German Navy Tactical Orders

(source: Public Record Office ADM 186/55: CB1548 German Navy Tactical Orders)

Commander-in-Chief, High Sea Fleet
5 July 1918
Gg. 3767 A. 3.

Very Secret


General Statements on Naval Airships


1. War Airships.

Zeppelin Ships (Rigid).

(a) L. 50 Type. five high efficiency motors each of 260 HP. with super-compression, four propellers all coupled direct to crank-shaft (the two rear motors drive one propeller). Internal keel, length, 664 ft 8 in; beam, 78 ft 5 in; gas capacity, 1,942,400 cub ft; speed, 67 statute miles per hour; useful lift, 39 tons (metric).

(b) L. 70 Type. Seven high efficiency motors each of 260 HP. with super-compression, six propellers all coupled direct to crank-shaft (the two rear motors drive one propeller). Internal keel, length, 693 ft 10 in; greatest diameter, 78 ft 5 in; gas capacity, 2,189,600 cub ft; speed, 78 statute miles per hour; useful lift, 43 tons (metric).

2. Training and Experimental Airships:

(a) Training Ships:

L.14. Four motors each of 240 HP, four propellers, two of which are coupled direct to the crank-shaft. Speed, 56 statute miles per hour; useful lift, 15.6 tons (metric).

L.42. Five motors each of 240 HP., four propellers all coupled direct to crank-shaft. Speed, 64 statute miles per hour; useful lift, 36.5 tons (metric). Otherwise similar in appearance to L.50 type.

(b) Experimental Ships:

L.35. Appearance and performance similar to L.42.

S.L.22 (Schütte Lanz Ship, rigid). Five motors each of 240 HP., four propellers (the two rear motors coupled to one propeller), special control car; internal keel, length, 650 ft 7 in, beam, 73 ft 10 in; gas capacity, 1,977,700 cub ft; speed, 61 ½ statute miles per hour; useful lift, 36 tons (metric).


See "Tactical Organisation" and "War Organisation of the Naval Forces." [not reproduced]

III. CREW: 21 MEN (from L.70 and Later 25 Men).

One Commanding Officer.
One Watchkeeping Officer, who is also W/T Officer.
One Navigating Warrant Officer.
One Chief Engine Room Artificer.
Two Elevation Helmsmen (Yeomen of Signals).
Two Directional Helmsmen (Boatswain's Mates).
Two Petty Officer Motormen per motor.
One Petty Officer Telegraphist.
One W/T Rating.


Two machine guns. One .78 in gun (being introduced). Incendiary bombs weighing 25 lbs each. Explosive bombs weighing 110, 220 and 660 lbs each.


(a) W/T

1. The installation is a musical note installation on the Telefunken system, power 1.2 kw.

2. Radius about 500-600 nautical miles, radius of emergency set 300 nautical miles.

3. Transmitter (range 300-1,700 metres) and Receiver (secondary receiver range from 300-4,300 meters) are situated together in a gas-tight cabinet.

4. When fully unreeled the aerial hangs about 328 ft below the ship.

5. The current is supplied by:
(a) A main dynamo in the after car which can be driven by:
L two different motors
B the propeller which is rotated by the passage of the ship through the air
(b) An emergency dynamo which can be driven by:
L a motor in the forward car
B the lighting dynamo running as a motor on current from accumulators.

6. On account of safety, sending can only take place when the ships' gas bags are not full, because when gas is being valved there is a danger of ignition of the oxyhydrogen mixture. In the majority of cases the ship will not be able to inform the station with which she is in W/T communication that she dare not transmit any further, and, for instance, may not after a long message be able to report "message understood." The continual calling up of the ship with increased power is therefore unnecessary. The ship remains ready to receive.

7. If it is necessary for any reason to haul in the aerial, it will be reported, either before hauling in or after getting it out again, to the W/T Control in the following manner:

"Aerial hauled in - from - to -"

The W/T control must retransmit any messages of importance to the airship which have been made during this period.

(b) Searchlight.

Incandescent bulb type (500 cp), situated in the forward car.

(c) Hand Semaphore Flags.

Only to be used when ship is flying low.

(d) Morse Lamp.

System, Scheer.

(e) Ciphers.

General W/T Book with transposition table for A. F. B (? Allgemeines Funkspruchbuch = General W/T Book. Translator); Fleet W/T Book with transposition table for F. F. B. (? Flottenfunkspruchbuch = Fleet W/T Book. Trans.); List of W/T Call Signs; extract from the signal book of the Imperial Navy for small vessels.

For flights over neutral or enemy territory only A. F. B with the current transposition table and that for the following day, list of W/T call signs and the extract from the signal book of the Imperial Navy for small vessels.

(f) Recognition Signals.

Recognition signals according to Recognition Signal Regulations, Very's light Cartridges A. 17.


(a) It is not possible to berth or bring out ships with a wind of more than five metres per sec (force 3) blowing across the mouth of the shed.

(b) Ceiling: This varies according to the type of shp and weather conditions (temperature, barometer and humidity). The North Sea fighting ships can generally reach 19,685 ft during an attack.

(c) Visibility: At about 656 ft about 30 nautical miles in clear weather, 13,124 ft about 60 nautical miles.

(d) Speed:
Motors Metres per sec K. W. per hour Nautical Miles per hour
7 34 126 68
5 29 105.4 54
4 26 93.6 51
3 24 86.4 46.5
2 20.9 75.2 40.0
1 15.8 56.9 30.0

Head winds of force 4-5 reduce the speed by about one-half.

(e) Safety zone: An airship may be considered to be safe from anti-aircraft fire when at a range of 4-5 nautical miles and at a height of 9,842 ft.

(f) Endurance: 24-48 hours. With special preparations, 100 hours. The radius is reduced as soon as the airship is forced to fly at high altitudes.

(g) Refuelling: Only possible at airship stations.

(h) Fixing of Positions: Can only be done with certainty when in sight of land, otherwise by Dead Reckoning and directional W/T.


Should an airship descend on the water, all ships and boats must avoid it and maintain such a distance that sparks from funnels cannot reach the ship. Only pulling and motor boats not steamboats, may be used for going alongside.

Troop Place (a) No. and Type of sheds

(b) Names of Sheds

Room for 1,130, 130.5 cu ft ship Room for 1,942,411.9 cu ft ship W/T Station
I Nordholz (a) Two small fixed single sheds. One double revolving shed.* Two fixed double sheds* (one in course of erection).

(b) Nora, Norbert, Nobel, Normann, Nordstern, Nogat (in course of erection)

2 8 2 K. W. T.Lf.
III Ahlhorn (a) Two fixed double sheds.* One fixed double shed* (will be rebuilt).

(b) Alma, Alarich, Aladin (will be rebuilt).

- 4 2 K. W. T. Lf.
Detached Command Wildeshausen in Oldenburg (under Ahlhorn) (a) one fixed large single shed.

(b) Horn.

- 1 -
IV. Wittmundhaven (a) Two fixed double sheds* (of these one field shed).

(b) Wunsch, Wille.

- 4 O, 3 T.K. Transmitter of the T. Lf.
V Tondern (a) One fixed double shed.* One small fixed single shed.

(b) Toska, Tobias.

1 2 "
VI Seerappen** (a) One fixed double shed.*

(b) Seraphim.

- 2 -
VII Seddin** (a) One fixed small single shed. One fixed double shed.*

(b) Selim, Selinde.

- 2 -
IX. Wainoden** (a) Two fixed large single sheds (field sheds)*.

(b) Walter, Walhalla.

- 2 -
" Jüterbog (a) One small fixed shed. One fixed double shed.*

(b) Albrecht, Bär

1 2 -
Düsseldorf** (a) One fixed double shed.* - 2 -

1. The sheds marked (*) can berth (2,189,600 cub ft) ships.
2. The stations marked (**) have only a guard.

(Signed) SCHEER.

Last Updated: 21 November, 1999.

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