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RIGIDS.

I ! ■ j SOME FACTS ON ZEPPELINS. [By A. Spence.] To estimate the outcome of the war in Europe Zeppelins must ha figured. The big rigid airship is usually regarded as a false alarm—slow, unmanageable in a wind, cas.il v seen, liable to bo shattered by one shot. Xot one of these ideas is right. Most rigids can manage up to 65 miles an hour—more with a favoring wind. They are coated with special aluminium paint, and hard to see when they sail in doudland. A shell rumbling up at them can do no more than empty one gas compartment —one out of 20 or 25. The rigid is still able to retain its shape, hold its remaining gas, and continue its journey. This is not theory, but the showing of repeated practice. Several earlier Zeppelins have hurled their own propeller through a cell and emptied it without serious result. ]t the gas supply is already low when a. cell is damaged, the loss can ho compensated by driving the hull forward at a slight inclination, which gives the engines and plaiies a great extra “ lift.” Besides, ruptures are now readily repaired on board. As to wind, tho Zeppelin pilots do not fear a horizontal air current, though they are more nervous about vertical drafts. t 'The feature of Zeppelin articles roe ms to be that no one knows much about them. Oceans of in’; have, been shed on the subject, and every magazine has a dilferent story, violently contradicting cue another on essentials. The last visitor to Europe who had a chance of seeing the German aerial navy just before war began was Mr T. H. MacMechen, president of the Aeronautical Society of America. My article to-day is mostly a reproduction of his. In addition, some observations made, by "the grand old man” of Otago University —the late respected Dr ISiiand—are embodied. bjoine iwo months ago the writer applied to Dr Sham! for information on questions involving difficult dynamics, and /earned then how complex this air warfare may become, especially as regards the ultimate. velocity of projectiles dropped from the air on to targets on sea or land. Disband, however, thought Hint the aeroplane might always drive above the dirigible by sheer engine, power. The topside position is, ,-is everyone knows, very important.

; Tint PdOIDS - itKfnun. ■ ■ i Mr Ma-c?'fi'i’li' - n thinks t liar ilm her t thing •; hut the APi.-s ■ mild do would bo lo shoot, , ; ri- -.vu a, ZoMPi-'iin and ffo v. hat rhe i.t mad.- ■ : nf, so tli.it/ tlu' uniirciieiP- makers! in Fug::i;:ri mighi dhw-over her part-!. Ti-avr-Uri's : .-.4;!. Mr M a I'Moflir 11. ccc all ivror a. \ li, nn.m /.i-jinr ln; ior a few rent.-. but J n■ m.m;cv i:; the wnrl.i ran jj ml out her in- ' td i>«r Mvivr, Til-u milrt. !>•' why 1 !)•■ 1 t.■(■tin,Hi-; hair lipoii chary in puitinp rigid.-- ; ’ i: a. lion. Probably. when they do ; j . i-cic. a, lip. will mil m>gmhf'-v. mill in coin ' ( jnn> iinn v.-jii! their (hri. I hat, may he m a. hmg time hence, \ i hj lie siu- line tvmn Pnmmis, where the ; } ‘ new (iermnn sheds a,re. to London is .-about ■ i"! ji- li -i Lni" ; u I'iiy ;i. marine Zcppc- i Is' ; 1 ■■ vs in.in Fr ie. i riUi.-ha ten, on tim a. , jj. ilc t■ i JVriin by way of the . ‘ i North v cp. i" cd hours—» distance oi , i 1 v." mil - - mered in fog so dense that . . i dun set mvei' seen from the ground *. i I ■•! sijnl'tl'C nefrn-e her arrivji!. .Nor coin-l . ' 1 , ship’- i ' mmnsler see the ground, but , J ! hj.. Moaci-.iy maintained by Kcicmil-r i rw' oiimg a. omirse due north-east to the- | s./i and never tailed to know his pashimi . j evoily liv wi re lea;; hj» cnmmunirale' 1 J wire ad the military ami weather stations j tluonjdi Ibisi -in Ccnnany during ilio on , | tin- rrnise, i " imagin'-," says .Mr MacMec-heii, “ v.-hat 1 j am happen when » fleet 01 such ships -is , • this slijis through a log, noiseless amt in- . | risible, to hover over a- hostile country.” i Last May tint new La, chief of (h-r I nuiiivb marl no Zeppelin.-, ntartml lioni I Fi-ii-'lrirhsliafca, and, after ahirung toe | whole frontier of Fram-e, took a /er-zag i line mi towards the North covering 2,050 miles in 51 liours. witlt a. ninnirg record of 60 miles per hour. When aim tiuailv alight'-r] at iteriin she had l'i;'.'l I' M tbr la iionni more. Til K UIOIDhS FI BE. Mr M.acM.cihcii teciins to draw the lonrr-h-vv on Zeppelin .shoaling, .At least, he • •hires it higher than anything wo can conceive. Ho indicates that repeated tests ha.vn shown that a Zeppelin can .shoot with what lie calls “appalling accuracy.'’ From 1h« m'rdit of a miin <-r morn tlm aim is absolute. .At that altitude, and , thi-ce miles away, gunners, wi’U weapons ( moving in their pivots a.s easily as nlles, ; _ sight accurately. In Februaj-y, 191.;, the military Zeppelin 15, operating at an. a in- ; j, tudm of o.OOOfi above ila.genau (not m .. from tii" frontier of France), (imt. lorried bombs of hrOiii filled with. a. f-poend hitgn explosive. invariably they hit t he. marc ■ . v ithin a circle <d 15 it- il-mny-imr. ami _ showed th-;:ni.se)ves capable of destroying : cvervt.hing wit hin a radius of “50 yards. < 'boo much,” eaya the writer, “ for the g dlriijible’rt fire downward. It is almost i as deadly firing across rim air. .Not long i y ago Zeppelin \during target practice ; over artillery ground, while circling round its mark, fired across the an r. distance of more than one. mile, and frequently hit an aeroplane so*t by l:b't | ~ which wan suspended 1 rom a o.itc,. Fevoral hits wr r.j f cored a: a <1 is tan on of Jr TOc>rc than 6,000 f- —its longest dependable p rai:«e-” ’inis ob.sei'vor thinks that (he Zcppena 1V itself is practically invuhiera-blo. Hodoea not see any conoeivablo artillery that can be sure of hitting a pencil-like craft jj moving 60 railed an hour, at 6,000 ft to 7 9,000 ft high, and semi-invisible in its special paint. Thoio is no way of dir,covering- the ship’s level, and, therefore, it is practically impossible to time a shell so that it will pierce the airship and c.r- , 'plone. inside, as it must do to bo desiructivo. And during tiio minute required to I’ ta.ko aim the sky hawk has covered a milo 1 Moreover, it is part of aerial etrategy i to make the actual appc-a.i-anoe within gmi j x, reach very suddenly. While luaJUKiivring 1 j hist February, the training airship Hansn appeared so abruptly a-lwive the jmmitra <m the Doberit/, arlilh-ry ground that they could not aim at all before sho had i ” cast a shower of dummy boxn'jc uo

THE RIGID.S' HOMES. Al * lio beginning of the war 15xo man rigids were housed in 30 revolving hangars, which the, ships might enter «f leave without, risk of being damaged by ;> wind blowing across the entrance. These hangars were strung out, along the Russian and French frontiers, tip to the North Sea also, and out to the island of Heligoland. At Konigsberg and Breslau, iie;>./ the Russian side, were stationed four Zeppelins. The Zs—'with the great elmoiing record—belongs to Posen, right cm Dm cord or of Poland. Two more wore housed at Straeburg, on the western side; two at ITiedrichshaver, on Lsko Constance; two at the fortress of Metz; and two rno.ro at Cologne, on the Rhine. Ono was at Berlin. three at, Cuxhaven (which th« British seaplanes bombed on January 1,, and three more on the island of Heligoland. All these establishments must have been rapidlv miomcnted since -war began, csj*.*ciallv'at the stations fronting tho North Sea and those in Belgium. Two or three months ago, as tho cables told us. Count Zeppelin. ;-x>k up his quarters at "Wilhelm.*-havt-o. and many Cains have been iniinin* there carrying aJuiuiiiiuiu frames. This latest base, means an increased output of Zeppelins «i«ai to about 30 jxr font. Prior to the war there were only two factories—on* at Fviodiicbrfiaven and the oilier at, Berlin. Together they employed about 2,000 workmen, and eayh factory eon Id turn out four or live i'igiilr a mor.th Jim caoies have turmoil' d addit mnal evidence that tnns uici is being easily maintained. K<> Ge;.ruany mav now have increased her aerial naxy bv 75 Zeppelins sine* tho war clou-.i burst. WANTED RIGIDS. j Wo have been caught, of course, by llm ; iial 1 -noticed development ol rigids iu ail enemy country. It is now for the princely armament makers of England to maKC this deficiency good, if they can. This would give Britain the quickest, way of digging out the German beet, which Mr Churchill promised about September 20. It is. of course, always the fashion to gibe and deride anything which ynnr neighbor lias ami von do not, so scores oi experts ” —nawai and aerial—are flooding tho magazines at present, all stowing that the Zepp'din is not worth 2d as a fighting ■ asset, i But the nations see and the real experts : admit iiieompeteney. The French General htaff bad practically confessed before the ! war Unit it bad made a big error in rej garbing air.-hips as useful only in scouting, and Prencli miiltary opinion lias since, proclaimed that, only the most powerful airships can accomplish the real work of war. ,\ Zeppelin carries three or four tons of high ‘explosive. What, fraction of that drees an aeroplane carry? England's hirst Lord of (he Admiralty recently said : “ The time has crane when we must oeveiop

ongraugc airdiips of (he jargcct type, Ail- to ciilist the service of some treat hr.glish inannfa'iurtr in the < on--1 nmi ion of ligid air.- hips. ’ 1 What a confession to make ! As far n.t c J.-imw wo have, nothing yet which hi mite class enougii for this kind of warfare, lake Knglnmib big tea planes built for blacking lie; Zeppelins. They an; <i-'-ainly .-air! 1.. haw iiei.j iiicir own vary ceil against 11. ■■ rigid.■; .'.lieu they Imwu il u the fog over buxiiaven ua .tau.iarv 1, ml we iurc" 1 i-oiml no word yet that here two v. !<|c-iy ig/fcn-nt. classes of air■rail got to ]e,i im- Until we know mulct.king o; that kind we can form no •pillion. Me may be sure of this, however : iVlien ear tmboi li;es- seaplanes aw cl. 1 gm.ve ou - . antae'e. I'C-'-ause iln-y rum luib an hour to climb half a. mile, ■ hili- Z ■];!/<■ lin ean 1 i;,e to 6.500 feet in ■iglii mmuts-r. It. was tins 1 renic-mioim ise-.-ns 10; ail powi r tiiat enabled Count b op, ion. :n n.iiimiiirl of Zl, to run away i.iin a ms ;ft oui.-umg aeiojilane during lm lasl Kawr mamisiv: es. .'uni 1 lien (here !-■ tim nature of an ct.iai ininim! between a rigid dirigihl--! ii'i an iifi 1•; ten it: to 1„* eonsidered. Air baeM.'dienb; -,ies, on tins; Ibn many s a-Mini! ten to clearly s'uov; ' oat the plans;!)!-:' idea of eouring almivo lie d;n_inio and drepping l,ombs is a fiJLvv. For. -woo il a bomb ccnild ho 1 1:' -. j*p -i! straight, it takes 100 long to mi. In ’imjio.i tie:; Arabs discovered mint, in a, (lean ski, they could M’Q tre--1!■ j 11111 ,iigga,.: from tie,- plane, mid the j;i<.ve;e 111 s . : i*.-; oper.i'or m rcieas-ing it. :m well a- ties jabimg be,mb itiwl’'. t iwni inio;tht r> fom-. t'sey t-impiv gc-t, w of in- may. Xmi . an ,'e.m ,phim- lu;, to fly at- hum:. m- Vims!) iV-.-t, aiiove a rigid auTsieo t.■ b--' f” /'will tie- t.-a, glllgs 7110111, tr-i •■a :on ■ : ; s ii id i. Aml at, that, d is- »;<:•• •■ the gv.nmi- ,;u i-np of the dirigiiilo ■ -uid we the I■ ■.-11;b Imei enough ’ncioro ii i.egan it-/ ta'l. i'r that, tim aiiship i .ni'./'y omf.i-i'i lw tl;.-ro w);en the bomb a wivi :l. it would have travelled ] ,U>l ■■• l.m-j feet forward and a number of Wn im v- a uci> of <om]tlc'\-;ty em’y i.e i nrc-acic-i! out by actual c-juii,at- -.u d ot. iiy <m- enmba.t, hut. icy many. Suili;ci,{. perhaps, has l:m-on ca-id to inclicst-s wt- til--- m-pular opinion tiiat- an aenpian'. ;w on'-,- to ieoimt- over dirigible lo derov her i, like many <yi;ei; j,opu.ar op:nfum? of tim lige.ls < airy torpedoes a- o\ei 1 mmi a-tacit ~a -.e:wniM-bctimr ie 1 . eg 11 .e-e neat's' ii.iws,, will roach 1:• ■; wget from 9,000 ft aitiufl-, ]-..-c3c.-viiig ji-s !ii/,;de vdocitv, e an iinraato problem in vnarnics. ,Aero;it,ics, i'.r instance, enter m euvehme gk- e.;c ,-.ece-.::r,cltthe cann I trcTiiCudon-i s-'-iewity, i■ : t-ms w>'-n d-.cs way. F.UllCd.'lvF HULL OF ItIGIDS. 1 i osv many curci-aft c-a-aiii of T7,irn.r_g atiorgt has now is idle speculation. An rnerican autlxßiiy estimated that Cc-r----isnv had al/Oiit 18 rigiels, eomo non-rigid aricTals, and aimut.SCO aeropla-ixvs when nr bftgan, He; c-si.fma.ied. tha.t Fra;.- -; igl-.t have about 1,000 at-rc.plancs a& w.-il <“ a few r.ou-rigid dirigibles England ns. of course, much behind in numbers, e 'closed his article by stating! “Each eppelin in war will be escorted by a num>r q{ aeroplanes of the largest size, v.-hich ill act as her scouts and destroyers.” If it waa a ZcpTK-iin and rot a Parsers! hkh hovered over Calais and the Channel st week-end some such escort was really .-o video. TO COP.RE-SPOXDEAvT, Dunkirk and Calais arc both fortified, ov.logrio w:ir-, utifortifi-id at thb com-f-nccnK-ni. cf th; war.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19150113.2.50

Bibliographic details

RIGIDS., Issue 15699, 13 January 1915

Word Count
2,233

RIGIDS. Issue 15699, 13 January 1915

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