was LZ 34, which took over on January 6, 1915 until its destruction in Insterburg). At the same time, the Saxon Luftschifftrupp 14 (Airship Troop 14) moved to Temesvár. Although the airship port is maintained by a command of the K.u.K (Austro-Hungarian), German aeronauts are responsible for the operation of the airships, who are properly trained for this task.

The LZ 81 made its first war flight on November 08, 1915. On the way to Sofia, the airship crossed Serbia. The reason for the trip is not an attack on Serbian troops or strategic reconnaissance. LZ 81 transfers a commission headed by the special ambassador of the German Emperor, Duke Johann Albrecht of Mecklenburg, to personal negotiations with the Bulgarian Tsar, Ferdinand I.

The LZ 81 rises on December 31, 1915 for the first attack. The destination is Thessaloniki. However, the attack is unlucky and must be called off due to engine damage. The cause is identified as the 240hp Maybach engine, which was first installed in an army airship and is not yet fit for use at the front. For this reason, no further planned attacks on Thessaloniki can be carried out for the time being. Crossing the Macedonian mountains seems too dangerous or is considered impossible.

As a consequence, the LZ 81 is sent back to Germany for modifications and is replaced by the airship LZ 85. After the conversion, the LZ 81 was initially used on the Western Front and carried out a successful offensive against England on March 30, 1916 and against Etaples in France on April 25, 1916.

Source: Luftwaffen Revue. Nro 1 März 2018.

Cheers.Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Zeppelins over the Balkans.

Post by tigre » 24 May 2022 15:54

Hello to all :D; more............................

Zeppelins over the Balkans. Temesvár-Szentandrás 1915-1917.

LZ 85 moved to Temesvár.

Despite the higher number, the LZ 85 (first flight September 12, 1915) was older than the LZ 81 and for this reason was still fitted with the more reliable 210 hp engines. In charge of the aircraft was Oberleutnant Ernst Scherzer (*). This was his second command after taking charge of the airship "Sachsen" from Kapitänleutnant Lehmann in July 1915 and commanding it on the Eastern Front until September 1915. On 12 September he took charge of the new LZ 85 and subsequently carried out three more successful attacks on Dünaburg, Minsk and Riga. In mid-January 1916 he was ordered to move to Temesvár with his airship from Allenstein, his former base of operations. Before LZ 85 reaches Temesvár, the airship port command changes again. The new commander is Hauptmann Hermann Kühn.

The First attack of the LZ 85 against Thessaloniki.

Bad weather has prevailed in Temesvár since the airship arrived. Closed cloud cover and stormy winds repeatedly prevent an ascent. After the weather conditions had improved in the last days of January, the first mission was getting closer and on January 31, 1916 the time had come. LZ 85 ascends at 3:25 p.m. for its first attack on Thessaloniki. Following the Morava valley, the airship reaches Nish at 8:23 p.m.

The cloud cover that was still present when the flight started increased steadily again, so that from 9:00 p.m., in order to climb the surrounding mountains, the airship had to be taken to the highest possible altitude of 3,000 m. After one hour of travel with a SSW course, a SE course will be adopted since the Vardar valley must be reached. At 23:50, the cloud cover finally passed and the distinctive arc of the Vardar near Krivolak became visible. Continuing to follow the river to the south, Thessaloniki can soon be seen in the distance and, heading SSE, approaches the city from the south. Regarding the attack itself, here is an excerpt from the commander's report, Oberleutnant Scherzer: "...In addition to many protected ships that were difficult to see, there were also large transport steamers, apparently illuminated, in the bay, set a course for two of them, and also for the port facility in the same direction with the ammunition depots located there. Several 60 kg bombs were dropped on the ships, one hit the port side of one. It was no longer possible determine with certainty if one of the obscured ships, which it was also heading towards, was hit. Most of the bombs were dropped on port facilities and port rail facilities.Two bombs detonated at the head of the quay, six at the same port, several bombs fell on the docks; several caused powerful explosions, it can be assumed that the ammunition cartridge depots have probably been hit. ... One of the last bombs on the docks caused a widespread and rapidly expanding fire. 14 small bombs were dropped on the camps northwest of the city..........

(*) *October 26, 1888 in Neuhof near Liegnitz; † September 26, 1945.

Source: Luftwaffen Revue. Nro 1 März 2018.

Cheers.Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Zeppelins over the Balkans.

Post by tigre » 31 May 2022 14:38

Hello to all :D; more............................

Zeppelins over the Balkans. Temesvár-Szentandrás 1915-1917.

The First attack of the LZ 85 against Thessaloniki.

Instead, an eyewitness account of the Thessaloniki attack, written by G. Ward Price and published in the English magazine Flight, detailed that:

“…Anyone who was still awake at 02:45 a.m. could hear a loud hum, completely different from the familiar hum of an airplane. From then until three in the morning, twenty-five bombs fall with a terrible noise in the water of the port and in the city. Residents with south-facing windows clearly saw the aircraft, and according to those who witnessed the attacks in London, the zeppelin was flying much lower than there. From a roof it was seen like in an amphitheater situated on the mountain around the bay, the windows of the wall-to-wall native houses light up one after another. The streets filled up quickly. Greek firefighters worked hard with their hand pumps and groups of bluecoats hastily disembarked from the boats in pairs, each with a hose, and the fire was eventually contained. I saw several injured Greeks in the streets as I passed. Seven people have died on the docks and ten in the city. Two Greek soldiers were killed and twenty-eight people were injured. The windows of some stores were blown out, as were the windows of the Greek prefecture, where a bomb fell ten meters from the entrance to the garden. At three in the morning the zeppelin disappeared to the west.....

In addition to loss of life, the attack caused property damage of approximately £250,000. The two together caused an outburst of outrage in the local press, which subsequently led to a wave of anger against the Germans in Greece, which had previously been neutral.

Unaware of the damage caused, the crew of the LZ 85 heads towards the home port. Due to the decrease in the south wind, the return is delayed by about two hours. Since the return trip is now taking longer than planned, fuel must be saved by temporarily powering the airship with just two engines. At 10:20 a.m. on February 1, 1916, after a successful patrol for the crew, the airship lands safely in Temesvár.

It should also be noted here that the air defenses at Thessaloniki were practically non-existent during the crossing. Whether by surprise or lack of weapons, the LZ 85 passed through the harbor and docks without taking any hits. The lack of anti-aircraft defenses is also confirmed by the foreign press, which reports extensively on the bombing of Thessaloniki.

Source: Luftwaffen Revue. Nro 1 März 2018.

Cheers.Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Zeppelins over the Balkans.

Post by Tanzania » 04 Jun 2022 12:57

Hi Raúl M

Looks very interesting; - thank´s for posting; - Please go ahead. :thumbsup:

Cheers Holger
“Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. . . . All History was a
palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary” – G. ORWELL 1984

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Re: Zeppelins over the Balkans.

Post by tigre » 07 Jun 2022 19:25

Hello to all :D; thanks Holger :wink:. More............................

Zeppelins over the Balkans. Temesvár-Szentandrás 1915-1917.

The second attack of the LZ 85 against Thessaloniki.

During the course of February, on February 8, 1916 to be exact, LZ 85 rose again to bombard Salonika. However, she did not reach her destination because due to bad weather she had to turn around Nisch. In the following hard landing at Temesvár, helmsman Schmidt was injured. As a consequence of this injury, she developed pneumonia, from which he died on March 3. Only during the next climb, on March 17, 1916, the airship and its crew managed to approach Thessaloniki again. The defense was prepared this time, however, and LZ 85 was repulsed by anti-aircraft guns and aircraft on the outer line of defence, some 20 km from the objective.

Defense was also aided by low cloud cover, forcing the airship's crew to attack low and within range of anti-aircraft defences. 20 bombs landed on open ground without doing much damage. The return trip proves more difficult than expected as the aircraft has been hit and is losing fuel. She went to Sofia, who is closer or can be reached without crossing a mountain. As hydrogen gas for the aircraft cannot be found there, two of the four engines are disassembled to save weight and shipped to Temesvár by train. The airship, now lighter, resumes its journey back to her home port, landing late but safely in Temesvár.

The damaged aircraft will need repairs in the coming weeks. The gas is released, the damaged cells are replaced, the hull patched, and finally the two removed engines are reinstalled in their gondolas. At the moment there will be no flights, so the airship remains on the ground for the rest of March and all of April. It is only reported that the aircraft will be operational again in early May.

Source: Luftwaffen Revue. Nro 1 März 2018.

Cheers.Raúl M 8-).

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Re: Zeppelins over the Balkans.

Post by tigre » 14 Jun 2022 14:49

Hello to all :D; thanks Holger :wink:. More............................

Zeppelins over the Balkans. Temesvár-Szentandrás 1915-1917.

The end of LZ 85.

It has dawned on May 04, 1916. Throughout the day it be can seen the hustle and bustle in the Timisoara aircraft hangar. The men of Airship Squadron 14 prepare LZ 85 for its next offensive run. The route and schedule of the operation largely corresponds to the successful trip on January 31. The ascent finally takes place around 4:30 p.m. and the LZ 85 heads for the Morava valley. Following the already known route, it steadily approaches its destination Thessaloniki for the next few hours.

The report of the first sighting of the aircraft reaches Thessaloniki from Karasuli, south of Ghevgeli. From there to the target area the LZ 85 is being followed by the searchlights that have been installed in the meantime. It arrives at the port of Thessaloniki at 02:15 a.m. and the alarm sounds immediately. French air defenses immediately opened fire, and searchlights in the harbor lit up the sky around the aircraft. Above all, the 36-inch headlamp of the H.M.S. Agamemnon no longer strays from his target. The LZ 85 caught in the crossfire of H.M.S. Agamemnon and a French battleship and is hit multiple times. Slowly, the aircraft burns out completely.

The press suspects that the crew set fire to the aircraft to prevent a nearly intact German airship from falling into enemy hands. When the first ones reach the wreck, they find only the skeleton of the zeppelin, but neither the crew nor their corpses. On the other hand, map material dropped shortly before landing is recovered intact.

On May 7, reporter G. Ward Price wrote again about the fate of the crew, this time for the London Times: “...The French cavalry took prisoner the crew of the downed zeppelin. The Germans were almost naked. They had swum in the dark and had their uniforms on. They were looking for them all morning. "Fortunately, the two parties recognized each other by the distinctive British accent of the caller, so nothing worse happened..." He goes on to say that the capture of the crew occurred when they were leaving the the dense reeds. In total, the various reports speaks of 12 prisoners, 4 officers and 8 soldiers. This coincides with the information in the German casualty lists, the 12 crew members of the LZ 85 with the note "in Gefgsch. [captivity]". The prisoners are first housed in the buildings of the former German School in Thessaloniki.

However, when comparing it with the crew list that has been delivered for the first attack on January 31, it is noted that these cannot be all the crew. This lists four other positions. For example, the machine gunners from the first trip, Petty Officers Rosiolletz and Jakubitz, do not appear on the list of prisoners. Also, Submachinist Hesse is not on the list of prisoners. This may coincide with press releases reporting that two crew members of the downed zeppelin near Thessaloniki, although wounded, escaped from the Vardar swamps and in the meantime crossed the border into Bulgaria. The names of the men are not given in the reports. The situation is different with the last missing person from the first trip. As already mentioned, helmsman Schmidt died of illness on March 3.

Source: Luftwaffen Revue. Nro 1 März 2018.

Cheers.Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Zeppelins over the Balkans.

Post by IanE » 15 Jun 2022 06:06

Raúl,

Thank you for posting this fascinating and informative story of the Zeppelins over the Balkans. It has been a real pleasure to read.

Regards,
Ian

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Re: Zeppelins over the Balkans.

Post by tigre » 21 Jun 2022 18:50

Hello to all :D; thanks Ian :wink:. More............................

Zeppelins over the Balkans. Temesvár-Szentandrás 1915-1917.

The wreck of the LZ 85.

Shortly after the accident, the French, English and Greeks arrived at the crash site and inspected the wreck. G. Ward Price, who visited the LZ 85 crash site for the second time the next day and immortalized it in an article for the London Times, gives his opinion here again on behalf of all: “.. carried out a second excursion today to the remains of the airship. I noticed on the perforated aluminum plate, which forms the bow and connects all the longitudinal spars of the skeleton, an address scrawled in [pencil] in German script. It said 'Potsdam', then a street name and number, illegible, and the date 'August 13, 1915' (first flight was September 12, 1915). This is possibly the date the work on the aircraft frame was completed. But it is definitely a indication of the approximate date of completion. Remains of the number on the side look like "L 55" or "L 85".

One of the large gasoline tanks was still burning this afternoon, 36 hours after the airship caught fire. The French have posted guards over the wreck, even though the water around the wreck is half a meter deep and the route to it is through even deeper water. A group of Canadian nurses were also among the spectators struggling through the swamp that afternoon.

So far nothing has been done to salvage the wreck from the swamp, which will be very difficult because of the mud, tangle of reeds and spongy ground. It is quite possible that the desolate swamp is the final grave of the sinister air monster, which we could see yesterday morning in bright yellow in the cones of light from the searchlights. The emaciated skeleton towers 50 feet above the swamp and is a prominent landmark for all ships entering the Gulf. Around the scaffolding you can see semicircular racks on which the bombs were transported and we found a 70 kg bomb that is still in place today.

A comparison of the wreck with the zeppelin he was traveling six years ago, which crashed in the Teutoburg Forest, revealed no striking differences in size or configuration, except perhaps to the eye of an expert. The airship may be larger than the "Deutschland". She probably has a length of almost 180 m. The size of the engines, nacelles and propellers appear to be the same. The latter are made of layer-glued polished walnut, the front edge of which is copper-wrapped. They are labeled "Lorenzen Propeller Partrax Original".

The German war flag flown on the aircraft now decorates General Sarrail's room at French Headquarters. The wardroom of the Agamemnon receives one of the propellers as a prized trophy. ... General Sarrail states that he hopes to find the skeleton of the wrecked aircraft to take it to Thessaloniki.

Source: Luftwaffen Revue. Nro 1 März 2018.

Cheers.Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Zeppelins over the Balkans.

Post by tigre » 28 Jun 2022 17:54

Hello to all :D; more............................

Zeppelins over the Balkans. Temesvár-Szentandrás 1915-1917.

The wreck of the LZ 85.

However, contrary to G. Ward Price's assumption, the salvage of the airship wreckage will be successful in the next few days. The remains of LZ 85 are dismantled on site in the swamps and brought to Thessaloniki on rafts and barges to be reassembled and put on display in front of the White Tower. During the time that followed, the skeleton of the airship formed an impressive backdrop, both for the curious population of Thessaloniki and its surroundings and for the soldiers of the armed forces of the various nations stationed there. In addition, the sight of the skeleton in front of the White Tower becomes the subject of a large number of postcards and other souvenirs.

Eventually, some of the wreck will become memorabilia of all kinds. The decorative pieces were shipped to various countries by sea. So the war flag, like Z VIII's a good two years earlier, ended up in the French war exhibition at Les Invalides in Paris. Other components will be deployed to the capitals of the warring Entente nations to analyze the design features of the German zeppelin and meticulously measure and examine them.

Source: Luftwaffen Revue. Nro 1 März 2018.

Cheers.Raúl M 8-).
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