German airship employed during the Great War (1914-18). Designed by Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, who had been inspired by the French use of observation balloons during the Franco-Prussian war 1870-71, the first Zeppelin airship was flown in 1900 but whilst enthusiastically greeted by the public it failed to find the necessary financial backing of investors. Fortunately the German army saw the military value of such a motorised balloon for patrol work and ordered fourteen machines.

From 1915 Zeppelins became notorious for their bombing raids over the British Isles (the first such use of flying machines for strategic warfare). These raids caused a certain amount of fear amongst the British civilian population (although the actual amount of devastation caused was negligible). By late 1917 however improvements in the ability of British Fighter Aircraft to intercept the Zeppelins at night made such bombing missions so costly in men and machines that they had to be discontinued.

Under the terms of the Treaty Of Versailles 1919 Germany was forbidden from building more military airships

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