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Wreck of L. 39

French soldiers guard the wreck of the L.39 Zeppelin, brought down by Brought down in the Boulevard Gambetta, Compiegne

Non-Fiction 1917 1 mins Silent


On the night of 16 March 1917, five German Zeppelins attempted their first high altitude bombing raid over London, hoping to attack from 17,000 feet. Cloud cover and heavy winds made for an unsuccessful raid - blown over the Channel and into France, the L.39 was shot down by French artillery. This Topical Budget newsreel sensationally declares that audiences are seeing the burning ruins just after the airship came down, yet there's no tell-tale fire and no smoke - just a damaged engine among masses of twisted metal, hardly recognisable as a machine of war. It's likely the wreck had in fact been there for some time before the cameraman arrived.