24 January 1917 – Airships support the fleet

Grand Fleet Battle Orders were issued today by the Admiralty. For the first time, these included orders for naval airships in an attempt to counter German U-boats and Zeppelins

The orders provide that airships of the ‘Coastal’ or ‘North Sea’ type, should provide a screen whenever the the Grand Fleet leaves its bases in Scotland by daylight.

More specifically the Commander-in-Chief has ordered that all available airships from Scottish airfields Kirkwall, Longside, and East Fortune, are to rendezvous with the Fleet if the Fleet concentration is west of longitude 2° E.

The airships will be informed of the course and speed of the Fleet and are to scout ahead and to the flanks of the light cruiser screen. If U-boats are sighted, their positions are to be reported, and the airships are to attack with bombs if possible. If enemy airships are sighted, the British airships were to fall back on the light cruiser line.

 

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