The German Zeppelins were long cylindrical rigid airship with a fabric-covered frame. They were large, unwieldy and powered by highly combustible hydrogen gas. They often missed their targets, but inspired intense fear in the civilian population. Reaching altitudes of up to 10,000 feet they were silent before they dropped their bombs. On 2–3 September, the Germans launched their most ambitious Zeppelin raid to date, using twelve Zeppelins and several airships. S.L.11 was intercepted and neutralized near Cuffley where it crash-landed, bursting into flames. This was the first time the British had brought a Zeppelin down. Raids were throughout the east, extending as far as London in the west and Kingston upon Hull towards the north.
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