Russian airships 1914

33k drawing of "Astra XIII", Russia's newest Army airship in 1914 from "Taschenbuch der Luftflotten".

At the eve of World War I in 1914 all the major military powers had airships in their inventories and under construction and Russia was no exception. At that time there were 13 airships in service with the Russian army and four more under construction. From the 13 airships in service, one was of semi-rigid construction, the others were of blimp type. Six of these ships were of French origin, two came from Germany and the remaining five had been built in Russia. The four ships under construction were with one exception all of Russian origin, among them the first two Russian airships of rigid construction. All Russian airships of this period were intended for military purposes, there were no civil airships. In 1914 the Russian airship fleet was the fourth-largest in the world, ranking only behind Germany (23 airships), France (15) and Italy (14).

Table of Russian airships
PicturesInfo
n/a Albatros

Year of construction: 1914 (under construction)
Type: Blimp
Built at: Izhora Works, Kolpino near St. Petersburg, Russia
Owner: Russian Army
Engines: ?
Volume: 8,000
Length: ?
Max. diameter: ?
Max. width: ?
Height: ?
Speed: ?
Ceiling: ?
Payload: ?
Fuel provided for: ?
Remarks: Rumours that it bursted once during filling in 1912. Manufacturer designation "No. 3".
n/a Clément-Bayard

Year of construction: 1914 (under construction)
Type: Blimp
Built at: Clément-Bayard, Levalloir-Perret, France
Owner: Russian Army
Engines: 2 * 180hp Clément-Bayard, 2 propellers
Volume: 6,500
Length: 73.5m
Max. diameter: 12.2m
Max. width: ?
Height: ?
Speed: ca. 55km/h
Ceiling: ?
Payload: ?
Fuel provided for: ?
Remarks: Similar to French civil airship "Clément-Bayard VI". Manufacturer designation "Clément-Bayard VII, VIII or IX".
n/a Kostovich (Kostevich?)

Year of construction: 1913 (under construction)
Type: Rigid
Built at: Russian Army Administration by Eng. Kostevich
Owner: Russian Army
Engines: ?
Volume: 7,000
Length: ?
Max. diameter: ?
Max. width: ?
Height: ?
Speed: ?
Ceiling: ?
Payload: ?
Fuel provided for: ?
Remarks: Framework is said to be constructed from Aborit, a specially prepared wood.
n/a Kovanko

Year of construction: 1913 (under construction)
Type: Rigid
Built at: Baltic Shipbuilding Co., Riga
Owner: Russian Army
Engines: 4 * 80hp, 4 propellers
Volume: 13,000
Length: 80m
Max. diameter: ?
Max. width: ?
Height: ?
Speed: ?
Ceiling: ?
Payload: ?
Fuel provided for: ?
Remarks: ---

Army airship Astra XIII.


Nacelle of Astra XIII,
at the left part of elevator.
Astra XIII

Year of construction: 1913
Type: Blimp
Built at: "Astra" Société de Constructions Aéronautiques, Billancourt, France
Owner: Russian Army
Engines: 2 * 200hp Chenu, 2 propellers
Volume: 9,800
Length: 77.8m
Max. diameter: 14.9m
Max. width: ?
Height: 21.5m
Speed: 63km/h
Ceiling: ?
Payload: 3,900kg
Fuel provided for: about 20hours
Remarks: First flight March 11, 1913. On March 24, 1913 5-hour acceptance flight. First flight in Russia July 22, 1913. Named "Croiseur Russe" by manufacturer.

Army airship Parseval 14


Drawing of Parseval 14
Parseval 14

Year of construction: 1913
Type: Blimp
Built at: Luftfahrzeug GmbH, Berlin, Germany
Owner: Russian Army
Engines: 2 * 180hp Maybach, 2 propellers
Volume: 9,600 with two 2,700 ballonets
Length: 85m
Max. diameter: 16m
Max. width: 18m
Height: ?
Speed: 67km/h
Ceiling: 2,500m
Payload: 3,200kg
Fuel provided for: 20hours
Remarks: First flight February 27, 1913.

Army airship
Clément-Bayard V.


Nacelle of
Clément-Bayard V
with elevator
and propellers.
Clément-Bayard V

Year of construction: 1913
Type: Blimp
Built at: Clément-Bayard, Levalloir-Perret, France
Owner: Russian Army
Engines: 2 * 180hp Clément-Bayard, 2 propellers
Volume: 9,600
Length: 88m
Max. diameter: ca. 16m
Max. width: ?
Height: ?
Speed: 55km/h
Ceiling: ?
Payload: ?
Fuel provided for: ?
Remarks: First flight February 9, 1913. February 10, 1913 1-hour speed test, February 11, 1913 4-hour ceiling test to 2,000m with acceptance commission on board.
n/a Kobchik

Year of construction: 1912
Type: Blimp
Built at: Duflou & Konstantinovich, Russia
Owner: Russian Army
Engines: 2 * 45hp, 4 propellers
Volume: 2,150
Length: 48m
Max. diameter: 9.5m
Max. width: ?
Height: ?
Speed: 50km/h
Ceiling: ?
Payload: ?
Fuel provided for: ?
Remarks: ---
n/a Sokol

Year of construction: 1911
Type: Blimp
Built at: Izhora Works, Kolpino near St. Petersburg, Russia
Owner: Russian Army
Engine: 1 * 100hp Dion-Bouton, 2 propellers
Volume: 2,500
Length: 50m
Max. diameter: 10m
Max. width: ?
Height: ?
Speed: 54km/h
Ceiling: ?
Payload: ?
Fuel provided for: ?
Remarks: Manufacturer designation "No. 2".
n/a Golub' (Pigeon)

Year of construction: 1910/ 11
Type: Blimp
Built at: Izhora Works, Kolpino near St. Petersburg, Russia
Owner: Russian Army
Engine: 1 * 75hp Körting, 2 propellers
Volume: 2,270
Length: 46m
Max. diameter: 9.5m
Max. width: ?
Height: ?
Speed: 50km/h
Ceiling: ?
Payload: ?
Fuel provided for: ?
Remarks: Manufacturer designation "No. 1".
n/a Yastreb

Year of construction: 1910/ 11
Type: Blimp
Built at: Duks (Dux), Moscow, Russia
Owner: Russian Army
Engine: 1 * 75hp Dansette-Gillet, 2 propellers
Volume: 2,500
Length: 50m
Max. diameter: 9m
Max. width: ?
Height: ?
Speed: ?
Ceiling: ?
Payload: ?
Fuel provided for: ?
Remarks: Rumours that it has been destroyed in March 1913.
n/a Kretchet

Year of construction: 1910/ 11
Type: Blimp
Built at: Russian Army Administration
Owner: Russian Army
Engines: 2 * 100hp Panhard, 2 propellers
Volume: 6,900
Length: 70m
Max. diameter: 11m
Max. width: ?
Height: ?
Speed: ?
Ceiling: ?
Payload: ?
Fuel provided for: ?
Remarks: ---

Army airship Griff.


Drawing of Griff.
Grif

Year of construction: 1910
Type: Blimp
Built at: Luftfahrzeug GmbH, Berlin, Germany
Owner: Russian Army
Engines: 2 * 110hp N.A.G., 2 propellers
Volume: 7,600 with two 1,400 ballonets
Length: 72m
Max. diameter: 14m
Max. width: 16m
Height: 21m
Speed: 59km/h
Ceiling: 1,800m
Payload: 2,200kg
Fuel provided for: 20hours
Remarks: First flight October 10, 1910. Built at the companies facilities at Bitterfeld. Acceptance flights took place at Zalizi near Gatchina.

Army airship
Clément-Bayard I.
Clément-Bayard I

Year of construction: 1910
Type: Blimp
Built at: "Astra" Société de Constructions Aéronautiques, Billancourt, France
Owner: Russian Army
Engine: 1 * 105hp Clément-Bayard, 1 propeller
Volume: 3,500 with one 1,100 ballonet
Length: 56.2m
Max. diameter: 10.6m
Max. width: ?
Height: 18m
Speed: 54km/h
Ceiling: ?
Payload: 1,000kg
Fuel provided for: ?
Remarks: Order sub-contracted to "Astra" (Surcouf Works) by Clément-Bayard.

Army airship Chaika.
Chaika, Korshun

Year of construction: 1910
Type: Blimp
Built at: "Zodiac" Société Française de Ballons Dirigeables et d'Aviation (Anciens Établissements Aéronautiques Maurice Mallet), Puteaux, France
Owner: Russian Army
Engine: 1 * 60hp Labor, 1 propeller
Volume: 2,140
Length: 48m
Max. diameter: 10m
Max. width: ?
Height: 17m
Speed: 40km/h
Ceiling: ?
Payload: ?
Fuel provided for: ?
Remarks: Manufacturer designation "Zodiac 7". Identical sistership "Zodiac 8" also to Russia as "Korshun".
n/a Lebed'

Year of construction: 1910
Type: Semi-rigid
Built at: Atelier Lebaudy Frères, Moisson par La Roche-Guyon, France
Owner: Russian Army
Engine: 1 * 70hp Panhard-Levasseur, 2 propellers
Volume: 3,700
Length: 61m
Max. diameter: 10.8m
Max. width: 11m
Height: 17m
Speed: 49km/h
Ceiling: ?
Payload: 1,250kg
Fuel provided for: ?
Remarks: Originally named "Rossiya". Manufacturer designation "Lebaudy 4".

In the available sources are mentioned two more airships, one of semi-rigid and one of blimp type. The semi-rigid construction was named "Forssmann" after its designer, the Engineer V. Forssmann, was built in 1910 and had a volume of only 800, a length of 37m, a diameter of 6m and a weight of 450kg. The blimp - called "Uchebnyj" - was larger (1,500) and was constructed in 1908 by Captain Shabskij. Both ships belonged to the Russian Army.

The operation of airships demanded an infrastructure consisting of airship hangars. In Russia in 1914 such hangars existed or were under construction in the following places: Berdichev, Brest-Litovsk, Dünaburg, Gomel', Kiev, Kovno, Lida, Lutsk, Minsk, St. Petersburg (3 hangars), Pleskau, Reval, Zalizi-Gatchina (2 hangars), Vitebsk, Vladivostok (2 under construction, 2 planned). These hangars were part of the so-called first and second fortification lines. Their length varied from 80 to 166m, their width from 18 to 48m and their height from 23 to 30m. Most of the hangars were built of wood, but there were also a few steel constructions. The following pictures show the hangar and its construction phases at Lutsk - a steel construction erected by the German company "Ballonhallenbau Arthur Müller GmbH" at Berlin-Charlottenburg.


1st construction phase

2nd construction phase

3rd construction phase

Completed hangar
References
  • "Taschenbuch der Luftflotten" ("Pocketbook of Air Fleets"), 1st Issue 1914, Vol. 1 "Airships" by F. Rasch and W. Hormel (Reprint 1978, in German)
  • Links
  • Airship Le Clément-Bayard
  •  


    Created for RAM August 18, 2001
    by Thomas Heinz
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