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Greenlit: Attack of the Zeppelins, Channel 4

Attack of the Zeppelins w/t –  London’s burning. German bombs decimate British homes. The dead lie in heaps. But this Blitz has nothing to do with World War Two. This is the story of a terror bombing campaign on the capital that took place during the First World War. Zeppelins, the biggest flying machines that have ever existed, delivered their deadly payload straight to the heart of a nation and, for a time, there was nothing the British could do to stop them.

This largely unknown story of the first Blitz, the first aerial bombing campaign in history, will be told through the engineering arms race that unfolded between Germany and Britain.

Engineer Dr Hugh Hunt (Dambusters: Building the Bouncing Bomb & Escape from Colditz) will investigate the technical challenges that each side had to overcome in their war in the air. Much of the detail about what happened a century ago has been lost to history, so there are plenty of outstanding engineering mysteries about the Zeppelin story for Hugh to get his teeth into – mysteries that can only be solved by doing practical experiments.

He will attempt to find out why it was so difficult for British guns to bring down Zeppelins – a surprising problem given that the airships were filled with flammable hydrogen gas. He will test genuine WWI Zepp-busting munitions and reverse engineer WWI bombs to find out exactly how these technologies worked. And he will investigate the magical properties of oxen intestine – the wonder material that the Germans used to hold the hydrogen gas. Hugh will fire up the engine of the actual 1914 German Grand Prix winning car, whose secrets eventually won the war in the air – for Britain.

Channel: Channel 4

Producer: Windfall Films

TX: 2013

Source: Channel 4 press release

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