29 December 1916 – Double disaster

The German Naval Air Service had hoped to end the year with one final mission over England. To this end, eight Zeppelins set out with orders to bomb the south of England. Bad weather reports led to their recall after they had been at sea three hours.

 

This followed bad news yesterday, when Zeppelin L24 crashed into a wall while being taken into its hangar at Tondern, It caught fire and was completely destroyed. L17 in the hangar next door also caught fire and was destroyed.

 

Despite these losses the German authorities can be content that the Zeppelins are having the desired effect. The raids over England have caused substantial damage, killed 293 and injured 692. This is obviously miniscule compared to the losses at the front, but such is the public outcry from the raids that the Army and Navy have been forced to set up substantial defences which are diverting men, guns, aeroplanes and other supplies from more important theatres of war.

 

For example, there are over 17000 men retained for home anti-aircraft defence. Of these over 2000 are in the RFC, 12000 are manning anti-aircraft defences such as guns and searchlights and the remainder involved in early warning and detection. This is on top of the emergency services personnel who are also tied down on home defence activities.

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