The Turner Novels -

The Aviators

Peter Strasser

Peter Strasser was born in Hanover on April 1st. 1876. At the age of fifteen he joined the German Navy as a cadet. By 1895 he had already achieved the rank of lieutenant and was marked down by his superiors as an officer of great potential. An excellent gunner he was soon in charge of both ship borne and coastal artillery.

He had great belief in technical advance and volunteered for aviation service as early as 1911. His promotion to command of the naval airship division may have seemed like a backward step, as the service only possessed two serviceable ships at the outbreak of war in 1914, but he soon grasped the potential of this new form of warfare.

Senior naval officers, while aware of the possibilities of the Zeppelin as an offensive weapon, were equally keen to employ the airship for long range reconnaissance. Strasser was developing the concept of long range strategic bombing before anybody had even thought of describing it as such, and drove his men and their machines forward with huge determination in pursuit of his ideas.

He possessed absolute self belief, and a steely resolve tempered by great personal charm. His men adored him and his promotion to Fuerher der Luftschiffe (Literally leader of airships) with the rank of Admiral Second Class confirmed to them the status of the airship division in the hierarchy of the Imperial German Navy.

He led from the front, testing new equipment and regularly flying on raids on himself. It was on just such an occasion while flying in L70 in early August 1918 on what was planned to be a mass raid on England, that he suffered the fiery death that so many of his men had endured before when his ship was blown out of the sky by a high flying DH4 aeroplane. His loss knocked the heart out of the airship division and the giant airships never again returned to terrorise the people of England.

< Back to 'Real character' listing