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British pilots downed German Zeppelins using foot-long explo

 
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Yvonne
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BerichtGeplaatst: 25 Mrt 2011 8:58    Onderwerp: British pilots downed German Zeppelins using foot-long explo Reageer met quote

How fearless British pilots downed giant German Zeppelins using exploding DARTS in the First World War



It was the logical way to take out targets that were essentially massive balloons filled with flammable gas.
When British First World War pilots were asked to destroy German Zeppelins, they did not turn to guns - but a giant exploding dart.
Now one of the foot-long steel-tipped darts is being sold at auction, without the explosives, and is expected to fetch £1,200.

British biplane pilots would fly above the giant airships - filled with highly flammable hydrogen - lean over the side of the cockpit and drop the darts on top of them.
The projectile was designed to puncture the canvas skin of the balloon, drop inside and then explode, igniting the hydrogen.
Zeppelins successfully targeted would explode in a ball flames - similar to the Hindenburg disaster in 1937 - meaning the pilots had to make a quick escape if they were to avoid going down with the airship.

The Aerial Anti Zeppelin Ranken Exploding Dart was invented by Commander Francis Ranken of the Royal Navy in 1915 and was dropped from a height of up to 700ft, but between 300ft and 400ft was the optimum altitude to attack the low-flying German airships.
The example that has turned up for sale at auction is thought to have been a demonstration model, which is why it was never used.




Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1358227/How-fearless-British-pilots-downed-giant-German-Zeppelins-using-exploding-darts-WWI.html#ixzz1Hb0poKUQ
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Yvonne
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Berichten: 45653

BerichtGeplaatst: 25 Mrt 2011 9:05    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Even wat commentaren bijvoegen:

Quote:
The item is actually a cross sectioned dummy demonstration piece. Nothing unusual, such items were produced in numbers in both World Wars to illustrate to the soldiers/airmen/sailors how certain equipment worked. The item is certainly interesting, but nothing more than that. Numerous ways of 'downing' a Zeppelin were tried, but not all worked. Tracer ammunition and even 'Buckingham' explosive rounds failed to down these huge airships, the reason being the lack of a Hydrogen/Oxygen mixture. the bullets simply moved too fast and exited the other side of the airship before leaking Hydrogen and Oxygen could combine. The few that were successfully shot down, such as that brought down by Leefe Robinson VC, were fired on for some time before the gasses caught fire. Grenades, small bombs, flares, incenduary devices and many other methods were tried including ground fire from old 1870's Martini-Henry Rifles of Zulu War Fame using specially designed tracer/explosive ammunition.
- Harry Eales, Home Rule for Northumberland, 18/2/2011 21:21


Quote:
Actually, while these Ranken darts were indeed designed to take down Zeppelins, I'm pretty sure they never actually did so. It was actually not as easy to set a Zeppelin on fire as is often assumed. There had to be a significant amount of leaking hydrogen mixed with air inside the ship, and then whatever ignition source was shot into the ship (incendiary bullets, usually) had to hit a pocket of oxyhydrogen and set it afire. The L 33 actually had an artillery shell explode inside it, destroying several hydrogen cells, and it didn't catch fire. So it would have been VERY difficult for these exploding darts to destroy a Zeppelin unless a large number of them were dropped on the ship, and even then it wasn't guaranteed that they'd set the ship on fire. The Hindenburg, by the way, didn't catch fire from hitting a mooring mast. It was never closer than about 700 feet from its mast when it burned. Hydrogen leak, and then static spark after the landing ropes were dropped set it on fire.
- Patrick Russell, Chicago, IL, USA, 18/2/2011 17:34


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1358227/How-fearless-British-pilots-downed-giant-German-Zeppelins-using-exploding-darts-WWI.html#ixzz1Hb2kWvWS
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