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  • By Peter Chapman
    Jul 20, 2018
    Another English translation of an original German book by Alistair Reid, this is the 1934 autobiography of a Zeppelin crewman, Pitt Klein, who served as an engine mechanic with noted Naval Airship Service commander Kapitanleutnant Heinrich Mathy. Originally published as Achtung! Bomben fallen! Zeppelinkriegsfahrten, Klein’s first-hand account of his service on over 120 missions with Mathy’s crew, leading up to their fateful final mission on 1 October 1916 which Klein missed after being sent on leave, is true to life and fascinating throughout. Starting with his early war service, he begins with his first raid on England in L9 and goes on to describe not only this and subsequent air raids, but also events during routine patrols at sea, all from the viewpoint of one who was there and who faced the obstacles, many of which would have surprised their enemy at the time. This alone makes the book invaluable as it is a personal rather than technical account of these raids and patrols, with... More > the author going into some detail to describe how things worked on the Zeppelins, and his and his fellow crewmembers’ feelings at times. What I found particularly interesting was his graphic descriptions of the English defences, which the Zeppelin crews seem to have genuinely feared and respected, and he mentions the first time he saw another Zeppelin go down in flames over London (the L32) and the horror this sight invoked not only in him but all the crews who saw it. Suffering from what we would now call PTSD, he was excused that final mission and ordered to take a rest leave, his place being taken by another. His survivor’s guilt is self-evident after he learned that they had all died, and it is perhaps telling that Klein admits to never flying operationally again in the war, due to subsequent injury, although he continued to serve on the ground. The book also contains a number of photographs, most new to me, and these include images of Klein himself and, poignantly, one of himself with two comrades, the only survivors of Heinrich Mathy’s crew as none of them were aboard on 1 October 1916. Overall, this is another invaluable addition to the growing list of German airship service translations by Alastair Reid, who cannot be congratulated enough in my opinion.< Less
  • By Ian Castle
    Nov 24, 2016
    An often mis-quoted book, only available in German - until now. This long-awaited English translation is most welcome. The book gives a telling insight into the Zeppelin War through the eyes and words of an ordinary crewman serving on German navy Zeppelins through WW1. The confidence he shows early in the war in this perceived war-winning weapon, gradually fades as Britain eventually finds a way to fight back against these leviathans of the air. The author, Pitt Klein, sees the losses mount amongst his comrades and the book takes on a bleak tone towards the end. For me, one of the fascinating aspects of the book is trying to match Klein's undated accounts of raids from his perspective high in the sky, with the reports of those on the receiving end on the ground. Congratulations to the translator, Alastair Reid, for making this important account available in the English language for the first time.
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Product Details

September 8, 2016
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
0.87 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
8.5 wide x 11 tall
Product ID
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