Chief Commander of the Airships
Biography of Peter Strasser (April 1, 1876-August 6, 1918),
Chief Commander of German Imperial Navy Zeppelins during World War I, the main force operating bombing
campaigns from 1915 to 1917. He was killed when flying the war's last airship raid over Great Britain.
In good exterior and very good interior condition.
Boards soiled/rubbed, faint foxing to edges, otherwise ok.
All pages are complete and tight in the binding.
Approx/Measurements: 7-1/2" x 5-1/4" ~1.1 lbs.
by Thor Goote
Published by German Book Community, Berlin
Background info about Peter Strasser:
Strasser was born in Hannover, Germany, on 1 April 1876. At the age of 15, he joined the German Imperial Navy (Kaiserliche Marine). After serving on board SMS Stein and SMS Moltke, he entered the Naval academy in Kiel. He quickly rose through the ranks and was promoted to Lieutenant in 1895. He served on board SMS Mars, SMS Blücher, SMS Panther, SMS Mecklenburg and SMS Westfalen from 1897 to 1902. He was an excellent gunnery officer and was placed in the German Imperial Naval Office (Reichsmarine-Amt) in charge of German shipboard and coastal artillery. In September 1913, he taken command of the Naval Airship Division (Marine-Luftschiff-Abteilung). Airships were as yet an unproven technology and Korvettenkapitän Strasser became the new naval airship chief after his predecessor, Korvettenkapitän Friedrich Metzing, drowned in the crash of the very first naval airship, the L 1. Also the single remaining naval airship L 2 was soon lost in another fatal accident. Strasser completed theoretical studies on airships and gained practical experience piloting the civilian airship LZ17 Sachsen. Another airship, LZ13 Hansa was chartered to train naval crews while new ships were being built. At the start of the war Navy had only one airship operational, the LZ24 (Navy designation L3). L3, under Strasser's personal command, was the only one to participate in the Imperial Navy manoeuvres just before the war.
First World War
Following the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, Navy airships were confined to anti-submarine, anti-mine and scouting missions. They served in the Battle of Heligoland Bight.
On January 19–20, 1915, L3 and L4 participated in the first bombing raids over England, attacking Great Yarmouth, Sheringham and King's Lynn. Over the next 3 years, bombing campaigns would be launched primarily against Britain, but also on Paris and other cities and ports. Strasser would participate in the England raids at least once a month. He decided to test the newly developed spy basket himself, and almost fell out when it became entangled with the Zeppelin's aerial. Initially bombing was limited to military targets but with great lobbying support of Konteradmiral Paul Behncke, the Kaiser approved attacks against civilian targets. Official British estimates list 498 civilians and 58 soldiers killed by air attack in Britain between 1915 and 1918. 1,913 injuries are recorded. The Imperial Navy dropped 360,000 kg of bombs, the majority on the British Isles. 307,315 kg were directed at enemy vessels, ports and towns; 58,000 kg were dropped over Italy, the Baltic and the Mediterranean. The German army carried 160,000 kg of bombs to their designated targets: 44,000 kg hit Belgium and France, 36,000 kg England, and 80,000 kg Russia and south eastern Europe. However, questions remain over whether airships (and more importantly, their irreplaceable crews) would have been better used as a purely naval weapon.
Death in the last raid over Great Britain
Strasser did not live to see the end of the war. On 5 August 1918, during a night raid against Boston, Norwich, and the Humber estuary , Strasser's L70 met a British reconnaissance D.H.4.Pilot Major Egbert Cadbury and Gunner Major Robert Leckie shot down the L70 just north of Wells-next-the-Sea on the Norfolk coast. No one of 23 men aboard survived. It proved to be the last airship raid over Great Britain.
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