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Old 07-28-2020, 09:14 AM   #11
Phil Masters
 
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Default Re: Need Zeppelin Data

Now I look, that Wikipedia article seems to think that rockets were inferior to incendiary bullets for the purpose, mainly because of inaccuracy - though bullets weren't that great. Leefe Robinson's report of the action that won him a VC shows that he managed the trick with bullets, but he literally had to empty three drums into the thing before it got the hint. That seems to have set the pattern for British fighters engaging airships; empty enough MG drums into the thing from underneath and eventually you should get somewhere. You just had to hope that the defensive gunners on board the Zeppelin didn't get lucky in the meantime.

(Though there was at least one success with bombs, earlier in the war. The pilot in that case was definitely running on GURPS overconfidence, though.)
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Old 07-28-2020, 11:31 AM   #12
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Default Re: Need Zeppelin Data

Vehicles: Steampunk Conveyances - German WWI P-Class Zeppelin p.14
Vehicles: Transports of Fantasy - Dwarven Steam Dirigible p.25
IW- Britannica 6 - Numerous airships p.48-50
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Old 07-28-2020, 12:23 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Rupert View Post
They'd try to fly above the Zeppelin and drop them so they'd catch on it and then set fire to it. It worked about as well as filling them full of tracer/incendiary, which is to say "not very".
A Zeppelin in danger can climb quite fast, by dumping ballast. WWI fighter aircraft tended to have trouble with sustained fast climbs.
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Old 07-28-2020, 11:51 PM   #14
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Default Re: Need Zeppelin Data

Making them catch on fire has the problem that you need to mix fuel and oxidizer. You can sent a infinite number of incenderies through a container of pure fuel (hydrogen) and nothing will happen. So the first couple of drums make enough holes that the hydrogen mixes with air then the incenderies can do something.

Useful book, Zeppelins of World War I by Wilber Cross
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Old 07-29-2020, 08:24 AM   #15
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Making them catch on fire has the problem that you need to mix fuel and oxidizer.
The counter-argument to this is that the aluminized skin is also quite flammable. The role of H2 in the Hindenburg appears to be that of accelerant rather than the main fuel. The incendiary bullets might be zipping through the skin too whereas an actual explosive might be likelier to ignite that.

Zeppelins also of course had engines and fuel tanks and have the usual problems with the loss of those.

Then there's the light-as-possible aluminum structure. That' was quite fragile as well and damage to that could easily lead to the loss of the vessel.
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Old 07-29-2020, 11:13 AM   #16
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The counter-argument to this is that the aluminized skin is also quite flammable. The role of H2 in the Hindenburg appears to be that of accelerant rather than the main fuel. The incendiary bullets might be zipping through the skin too whereas an actual explosive might be likelier to ignite that.

Zeppelins also of course had engines and fuel tanks and have the usual problems with the loss of those.

Then there's the light-as-possible aluminum structure. That' was quite fragile as well and damage to that could easily lead to the loss of the vessel.
Remember though that WWI warplanes had very light armaments. Usually two rifle-caliber machine guns. That's not well-suited to doing structural damage to anything but the flimsiest of structures.
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Old 07-29-2020, 12:31 PM   #17
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Remember though that WWI warplanes had very light armaments. Usually two rifle-caliber machine guns. That's not well-suited to doing structural damage to anything but the flimsiest of structures.
Almost by definition, Zeppelins _are_ the flimsiest of structures.
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Old 07-29-2020, 02:51 PM   #18
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Almost by definition, Zeppelins _are_ the flimsiest of structures.
The problem is that most of a Zeppelin is empty space, and compared to the size of the gas envelopes bullet holes are tiny, so the leaks tend to be nearly insignificant. 'Nearly' being the important part for the Zeppelin's crew.
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Old 07-29-2020, 03:23 PM   #19
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Almost by definition, Zeppelins _are_ the flimsiest of structures.
Not really. They're lightly built for their size, sure, but that leaves them quite large and fairly sturdy (because otherwise they'd be broken in half by every breeze). Rifle-caliber bullets, meanwhile, tended to have trouble doing significant structural damage even to comparatively minute and similarly lightly constructed single-engine airplanes.

I wouldn't be surprised if you'd need multiple bullet hits to break even one Zeppelin skeletal strut. But even if it did you need to break a lot more than one strut to seriously compromise the structure, and only a small fraction of hits on the airship will strike struts at all.
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Old 08-07-2020, 04:34 PM   #20
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Almost by definition, Zeppelins _are_ the flimsiest of structures.
Against WWI machineguns the Zeppelins are basically diffuse.
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