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Birth of Strategic Bombing

The German Zeppelin L-30 in 1916. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The German Zeppelin L-30 in 1916. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Strategic bombing had its beginning during World War I when German Zeppelins began raiding London. Small attacks against England were carried out early in the war, but by October 1915, "squadron-size" raids by numerous Zeppelins had begun, always at night and in the dark of the moon.

Early in September 1916, a British fighter shot down an airship in flames, and three weeks later, two Zeppelins attempting to attack London were also destroyed. Although Zeppelin performance was gradually improved, so were British defenses, and heavy losses continued. After a disastrous raid on Aug. 5, 1918, the Germans practically discontinued Zeppelin warfare.

There were 159 Zeppelin attacks against England during WWI, resulting in the death of 557 people, primarily civilians, and damages of $7,500,000.

Click here to return to the Early Years Gallery.

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