Zeppelins Over England – New Inventions For The Modern War I THE GREAT WAR Week 26


When most people think of the First World
War, they think most often of either the Western Front and the trenches and flying aces, and
possibly the Italian or Eastern fronts, but the war was by no means confined to mainland
Europe, and this week we really see that it was a world war, with battles taking place
on three continents. I’m Indy Neidell; welcome to the Great War. When we left off, the huge offensive in Champagne
was in full swing, with the French losing at Soissons, in the east, the Russians were
still trying to break through the mountains, in the Caucasus the Turks were licking their
wounds and blaming the Armenians, and way way down south South African troops were invading
German Southwest Africa. Now, we’ve seen a few actions in both Southeast
and Southwest Africa over the past few months, but there was a change in the nature of the
war in Africa this week, following the battle of Jassin on the 19th in German East Africa. See, last month, the Germans under General
von Lettow-Vorbeck had successfully defended Tanga and now von Lettow-Vorbeck headed north
along the Indian Ocean coast to take Jassin, which was occupied by the British. He took
it with ease, but realized something important; he had far fewer officers and far less ammunition
than the enemy, and both were impossible or difficult to replace, so large scale direct
and decisive confrontations were no longer really an option for von Lettow-Vorbeck. In
future, he would focus on guerilla operations. And over the next four years, with a force
that never numbered a whole lot more than 10,000 men, he held in check well over a quarter
of a million British, Belgian, and Portuguese troops, despite exactly zero assistance from
home. Actually, one report says half a million enemy troops, but whatever the number; those
troops were all prevented from helping the allies in Europe or the Middle East. Edwin
Hoyt, in his book “Guerilla”, makes the case that von Lettow-Worbeck’s exploits
were the greatest and most successful guerilla operations in history. He may well be right. And speaking of the Middle East, there was
some action there that I didn’t have time to mention last week that I will mention now. Eleven days ago, British and Indian troops
had successfully defended Muscat from forces loyal to the Imam of Oman. Muscat was ruled
by the Sultan Taimur, but the British, who saw it as an important port in the region,
financed the Sultan and in return expected the Sultan to keep other powers out of area.
But both Muscat and Oman had a lucrative rifle trade across the Persian Gulf, and when the
British tried to centralize and control this trade in Muscat, it pissed off the Omanis
to the point where Turkish and German influence could intercede and convince the Imam to attack.
This was just one early round in a long British fight against German and Turkish influence
throughout the region. The British would have something very new
to contend with this week, though, as it saw the first strategic bombing raid on Britain
by Zeppelin. Actually, the Germans had first attempted
it January 13th, but the weather ruined that, so on the night of January 19th, two Zeppelins,
who initially targeted Humberside but were diverted by weather, dropped their bombs on
Great Yarmouth, Sheringham, and King’s Lynn, killing 4 and injuring 16. Since this was
something both new and scary as hell, it prompted all kinds of reactions and conspiracies- some
apparently believed German agents in Britain were using the headlights of their cars to
guide the Zeppelins to their targets, and some rumors said that the giant airships weren’t
coming all the way from Germany, but from secret bases in the Lake District. They had,
in fact, taken off that morning from Fuhlsbuttel. Samuel Alfred Smith had the historical distinction
of being the first British Citizen to die of aerial bombardment. But while Britain might be seeing something
new, on the Western Front it was business as usual, and the business was that of killing
and dying. The action was mostly in Champagne this week
as the first Battle of Artois had finally ended January 13th. There were French successes
at Champagne and French progress all week at Bois de Pretre, but here’s the thing,
after all these weeks and, like, 30 combined attacks and counter attacks so far, French
troops had advanced less than a mile. Peter Hart wrote, when describing the wholly attritional
nature of the Champagne Offensive, “Gradually the battlefield mutated into a sort of outdoor
charnel house littered with human remains. There may not have been enough guns to create
a breakthrough, but soldiers on both sides were horrified by the terrible destruction
wrought by artillery on the human body.” I’d like to actually throw in another quote
from the Western Front here, from further north in Messines, where a young soldier of
the German army wrote to his landlord January 20th: “We are still in our old positions
and keep annoying the English and French. The weather is miserable and we often spend
days on end knee-deep in water and what is more, under heavy fire. We are greatly looking
forward to a brief respite. Let’s hope that soon afterward the whole front will start
moving. Things can’t go on like this forever.” Signed, Adolf Hitler. I’m sure the four years things did go on
like that felt like more than forever for many. Now, Hitler, as many of you know, was
Austrian born, and Austria was making news in the war once again this week. On the Eastern Front, the Russians had occupied
the Kirilibaba Pass in Bukovina and continued advancing there all through the week, however
at the end of the week, the Austro-Hungarian Imperial army, having been strongly reinforced,
managed to re-take the Pass the 22nd. The following day Emperor Franz Josef’s
army, with German support, would begin its Carpathian Offensive, with several aims: to
free another Austrian army, well over 100,000 strong, from the fortress of Przemysl, where
it had been under siege for two months, to drive the Russians out of Galicia and the
Carpathian mountains and prevent any advances toward Hungary, and also- to make a strong
show of force that would intimidate countries like Italy and Romania, who were so far neutral,
but were increasingly viewing Austrian military disasters with an eye to joining the Allies
and gaining some Imperial territory for themselves. The Russians, for their part, weren’t just
busy this week in the Carpathians; they were on the move on not one, not two, but three
fronts. In the Caucasus, they took nearly 4,000 Turkish
prisoners in Kaura Urgan, in a three-day battle during a snowstorm. This was another total
Russian victory over the Ottoman forces. And way up in the Northern reaches of the Eastern
Front; the Russian army took Skempe on January 20th, forcing the Germans to evacuate. And that’s where we stand at the end of
the week, with the Russians triumphing on two fronts, and doing pretty well on a third.
The British are attacked at home, in the Middle East, and in Africa, and on the Western Front,
the French were successful, but success meant dying in droves for small temporary gains. This war was six months old but it was already
truly a world war. The only continent not yet involved in either men or actual battle
was Antarctica. Just this week saw men fighting and dying on four fronts in Europe and battles
on two other continents. It would only grow larger and larger. I usually end these episodes with a talk or
quote about new aspects of the horrors of modern war, which I think is good because
however interesting you may find these episodes from a historic standpoint, it’s important
to remember that this is all about millions of people dying in some of the worst ways
imaginable. Today, though, I’ll end with a quote, but one that’s more about the future
than the past. I read this in Martin Gilbert’s “The First
World War” (p.124): “it would be quit easy in a short time to fit up a number of
stream tractors with small armored shelters, in which men and machine guns could be placed,
which would be bulletproof. Used at night, they would not be affected by artillery fire
to any extent. The caterpillar system would enable trenches to be crossed quite easily,
and the weight of the machine would destroy all barbed wire entanglements.” This letter
was pretty much the first step in the evolution of the tank. It was to Herbert Asquith, British
Prime Minister. It was signed, Winston Churchill. Churchill was one of those larger than life
historical figures emerging from World War We dedicated a whole new format of episodes
to those important individuals. Click here to check out our episode about Ferdinand Foch,
a great French general who at this point was also thinking about ways to overcome the trenches
more easily. Check out our Instagram account for some cool
historical pictures and a glimpse behind the scenes and if you like our show, please subscribe. See you next week.

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100 thoughts on “Zeppelins Over England – New Inventions For The Modern War I THE GREAT WAR Week 26”

  1. Mark Haushahn says:

    Von Lettow-Vorbeck woudl soon be receiving some unexpected reinforcements from the SMS Königsberg and especially her ten 105mm guns.

  2. FED L. says:

    I imagine Hitler would never have survived WW1 if he let himself be conscripted into the Austrian Army.

  3. Bruno Escasena says:

    I got chills when he said: "Signed Adolf Hitler."

  4. Nick Boyles says:

    such a great channel

  5. Funny Farmer says:

    In your introduction, don't forget the eastern front.

  6. max conran says:

    was quite taken back when you read that adolf letter I was thinking what a polite young man, untill you said it was him…fucking hell, who could of guessed that he would be one of the evilest men ever to have lived, i wonder if he even knew what he was going to become

  7. Brian Smith says:

    Were Zeppelin attacks occurring in France by this time? I know Paris was attacked in January 1916 by Zeppelin but information on earlier attacks on the Continent is harder to find.

  8. raider762 says:

    Wow Von Lettow-Vorbeck keeping about 500,000 occupied with only 10,000 and almost no arms.

  9. Patrick Allen says:

    Indie, I fucking LOVE your channel!! I watch it almost everyday.

  10. arek314 says:

    I like how over time your spelling of "Przemyśl" gets better.

  11. swietoslaw says:

    Quiet funny how you pronounce Przemyśl 😉

  12. TheStapleGunKid says:

    I love how this show keeps bringing up historical figure I've never heard of, like Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck. I've watched tons WW1 documentaries, read tons of WW1 books, and played as many WW1 video games as I can find, yet I had never heard of him.

    I'm also surprised to see how many victories Russia won in the early months of the War. When I think of Russia in World War 1, the first things that come to mind are things like mismanagement, incompetance, and lack of supplies, the factors that would ultimately lead to revolution. I never realized how many how many wins that racked up early on.

  13. Fangle Spangle says:

    Wow… even back in 1915 the daily mail was full of shit >D

  14. Andre Engels says:

    I just discovered your channel, and am now listening (and a little bit watching) all these in order. You're great, thank you so much!

  15. ADRIAN G says:

    Actually there wasn't any action on Australia…. ie, Antarctica, not the only continent free of action. might have been training in Australia but no action. The men sent to New guinea in WW1 did not die on Australian soil.
    Otherwise, love these videos.

  16. Rahbar Al Haq says:

    Damm, I was feeling sorry for the person who wrote that letter but then I was like: "oh"….

  17. samir9152 says:

    What was the most effective artillery system used in the grat war?

  18. Justin MacKinnon says:

    Thanks again for another great video. You referenced Gilbert's "The First World War." There is so much written on the war, and I'd like to start off with something good (maybe specifically on the front end of the war)…any recommendations?

  19. C.J. Zimmerman says:

    "France had advanced less than a mile."

    They actually advanced?!

  20. Cpt_Fupa says:

    +The Great War Do you think that WW2 would have been worse if WW1 didn't happen? Thinking of the laws that were put into place after WW1 banning gas and nobody wanting the stalemate of trench warfare.

  21. Oldeuboi says:

    Help me, I can't stop watching…

  22. connor stevenson says:

    here is a question for your "out of the trenches. i am sure you will go over this more in depth as time wears on. Did Winston Churchill in that letter invent the modern tank?

  23. zbyszanna says:

    Indy, wouldn't you call this bombardment of UK cities a terror bombing instead of a strategic one? The bombing of Guernica was this and I cannot see a difference other than a scale. It wasn't to destroy infrastructure, it was to spread terror among civilian population. It's a clear terrorist act.

  24. javamann1000 says:

    My mother saw the London Zeppelin' and showed me the damage to the Cleopatra's needle.
    She was crossing the Waterloo bridge at the time.

  25. Holly Medeiros says:

    This channel is so amazing! I'm writing a World War One diary an have to document all the events as a German infantrymen. It was really hard to understand what was happening then I found this blessed channel. THANK YOU SO MUCH! you make my life easier

  26. ftffighter says:

    What was the closest fight to antarctica during WW1?

  27. Erinque Corpus says:

    Hi i love the show I see your show every Thursday. u need to go back and read the old map. I am just asking i

  28. Fribourg2012 says:

    great stuff with sub titles guy ty

  29. WV Mosineer says:

    cool desk!

  30. Mihai says:

    I found it interesting that you said Italy and Romania were looking to "gain imperial territory". I have never thought about it that way. We were taught that those territories were rightfully claimed by the two nations because they had an ethic majority in the population of those areas. Thus it was a battle of reconquest. But yes, I can see how it can also be interpreted as an imperialistic move. Nice mind stretch 🙂

  31. Commodore Luigi says:

    Przemysl-brave or stubborn as hell?

  32. Zaid Khan says:

    Indiana you should make another show on ww2

  33. Naomi Nekomimi says:

    I hope this isn't a stupid question, but what was North and South America's involvement in the first world war? I was always under the impression it was something that didn't really see those contents or the people from those continents in any major way and that the U.S. was isolationist until WW2. I don't know much about the subject though and would love to be enlightened!

  34. Peter Timowreef says:

    3:12 what music is that?

  35. Trevor Daniels says:

    I look forward to the second week of April, next year when the Battle of Vimy ridge is covered and our Canadian national identity was born! 🙂 thanks for the amazing series!

  36. Feints says:

    What song is playing around 2:55?

  37. Zaid Khan says:

    Indy my bad

  38. Nufc GRB says:

    Found you thanks to @alternatehistory and wow what a channel

  39. Kevin Slawta says:

    peter hart is a fool

  40. Alex Cheremisin says:

    When the germans go guerilla – you are indeed, fucked

  41. Maxime Boileau says:

    Today I learned the Daily Mail was always this horrible.

  42. Enzo Lucas says:

    please tell me you will continue this channel or make another one about ww2. I believe that you can explain in detail to people out there how hitler grew to power and all the other preludes leading to ww2.

  43. john smith says:

    very nice series-

  44. Dave S. says:

    What would have happened if Hitler had joined the Austrian instead of the German army?

  45. HydroOne030 says:

    Finally! I find a youtube video talking about my country oman!

  46. Scott Gordon says:

    Besides the odd Canadian and American volunteers, what involvement was there with North America at this point?
    I've tried to pay attention to each episode, but I must have missed it if it was mentioned.

  47. uryakant919 says:

    Is there an episode on Adolf Hitler

  48. John Morley says:

    All the innovations worked brilliantly at first but then got countered.
    If they had just done these things on a bigger scale in the initial period before there was a counter measure it would have really worked.
    Poison gas was one of the best ideas they came up with until people had gas masks and felt curtains.
    Also, they never seemed to be able to fully utilise their intial successes.
    They would breach the enemy lines here and there but not pour through and really use the opportunity.
    Too may people involved.
    Too hard to control.
    I know poison gas seems a bit cruel but war does involve a willingness to kill people.
    Freezing to death or drowning in mud is also unpleasant. Flame throwers probably sting a bit. Bullets sometimes hit you in inconvenient and painful places. When did we decide poison gas was terrible and bayonets were humane? It is what it is.
    I think carbon monoxide would have been very humane except it might be lighter than air in which case I guess that would be a snag.

  49. dugroz says:

    7:01 – what are those guys in the boat doing??!?!? Posing for a picture? Looks so awkward…

  50. Jamie Ross says:

    I'm on a binge of these and loving them. I hope Indy might consider doing an episode on the environmental impacts of war?

  51. Darius Niederer says:

    At 3:29 did he just say "holy attritional nature"

  52. LaughingHyena says:

    just think, if Austria went through with drafting Hitler ww2 might not have happened…

    they would've got him killed wayyyyyyy before he could have any influence

  53. Sin Bad says:

    What a second..he said every continent but Antarctica. What battles were happening in the Americas? Did I miss something?

  54. Harry Potter says:

    why dont you ever were something new

  55. Joseph Craven says:

    I'm curious how these air ships were dealt with? How low did they have to fly in order to deliver their payload? Was this low enough to make them vulnerable to ground attack? It seems like with such a massive surface area and (I assume?) weak armor around their skin these ships could have easily been shot out of the sky by a lucky rifleman or artillery shot. I'm having a hard time imaging these huge lumbering airships very sneaky or quick.

  56. Kalimuri says:

    Did I miss the part where he explained war in Australia/The Americas? Or by world war does he mean receiving support from those areas?

  57. Mystic Stirling says:

    A century later, Guerilla Warfare is the most common warfare between nations against underdogs or terrorists. A deadly war which spreads out troops and appear out of nowhere 😮

  58. Legowarfare 14 says:

    You got to make books for each year

  59. Headrock says:

    3:20 Creepiest-looking children ever.

  60. roy zambrano says:

    can i get a link to the full image of the thumbnail need it for a design

  61. Just A Humble Rambler says:

    i love the thumbnail XD

  62. Matthew Crawford says:

    I'm not sure if you read these comments, but do you guys know why the Zepplins couldn't just be shot down with airplanes? It seems like if they just hit one of the sacs of hydrogen that they would combust, right?

  63. Tito Robalo says:

    Great channel!!

  64. Ryan Stewart says:

    The Airship with the moustache gives me nightmares

  65. Flabby Wall1 says:

    damn russians and their snow…

  66. Thomas McMichael says:

    I wonder, Russia being as big as it was, if there were any places where the people had no idea they were even at war due to them being so secluded, or far away from any conflict.

  67. Olisko says:

    Why was hitler writing to he,s landlord

  68. Aditya Raman says:

    Did the Russians command all territory east of the carpathians (except Premsyl)

  69. Ron D'Eau Claire says:

    The title is "Zeppelins Over England", yet less than 1% of the program is about that subject! BAH!

  70. Massimiliano Palladini says:

    The enemy has been reinforced with an airship.

  71. m2aster says:

    Six miles of ground has been won
    Half a million men are gone
    And as the men crawled the general called
    And the killing carried on and on
    How long?
    What’s the purpose of it all?
    What’s the price of a mile?

    Sabaton – The Price of a Mile

  72. Henry Solstice says:

    Where are my American aces at?

  73. Heikki Remes says:

    Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck is a real legend. Badass mf.

  74. Cezary Iwanowicz says:

    great job on this series love it, going to watch it in it's entirety. Should do the same for WW2

  75. Jared Jams says:

    Yes, but were any of these zeppelins made of Led?

  76. Jared Jams says:


  77. t Mann says:

    I want that desk!

  78. Ben Taylor says:

    5:10 greatest plot twist ever

  79. Hermann Fegelein The Antic Master real says:

    uncle adolf ?

  80. Luis Melendez says:

    Where was the fighting in North America

  81. Jadon Berg says:

    Adolf, why are you writing this kind of letter to you LANDLORD!!!

  82. FBI says:

    That thumbnail tho

  83. Tr0llShaman says:

    I am really glad that you folks made this series. I wish I hadn't lost track of it years ago, watched it as it went. But seriously, thank you for making it, and thank you for giving the fact that so many died the gravitas it deserves. It's interesting history, you're right, but we cannot as the human race afford to forget the horrors that happened here.

  84. R6Mute Main says:

    Man this war is confusing

  85. Peter Jaremsek says:

    3 things in life are certain: Death, Taxes, and Austrians being besieged at Przemsyl!

  86. Grime says:

    Long live the brave men of ww1

  87. Green Sheep says:

    Wait… So the US was already in the war? They didn't join until 1918 I thought.

  88. Jayden Bell says:

    Why is this age restricted!?!

  89. Luitpold Walterstorffer says:

    Austrian lieutenant Gunther Burstyn finished plans for a tank in 1911. Austrian High command refused to bring the plan to reality. He then went to the Germans and as well they refused the idea. The tank can be seen as a model in the museum today. It can be compared to the French Renault FT.

  90. Random Byzantine Guard says:


  91. Christopher Justice says:

    So, Hitler wrote his landlord during the war? I guess he didn’t have any friends, that would make sense.

  92. Imreee says:

    Biggest plot twist – Signed by Adolf Hitler

  93. pokemon with David .?????????? says:

    I love ww1

  94. Snooter says:

    >it's important to remember that this is all about millions of people dying in some of the worst ways imaginable
    sometimes necessary to direct the human race in the right direction.

  95. Raptor Cell says:

    I wonder if that Adolf Hitler guy will be relevant at some point in the future?

  96. Bruce Sims says:

    Always felt I was pretty well versed about WWI. My most sincere thanks for proving me the best possible way.

  97. Tom Hill says:

    Why did Hitler write to his landlord, did he not have family or friends?

  98. Don says:

    I allways get horny when i hear about War…

  99. XBR4Da says:

    4:55 damn, he sounds führerious

  100. Taylor Cagle says:

    I would have loved to have him as a history teacher

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