Blimps saw Quite A Bit Of Activity In World War II

by Daniel Russ on August 27, 2016

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From the very beginning of my interest in aviation and military history, I have always been delighted with the notion of cross Atlantic travel in blimps. Gently gliding in the air moving with the wind, enough space to enjoy the trip. Fine dining, cigars, wine.

 

When suddenly World War was upon the United States, we realized we had over 12,000 miles of coastline to defend it we used every weapon at our disposal, even if it had dated back to the Civil War.

 

Thusly the blimp was thrust into the spotlight again as the United States Army mustered as many airships as it could to patrol and look for U-Boats and mines and otherwise any number of other methods to attack us.

 

Goodyear in Akron Ohio produced 150 airships and trained thousands of pilots and crew. US Navy blimps took part in convoys of over 90,000 US Merchant Marine or battle craft. US airships could spot submerge U-boats and often attacked with on board guns or they dropped their own depth charges. Mostly though blimp crews alerted coastal defenses to attacks in progress. On May 6th, 1945, US airships located U-881 and directed attacks on it where surface vessels off the coast of Newfoundland sank it. It was the last U boat lost in WWII.

 

Blimps used Mangnetic Anomaly Detection devices to located U-boats. The mere presence of blimps dissuaded some U-boat crews from attacking.

 

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This is a great military history blog.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

aldo baez-castellanos September 29, 2016 at 5:36 pm

Blimps more information

Louis October 19, 2017 at 2:14 am

As blimps were already used extensively by the US Navy during the First World War, it was more or less just removing the dust from all the equipment used then, and putting them to use again. And some sort of retro-neo blimps (now called aerostats) are again used by the US military.
The good thing about blimps, from a Anti-Submarine point of view, is that they have “persistance” over the convoi. Yes, you also have/had that with ships, but they are expensive to make and keep operatrional, lack the overview, and can be sunk. Blimps are slower then airplanes, ussually cost less to operate, and can be above the convoy 24/7. And if they’re armed they are the perfect U-boat deterent

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