Zeppelins raid America, 1918

lordroel

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A German raid on America would be pretty shocking to the American's. Yes we'd be 'pissed' but we'd also be scared because we'd gotten used to being 'isolated' from most conflicts because of the two oceans that surrounded us. I don't see it being an actual game-changer in terms of the war or its after-math, (unless it's a chemical or biological attack in which case frankly Germany is toast. there was a pretty reasonable logic for NOT attacking civilians with gas or bio if you could avoid it) but in general this is going to shake America's ability to consider 'isolationism' seriously. Sure U-boats had been a problem but at this point American soil has been directly attacked and that in and of itself (2 decades before Pearl Harbor has the same effect OTL) makes it very clear that the oceans are no longer enough to provide 'protection' for America.

What this would do is clearly show that America can't just 'sit-back' and let the world go it's own way so we'd likely be less likely to fully disarm and stand down. Airship wise it's likely we go further than OTL as it would be clear that they can actually project power to a long range even though they are going to have a lot of issues. More practically if the US still goes for helium production we would actually put more resources and money into the infrastructure unlike OTL where it was always lack-luster and short.

Randy

Also if some German submarines shell some targets on mainland United States, the United States will not be so happy with Germany if they surrender.
 

drejr

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Tourists thought U-156's raid on Orleans was great entertainment. The US East Coast was fairly heavily patrolled by aircraft, particularly around New York. Seaplanes with 3" guns might dissuade zeppelins from attacking at low level in daylight.

(Of course Navy planes only managed to hit U-156 with a monkey wrench because their bomb fuzes didn't work.)
 

Hood

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I'm rather sceptical that we can reliably estimate how a population may have responded to bombardment or air attack in 1918. Especially in the case of the USA who had been sheltered from direct outside attack since 1846 but whose older generations would still have remembered the carnage of the civil war. There was also a much larger German immigrant community in the USA, would they suffer backlash or would it temper the mob?
I'm not sure the Pearl Harbor analogy is applicable, there were other factors at stake there and any raid in 1918 would be during American's involvement as a belligerent.

The populations of some of the bigger coastal towns along Britain's East coast had endured shelling from German battlecruisers right on their doorstep. London and dozens of smaller places and little hamlets got caught up in the Zeppelin and Gotha raids.
There was anger, there were mobs smashing up shops which had any remotely German sounding name on them and in part this addition to the general anti-German loathing made one very famous family change their dynastic name to one of the castles they owned. We can't also ignore that a smooth propaganda machine swung into action, posters dubbing Zeppelin's as "baby killers" to stoke up public opinion.
Yet with hindsight, 51 Zeppelin raids unleashing 5,000 bombs would only kill 557 and injure 1,358 people, the Gotha's did far better in terms of casualties - 27 raids killing 835 and injuring 1,972. If anything this highlights how ineffective Zeppelins were.

But on the other hand, morale wasn't crushed, people didn't flee London, just as many who would hide would also stand and stare at the action overhead and some at the time this reluctance to shelter had increased casualties - even in 1940 people would often watch dogfights overhead as a form of entertainment.
There is a telling passage in John Buchan's Mr Standfast, published in 1919 and describing Richard Hannay caught up in an air raid on London in late 1917, which was probably inspired by Buchan's own experiences in London around that time.
The man who says he doesn’t mind being bombed or shelled is either a liar or a maniac. This London air raid seemed to me a singularly unpleasant business. I think it was the sight of the decent civilised life around one and the orderly streets, for what was perfectly natural in a rubble-heap like Ypres or Arras seemed an outrage here. I remember once being in billets in a Flanders village where I had the Maire’s house and sat in a room upholstered in cut velvet, with wax flowers on the mantelpiece and oil paintings of three generations on the walls. The Boche took it into his head to shell the place with a long-range naval gun, and I simply loathed it. It was horrible to have dust and splinters blown into that snug, homely room, whereas if I had been in a ruined barn I wouldn’t have given the thing two thoughts. In the same way bombs dropping in central London seemed a grotesque indecency. I hated to see plump citizens with wild eyes, and nursemaids with scared children, and miserable women scuttling like rabbits in a warren.

The drone grew louder, and, looking up, I could see the enemy planes flying in a beautiful formation, very leisurely as it seemed, with all London at their mercy. Another bomb fell to the right, and presently bits of our own shrapnel were clattering viciously around me. I thought it about time to take cover, and ran shamelessly for the best place I could see, which was a Tube station. Five minutes before the street had been crowded; now I left behind me a desert dotted with one bus and three empty taxicabs.

I found the Tube entrance filled with excited humanity. One stout lady had fainted, and a nurse had become hysterical, but on the whole people were behaving well. Oddly enough they did not seem inclined to go down the stairs to the complete security of underground; but preferred rather to collect where they could still get a glimpse of the upper world, as if they were torn between fear of their lives and interest in the spectacle. That crowd gave me a good deal of respect for my countrymen. But several were badly rattled, and one man a little way off, whose back was turned, kept twitching his shoulders as if he had the colic.
It leavens the feeling of panic and puts the moral case rather interestingly, bringing the battlefield to 'civilised' London seemed repugnant, although we could point out the poor people of Ypres or Arras probably didn't think it natural to have their towns obliterated by artillery...
There is always a taste of exceptionalism, not a year before the novel was published Trenchard had wanted to meet out similar punishment on German cities with HP O/100s and O/400s and Vimys but the hundred. Likewise the USAAS was keen to build its own fleet of Handley Pages for strategic bombing.
 

lordroel

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Tourists thought U-156's raid on Orleans was great entertainment. The US East Coast was fairly heavily patrolled by aircraft, particularly around New York. Seaplanes with 3" guns might dissuade zeppelins from attacking at low level in daylight.

Would those planes guns be armed with a mix of Pomeroy bullets, Brock bullets containing potassium chlorate explosive, and incendiary Buckingham bullets containing pyrophoric yellow phosphorus.
 

iverson

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I'm rather sceptical that we can reliably estimate how a population may have responded to bombardment or air attack in 1918. Especially in the case of the USA who had been sheltered from direct outside attack since 1846 but whose older generations would still have remembered the carnage of the civil war. There was also a much larger German immigrant community in the USA, would they suffer backlash or would it temper the mob?
I'm not sure the Pearl Harbor analogy is applicable, there were other factors at stake there and any raid in 1918 would be during American's involvement as a belligerent.

The populations of some of the bigger coastal towns along Britain's East coast had endured shelling from German battlecruisers right on their doorstep. London and dozens of smaller places and little hamlets got caught up in the Zeppelin and Gotha raids.
There was anger, there were mobs smashing up shops which had any remotely German sounding name on them and in part this addition to the general anti-German loathing made one very famous family change their dynastic name to one of the castles they owned. We can't also ignore that a smooth propaganda machine swung into action, posters dubbing Zeppelin's as "baby killers" to stoke up public opinion.
Yet with hindsight, 51 Zeppelin raids unleashing 5,000 bombs would only kill 557 and injure 1,358 people, the Gotha's did far better in terms of casualties - 27 raids killing 835 and injuring 1,972. If anything this highlights how ineffective Zeppelins were.

But on the other hand, morale wasn't crushed, people didn't flee London, just as many who would hide would also stand and stare at the action overhead and some at the time this reluctance to shelter had increased casualties - even in 1940 people would often watch dogfights overhead as a form of entertainment.
There is a telling passage in John Buchan's Mr Standfast, published in 1919 and describing Richard Hannay caught up in an air raid on London in late 1917, which was probably inspired by Buchan's own experiences in London around that time.
The man who says he doesn’t mind being bombed or shelled is either a liar or a maniac. This London air raid seemed to me a singularly unpleasant business. I think it was the sight of the decent civilised life around one and the orderly streets, for what was perfectly natural in a rubble-heap like Ypres or Arras seemed an outrage here. I remember once being in billets in a Flanders village where I had the Maire’s house and sat in a room upholstered in cut velvet, with wax flowers on the mantelpiece and oil paintings of three generations on the walls. The Boche took it into his head to shell the place with a long-range naval gun, and I simply loathed it. It was horrible to have dust and splinters blown into that snug, homely room, whereas if I had been in a ruined barn I wouldn’t have given the thing two thoughts. In the same way bombs dropping in central London seemed a grotesque indecency. I hated to see plump citizens with wild eyes, and nursemaids with scared children, and miserable women scuttling like rabbits in a warren.

The drone grew louder, and, looking up, I could see the enemy planes flying in a beautiful formation, very leisurely as it seemed, with all London at their mercy. Another bomb fell to the right, and presently bits of our own shrapnel were clattering viciously around me. I thought it about time to take cover, and ran shamelessly for the best place I could see, which was a Tube station. Five minutes before the street had been crowded; now I left behind me a desert dotted with one bus and three empty taxicabs.

I found the Tube entrance filled with excited humanity. One stout lady had fainted, and a nurse had become hysterical, but on the whole people were behaving well. Oddly enough they did not seem inclined to go down the stairs to the complete security of underground; but preferred rather to collect where they could still get a glimpse of the upper world, as if they were torn between fear of their lives and interest in the spectacle. That crowd gave me a good deal of respect for my countrymen. But several were badly rattled, and one man a little way off, whose back was turned, kept twitching his shoulders as if he had the colic.
It leavens the feeling of panic and puts the moral case rather interestingly, bringing the battlefield to 'civilised' London seemed repugnant, although we could point out the poor people of Ypres or Arras probably didn't think it natural to have their towns obliterated by artillery...
There is always a taste of exceptionalism, not a year before the novel was published Trenchard had wanted to meet out similar punishment on German cities with HP O/100s and O/400s and Vimys but the hundred. Likewise the USAAS was keen to build its own fleet of Handley Pages for strategic bombing.
We know a little about how Americans responded to German-initiated explosions. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Tom_explosion
 

Hood

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We know a little about how Americans responded to German-initiated explosions.
Hmmmmm, there seems a lot of maybes there. Could have been German agents, could have been Irish republicans, could have been Communists... a lot of could haves for what might have just been an accident. They tried to pin the Kingsland explosion on a German agent too, but that was later determined to be an accident.
 

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We know a little about how Americans responded to German-initiated explosions.
Hmmmmm, there seems a lot of maybes there. Could have been German agents, could have been Irish republicans, could have been Communists... a lot of could haves for what might have just been an accident. They tried to pin the Kingsland explosion on a German agent too, but that was later determined to be an accident.
This is interesting for the Irish . What if the Germans used airships to transport weapons to the Irish rebels in 1916. Or transporting weapons to Algerian and Moroccan Bedouins to fight the French. For example in 1916 the Afghan caliphate under the influence of the Ottomans and the Germans declared war on British India what if through Asia Minor and Iran they supplied Afghan fighters with weapons or with German instructors.
 

iverson

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We know a little about how Americans responded to German-initiated explosions.
Hmmmmm, there seems a lot of maybes there. Could have been German agents, could have been Irish republicans, could have been Communists... a lot of could haves for what might have just been an accident. They tried to pin the Kingsland explosion on a German agent too, but that was later determined to be an accident.

True. But actual responsibility is not really the point here. The question was how America would react to a perceived attack. The explosion was a perceived attack.

The American public's reaction to both actual and perceived German provocation, from torpedoing of ships to the Zimmerman Telegram, was uniform, so much so that Americans with German names faced persecution severe enough to merit name changes. So I suspect that Zeppelin attack on New York would at best (from Germany;s point of view) harden America support for the Allies and for the harshest possible peace terms.
 

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What if the Germans use it winds from the Atlantic Ocean to America from submarine to launch small balloons with explosives to America as the Japanese did in 1944?
 

GTX

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What if the Germans use it winds from the Atlantic Ocean to America from submarine to launch small balloons with explosives to America as the Japanese did in 1944?
Might be a little challenging given the prevailing winds:
Map_prevailing_winds_on_earth.png
 

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then they would use the African wind from the Sahara to the Atlantic Ocean to the southern part of U.S of America in the fall Map-of-trade-winds-and-other-wind-directions-over-Africa-both-north-and-south-of-the.jpg
 

Arjen

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That will get you to Brazil, possibly the Caribbean.
 

Archibald

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That will get you to Brazil, possibly the Caribbean.

How about a Zeppelin riding the winds to these places, then bombing whatever American cities it can reach - before returning to Germany crossing the Atlantic pushed by the winds ?
That would be one hell of a round trip !!
 

kocovgoce

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That will get you to Brazil, possibly the Caribbean.

How about a Zeppelin riding the winds to these places, then bombing whatever American cities it can reach - before returning to Germany crossing the Atlantic pushed by the winds ?
That would be one hell of a round trip !!
They will save fuel if they use the winds. But winds can also damage an airship. Perhaps it would be best if the Germans had a base with some Mexican warlords and from here to attack America especially those oil installations in the west.
But what if the Germans used an airship that he did not need as a guided missile to some part of America.

Оtherwise one of the purposes of Goering with the ignition of Graf Hinderburg was to get helium technology in order to make a fleet of helium zeppelin in order easier unloading of troops and materials, especially for the invasion of England, however, 40 km of canal would have been easily passed by the German zeppelin who would have resisted the flammable bullets fired by the British. And very easily the Germans would be able to unload 200 armed commandos at an airport in England.

 

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But what if the Germans used an airship that he did not need as a guided missile to some part of America.
The guidancevtechnology of this time could not be relied on intercontinental ranges. At the closing stage of the war, Germans envisioned a radio-controlled unmanned bomber, capable of striking London and return back - but it was supposed to operate within the range of Telefunken radio direction finding system (the signals of onboard beacon in drone were supposed to be tracked by two land-based RDF, and drone position triangulated). On the transcontinental distance, some other system would be needed.
 

Dilandu

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We are talking about 1918 if an attempt was made for flying over the Atlantic with no pilot zeppelin which technology would be used? some form of machine navigation with gears or
I'm afraid, none would work. The reliability of 1910s mechanics is just too low; all parts of aircrafts, motors, rudders, altitude controls, required constant adjusments and maintenance. Fully automated zeppelin could stay in air several hours at most - then something would break down.
 

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We are talking about 1918 if an attempt was made for flying over the Atlantic with no pilot zeppelin which technology would be used? some form of machine navigation with gears or
I'm afraid, none would work. The reliability of 1910s mechanics is just too low; all parts of aircrafts, motors, rudders, altitude controls, required constant adjusments and maintenance. Fully automated zeppelin could stay in air several hours at most - then something would break down.
then it would have to be a small one-way mission to attack certain targets and the zeppelin to be abandoned and destroyed. So the option remains for the zeppelins to be refueled back to Germany by submarines. Something like a combination of zeppelins landing on the sea.
 

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the first zeppelins used weights to rotate up or down such as the one in the picture connected to a cable that is, the weight with the cables was lifted back or forward depending on which part of the zeppelin was to be lowered or raised 23.jpg
 

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the first zeppelins used weights to rotate up or down such as the one in the picture connected to a cable that is, the weight with the cables was lifted back or forward depending on which part of the zeppelin was to be lowered or raised
Yep, but this concept was dropped very fast as less practical than just using elevators.
 

kocovgoce

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the first zeppelins used weights to rotate up or down such as the one in the picture connected to a cable that is, the weight with the cables was lifted back or forward depending on which part of the zeppelin was to be lowered or raised
Yep, but this concept was dropped very fast as less practical than just using elevators.
Yes newer models used rails where the load went forward or backward along the entire length of the zeppelin.

Until the advent of large zeppelins that used water tanks and pumps to distribute water either forward or to the back
 

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