London 1914-17: The Zeppelin Menace

by Ian Castle, Osprey Publishing, Oxford, England, 2007, $19.95

Ever since Louis Blériot made his cross-Channel flight of 1909, Britons had contemplated with growing unease their newfound vulnerability to air attack. Those fears became reality during World War I when, as part of its effort to break British resolve, Germany started an escalating terror campaign, with Zeppelins bombing British cities, including London.

The Britons responded by accelerating development of their air defenses. By 1917, the Zeppelin threat had been effectively countered. But that threat had compelled the British to withdraw several air units from the Western Front and devote them to home defense. It had also set the precedent for rear-area bombing campaigns to come, starting with a renewed effort against Britain by Gotha and Zeppelin-Staaken bombers.

In London 1914-17: The Zeppelin Menace, Ian Castle applies his knowledge of Britain’s capital to a harrowing chapter of London’s history. As with other entries in Osprey’s “Campaigns” series, Castle’s work takes a balanced, comprehensive look at both British and German camps but does not examine in detail the aerial missions themselves. Readers seeking more detailed information on those aerial operations might also be interested in picking up a copy of Raymond L. Rimell’s 1984 book Zeppelin! A Battle for Air Supremacy in World War I, an expanded edition of which was recently published.


Originally published in the November 2008 issue of Aviation History. To subscribe, click here