My latest historical interest is actually a return to one of my oldest historical passions. I was fascinated by zeppelins since my high school days. Back in those ancient days I saw a movie about the Germans using a zeppelin for an elaborate commando raid during the First World War. The movie was fictional but the fact that the Germans used zeppelins for military purposes is quite true.
‘Zeppelin’, the movie that inspired my passion.
The zeppelin left a lot to be desired as a weapon of war. The German zeppelins particularly suffered from the fact that the gas that lifted them was highly inflammable hydrogen. The British didn’t take long to make incendiary bullets to exploit this weakness. The Germans still found uses for their vulnerable behemoths. They used them for everything from transport, to reconnaissance, to strategic bombing. They gained an odd notoriety for their use as bombers; the initial attacks they made on England inspired more terror than the actual damage they inflicted. It bothered the English civilian population horribly that an enemy could finally strike them in the scant security of their homes. The British army was forced to deploy substantial resources to counter the perceived threat of the zeppelins.
Zeppelins on the attack!
My fascination is with this period of airship history during the First World War. Zeppelins lumbered on in history for almost 25 years after the war. The United States Navy would even experiment with them as combat vehicles.
I am convinced this technology might still make a comeback today. This time we will be using them to lift large payloads for transport. Today the dirigible – airships without a fixed frame – are already making a return as radar platforms for national security. I’m sure the versatility of the airship platform has not been lost on aviation thinkers.
Lockheed-Martin is showing some interest.
In ‘Second Life’ there are a wide variety of zeppelins and airships hovering around my sims. Some are historical models, some are highly whimsical builds. Some have real world physics scripted into them so that you can virtually see the strengths and weaknesses of the vehicles. In a virtual reality environment it is possible to experiment with some ideas without the costs or risks associated with real world experiments.
Then you have me; I just like zeppelins over my sims…