Only four weeks after they became the first two airships to bomb the United Kingdom, Zeppelins L-3 and L-4 were destroyed in Denmark while attempting to search for British ships off Norway.
L 3 was abandoned by her crew after a forced landing in Denmark, caused by engine failure compounded by strong headwinds and insufficient fuel. The wind was so strong it blew the airship, now unmanned but with engines still running, out to the sea where it crashed.
The L-4’s captain, Count Platen-Hallermund, and a crew of 14 men had completed a routine scouting mission off the Norwegian coast in search of Allied merchant vessels and were returning to their base in Hamburg, Germany, when the snowstorm flared up, bombarding the airship with gale-force winds. Unable to control the zeppelin in the face of such strong winds, the crew steered toward the Danish coast for an emergency landing, but was unable to reach the shore before crashing into the North Sea. The Danish coast guard rescued 11 members of the crew who had abandoned ship and jumped into the sea prior to the crash; they were brought to Odense as prisoners to be interrogated. Four members of the crew were believed drowned and their bodies were never recovered.