In Skies of Danger
Beginning in 1916, the German Empire began developing a new breed of Zeppelin in response to the casualties experienced at the hand of British Aerofighters, as well as at the hand of inclement weather. These so-called Super Zeppelins, also often referred to as “High Climbers” were designed for long-range, prolonged campaigns. Utilizing a higher lifting volume, a Super Zeppelin will climb to heights unattainable by conventional aircraft, and bombard its target. Again, weather becomes a significant interference due to the fact that High Climbers typically maintain altitudes higher than the “cloud cap”.
Various attempts to work around the “cloud cap” problem were attempted, most notably the lowering of an observer, with connected telephone line, via gondola basket through the clouds to coordinate with the bombardier. Considering the altitude at which these Zeppelins fly, this method proves risky, both exposing the observer to high altitude temperatures and also to machine gun fire from aerofighters. To date, preferred German tactics are to loiter in the skies above, sometimes days at a time, until a break in the clouds allows for proper bombsighting.